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Global Read Aloud '15: Fish in a Tree

Global Read Aloud '15
Fish in a Tree

Seven schools in seven years and they’re all the same. Whenever I do my best, they tell me I don’t try hard enough. Too messy. Careless spelling. Annoyed that the same word is spelled different ways on the same page. And the headaches. I always get headaches from looking at the brightness of dark letters on white pages for too long.

I wonder how many kids are going through this but, like Ally, are too embarrassed or afraid to say something? There are many famous people who struggle(d) with Dyslexia...Albert Einstein, Whoopi Goldberg, Dav Pilkey, Pablo Picasso and George Washington to name but a few.

This website ( has common characteristics and what to look out for.

I found another great resource: There are a lot of good resources and tips. Some things they suggest to encourage reluctant readers:

  • Let them read comic books or graphic novels 
  • Use social media and blogging as a forum for reading and writing 
  • Let them read joke books 
  • Let them read cookbooks and try their hand at cooking or baking 
  • Read newspaper and magazines to keep up with current events (online or paper) 
  • Ebooks or reading apps 

Global Read Aloud

Fish in a Tree was chosen for the Global Read Aloud 2015. Sign up now to participate this fall. It's a wonderful collaborative project for your students. It'll get them excited about reading and writing.

Here are some resources I found that can help with the Global Read Aloud.

  • Book trailer video.  If playback is a problem, try Teacher Tube.  Playback shouldn't be a problem on school networks then!  Click here for Teacher Tube.
  • Click directly to the Global Read Aloud site here!
  • A free Educator's Guide from Penguin.  It was pretty good!
  • You can find Lynda Mulally Hunt's website here. She will even do short Skype visits with your class!
  • Edmodo group for Fish in a Tree.  Great place for collaboration and to hook up with other classes.
  • It kicks off October 5th and ends November 13th. Don’t worry about getting behind, just don’t get ahead.  Here is the schedule for FIAT:  
Week 1: Chapter 1 – 8, Week 2: Chapter 9 – 17, Week 3: Chapter 18 – 24, Week 4: Chapter 25 – 33, Week 5: Chapter 34 – 42, Week 6: Chapter 43 – end
  • Twitter is a great place to talk about the project and meet people. The slow chat hashtag is #GRAFIAT  Make sure to follow Lynda Mullaly Hunt @Lynmullalyhunt

    I will add to this list as more things become available.

    This is a guide to a close reading of this wonderful book, Fish in a Tree by Lynda Mullaly Hunt. It was first published in 2015 and has been a breakout hit.  
     This is a great book. Read it to your kids/class today!

    This story is told from the point of view of Ally Nickerson. Ally is a really smart girl. She’s so smart she’s been able to fool a lot of people. One day, however, Mr. Daniels comes to substitute for Ms. Hall. He’s able to figure out Ally when no one else could.

    Close reading will be an integral part of teaching with the Common Core. Students need to know how to be analytic when reading texts and poems. I have outlined the components of authentic literacy and what it looks like in the classroom. I formatted the guide as follows. It begins with an explanation of close reading and how to format a lesson. Then, there is a story summary, themes listed and character descriptions. I created focus questions for each and every chapter. There are explicit gradual release formatted lessons throughout. I included a close reading sheet for each of the explicit lessons. You could use the focus questions to create more close reading lessons using the blank templates or for class discussions. At the end, there is a blank sheet for planning and to use with close reading of different chapters. I hope your students enjoy it as much as my students did.

    Some comments my other close reading guides have received:

    "This was my first year using this book and your resources helped me out greatly! Thank you!"
    "Love this! My ESL students are struggling with the novel and this will help."
    "Thank you for this wonderful product! Walking through a close read with my students, helped them understand the process. It was fantastic being able to reproduce the novel in a close reading graphic organizer. This product saved me a lot of time!"
    "Awesome resource! I can't wait to use it. I can see that it will be useful with SEVERAL different grades. Thank you!"

    Thanks for taking a look at my close reading guides on my TPT store!

    I'll see you at the Global Read Aloud!

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    Back to School! Classroom decor sets based on literature!!

    Classroom Decor Sets

    It's time to think about our classrooms again and how we want to decorate.  I prefer decorating in literature themed sets. I like my stuff to match, too. So I made four sets for you!  

    Each set includes:
    Lesson Plan book cover(s)
    Name plates- varied styles
    Name tags –varied styles
    Treat tags
    Alphabet bunting
    Numbers 1-10
    Months of the year
    Days of the week (large and small)
    AND Pencil top pennants for birthdays and rewards

    Wizard of Oz Classroom Decor Set

    Don't you just love Dorothy and Toto?  How about the scarecrow, tin man and cowardly lion?  That dastardly witch? Well, then this is the set for you!

    Peter Pan Classroom Decor Set

    Do you ever want to go to Neverland?  Peter pan, Tinkerbell and the crew are ready for you to decorate your room!  Well, then this is the set for you!

    Alice in Wonderland Classroom Decor Set

    Do you want to go down the rabbit hole?  Then Alice is the set for you.  I had this theme for the last two years and the kids loved it.  Great for bringing the book to life!  Get the set here.

    Mary Poppins Classroom Decor Set

    My new passion!  I will be using this one this year.  I couldn't decide on the traditional silhouette or a color version so I included both!  I just love the carousel horses.  So pretty.  You can choose which one to use based on your mood.  Click here to see it.

    Best of all, each set is only $4 or $5 based on how big it was so it won't break your wallet!  We have enough things to buy to ready our rooms.  Enjoy the classroom decor sets!  If you can think of other literature based sets, you may like in the future, let me know in the comments.  I'll see if I can find clip art to match and create more.  One last tip:  I stopped buying fifty types of labels. Now I only buy full sheets and then cut them to the size I want.  No more worries about misalignment or whether it'll be the right size.  I just print and cut!  If you want more ideas on classroom decorations with these themes, just check out my Pinterest pages.  I have a separate page for each loaded with the ideas I liked.

    Thanks for visiting my store!

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    WW: New Orleans square from Tom Sawyers Island

    It's Wordless Wednesday!

    Linking with Wordless WednesdayCreate with JoyWordless Wednesday with NC SueThe Talbert Zoo,  Crafty Spices, and my besties, Oh My Heartsie Girl!!

    Some great shots from Tom Sawyer's Island towards New Orleans square at Disneyland.

     The Haunted Mansion is behind that foliage.

    Love the pommes frites and Mickey beignets at Cafe Orleans!


     Golden Horseshoe Revue

    I don't go to the island often but it was nice to be in a quiet spot watching the crowds across the water.

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    IMWAYR: The Witch's Boy

    Monday Linky from Teach Mentor Texts and Unleashing Readers!

    The Witch's Boy by Kelly Barnhill

    I started reading this book aloud with my student's at the end of the school year.  However, it was so long, we didn't get to finish it.  As the summer began, I forgot about it!  I was reminded by a student I was chatting with on Edmodo.  Over the summer, I check in with them that way.  Well, since she reminded me, I picked it up again to finish it during my downtime at #TPTVegas15.

    This book is about love, loss, grief, forgiveness, friendship and most of all magic.  It centers around Ned.  Ned is a twin who tragically lost his twin in a boat ride on the river.  Unbeknownst to Ned, his mother, the Sister Witch, gathered Tam's soul as it was leaving the earth and tethered it to Ned's as she was healing him.    The consequence of this was Ned lost his facility with language- he could no longer read nor speak without stuttering.  The townspeople considered him the "wrong boy" as in the wrong boy was saved.

    “But as the years passed, Ned's silence grew and grew. It pressed upon his face and his body. It leaked into the house and spread outward into the yard. His silence had weight. It had substance and presence and teeth.” 

    Another central character is Aine.  She loses her mother early in the tale.  Her mother was the only thing keeping her father on the straight and narrow.  See, he was a bandit before he met her.  Now with her gone, he returns to his ways of banditry.  He takes Aine from their village to live in the mysterious forest.

    Central to the book is magic.  Magic comes in various forms and can be benevolent and mean.  People in the story want it: the bandit and the King.  Ned is the unwilling host to one form.  

    “A lightning bolt erupted from the cloud and aimed directly at Ned’s heart. He couldn’t cry out. He couldn’t even move. He could just feel the magic sink into his skin and spread itself over every inch of him, bubbling and slithering and cutting deep, until he didn’t know where the magic stopped and he began.”

    This book is a beautiful fairy tale with heroes and villains.  There is even a wolf who befriends both Ned and Aine.  It's a beautiful story that will give you a lot to think about.  Give it a try.

    The Witch's Boy has won many accolades:

    A 2015 ALSC Notable Children’s Book
    A Washington Post Best Book of 2014
    A Publishers Weekly Best Book of 2014
    A Kirkus Reviews Best Children’s Book of 2014
    A Chicago Public Library “Best of the Best” 2014

    Twitter: @Lisa_teacher


    WW: Fireworks at Disneyland

    It's Wordless Wednesday!

    Linking with Wordless WednesdayCreate with JoyWordless Wednesday with NC SueThe Talbert Zoo,  Crafty Spices, and my besties, Oh My Heartsie Girl!!

    Live firework show from Disneyland!

     Peter Pan

     Step in time from Mary Poppins


     Winnie the Pooh

     The Lion King

     Jungle Book

     Little Mermaid


     Best shot of the night: Mickey and Walt

    Shot of the castle

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