Books, Critical Thinking, Education, Independent Study, K-5, Language Arts, Teaching Tools

Thick Questions

This site has downloadable posters for “Thick” and “Thin” questions.  Beth Newingham has also provided bulletin board ideas and question prompts to encourage “thick” questions.  If you have time, click on the “Home” link to find out more about her class, and to see how she organizes her classroom.  You can also get more information on how she manages “Reading Partnerships” in her classroom.

Books, Education, Independent Study, K-5, Language Arts, QR Codes, Reading, Student Products, Websites, Writing

Students Review Books

Students Review Books is an interesting concept that combines student book reviews with QR codes.  The site accepts reviews from any elementary school student, but has certain parameters for contributing, which are listed here.  Parents must give permission for the reviews to be posted, and a form for this is included on the site.  It would be fun for your students to access this site to view the book reviews, and to make some of their own (even if they are not officially submitted). Another idea is for librarians to use the QR codes provided to place on library books or posters so that students can hear about the books before checking them out.  And, for the advanced students, creating their own book reviews for the site would be a great project.

Art, Books, Creative Thinking, Education, K-12, Reading, Videos

The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore

Oh wow.  I know that it is hard to find 15 minutes in your day to watch an animated film, but you truly must make the time for this one – especially if you are a lover of books.  This Oscar-nominated short is stunning in graphics and in its message.  My students will be having a discussion about the impact of Gutenberg next week, and I fully intend to incorporate this video into the lesson.  It is beautiful and inspiring.  Bravo to the animation shop, Moonbot Studios for this truly amazing video. (If the embedded video does not work, you can view it at  You can also download the video FOR FREE from iTunes.  There is an accompanying app for $4.99, which I have not yet previewed.)


UPDATE 9/28/16:  Unfortunately, the film is no longer available for free 🙁  You can download it from iTunes for $4.99.  It is a beautiful video, and I wish it could still be viewed by everyone…

Apps, Books, Creative Thinking, Education, K-12, Language Arts, Reading, Student Products, Writing

Scribble Press

Scribble Press is a free app for the iPad that allows the user to create ebooks.  There are over 50 story templates (If I Were a Superhero, for example), or you can create your own.  Illustrating the stories is easy and fun with the use of markers, stamps, and stickers.  Once a book is created, it can be sent to your iBookshelf, and read by any iPad user.  It can also be shared in other ways by publishing them to a public gallery (optional) or even ordering a printed copy of the book.  Scribble Press is extremely “kid-friendly”, and a wonderful way to spark the imagination of even the most reluctant writers!

3-5, Bloom's Taxonomy, Books, Critical Thinking, Independent Study, Language Arts, Reading, Research, Student Products, Teaching Tools

Mrs. Sunda’s Literature Links

If you are trying to allow some of your students who are reading at a higher level to work independently, you might find these literature units helpful.  There are only 6, but they include discussion guides written with Bloom’s Taxonomy in mind.  Another great thing about these materials is that they were created by students.  Not only could some of your students work through the units, but they could use them as examples for developing some of their own.  While you are visiting Mrs. Sunda’s site, check out some of her other links.  Many resources are given for teachers, including a link to a detailed article explaining the process behind the literature units.

Books, Independent Study, K-5, Language Arts, Reading, Teaching Tools


This idea is one of several provided in an article on entitled Making Connections/Self-Monitoring: A Differentiated Learning Centers Unit Plan.  You may want to check out the entire unit.  Or, if you have less time, be sure to visit this section, which gives you suggestions for using the above reproducible to encourage your students to make connections to the text they are reading.  The students could use this independently or in a game format in pairs.  This lesson is excerpted from Differentiated Literacy Centers by Margo Southall.