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Our Favorite Thingsheart    
You gotta love these!

We love the pursuit of discovering new and fun things to help us in our craft of teaching and learning. One of our all time favorite things is great literature! Whether it’s enthusiastically sharing a great story with our students, or quietly reflecting on new learning from a professional book, we LOVE exquisite reading experiences! If you are wanting a great read, we have listed the best of the best below for your reading enjoyment! We have also added to the list our other “favorite things” that we simply must share with you!

Children's Books | Professional Books | Things and What Else

Children's Books book View All

Beware of the Frog
William Bee

Beware of FrogMrs. Collywobbles lives on the edge of a big, dark, scary wood.  The only thing protecting her from all the horrible creatures that live in the wood is her little pet frog.  Yes, a frog. 

Every time Mrs. Collywobbles looks out one of the little windows in her home, she sees a scary creature coming out of the woods. 

“Oh, dear!  It’s Smelly troll, up to no good.  He moves into little old ladies’ houses and stinks so much that they have to run away.   Welly-welly, welly-welly, I’m awfully slimy and awfully smelly…   This little old lady’s house is just what I’ve been looking for… ” The creatures get scarier, but not too scary….and the ending is a complete surprise.  The only thing that might spoil it is the illustration on the back cover.  We would hide that from the kids until we’ve read it aloud.  It is a book they will beg to read to themselves after you introduce it. 

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Meet Wild Boars
Meg Rosoff and Sophie Blackall

Meet Wild Boars“Boris, Morris, Horace and Doris are wild boars.  They are dirty and smelly, bad-tempered and rude.  Do you like them?  Never mind.  They do not like you either. “

These four ill-mannered characters demonstrate the reasons for their reputation throughout the book, but what if they were to come to your house?  What if they tried to be good?  Would you give them a chance?  Don’t believe them for a second.  These boars can’t be trusted.   

If you are offended by a small bit of bathroom humor you’ll want to avoid it….but we want to assure you that all the dirty, smelly, gross boar behavior is certain to please primary students….especially reluctant readers. 

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The Underneath
Kathy Appelt

The UnderneathYou’ll likely be hooked from the first line, “There is nothing lonelier than a cat who has been loved, at least for a while, and then abandoned on the side of the road.”

This little cat, who happens to be pregnant with two kittens, finds friendship when she discovers an old hound dog named Ranger.  He encourages her to stay in the safety of the underneath (below the porch), because Ranger’s owner, Gar-face, is perhaps one of the coldest, cruelest and most hateful characters ever imagined.  If you are looking for a novel where you will authentically catch yourself doing a myriad of comprehension strategies, then this might be the one.  The reader has to think hard as three story threads are uncovered and eventually woven together.  1.  Gar-face, a heartless trapper who is on a relentless quest to kill a 100 foot alligator lurking in the bayou. 
2. Grandmother moccasin, an ancient, powerful and extremely selfish creature who thirsts for vengeance. 
3.  Mother cat and her two kittens, who would do well to stay in the safety of the underneath, but experience a serious chain reaction set of events when one of the kittens ventures into the sunlight.  The consequences are shocking, sad, and compelling. 

There is always a chance for redemption, but as in real life, not everyone takes the chance when offered.  It is mystical, dark, poetic, suspenseful, and ultimately satisfying in the end.    

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Greetings from Nowhere
Barbara O’Connor

Greetings From NowhereAggie is a widow.  She and her beloved husband, Harold, ran a little motel in the Great Smoky Mountains which ceased being busy a long time ago.  She decides to sell.
Willow’s father has been in a tailspin ever since Willow’s mother left them.  He decides to buy the motel to give them a new start.
Loretta, a lively girl, receives a box of trinkets and treasures that belonged to her recently deceased birth mother.  The motel becomes her temporary home base as she takes day trips to the places where the trinkets may have come from. 
Kirby is a troubled boy on his way to a last chance type of reform school, but ends up at the motel when his mom’s car breaks down. 
This is one of those satisfying tales where strangers meet, interact with each other, and are changed as a result.  Great for perspective!

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No! That’s Wrong!

Zhaohua Ji and Cui Xu

No That's WrongWell, a pair of red underpants blows off a clothesline and the rabbit who finds the lacy garment puts it on as a hat.  He is congratulated by friends of all shapes and sizes, and condemned by the audience “No, that’s wrong.  It’s not a hat.”  Finally, he is convinced, and puts them on as intended...only to find they look ridiculous due to his puffy cotton tail.  So, he determines he was right all along, and puts the “hat” back on his head.  Kindergarten and first grade students will love it. 

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Professional BooksBook View All

Readicide: How Schools Are Killing Reading and What You Can Do About It
Kelly Gallagher

ReadicideOur friend and the author of this influential new book, Kelly Gallagher, is an amazingly inspirational speaker with an incredibly quick wit.  He also possesses a strong finger on the pulse of education today derived from his daily work with students in his classroom.  The title of his new book comes from his  own definition:  “Read-i-cide n: The systematic killing of the love of reading, often exacerbated by the inane, mind-numbing practices found in schools.” We appreciate and respect his grounded perspective on what is happening in some of our schools.  Kelly says,“Reading is dying in our schools. Educators are familiar with many of the factors that have contributed to the decline—poverty, second-language issues, and the ever-expanding choices of electronic entertainment.”   Yet Kelly doesn’t settle for only identifying the problems in our schools. Readicide outlines specific steps to prevent and stop “the downward spiral in reading—steps that will help prevent the loss of another generation of readers.” We love this book and hope you will too!To see other books from Kelly click here.

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Things and What ElseBookView All

Friendship Soup

Enjoying a meal together is a tradition that has warmed hearts and strengthened bonds for generations. Sharing in a Friendship Soup with your students is a fun and yummy way to kick off the Holiday Season. Each child contributes one ingredient and adds it to the pot to create a delicious lunch that you can all share together. *We double the recipe and invite parents to join for the feast! Enjoy and Happy Holidays!

Friendship Soup (Taco Soup: We think it's more well-liked than stew):

1-2 Pounds Ground Beef (cooked)
3 Cans Stewed or Diced Tomatoes
1 Can Kidney Beans
1 Can Black Beans
1 Can Chili Beans
1 Can Corn
1/2 Package of Taco Seasoning
1/2 Package of Ranch Seasoning

Cook through in a crock pot and serve over Fritos and top with grated cheese and sour cream. Serve brownies for dessert!
Remember to assign bowls and spoons to children as well!

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Past Favorites

View all past Favorite Things in the Archives

Favorite Quotes


I’ve been teaching kindergarten for 12 years and didn’t think kids that age could be independent workers until I tried The Daily 5.  Now I know they can be, and they are!  I am able to pull small groups in my class, even though I have 25 students and no assistant.

— Katherine McMahon




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