Top 10 books I Would Want on a Desert Island #kidslit

This was for sure a hard list to narrow down. If I were stranded on a desert island I would want a mixture of heavy chapter books with suspense, conflict, and emotion but at times I would need a happy picture book that I love or a tale that’s less intense as some others. i think almost all of these books can either be considered children’s or young adult.



My all-time favorite book EVER, The Art of Racing in the Rain. I could read this book over and over and over. This book is told in the perspective of a dog and the personality that Garth Stein gives the dog, Enzo is just unforgettable and the storyline is very real and relatable. READ THIS BOOK!




The Great Gatsby, another one I could see myself having a hard time getting sick of. F. 16715153746_9cfe0b78e5_oScott Fitzgerald just does an amazing job writing this book and its timing and character and symbolism is just so interesting to study. I bet I would learn something new about the book every time I read it.






The Hatchet is probably the most popular of the many books Gary Paulsen has written. I really love this author but I also love this book and I think it would be very helpful/relatable to have on a desert island because Brian, the main character is also stranded, but in a very different climate. I think I would be able to use this book as motivation to find food and shelter.





Harry Potter and the Sorcerers Stone, although there are 7 of these books… I think I can handle reading the one that began it all over and over again. This is definitely one of my all time favorite stories and since I have seen the movie, I can try to play it in my head like a personal movie for some entertainment on my island!






Oh the places you’ll go is one of my favorite picture books Dr. Seuss always knows how to make people laugh. I figured this book would be great on a desert island to cheer me up when I’m lonely!




The Hunger Games is an awesome series. But the first book is hands down my favorite. Just like Hatchet, I thought this book would give b=me some mental and real life tips about surviving on my island!







So I have never read Holes by Louis Sachar. But I LOVE LOVE LOVE the movie and I have heard such great things about this book. I really want to read it… enough for it to be one of only 10 books I read for a long long time!



6154k0cozclMercer Mayer books have always been my favorite picture books. I like to think of them as the symbol of my childhood reading experience. Just Lost for some reason was always my favorite… I think because the feeling when little critter loses his mom in the mall that I would experience would make me freak out about ever losing my mom. I chose this book for this list because 1. I love Mercer Mayer and 2. This book reminds me of my mom.




Harriet the Spy was my role model when I was around 8 or 9. I thought Harriet was so brave and smart and I was obsessed with being a spy just like her. I chose this book because its one of my childhood favorites and because maybe Harriet could give me some confidence when times get tough on my island!





This semester was the first time I have read Walk Two Moons and I absolutely love it! It is a very interesting story to read because it kind of jumps around and it contains a lot of uncertainty between what the main character is telling the audience and what the truth is. This book always keeps you wondering how things connect and it’s very enjoyable to follow along with Sal’s beliefs about her friend Phoebe and her mother.

Top 10 Classroom Books! #kidslit

There were SO MANY books that I read and read about that I would be interested in including in my classroom library and my classroom lessons. Out of the ones I actually read, here’s my top 10:


Time Stops for no Mouse made it on to both my top 10 classroom books list and my top 10 for the semester. I love this book so much because it is full of so much excitement and humor! I would love to use this book as a read aloud in my classroom one day!




The One and Only Ivan is the other great book that I included in my semester top 10. This book is a favorite for all audiences. Whether I used it as a read aloud for younger grades or an independent book for older. This book is obviously a must have in every classroom.







It’s okay to be Different was definitely one of my favorite picture books I read this semester. It promotes supporting diversity but I like it so much because it doesn’t focus on differences in race, gender, or disabilities. It mentions all kind of differences in emotions to actions to appearance.



The day the crayons quit was a very humorous book with awesome illustrations. I love the personification used in this book. It’s perfect for a read aloud!






Blubber is a must have in your classroom if you are teaching older elementary grades. It illustrates a very serious and relatable bullying situation that is perfect to study as students are about to move onto middle school.




The Giver is one of my all-time favorite books and I read it in 6th grade myself. I think it’s a very different book that brings up a lot of class discussion. I think it’s a great book to have in a 4th 5th or 6th grade classroom.



The Mouse and the Motorcycle is another one I read in elementary school although I didn’t remember much about it; it was like I read it for the first time this semester. This is a great, simple tale about friendship that I would love to use as a read aloud to younger grades.




Funny Bones is a great classroom book to have for free time reading because it is a collection of short poems. But I would love to use it as a day of the dead read aloud!





I have noticed in my research on young adults books that The Hatchet is a favorite classroom book for a lot of teachers. Having read it about 4 times myself, I can definitely see why. This book is so interesting to read because of its danger and misfortune and students are even more interested when they realize that Brian went through all this at a very young age so they are able to put themselves in his shoes and imagine what it would be like to be stranded in the Canadian wilderness.




Lastly, I loved the book Blackout. It is a simple picture book with great illustrations and I love the story it tells about the busy city that is able to let go and have fun when the power goes out.

Top 10 reads of the semester! #kidslit

It was extremely difficult to decide which books I wanted to include in my top 10 lists… I have read many great works this semester and it took me forever to pick my top 10. It was just as difficult to pick books within my top 10 that I liked better than others so I attempted to rank my books but I’m not sure how accurate the order really is.

time_stops_for_no_mouse_coverTime Stops For no Mouse was an extremely fun read full of action and adventure. It incorporated mystery, love, battles, villains, evil schemes, and overall excitement. This book I decided to include in both my semester top 10 and my classroom books top 10 because I enjoyed it so much. This book is a fun read and I would recommend to be added to any classroom library!





Interrupting Chicken was so enjoyable to read. The personalities of both the dad and kid chickens were so relatable and this book had me laughing out loud every page! I want to have this book for both
my home and my classroom!




A Sick Day for Amos McGee was such a cute book to read. I loved how it explained all of the wonderful things Amos would do for his friends and so in turn, when Amos needed help his friends were there for him.



Grandpa Green was another cute, heartwarming story about a man and his extremely wonderful garden that he built to tell the story of his life. The hard work he put into the garden he built and the reward he got by it helping him remember his life when he was losing his memory was inspiring.


Sleep like a Tiger made it on my semester top ten not only because I enjoyed the story but because I really loved its detailed and different illustrations. Pamela Zagarenski’s illustrations were loaded with detail and metaphor that I couldn’t help but to study for minutes at a time on each page.


Breaking Stalin’s nose made the list because I loved the story of the young boy that just wanted to be like his dad. Then, he realizes that he dad had been fighting on the wrong side of the war and this brave young boy does what it takes to see his father after he was taken away. I like this story because it is very different to read a story about someone fighting for the soviet union when we are used to reading books about the “good guys.”


Moon over Manifest was another favorite of mine this semester. I absolutely loved this book because it was so interesting to see how the entire story unfolded and I was turning each page eager to read more about how small unimportant details somehow all connected and turned out to be pretty important after all!


I Lived on Butterfly Hill’s story is a lot like Moon over Manifest and Breaking Stalin’s nose. All three are about children that are put into negative situations that they can’t control but they are able to find the bright side. I really love books that involve children having to make adult-like decisions. It promotes positivity and bravery!


I read Sisters because it was the 2016 Colorado Children’s book award medal winner and I can tell why! This book was so relatable because I have 3 sisters of my own!


Last but not least, The One and Only Ivan is the second title that I decided to include in my classroom top 10 as well. This book doesn’t even need explanation as to why it deserves to be on everyone’s top 10. This book is such an engaging story that has the reader on the edge of their seat the entire time… I read it in one sitting!

Photo Credit: The Peer Center, Goodreads

ILP: Self Reflection

I published my very first ILP post on September 16th and throughout the last 10 weeks I have learned so much about myself and about taking the steps I need to take to become the athlete, student, friend, and teacher I want to be.

I could not have taken this course and chosen this project topic at a better time. I have faced a lot of situations this semester that have tested my mental strength and this project has opened my eyes to so many concepts that I was desperate to discover. This semester has been very challenging for my mental strength. I am still adjusting to being far from my family, the demands of being a college student, being an education major, being a collegiate athlete, experiencing a spine injury, and working on maintaining important relationships. I have experienced more failure, stress, anxiety, and fear in the last 4 months than I have in my life.

The research I completed this year for my independent learning project has been exactly what I needed in order to discover myself. I think the ideas that I have uncovered not only changed my life or the better but I think that it has bettered the lives of many of my readers when they apply these ideas to their own lives.

Some of the biggest takeaways I have from my ILP:

You are your toughest competition. You can endlessly prepare yourself on content. You can study for hours, practice for days, and train your body for weeks. But if you are not mentally preparing yourself for the big test, the sales pitch, the job interview, or the big game you will be at a huge risk of failure because of anxiety, fear, and mental weakness.

Becoming mentally tough is a constant process. It’s never over and it doesn’t happen in one day. We as a human society stick to what is comfortable and we expect instant gratification. Becoming successful and mentally tough is not easy and you can’t take a break or a day off. You must practice building your mental strength and your mental endurance on your worst days and on your best days. Every single day. When you win, you set the bar higher and you keep working. When you lose, you get back up, you don’t give up, and you keep working.

Don’t let fear “blind” you. Live “eyes wide open”. As covered in my post, How Well is Your Sight? Isaac Lidsky explains perfectly the idea that we let fear distort our perspective on reality. We must do these things in order to live “eyes wide open”

  • hold yourself accountable for every moment, every thought, every detail.
  • see beyond your fears
  • recognize your assumptions
  • harness your internal strength
  • silence your internal critic
  • correct your misconceptions about luck and about success
  • accept your strengths and your weaknesses and understand the difference
  • open your heart to your bountiful blessings

Mental toughness is about adding positive habits that we resist and removing habits that are easy to resort to. Practicing constructive thoughts is not easy. You have to practice daily and it is not natural for us to do things like take responsibility or see failure in a positive light. We must expend our mental energy doing these difficult things and we need to also not waste our mental energy satisfying negative thoughts and habits that do not serve us, but hold us back.

It’s OK to fail. This one is huge for me. I have learned that if I am not failing, I am not pushing myself. I have failed a lot this semester and I have learned that that’s OK. You’ll never learn from your mistakes if you don’t make them.

Not only throughout my independent learning project but throughout the course of the semester in all of my classes and in life I have experienced failure. I have experienced mental weakness. I have missed assignments, turned in late assignments, bombed tests, lost motivation, given up, considered quitting softball, and considered leaving school. BUT through all of this mental failure, I have also learned so much about myself and the things I need to work on in order to be successful. Researching mental toughness has been one of the smartest decisions I have ever made.

That is why independent learning and personalized learning are so important, it allows students to learn and grow in a way that fosters their individual needs. This independent learning project has given me an opportunity to learn and grow as a person 100x more than doing assignments that may not have been as life altering. I think I will use independent learning in my classroom because allowing students to chose what they learn and how they learn it, I believe, makes a huge difference in students’ future success.


Digital Story #diglitclass

After reviewing all of the resources from module 12 on digital storytelling and thinking over the ideas that David Brooks presents in his article on metaphors, Poetry for Everyday Life, I decided to compare not only my learning but the learning of all students in this “digital age” to that of team sports. In my case I compare my learning to softball because I have played softball my entire life. But the ideas that I use to compare with learning can be applied to any TEAM sport.

Digital Storytelling #diglitclass

After reading the three articles on digital story telling, viewing three examples of digital stories, and listening to two podcast episodes I learned a lot about how digital storytelling can be useful in a classroom.

Podcasts are one way to use digital storytelling in your classroom. What I love about using podcasts in the classroom is it allows the speaker to tell their story exactly how they want their audience to hear it. If the speaker were to instead write a narrative about their experience they could try to use specific word choice and style to help the reader understand the mood and important events of the story. But with podcasts, the narrator is able to tell their story using their own voice. This is so beneficial to the listener because they are able to pick up on any shifts in mood, hints of sarcasm, or important topics. The audience also is able to visualize the story much better when someone is telling it to them rather than the audience reading the narrative with the possibility of misinterpreting what the narrator is trying to say.

Another way to use digital storytelling in a classroom setting is to allow your students to create their own digital stories. This allows your student to share with the class a story that they believe is important enough to share in an engaging way. They can use all types of media from pictures to sound effects to help them tell the story the way they want it to be heard. That’s what professional authors usually strive for – to get the reader to understand a topic exactly the way the writer wants them to. This goal is achieved much easier when using digital storytelling. Having students create their own digital stories is also a great way for them to become more familiar with technology which is important in today’s classroom.

The three digital stories I watched proved my ideas about digital storytelling to an even further extent than what I expected. The mixture of the background audio, photos, and being able to hear the tone and passion in the speakers’ voices allowed me to really step into their shoes and understand exactly how they felt about their story. The podcast I listened to was Strangers by Lea Thau. I listened to the first two episodes. It was amazing how easily I was able to put myself in the narrator’s shoes and imagine what it would be like to experience what they experienced. In one episode Thau spent a long couple of minutes talking about fecal transplants and how they are used to help people with weak immune systems. essentially she spent a great deal of time talking about feces in such detail that I was almost too grossed out to continue the story. But that is exactly what she intended. She herself was so incredibly grossed out by this information that she had to speak of it the way she did in order for us to understand her point of view in the story.

I think digital storytelling is a great tool to use in your classroom. I think it can be extremely beneficial for older students that have the attention span to sit and listen to a story as well as posses knowledge in using the appropriate technology needed to compose and view digital stories. In my future younger elementary class, I would use short podcasts that are at an appropriate comprehension level and maybe I would include my students in the making of a class owned digital story. So a story that the entire class can share together and then they can help add supporting media and they begin to get an idea of how technology can be used to help them in the classroom.

Photo Credit: The Front Porch

It’s Monday! What are you reading? #kidslit

51wrhc050kl-_sx346_bo1204203200_The first book I decided to read this week was Aquamarine by Alice Hoffman. I decided to re-read this book because it was the first chapter book that I ever read on my own. I was infatuated with Aquamarine as a young reader and I was so stoked after completing it on my own that I read it about 6 more times. I figured this would be a good book to bring into y classroom in hopes that it will spark as much excitement in my students as it did in me. This “tail” is about two best friends Hailey and Claire, both 12 years old, who have been best friends and neighbors for their whole lives. Claire’s grandparents decide to move away and it seems as though the world is ending according to these two young girls. The days become limited before Claire moves and after a big storm, the girls find a mermaid that washed up in a swimming pool at their favorite hang out. Hoffman does an amazing job of symbolizing the point in a kids life where you are older but still young enough to believe in magic and that anything could happen. She also represents the importance of a best friend which is the center of any 12-year-old girl’s attention. She uses a very clear, easy to comprehend narrative style that makes this book an easy read for I’d say around 3rd grade and up. I think girls will enjoy this book a little more than the boys but it’s not too girly for an entire class to read.

51zgddkpd4l-_sy344_bo1204203200_The second book I read was The Mouse and the Motorcycle by Beverly Cleary. It is about a mouse, Ralph that lives in a hotel with his family and a boy, Keith whose family stays at the hotel. Keith teaches the adventurous mouse how to ride his toy motorcycle. Ralph and Keith build a strong friendship quickly and after Keith protects Ralph and his family from getting exterminated by the maids at the hotel, Ralph returns the kindness by risking his life to help Keith when he becomes sick. This book is a fun, easy read. Because of its adventure and narrative style it is perfect to use as a read aloud. It doesn’t specifically target a certain gender. Cleary does a great job using this story to symbolize friendship and taking care of your friends when they’re in need.

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Children’s lit project #kidslit

Hey guys! I thought since I haven’t really posted anything on my “A contract” project I would post a little preview outlining my plan for my project.

I am also in literacy in the digital age this semester and if you guys haven’t taken it yet, it is very similar to Children’s Lit but instead of learning about children’s literature every week, we learn about technology and the many benefits technology gives us when it comes to our classroom. Digital Literacy had an effect on my decision for my project and so I decided to a video blog lesson on a children’s book.

I have spent the last few weeks reading and studying the book Walk Two Moons by Sharon Creech. I included a bit of a summary of this book in my Sundays in Bed With… post.

My project will be to split the book up into sections. Currently I have it split up every 9 chapters but depending on how long it takes me to plan and record each video I might change it up.

For each section of the book I will create a lesson plan. I will research the common core standards that each lesson will meet. I will create an activity to do in class as well as an activity to do out of class. I will then explain my lesson plan and how I will teach it in a video which I will post on my Vimeo account as well as here on WordPress.

Keep an eye out for my first post next week!

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Flashback Friday! #kidslit

This week for my blogging meme I decided to go with Flashback Friday hosted by Bookshelf Fantasies.

0689806590_xlgOne book that I used to be infatuated with that I have yet to mention this semester was Bunnicula by James Howe. I thought the world of this book when I was younger. I’m pretty sure I read it about 20 times in a row. Then, I forgot all about it until I saw it on a list of books for 11-13 year olds the other day! This tale is about a family that finds a bunny at a theater that they were watching the Dracula Film. They bring him home and their cat, Chester is convinced that Bunnicula is actually a vampire. It turns out he is but only is able to suck the juice out of vegetables. This cute tale is narrated by the family’s dog, Harold.

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Book Cover PC: Scholastic

Read Alouds! #kidslit

I hope everyone is having a good week, I’m really excited to talk about read alouds this week because reading books aloud is one of my favorite things to do. My three-year old nephew, CJ loves it when I read to him and I love practicing my upside down reading so that he doesn’t have to wait to see the pictures.

I think reading aloud to kids is extremely important. From when they are toddlers and all the way through high school. I think the biggest reason for this is because reading a book as a class and having class discussions benefits each individual student because they collaborate about their actions to the reading as well as the literary devices they observe. When students do this they help each other practice being able to identify certain choices the author makes.

I realized by reading the blog posts (Read Alouds and Building Read Aloud Routine in 3rd Grade) that reading aloud is important to incorporate in the first few weeks of school in elementary grades because it sets a pace for the year. The teacher should choose a book that is appropriate for the grade level so that the class can read and learn from it together. As the class reads this book as a whole they are able to develop a deeper understanding of the text. It also shows them how to share ideas and observations for when they split into book clubs or when they are given an independent reading assignment.

The 100 Best Read Aloud Books list has a lot of books that I have never read but there were a couple that I know I enjoyed a lot as a kid. Adventures of Captain Underpants, The Night Before Christmas, Diary of a Fly, No, David, Series of Unfortunate Events, Guess How Much I Love You, Go Dog Go!, The Napping House, Just Go to Bed, Diary of a Wimpy Kid, Where the Sidewalk Ends, Harry Potter, If You Give a Mouse a Cookie, There’s a Wocket in my Pocket, Goodnight Moon, and Chicka Chicka Boom Boom are all boos that I read when I was younger. Most of which were read to me by my parents or teachers.

The One and Only Ivan, The Day the Crayons Quit, Interrupting Chicken, and The Tale of Desparaeux are the titles I read this semester off of the list.

After reading the 100 Best Read Aloud Books and researching other read alouds, here are my top 10 that I may want to use in my classroom one day I want to teach younger and older elementary grades so I am including a top 10 list appropriate for both:

Older grades

  1. The Giver by Lois Lowry
  2. The Hatchet by Gary Paulsen
  3. Walk Two Moons by Sharon Creech
  4. Blubber by Judy Blume
  5. I lived on Butterfly Hill by Marjorie Agosín
  6. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone
  7. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time
  8. Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli
  9. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collines
  10. Double Fudge by Judy Blume

Younger Grades

  1. Chicka Chicka Boom Boom by Bill Martin Jr.
  2. Interrupting Chicken by David Ezra
  3. The Napping House by Audrey Wood
  4. Brown Bear Brown Bear What do You See? By Bill Martin Jr.
  5. If You Give a Mouse a Cookie by Laura Numeroff
  6. The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle
  7. Swimmy by Leo Lionni
  8. Chrysanthamum by Kevin Henkes
  9. Flat Stanley by Jeff Brown
  10. Pretty much any Mercer Mayer book but one of my favorites is Just Lost
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