Saturday, August 31, 2013

Michael Dooling Author/Artist/Teacher/Historian on TeachersPayTeachers!

I'm baaaack! What a crazy summer it's been! And of course, much too short. The days seemed very long with the sun setting around 8:30 on the longest day. Now, I hear the crickets' August chirps that always remind me of autumn. When we were kids, summers seemed endless!

Awhile ago, I introduced Michael Dooling, a well known author/artist/historian and teacher. He's had over 60 books published and has illustrated MANY books by other authors. What's really great is he has a TeachersPayTeachers store!  His books are very well known and you'll probably recognize the titles. What I love are the themes woven throughout the books. Courage, strength, determination, honesty, hard work and more. 

Michael created a FREE packet of activities aligned with the Common Core Standards (Informational and Literature) based on his book Young Thomas Edison. 

The packet has an article about the book with activities based on the article.

The activities are aligned with grades 4 and 5, but can be used with third and sixth grade students. Teachers, today, have wide ranges of reading levels in their classes and must have materials to meet their students' needs.

The student worksheets have images of Michael's original paintings that are so real looking, I thought they were photos at first. What's really amazing is the children and people in his paintings are his daughters and neighborhood children. 

Young Thomas Edison is about challenges young Edison faced when he was growing up. Did you know Edison had a hearing impairment? Yes! But despite his handicap, he persevered!

His teacher called him "addled" so his mother took him out of school and home-schooled him. I bet he was ADD or ADHD, but that long ago, there was no diagnosis or assistance in the classroom.

With hard work and determination, Edison reached for the stars and his dream of turning on lights around the world came true. I'm glad the lightbulb was invented because I really can't see myself reading by oil lamp lights.  :)

The article's ready to print worksheets also have pictures of his inventions. Kids today have no idea that many of the inventions they use are sophisticated updates of Edison's early inventions. The Kinectoscope is the ancestor of movies today. Can you imagine watching a movie by looking down into a wooden box? I'd end up wearing a neck brace!

Why am I excited about this free packet of ready to print student worksheets?

1) The youth of today, should be aware of Americans who set goals and worked hard to attain them.

2) Young people need good role models.

3) It will encourage young people to read other biographies and autobiographies.

4) Young people might relate to the challenges Edison faced as a young boy and learn there are ways to overcome them.

5) It encourages a love of history and science.

6)  It encourages young people to use their imaginations to create and build things. 

Click on the cover for this incredible FREE packet of activities. 

photo of Young Thomas Edison by Michael Dooling,, historical fiction, Common Core,  science, author

Michael's  latest packet, also aligned with the Common Core, is called George Washington's Army and  Me.  I must admit I'm very partial to stories about George Washington because I've taught the American Revolution for a number of years. My sister also lives in Washington Crossing, PA, a mile from where Washington crossed the Delaware River, on Christmas Eve, to attack the Hessian troops in Trenton, New Jersey.The Hessians were hired by the British to bolster their troops.

I've stood in the spot where Washington and his soldiers crossed the river and it takes my breath away. I close my eyes and see his exhausted troops struggling as they attempt to march in blizzard conditions. They had little food and didn't have the clothing we wear when there are severe weather conditions.

It makes me very proud and grateful to think they made the dangerous crossing because they were true to the cause and believed in freedom. What was it that made them so very brave that they were willing to lay down their lives for this country?

If only we could take a time machine ride back to that very day. To experience it, to hear the sounds of the sleet pummeling the trees, the raging river and the ice blanketing the soldiers who looked like ghostly apparitions. They barely had the energy to slip silently aboard the Durham boats, to make the crossing with the raging icy river growling and snarling at them. Did they they think about their fate or were they too numb mentally and physically?

This is the reason I was enthralled when I saw Michael's George Washington's Army and Me article on TeachersPayTeachers. Not only that, I learned something new!

Who would have thought the wives and children of the soldiers followed Washington's Army during the American Revolutionary War? It's unimaginable to think they just up and left their homes. The soldiers' wives were afraid of being left alone and feared they and their children might starve to death or be killed by the enemy.

Did they follow them to the Delaware and witness the crossing? What was it like to tell your children their father was marching off to war and they were going to follow the army? How does one feel about holding their children's fate in their hands, not knowing if they'd be injured or killed? 

The book centers around a young boy, Elijah, who brings the story alive! Kids connect with him as the story unfolds.

Just like Young Thomas Edison, the article about George Washington's Army and Me has activities  aligned with the Common Core. 

The pictures magnificently tell the story and are featured on the student worksheets. The 30 page packet also provides lessons to encourage students to examine the illustrations for details. It's great practice for students who are new to working with nonfiction text features.

What else does it offer? A map of The Thirteen Colonies with questions. This is a perfect way to integrate social studies with ELA. 

Little did I know that the children who lived during that time, played a game called "Draughts". Today we know the game as "Checkers" . 

Included in the packet is a ready to print checkerboard AND the checkers are King George III coins and George Washington Coins! Just cut out the checkerboard, paste to cardboard, laminate and students can play "Draughts".

Even if a state has opted out of the Common Core, the articles are aligned with the majority of state ELA and social studies curricula.

Click on the cover to see this great article and packet of activities! :)

photo of George Washington's Army and Me, PDF, Michael Dooliing,, Common Core Informational text

Thursday, August 15, 2013


Hi Everyone! 
 I wanted to let everyone know about the upcoming TeachersPayTeachers Back to School Sale. 

It will be Sunday and Monday! August 18th and 19th!  There will be huge discounts. To get the extra discounts don't forget to use the PROMO CODE on the banner.  BTS13 
Don't forget you can add lessons to your TpT wish list so you'll remember what you like prior to the sale. 

photo of Back to School Sale on PDF Ruth S.,

I always look forward to this event because it's a time when we TeachersPayTeachers can share all kinds of lessons with other teachers. TeachersPayTeachers was first started to provide teachers with FREE and affordable lessons and teaching ideas because nowadays many teachers are paying out of their own pockets for materials they need for their classrooms. 

I know myself that when I've purchased from published catalogs those materials, reproducibles and all are expensive and many of the pages I don't even use. 

The materials and lesson plans we share on TpT are classroom tested and work!  

I've been a part of the TeachersPayTeachers family for a number of years and am in awe of the quality lesson plans, book packets and more that are available at very low prices. There is also an abundance of FREE things!

What I really like about it, is I feel I'm helping other teachers save time from having to create everything. Who has the time?  I also love sharing fun educational ideas and lessons with new and experienced teachers. 

With the Common Core Standards, that have now been accepted by most of the states, teachers are looking for lessons they can actually USE in their classrooms. Most of the information about it, given at workshops, isn't what actually is needed to implement the Core. 

I'm sharing some of my links that will help teachers save precious time. Custom Categories on TpT is a fantastic feature so teachers don't have to scroll through pages and pages to find just the right thing they need.  

Here are some of my custom categories if you'd like to browse through any of the materials I offer. 

Back to School  Store: Ruth-S -

COMMON CORE  Store: Ruth-S - Don't forget to turn the pages at the bottom of the page. These are Common Core lessons and other things to prepare students for the Common Core. Many of my Core packets are ready to print student worksheets that can be used with any book or story. 

One of my newest Common Core packets is FREE.  It's an informational text packet about the cheetah. Download this to your Common Core desktop folder and use year to year. Even those teachers, whose states aren't aligned with the Common Core, should download this packet so their students have experience working with nonfiction text. The article is high interest. Kids love animals and this gives them interesting facts about the big cat. After they're finished reading the article and answering the questions, it's fun to have them draw pictures of the cheetah in its environment that can be displayed in the classroom. I have them write one fact at the bottom of the picture they think is the most important. It's interesting to see if some of them draw a picture of a cheetah in a tree because the article states that cheetahs can't climb trees!! :)


Behavior Management Store: Ruth-S -  This is a HUGE concern in many of our classrooms today. I have a FREE behavior reward system that works! Punch/stamp cards are listed in this category and I've had tremendous success using the cards. 

My "Student Report Card for Encouragement" is a little report card that encourages home/school communication in an informal way. Parents love it because it keeps them well informed about their children's progress socially and educationally. 

There are also behavior forms for teachers to use that is more formal and is geared for upper elementary, middle school and secondary teachers. 

Novel Packets and ready to print worksheets are some of my most popular products. The one teachers love the most are my Novel Response Task Cards that can be used with any fiction book. Teachers of grades 4 - 11 have used them with their students. This is taking into account the WIDE range of learners we have in our classes these days. BE SURE to read the comments teachers have made about these cards. :)

NOVEL PACKETS  Store: Ruth-S -

There are three pages in this category. Be sure to turn the pages at the bottom of the page. My Number the Stars packet is 69 pages and includes everything needed to teach this novel including websites, and ready to print student worksheets. I love integrating social studies into my ELA classes, so there's an article that provides students with background information they need before they read the book. Also there are two maps, one of Europe and one of Denmark with questions about each. All activities are aligned with the Common Core. 


TASK CARDS Store: Ruth-S -  I created task cards that can be used in so many ways. Activities at centers, small groups, independent work, and more. My poetry activity cards encourage reluctant student poets to join in the fun! Each card has an example of the poem with an illustration. I've included the classic poetry forms and humorous  poems. It's fun for students to work together in small groups to write their poems. They collaborate about the types of poems and sometimes write them together. This is a GREAT keepsake if you turn them into a booklet. Parents love them.

Another really popular download are my Maniac Magee Task Cards. What a GREAT story this is! Maniac is an example of a bigger than life character who is described as a "legend". This book teaches students valuable lessons about caring, hope and friendship.  There are 100 activities with five per card. These are great to have when students are working on my 32 page Maniac Magee activity packet. 

Remember to look for my Vocabulary Detectives Task Cards that are used for weekly contests. Students find the required words/terms  as they read in class then fill out the coupons and put them in the Detective Jar for the weekly drawing!  There are six sets of them that require they find different things in the books.  Figurative language, homonyms, synonyms, antonyms, parts of speech and more! Fun!

I've listed only a few of my Custom Categories here. To see more, look on the left side of my store page and you'll see them all. :)

Wishing everyone the best!  

Have a wonderful new school year!