Tuesday, August 28, 2012

ParaNorman Book and Goodies Giveaway

Alright folks, here's your chance to win some books and other prizes from LAIKA's newest movie, ParaNorman.  They have, once again, teamed up with Focus Features to make their second stop-motion animated film in 3D!  For those of you who are Coraline fans, ParaNorman is right up your alley!  When a small town comes under siege by zombies, Norman comes to the rescue.  He can speak with the dead, and is called upon to save his town from a centuries-old curse.  Click here to see a clip from the movie!

Link Up!
Find out more about the ParaNorman books
Like ParaNorman on Facebook
Visit ParaNorman.com to play games, grab free downloads and more
Follow @ParaNorman on Twitter #paranorman

Before or after you head out to see the movie, sign up for a chance to win this awesome prize package.  I just love reading books about movies before and after we see them.  It builds excitement and then serves as a great conversation supporter once we've seen the movie.  We can keep reliving the best moments of the movie!

Two (2) winners will receive:
·         Freaky Fun Cupcake Kit
·         Youth T-Shirt
·         Backpack
·         Activity Book & Activity Sheet
·         Keychain
·         Notebook
·         Pencil Pack with stickers
·         Nightlight         
·         Paranorman: Original illustrated middle grade novel (young adult novel)
·         Paranorman: Meet the Ghosts (Early reader book)
·         Paranorman: Attack of the Pilgrim Zombies! (Early readers book)

Prizing value, $60
Prizing provided by Focus Features

Comment below for a chance to the ParaNorman book and goodie giveaway.  Two  lucky winners will be selected by Betterwithabook.com.  US residents only.

1.  Please leave a comment below by September 14th, 2012

2.  You can also Like Betterwithabook on Facebook  and leave a comment telling me you liked our page.  

3.  For an additional entry, follow betterwithabook on Twitter and tweet:
@betterwithabook I hope I win the @ParaNorman prize package!#paranorman 

4.  Daily comments allowed for additional entries.  Good luck!

Disclosure:  Thanks to ParaNorman and Focus Features for providing this prize package for us! All thoughts and opinions are my own. 

Monday, August 27, 2012

Best Back to School Books: How I Spent my Summer Vacation

How I Spent My Summer Vacation  What a wonderful way to start out the year!  Find out about all of the fun things that your students did this summer with a little help from Wallace!  This young boys tells of his adventurous summer vacation on a ranch.  Of course, Wallace lets his imagination get the best of him, but it sure is entertaining!

Who's it for:  This is a great read aloud for kindergarten through third grade.  The reading level is 2.8.

Lesson Plans/Activities:

1.  Share this book with your class or your child and encourage them to write about their own summer vacation.  Illustrate the stories and display them in your classroom.

2.  For the older kids, have them exaggerate various parts of their summer vacation in an attempt to entertain the crowd.  Share your stories and invite students to pick out the real things that happened, as well as the embellished events.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Quotes That Build Character in Children

Changing Kids' Lives One Quote at a Time: 121 Inspirational Sayings to Build Character in ChildrenAs the school year approaches, I'm constantly looking for fun ideas to add to our family routine. I hate that summer is coming to an end, but I must say that I am looking forward to a predictable schedule once again. This year, think about adding inspirational quotes to your daily regimen. Steve Reifman's book, Changing Kids' Lives One Quote At A Time: 121 Inspirational Sayings To Build Character In Children is a wonderful resource for enriching your children's or student's lives on so many levels. This book includes 121 inspirational sayings to help build character in children. Reifman organizes the quotes in such a way that makes it easy to spur dialogue at the dinner table or in the classroom. Each quote is followed by one word that best describes its meaning. Reifman then follows through with various talking points inspiring improved social skills, higher level thinking and positive attitudes towards school, work and life events.

In the classroom:
1. Use the quotes in your morning meetings to prompt discussion.

2. Encourage dialogue between students with a think pair share activity upon reading a quote.

3. Tie a quote into your teaching plans by pointing out various vocabulary words, poetic components or metaphors.

4. Have your students create a response in their journal pertaining to the quote (Reifman shares journal prompt questions in his book).

In your home:
1.Share quotes at dinner time to discuss thoughts about any given topic.

2. Inspire your children to have a positive influence on life by sharing a quote at bedtime or before school.

I'm loving this idea and can't wait to share these quotes with my little ones! How will you use Reifman's book in your home or classroom?

Disclaimer: I received an E-book file from the author/publisher of this book free of charge.  As always, all thoughts are my own.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Summer Reading Favorites for kids 8-12

We're getting near the end of summer!  There's still time to read a few more books before school starts!  Try these books and series recommended by middle graders FOR middle graders!

The Lightning Thief (Percy Jackson and the Olympians Series #1)
9 year old, Jenna, recommends Percy Jackson and the Olympians: Lightning Thief: The Graphic Novel (Percy Jackson & the Olympians), by Rick Riordan.  This is an action packed series about a special kid named Percy Jackson.  He soon finds out that not only does he suffer from ADHD, he's also half mortal and half immortal!  His father is a very powerful Greek God, to boot!  Without giving too much away, join Percy in this book series as he tries desperately to keep the peace among the Gods and Goddesses!  Get a lesson on Greek Mythology while you're at it!

Keeping Secrets
12 year old, Lydia, recommends Keeping Secrets: Timber Ridge Riders (Volume 1), by Maggie Dana.  Kate McGregor has a new job this summer as a helper to an injured riding star who is now confined to a wheelchair.  Get lost in the drama that unfolds at Timber Ridges and find out how Kate's deep dark secret ends up saving the day after all!  If you like Keeping secrets, purchase book two, Racing into Trouble: Timber Ridge Riders (Volume 2) and Riding for the Stars, Book Three in the series.

Stone Fox
8 year old Logan recommends Stone Fox, by John Reynolds Gardiner.  Willy wants to win a dog race so that he can help his grandfather pay his taxes, but Stone Fox has never lost a race!  This is a touching story of two heroes, fighting for the things that mean most to them!  Beware, this is a tear jerker!  Not everyone can be a winner...

Scorpia (Alex Rider Series #5)
11 year old Luke recommends Scorpia (Alex Rider Adventures (Pb)), by Anthony Horowitz.  This is book  5 in the Alex Rider series.  Alex is a teen spy, who has found out some pretty startling news about his father.  This thrilling adventure includes lots of violence and terror, but will definitely keep you at the edge of your seat!  

Because of Winn-Dixie
10 year old Maggie recommends Because of Winn-Dixie[ BECAUSE OF WINN-DIXIE ] by DiCamillo, Kate (Author) Feb-10-09[ Paperback ].  Opal, a ten year old little girl, living in a new town is saved by a scruffy little dog.  Her mother abandoned them years ago and now Winn-Dixie has provided all the love and companionship a girl could ever need.  Again, beware!  This is a tear jerker!  Watch the movie when you're finished with this one!  

What are your kids reading?  We'd love to hear!!

disclosure:  Thank you to the authors/publishers that have provided me with books.  As always, all of my thoughts and opinions are my own.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Mission Possible: How the Secrets of Success Academies can Work in any School

With the ever growing problem with our school systems today, it's no question that the various techniques used in our schools  could benefit from serious evaluation and change.  While other industrialized countries are thriving, the United States continues to fall behind in performance, graduation rates and college attendance.  Why, when everything else in our world seems to be progressing, is education treated so differently than other professions in our country?  Could it be the lack of support for our teachers?  Or the low standard of expectations of our students?  What about the dwindling parental involvement?

In Mission Possible: How the Secrets of the Success Academies Can Work in Any School, Eva Moskowitz
 and Arin Lavinia discuss, through research, trial and error, how success can be obtained when schools shift their focus to improving the adults involved in education.  Moskowitz's charter schools in Harlem have emerged as some of the top schools in New York City and she wants to share with all of us just how this came to be.  Throughout the entire book, Moskowitz and Lavinia share various descriptions of how they keep students engaged and challenged, and their teachers informed, coached and supported.  When teachers are supported with learning labs, coaching sessions, and rigorous curriculum, good things happen.  Students are held to high standards, regardless of their  background and parents are required to attend meetings and learning sessions and to fully support their child's educational needs.

As a former teacher in a school full of disadvantaged and English as a second language learners, I fully appreciate the stress on high expectations.  All students have the ability to learn and should be challenged.  I just loved how the idea of clear, critical thinking is encouraged most of all.  Students are challenged and encouraged to think for themselves and come up with their own ideas with the support of their teacher.  The accompanying CD allows us to step inside any given classroom to observe the subtle ways in which lessons are tweaked to perfection.  Let's be clear here, people.  Moskowitz and Lavinia are not selling the charter school system.  They are merely sharing with us, the very ideals that led to their success.  I certainly think we as parents, teachers and administrators, can learn from these leaders.

To learn more about Success Academies, join Eva Moskowitz on facebook or follow her on Twitter @MoskowitzEva.  Use the hashtag, #readmissionpossible

Enter to win a copy of your own right here!

Comment below for a chance to win Mission Possible:  How the Secrets of the Success Academies can work in any school, by Eva Moskowitz and Arin Lavinia that includes a companion DVD, providing clips and interviews.  One luck winner will be selected by betterwithabook.com.  US residents only.

1. Please leave a comment below by August 17th, 2012.
2.  You can also like Betterwithabook on Facebook and leave a comment here telling me you liked our page.
3.  For an additional entry, Follow betterwithabook on twitter @betterwithabook and tweet:

@betterwithabook@readmissionpossible I hope I win a copy of Mission Possible @MoskowitzEva

4.  Daily comments are allowed for additional entries.  Good luck!

Disclosure:  I was compensated for this post.  As always, all thoughts and opinions expressed are my own.

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