Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Breaking through writer's block

When I was in fourth grade, one of my homeroom teachers was a professional children's book author. Therefore, during our day, it was he who taught us writing. Though I enjoyed him as a teacher, I remember one day in particular where he asked us to think up a character and some sort of story line to write a narrative story of sorts. My character was a blue, flexible mouse. Yes, a flexible, bendable mouse. She was rather boring and I felt stuck writing a story about her for lack of other ideas. Oh, if only I had had a website like this one to get my writing juices flowing!

Online Story Makers is a compilation of sites where students can create a story scene of sorts. Particularly for grades one through four, I could see this is a creative outlet to not only serve as the basis of a story, but to safely explore the basics of computer use as they select and drag characters for their story. There are plenty of choices for students and the site pulls from a wide variety of genres and children's book materials to meet all of students' needs.

If you're thinking the resources are just a compliation of cartoon characters, think again. Places like Storybird use real artists' work (as professional as you'd find in a children's book) to make high quality-looking stories.

I can't wait to book computer time for my students and to use this creative outlet!

What are your favorite ways to encourage students in the pre-writing process?

P.S. A special thanks to my librarian Cris for pointing out this resource!

Photo from

Bopping along

My third graders work hard to find information in the Bible. Being at a Christian school, this is a resource we rely on all the time, so it is necessary that students know how to navigate their way through the Bible. After using another video song for awhile, I came across the Bible Bop today. I think kids will like the easy-to-sing catchy tune, which is performed by the GoFish Guys. Check out the video above and the rest of their resources here.

What are your favorite ways to get students familiar with the Bible books or other text organizers?

Monday, April 19, 2010

Photo workshops for kids

Photo by Shermeee
Today I ran across a website called 503 Workshops, which offers online photography workshops for kids (ages 7+) and adults. After a recent video project with my elementary students (grades 3-5) in which the students brought back a more than a few less-than-flattering shots, I think this would be a fantastic workshop for kids to learn the power of communicating effectively with photos. After all, so much of our world today is communicated digitally and through images.

The workshop, which has summer sessions lasting for several weeks, is a tad on the expensive side, but can be done anywhere in the world--a plus for teachers like me who live outside of the U.S. 

Friday, April 16, 2010

My resources--together at last!

In the past five years, I've taught in two countries and three schools. While the experience has been valuable and the move to new schools was always for positive reasons, it does wreak havoc on one's teaching resources as they get shifted from place to place. Thankfully, we are in an increasingly digital age where, with very little effort, we can share enormous pieces of information. I am happy to gather some of my teaching resources into one place to share with others for free, with a nod of thanks to all of the fantastic resources I've found over the years online.

I hope you'll enjoy what is here and you'll find the resources practical and easy to use.

Happy teaching!

Saturday, April 10, 2010


Welcome to my website! I am a trained elementary teacher with specialty areas in ESOL and reading. I love creating practical ideas to help students learn best. Feel free to browse through this site and use the materials available here. Enjoy!