November 30, 2012

Take Five! Links for Language Arts by Kaye Hagler

Take Five! for Language Arts: 180 Bell-Ringers That Build Critical-Thinking Skills

Kaye Hagler s unique bell-ringers for language arts help you transform the first chaotic five minutes of class into authentic opportunities to practice critical-thinking skills.

Students in grades 6-12 exercise their mental muscles as they work collaboratively, warming them up to tackle your standards-based lessons.

Whether your students are inventing secret codes, concocting potions, rewriting history, making conjunction paper chains, or thinking like newspaper editors, these diverse and creative prompts will have them looking forward to the part of the day when they re asked to Take Five for critical thinking.

The 180-plus prompts set up your teaching day from the minute that students step into your class.

Each ready-to-use prompt includes: corresponding standards, supply lists, language arts links, teacher tips, assessment options, rubrics, and digital connections that add more than 100 extension lessons.

Begin every day of the school year with a burst of critical thinking and fun with this comprehensive resource. Ready? Set? Take Five!

My Thoughts:

Before I begin this review, I would like to inform y'all that this isn't a normal review. I can't compare, contrast and analyze literary elements since this book is an education book. This means that I'll be talking about general ideas the author has about what to incorporate into the classroom. In this case, I'll focus on the bell ringers since the author has provided in the book.

Additionally, I'm going to make this review short and sweet since I couldn't actually incorporate these ideas into my classroom. But I'll review this book as best as possible.

Now onto the review!

Now most bell ringers that I've known are simply drills in a not-so-clever disguise. And if they are not drills, and new teachers like me try to inject some fun activities, then it can be seen as not part of the curriculum and be forced back onto the drill cycle.

Fortunately, the author has found a balance between having the students learn something in the first five minutes of class (or even as a filler) but not make it boring.

The Take Five prompts and activities have a lot of hands on and SOL (Standards of Learning for us Virginian Teachers!) ties that would be great for my students. Unfortunately, like I mentioned before, I was unable to try them with my kids for a variety of reasons (inject plenty of excuses here). But I really think the kids would have reacted positively to them.

Especially some of the hands-on activities. I know that they would have loved to play with play-do (sorry if I misspelled it) and have a good excuse for it. Especially in the name of English class. It's almost like the author took the needs of the students into consideration when creating these bell ringers. The author thought about the teacher what a teacher could do to prepare for it easily and effectively. 

Some bell ringers require up to maybe a list of supplies but others only require items from the student, which is nice since that means it would be easy to implement.

The only problem I saw that was very glaringly obvious: The bell ringers were WAY too long. Even for high school students.

I think the author has to remember that students have a short attention span. They don't want to read a whole three paragraphs just to get to the fun part. My students complain about reading more than a paragraph. So obviously having most bell ringers have two paragraphs worth of instruction isn't very convenient for me, as the teacher, since I'll have to go back and shorten them to a link that my students will be able to read through (and we're not even talking about the vocabulary and rewording it for my students either).

Considering everything, would I still recommend this book? 

Absolutely! This book has very valuable bell ringers that every English teacher should take into consideration. The thing I most worry about is the length, but over the summer, that can be taken care before starting any bell ringers in class. Therefore, despite the extra work involved, I think it's completely worth it.

November 28, 2012

Sales Report: Everblossom and Angel Diaries

You know, a lot has happened between July and now. I simply cannot WAIT to share the excellent news I've been keeping to myself.

I got my FIRST paycheck! Full squeal and clapping hands!

Yeah me!!

So let's break this down into months and percent earnings and all of the other technical stuff for Strictly Everblossom.

July: 1
August: 0
September: 1 (Smashwords)
October: 1 (Amazon UK)

I know this looks pitiful for Everblossom. However, when I release Everblossom 2, I think the sales for the first one will go up. If not, it's still there ready to be taken full advantage of.

I think the main thing to remember is that: Everblossom hasn't paid any bills or gas. 

Angel Diaries: Volume One has! 

Check this out!

August: 5
September: 4
October: 1

Total: 10

Smashwords: 4
Amazon US: 2
Amazon UK, ES, IT, DE, FR: 0
Createspace: 0
B&N: 4

I already got paychecks from Barnes and Noble AND Amazon! :)

Happy dance! Together they total: 23 bucks!

That's why I think B&N been holding out on my as far as sales wise since I got paid by them in October but they didn't report any sales. I think it's the same way with Smashwords since I'm very close to getting a paycheck from them too but they haven't reported a lot of sales . . .

Anyway, main point: Angel Diaries is doing fantastic. Please remember: I didn't market this book at all! Can you imagine what's going to happen when I start marketing this book during the holidays!?

I simply cannot wait!

And now that I have some free time, thanks to some interesting switches from work, I now have time to market, blog, and conversate about my book! Yippee skippee.

You know these past couple of months have been rough, my job wise. And not just strictly from the kids. Administration has been just pure . . . Not nice syrup has been poured all over me from them. 

But looking at my books has been my saving grace. It's the one hope I hold onto when I walk into work and face some demons. That maybe, someday, with the extra time that I now have, that I can make some real money from my books.

Oh wait. What am I talking about? I HAVE made some REAL money from my books. Now all I have to do is just make those profits grow and I may be able to take a giant leap from working at a place I can barely stand and may even laugh at a little (thanks to my family and my fantastic coworkers) to working at home with all of my characters surrounding me with their lovely stories.

I seriously cannot wait! :) 

November 26, 2012

Discovery of Ebooks

As you guys probably know, I've recently received a Tablet (Andriod Zeki, if you are curious) for my birthday back in September.

And I have to say I love it to death!

For the past couple of months, I'm sure you've noticed that I'm reviewing more books quicker than ever before. Thanks to my tablet, I've been reading more and more ebooks on my Zeki.

It's not until recently though that I really started to read (in depth and not for work purposes) books on my tablet. And despite the inner printer book lover in me that has refused to get an eReader for the past year, I have to say, reluctantly, that I'm addicted to reading ebooks on my tablet.

It's wonderful. Awe-inspiring. And I'm 100 percent hooked onto reading on my tablet.

Of course, I didn't always start out this way. I loved the feel of print books in my hands and the smell of walking into a book store filled with used books.

What has changed since then?

Indie writers! And . . . Slightly shamefully, free books through Amazon Select Program.

Ever since another tablet lover told me about all of the fabulous free books out there on Amazon and how to get them on my Android . . .

"You have GOT to try reading some of these free romance books on Kindle! They are better than even [insert famous best selling traditionally published romance author name here]!"

"But I don't have a Kindle."

"All you have to do is download the app for Amazon Kindle and download those books! I have an iPad (insert oohs and ahhs here) and it's the best thing ever!"

"Well, if you insist . . ."

"Trust me, you will thank me later. Just type in top 100 free romance books and you're in. Every time I open up my start page the list is right there for me. You should try it."

"Okay, I'll give it a shot!"

And there started my love affair with Amazon and the top free list. And trust me, there's a top free list for everything! Even for teens.

*big audible sigh*

You know I LOVE paranormal romance books, and they have them in the crap load. And they are written beautifully.

The only thing my taste buds are missing is that indie book that will just take paranormal romance into the next level: having the influence of the non western culture.

That would certainly kick it up a notch! And having some minority characters as the main character would be fantastic.

Anyway, anyway, I have to say regardless I am happy reading books on my Zeki! The only other thing that bothers me to no end is the battery life on this thing. I never had to worry about batteries before with a print book (even if I needed lights--that's what a cell phone was MADE for) but using an electronic reader definitely has its negatives.

Especially since my Zeki cannot last more than eight hours (at the top) without recharging. And when it gets to a certain low percentage (like 14 percent), it shuts off automatically.

Talk. About. Annoying.

Other then that though, I have to say, I am an eReader lover!

What about you? Had any similar experiences (like battery low issues) with your eReader or Tablet? Do you like eBooks over print books!? I would love to hear about it!