Friday, March 20, 2015

Kitty Hawk and the Curse of the Yukon Gold Book Review

I was recently contacted by a book publisher to have my students review an adventure mystery series by Iain Reading called Kitty Hawk and the Curse of the Yukon Gold.  Below is a summary of the book, and my sixth graders thoughts.  If you are a Canadian reader, this book may be of particular interest to you as it covers Canadian Provinces and history.   My students enjoyed making connections between the Canadian history and US history, and this may also interest some of your students that enjoy research projects.  

Drako thought:  "I really liked the character of Kitty.  I thought it was cool that a yound girl could learn to fly, and I liked the titles of each chapter.  Sometimes I thought the sentences were long, but I liked learning about the Yukon."

Chloe thought:  "I liked when the author introduced the character of Charlie.  I think the adventure really got started then.  Kitty was a funny, strong-willed character and it made me laugh when she wanted Starbucks."

Bhumi thought:  "  Kitty Hawk is funny, creative, determined and loving.  I love how she cares about the environment and their creatures.  Kitty Hawk has a true heart and I liked how she became friends with Charlie, Jay Will and Buck.  They started off not trusting each other, but they used their strong will to achieve their goal.  I enjoyed that Ian Reading used real life places and history like Amelia Earhart to keep my attention. It was funny to read about Walmart, McDonald's and Starbucks in the book.   My only complaint is the text style.  The font was small, and at first I was afraid the book would not be good.  But I worked through it and found I really enjoyed it!"

Kitty Hawk and the Curse of the Yukon Gold is the thrilling first installment in a new young adult series of adventure mystery stories by Iain Reading. This first book of the Kitty Hawk Flying Detective Agency Series introduces Kitty Hawk, an intrepid teenage pilot with her own De Havilland Beaver seaplane and a nose for mystery and intrigue. A cross between Amelia Earhart, Nancy Drew and Pippi Longstocking, Kitty is a quirky young heroine with boundless curiosity and a knack for getting herself into all kinds of precarious situations. 

After leaving her home in the western Canadian fishing village of Tofino to spend the summer in Alaska studying humpback whales, Kitty finds herself caught up in an unforgettable adventure involving stolen gold, devious criminals, ghostly shipwrecks, and bone-chilling curses. Kitty's adventure begins with the lingering mystery of a sunken ship called the Clara Nevada. As the plot continues to unfold, this spirited story will have readers anxiously following every twist and turn as they are swept along through the history of the Klondike Gold Rush to a suspenseful final climatic chase across the rugged terrain of Canada's Yukon.

Kitty Hawk and the Curse of the Yukon Gold is a perfect book to fire the imagination of readers of all ages. Filled with fascinating and highly Google-able locations and history this book will inspire anyone to learn and experience more for themselves. 

There are currently four books in the Kitty Hawk Flying Detective Agency Series: Kitty Hawk and the Curse of the Yukon Gold (book 1), Kitty Hawk and the Hunt for Hemingway's Ghost (book 2), Kitty Hawk and the Icelandic Intrigue (book 3), and Kitty Hawk and the Tragedy of the RMS Titanic (book 4). Each book can be read as a standalone.

“In the Kitty Hawk Flying Detective Agency Series the heroine finds herself in a new geographic location in each book. The series will eventually have a total of 13 books in it (maybe more) and her flight around the world will be completed in the end,” says Iain. “The books are sequential but one could definitely read any of the later ones before reading the earlier ones.”

About the Author:
Iain Reading is passionate about Root Beer, music, and writing. He is Canadian, but currently resides in the Netherlands working for the United Nations.

Iain has published 4 books in the Kitty Hawk Flying Detective Agency Series (Kitty Hawk and the Curse of the Yukon Gold, Kitty Hawk and the Hunt for Hemingway's Ghost, Kitty Hawk and the Icelandic Intrigue, and Kitty Hawk and the Tragedy of the RMS Titanic). He is currently working on the 5th book in the series. For more information, go to  

Iain is also the author of The Wizards of Waterfire Series. The first book in the series The Guild of the Wizards of Waterfire was published in April 2014.

Connect with Iain on Twitter and Goodreads.

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Sparking Student Motivation with Math and Art: A Perfect Pi Day Combination

Happy Pi Day to all my Math Geek friends!

I'm linking up with one of my BBBs, Joanne,  at Head Over Heels for Teaching to share a project that I completed with my Smarties for Pi Day.
In sixth grade we don't teach about circles anymore.  In fact, probably  the closest I get to circles is when we teach a little about percentages, but I still think it is important for students to learn about the concept of Pi.   I started out with an overview video for them that explains what Pi is.  Do you ever watch the Math Bites videos that Danica McKellar creates?  They are amazing and fun for math concepts.  Do you remember The Wonder Years?  She was Winnie.  Now she writes books that focus on girls and math.  This is the one we watched about Pi:

Then we created an art project incorporating the digits of Pi into a Cityscape with watercolors.
I saw this project originally on Pinterest from What We Do Daily and read the post {HERE}.  My students LOVED this project.  I split my class into two groups to make the project more manageable.  One group started by graphing the Pi digits on graph paper.  Some of them chose to do a twilight scene, so they colored their digits black.  I used two different sizes of graph paper, because I still have students with some fine motor skill issues.  When they finished graphing the digits, they cut out the scene so it looked like skyscraper buildings.

The second group I started with water coloring the backgrounds.

When each group was finished, they moved to the area they hadn't completed.  They glued the cityscape to their watercolor background when they finished, and then I trimmed the projects so I can display them in the hallway of our main building.  My friends, it was a WONDERFUL way to spend our time on a half day.  My Smarties worked together and helped each other cut, paste and glue.  It gave them a chance to talk quietly in groups.. what sixth grader doesn't love that!  Some were trying to memorize the digits of Pi as they graphed.  Over all, it was a fabulous way to celebrate!
Check out a few of the final products:

I also wore my EPIC PI DAY Tshirt! 
Do you celebrate Pi Day at your school?  I would love to hear the kinds of activities that you do!
Also, have you entered my Giveaway yet?  You can win a $20 gift card to Amazon, or $10 of Clipart or $10 from my TpT store.  Stop by {HERE} to enter.  The rafflecopter is open until Thursday.
And thank you Joanne for helping me share how I motivated my students this week!

Thursday, March 12, 2015

It's March... It's Madness... It's Giveaway Time!

I've recently passed 1100 Bloglovin Followers, and 1,000 Facebook Followers, so I wanted to have a little GIVEAWAY to celebrate!  Are you interested in an Amazon Gift Card, some free clipart, or a few TpT products?  Enter the Rafflecopter below for your chance to win, and THANK YOU for coming along with me on this blogging journey!  I will be picking THREE Winners:  First Place $20 Amazon Gift Card, Second Place: $10 worth of free clipart from Messare Clips and Design and Third Place: $10 worth of products from my TpT.  The Rafflecopter will be open until March 19th.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, February 23, 2015

Teachers are Super Heroes and WE NEED Superhero Products!

With the upcoming TpT sale, we want to help you find "heroic" products that have helped others in their classrooms. I recently received some wonderful feedback on my Expressions and Equations Scoot and Compute Pack. Many teachers have commented about how much they love this product because I have differentiated the questions.  There are 120 problems, 12 questions in 10 different algebra areas.  I printed mine on colored cardstock and put them on rings.  Then I can give more difficult problems to students who need a challenge.  You can see pictures in a blogpost I did {HERE}.  I use these primarily when it comes time to review for our state assessment, but I found myself pulling them out as center review several times this year to keep the algebriac thinking fresh throughout the year.

Click on the image above or {here} to go to the product.
Browse around the linky for other heroic products, or feel free to grab the graphic and link up your own! Link to a post containing one heroic product and its feedback. Use the graphic if you wish. (No direct links to stores or products, please.) Include the linky button and link it back to this post so others may find great heroic products.

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Five for Saturday.. Math Centers.. Mardi Gras and a little Teacher Love

Happy Saturday my friends!  I'm linking up with Doodle Bugs for a little Five For Friday.. a little late.
#1:  Math Centers:  I am loving the ability to have math centers this year.  My schedule permits me to teach about 45 minutes of whole group math, and then I get about 30 more minutes of math centers.   We've recently started our unit on Integers and Rational Numbers, and we've been digging deep into vocabulary.  I love using these Integer Phrase Task Cards in groups.  My students each take a card, read it and find the space on the number line.  We then find the opposite integer and then the absolute value as well.
We also have been working on mental math computation.  I need my students to get quicker at completing basic computation skills.  We started out doing these 4-5 step problems using a Hundreds Chart as visual reference.  As we progressed during the year, I have moved my students off the Hundreds Chart and into dry erase boards.  Most of them have moved completely to mental math, but I still have a few that work problems on the dry erase boards.  Right now, we are using my Marching 'Round the Hundreds Board for Mardi Gras to help us with this.
#2:  Speaking of Mardi Gras.. we went to our first Mardi Gras parade in Mobile this week!  How fun!  We loved seeing all the beads, parade floats and marching bands.  We also tried our first Moon Pies! I can't wait to see a few more this weekend.
#3:  We've also been busy starting pre-season for softball.  My beautful "24" is the starting catcher for her JV team.  We have loved the new softball family we are getting to know.
#4: For Valentines Day a local church stopped by and gave all of the teachers in our little school a donut and Starbucks. It was so kind of them to think of each of us, and it was a nice little pick me up on a busy busy day.
#5:  I'm pretty close to a 1,000 Facebook Followers!  I'm planning to have a little rafflecopter givewaway, so if you aren't following me on FB, stop by and like the Coffee Cups and Lesson Plans page!

Thanks to Doodle Bugs for letting me link up for Five for Friday!

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Using a 3-2-1 Reflections Graphic Organizer for Informational Text with a FREEBIE

We have been working hard with informational text lately!  Sixth grade feels like it is ALL about being able to explain our thinking about what we are reading, and backing up our claims with evidence from the text.  We have been practicing this concept with fiction, nonfiction and poetry a lot!  I've been trying to instill in my students the need to use quality vocabulary in the answers.  Drawing on the academic vocabulary within the text helps them "sound" like sophisticated sixth graders.

One of the ways that I work in vocabulary and details is with a 3-2-1 Reflections Graphic Organizer.  We recently read informational text about the increase in the number of child immigrants that are illegally entering the United States.  Using our 3-2-1 graphic organizer we found academic vocabulary that was related to the story, two details that supported the story, and wrote one question that still remained after the article was finished.

If you are interested, you can grab the organizer {HERE}.  It is a FREEBIE in my TpT store.  I've provided two different copies.  One is similar to the organizer mentioned above, the second is blank so you can add what you need as far reflections. We've used them when looking at compare/contrast text structure as well as facts and opinions.  If you were analyzing a poem, the 3-2-1 might be good for figurative language or thematic details.
I'm going to continue working with text structure informational analysis throughout the week.
We'll be using my Buddy Bookmarks
Sorry I didn't get a picture of these in use.. the one I took was blurry.  These are part of my Navigating Nonfiction Text posters and bookmark set.  I love these because we can use them with ANY text.  I'll also be incorporating some of the Reading Rectangles from my Reader Response Pack.  We are going to focus on Compare/Contrast structure next, and I'll even be incorporating that language into my math topics with integers.  It is important for my students to understand that these types of structures are in all subject areas, and the 3 2 1 Reflection organizer will be a quick formative assessment for me to use.  

Do you have any further suggestions for this type of organizer?  I'd love to hear! Have a great week!

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Squared Away on Super Bowl Sunday!

Happy Sunday friends!  I'm blogging today about a few things that I've managed to Square Away this weekend.  Not all are school related, but a little of this and a little of that.

My kids and I are planning to try a new snack for the Super Bowl:  Buffalo Wing Cauliflower Bites.
You can find the recipe {HERE}.  I love Skinnytaste!

Little ole me was featured on the Teachers Pay Teachers Blog today! EEK!  I had written about Chinese New Year, and they added me to the article!  You can check it out {HERE}

I got my second Stitch Fix in the mail this weekend!  I was so excited to open it and check out what I got!  Sadly, I didn't keep anything in it.  <boo hoo>  BUT I learned a lot more about my own personal style, so I'm walking away with a positive attitude.  The shirts were a little too boxy for my taste, and I didn't care for the colors of a few.  Have you tried Stitch Fix? It is the perfect venue for introverts like me.  You can check it out {HERE} to learn more about it.

What have you Squared Away this Sunday?  Do you have anything yummy planned for the Super Bowl?  I'd love to hear if you've got anything fun planned for school this week, or if you have any fun outfits planned!

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