Five Titles I Can’t Wait to Book Talk This Year

With the school year almost upon me, and a lot of free time on my hands (I am sitting in my recliner, recovering from a septoplasty), I am starting to get really excited about all of the great books I have read over the summer. Net Galley has certainly been kind to me.

While I have definitely worn out the new “New Adult” genre this summer (I kinda hate it now), I have also read a ton of great books in my favorite genre- Young Adult. I love reading YA for two reasons- first, the YA authors out there are putting out some really great stuff that isn’t all depressing or pretentious like adult fiction can get. Second, I LOVE being able to bring YA to my middle school readers that is just appropriate for them… that’s the stuff that they really get excited about reading. My eighth grade boys were drooling over titles like World War Z and Rot and Ruin a couple of years ago, and I like to keep it coming.

Without further adieu…

41TzYsSC84L._SY300_Time After Time by Tamara Ireland Stone. So many sequels fall flat or completely lose the tone of the first book, but this is an awesome sequel to Time Between Us. Since I am Bennett’s age, I love reading from his point of view, too. Going back to 1995, in my hometown (Chicago), is pretty cool- and I love the fact that teachers and librarians can talk to kids about when we grew up without sounding stupid.

51ZhFCzTS9L._SY300_The Dream Thieves by Maggie Stiefvater. This is another sequel, but I have to say- Maggie Stiefvater is probably the best paranormal writer for teens out there right now. The Shiver series sees a ton of circulation every year, and now the Raven Boys has seen the same kind of popularity. I like the fact that Stiefvater’s heroines aren’t weak and her narrative voice doesn’t make kids sound stupid.

41SzknL9faLKindness for Weakness by Shawn Goodman. So many books touch on the insecurities of girls, but not many capture the real emotions that go through boys’ heads these days- and so realistically. I actually felt the dirt under my fingernails as I read this one. The tone of the book is so gritty and the way in which the protagonist interacts with the world will resonate with introverts everywhere- whether down-and-out like this guy, or not.

51xb9EOj5HLThe Rules for Disappearing by Ashley Elston. I have read a couple of Witness Protection program books lately, and I watched My Name is Earl from start to finish with my son this summer, so I feel like an expert on the genre (insert sarcasm icon here). This one surprised me. I love the fact that this isn’t action- it is a classic mystery. Mystery is a genre that so often gets bogged down by paranormals and sci fi. When I find a good one that is just a good mystery, I hang on to it. I will be hanging on to this one for sure.

51g07mPX-7LBeing Henry David by Cal Armistead. Like number three, this is a “boy book” that isn’t cheesy. Even boys can only handle so many teenage spy books.  I loved this book when I read it a while back, and it stuck with me. Who doesn’t like a good amnesia mystery? The fascinating thing about this book is the fact that it is a mystery and a coming of age story wrapped in one beautiful, lyrical package. When I want boys to read deeper and experience more, I will turn to this one first.

I hope Net Galley keeps em coming, because I get a lot of my best stuff because of them.  I can’t justify buying YA for my middle school library unless I have a chance to read it first, you know?  If you like hearing about YA that is just appropriate for middle schoolers, let me know in the comments or “like” this post and I will keep the suggestions coming.  🙂  Thanks!


The Best List of Reading Response Questions. Ever.

When I was in the classroom, I used the workshop model.  After students read silently every day, I asked that they write in their reading response journal for just five minutes.

They could choose any of these questions they wanted, but they couldn’t repeat a question until they started a new book, unless they were continuing the response from the previous day.

They also wrote in their journals where they started, where they left off, and what they rated the reading that day (1 to 5 stars).

When I conferenced with students, I looked through the journal and pulled my questions for them from what they had written.  It worked beautifully, and was better than anything else I tried at holding students accountable for their reading, assessing their understanding of the text, and finding meaningful discussion starters for reading conferences.

— After reading, I wonder…

— Are the characters realistic (do they seem like they could be real people)? Why or why not?

— Create a plot diagram.

— Create a timeline of events from what you have read so far.

— Create a ‘WANTED’ poster for the antagonist.

— Describe a character that you would like to meet (which doesn’t mean that you think you would like the character, but that you think the character would be interesting). List 4 questions that you would ask.

— Describe something you have read that is similar to this.

— Describe the main characters.

— Describe the major conflict. What side are you on?

— Describe the most important event. Give at least three reasons why you think it is the most important event.

— Describe the setting – when and where what you are reading takes place.

— Describe the setting’s time and place. Create a new setting that you think

would be better for the story and describe it.

— Describe the setting’s time and place. Draw it.

— Describe the setting’s time and place. List the clues that helped you identify the setting.

— Describe what was either believable or unbelievable about your reading.

Defend your opinion.

— Describe the similarities and differences between the main character and you.

— Describe the theme (central meaning/message) of your reading.

— Describe your least favorite character and explain why. Describe your most favorite character and explain why.

— Do any of the characters feeling change as you’ve read? Explain why or why not.

— Do you like what you’re reading? Why or why not?

— Does the title fit the story? Why or why not?

— Draw a comic strip or graphic novel page for what you just read.

— Draw a line down the center of your paper. On the left, write facts from what you read. On the right, write your personal opinions about what you read.

— Draw a line down the center of your paper. Write a cause (why did it happen?) on the left and its effect (what happened?) on the right. Do this until you have three cause and effects listed.

— Draw a picture for what you just read.

— Draw an interpretation of the passage – may be a picture, symbols, graphic organizer.

— Draw 4 objects that represent your reading. Write a sentence for each, telling what each item says about what you’ve been reading.

— Draw the line down the center of your paper. One the left, list what you like about what you read and why. On the left, list what you didn’t like and why.

— Explain how you have been surprised by what you are reading.

— How did the reading make you feel? Why?

— How do authors characterize their actors? (Dialogue, direct commentary,

actions…) Explain.

— How have your feelings changed as you’ve been reading?

— If the author were here, what would you say and ask him/her?

— If you could change what you’re reading, how would you change it?

— If you could talk to the author, what questions would you ask? Why?

— If you could talk to the author, what would you want to tell them about

yourself? Why? How does that relate to what you’ve been reading?

— If you were a character in this book, who would you be? Why?

— If you were the author, how would this end?

— If you were the author, what would you change? Why?

— If you were the author, what would you have happening next?

— In 4-6 sentences, describe several insights you’ve gained from your reading.

— In few sentences, summarize what you read today.

— Is what you are reading believable? Why or why not?

— Is the setting described well enough that can put a picture of it in your mind? Why or why not?

— List at least three problems the characters faced? Which was the most life changing? Explain

— List five major events in order from which happened first to last.

— List the personality characteristics of the main character (feelings, interests, behaviors, etc.)

— List the physical characteristics of the main character (clothing, physical

features, etc.)

— List three new vocabulary words from your reading. What can you tell about them from their structure? What can you tell about them from their context?

— List three questions you have about what you read.

— Make a timeline of the events that have occurred in your book so far…

— Predict what will happen next.

— Pretend what you are reading is nominated for a national award. Explain why you think it should or should not receive an award.

— Pretend you are a talk show host and two characters are the guests on your show. Which characters would you chose and why? List two questions that you, the host, would ask each character.

— Pretend you are famous reporter on TV. Write a story about what you’ve read for the evening news.

— Pretend you are the friend of one of the characters. Write him or her a letter.

— Pretend you get to create the music soundtrack for what you’ve been reading. What five songs would you include? Write an explanation for each song: why would you include it, how does the song connect to events.

— Pretend you have special powers and could put yourself in your reading. Where would you put yourself and why? How would you being there change the story?

— Pretend your job is to write magazine ads. Create an ad for what you’ve been reading.

— Select a quote from your reading that you liked. What made you pick it? How does it make you pause and think?

— Quote a passage & respond to it. How did it make you feel?

— Summarize what you just read.

— Summarize what you read today.

— Summarize your favorite book. Make me want to read it!

— Tell me about the main character. What kind of person is he/she?

— Think of a problem that a character had to face. Write the problem and how the character solved it or is working to solve it. If you were that character, what would you do differently?

— Thinking about what you just read, draw the picture that appears in your mind.

— This connects to my life…

— This text relates to my life because…

— Use pictures/graphic organizer/web to represent your reading (so far) in the story.

— What are some things you do when you don’t understand what you’re reading?

— What are the two most important ideas from what you’ve been reading?

— What are two emotions the main character has felt? What made the main

character feel that way?

— What character is like you? Describe how is he or she like you?

— What do you like about what you are reading?

— What do you think will happen next?

— What does this book remind you of?

— What emotions do you feel about your reading? Describe what is going on in the reading that makes you feel that way.

— What emotions did you feel while you read? Give details from your reading that made you feel that way.

— What event could have happened in real life? What would be similar in real life? What would be different in real life?

— What has been the most important part of what you’ve been reading?

— What has been the most interesting part of your reading?

— What has happened so far? What do you think will happen next?

— What have you been reading? What does it remind you of in your own life?

— What have you found boring about what you’ve been reading? What made it boring? If you were the author, what would you do to make it more interesting?

— What have you learned about life from what you’re reading?

— What ideas do you have about what is going to happen? What clues have you read to give you those ideas?

— What is something you’ve learned from your reading?

— What is the author trying to tell you about life in this story? Defend this moral.

— What is the mood of what you’re reading (happy, sad, funny, serious, etc.)? Defend your idea.

— What is the title of what you are reading? How does it fit the story? If you

don’t know yet how it fits the story, what is your best guess?

— What is your favorite part of the book you’re reading? Why?

— What message or less was conveyed (theme)?

— What object is important? Draw it. Write an explaination for why you feel it is important.

— What passage describes how you want to live your life? Why?

— What questions would you like answered about your reading? Would you like the book/article better if you knew those answers now? Why?

— What special way did the author write (for example, flashbacks, told in first person, multiple voice narrative, foreshadowing, lost descriptive words that create visual images in your mind, etc.)? Did that make reading it better or worse? Explain.

— What surprises you in this story? Explain why.

— What was going through your mind as you read?

— What you are reading is going to be made into a movie. Create the movie


— What you are reading is going to be made into a movie. Make a list five

characters, what famous actor will play each character and what about the

character makes that actor the best choice for the part.

— What you are reading is going to be made into a movie. You are the movie executive that chooses the location for the filming. Where would you chose and why?

— Which character do you like best? Why?

— Which character do you like least? Why?

— Who are the characters? Describe who they are, what they look like and how they are connected.

— Who is the author? What do you know about the author? What do you imagine the author must be like?

— Who is the most important character to you? Why?

— Who is the most interesting character in the book and why.

— Why did you choose this to read? Give at least 3 reasons.

— Why do you think the author wrote this?

— Without using complete sentences or paragraphs, reflect on today’s reading.

— Would you be friends with the main character? Why or why not? Support w/evidence from your reading.

— Would you recommend this book to friends? Why or Why not?

— Write a journal entry as if you were a certain character from your reading.

— Write a paragraph describing the setting.

— Write a quote from what you are reading that has meaning for you. Explain why you chose this quote.

— Write a quote from your reading that connects to your life. What did it mean to what you’ve been reading? What did it mean to your life?

— Write a review of what you just read (summary plus personal opinions).

— Write a summary of what you just read.

— Write a summary of what you’ve read.

— Write about a situation a character experiences. Write about a similar situation you experienced.

— Write about how one character feels. Write about a time you felt that way, too.

— Write down one word from your reading that you didn’t know. What is your guess about what it means? How did you make that guess?

— Write an editorial, an opinion essay, about an event from your reading.

— Write an obituary for the protagonist or antagonist.

— Write the biography for one character.

Test Readiness Terms


When analyzing, look closely at all the parts or ideas to explain how they are related.

— Analyze how your feelings change as you read this story and why.

— Analyze what motivates the main character’s behavior.

— Analyze the author’s ability to write. What does the author do most

effectively? What does the author do least effectively?


When comparing things, look closely to find all things that are alike between them.

— Compare what is happening to a character in the book with your own or a friend’s life.

— Compare the plot of what you are reading with your favorite book.

— Compare where you live to the setting described in what you are reading.


When contrasting things, look closely to find all thing that are different between them.

— How does what you are reading contrast with a novel you were assigned to read in school and didn’t like reading.

— Contrast the theme of what you are reading with something you read last month.

— What would be a good contrast to the setting of what you are reading?


When defining something, look at it carefully and identify the qualities that make it meaningful.

— Define what makes an interesting story or poem.

— Define what is needed to make a good setting.

— Define what is needed for a reader to be able to relate to a character.


When describing something, use descriptive words and lots of details. Describe it so that a person reading what you wrote can make a picture in their mind with what you are saying.

— Describe the important ideas in this story.

— Describe the similarities and differences between the main character and you.

— Describe the main characters.

— Describe the mood of what you are reading.


When you differentiate, you want to explain the difference.

— Differentiate between the main character and your favorite teacher.

— Differentiate between a good story or poem and a bad story or poem.

— Differentiate between the setting of what you are reading and where you live.


When discussing something, closely examine the subject in detail.

— Discuss why you like or dislike what you are reading.

— Discuss what you think what moral, or life-lesson, can be found in what you are reading.

— Discuss what images appear in your mind as you read & how the author helped create those images.


When evaluating, look closely to determine what is important and significant.

— Evaluate whether the title fits the story.

— Evaluate the quality of the writing.

— Evaluate whether the main character would be worthy of your friendship.


When explaining something, give reasons why things happened or give reasons why you got your answer.

— Explain what kind of reader would like this book most.

— Explain why somebody should or should not read this?

— How would you explain the plot of this story to somebody interested in reading it?


When identifying something, look closely and explain what makes it unique.

— Identify what the author has done to try to keep you reading the book.

— Identify the main characters. Describe what has happened that makes you believe they are the main characters?

— Identify the protagonist. Identify the antagonist. Describe what has happened that makes you believe they are the main characters?


When interpreting something, think and examine it carefully, then give the

meaning or significance of it.

— Pick the phrase from what you are reading that made you think. Interpret what the author meant.

— Pick out 2-4 words from what you are reading that you had difficulty

understanding. Interpret what you think each word means based on context

clues (other words around that word that might help you interpret what the

author means).

— Which characters would you interpret to be ‘good’? Which would you interpret to be ‘bad’? What has the author written that leads you to those interpretations?


When creating a list about an event or thing, provide all of the details or all of the steps in order.

— List the reasons why another person should or should not read this.

— List the events, in order, that have happened so far in what you’ve been reading.

— List five characters and their personality and physical traits.

Main Idea

When looking at the main idea, look for the most important idea or reason.

— What is main idea? Defend your answer.

— Write the main idea of what you are reading and your reasons for thinking it is the main idea.


When outlining something, you are creating a brief description.

— Outline the important events of what you are reading.

— Outline the plot.

— Using outline form, describe what is needed for an effective poem or book

I found this list online years ago.  The Librarian’s name who posted it on the internet was Leslie Preddy, from Perry Meridian Middle School.  That is the only reference information I have.  Ms. Preddy’s list was so instrumental in my reader’s workshop, however, and I thank her.

Ditching Dewey Part II: First Round of Data Entry… Check!

I think we have at least two more to go.  Fun.

Quick recap… I am completely reorganizing and re-cataloging my school library. The first step was to completely and painfully weed the collection.  We got rid of anything more than 13 years old (unless we felt we needed it).  The second step, and the one we just finished, was to separate the fiction section into genre-based categories in Destiny.

Now, we can go back and change all of the call numbers, based on those categories.  Right now, all of our fiction books have call numbers that begin with FIC.  So, The Lightning Thief is FIC RIO, and Looking for Alaska is FIC GRE.  Now, the call numbers will reflect the genre.  Those two titles will be FAN RIO and RF GRE for Fantasy and Realistic Fiction.

We are also going to re-sticker everything.  My awesome husband, a graphic artist, created genre stickers for the spines.  I made sure that they fit in an Avery 5428 label.  I was looking for something black and white and clean and modern.  I think they came out gorgeous- they are going to really class up the library.

One of our new and improved spine labels!
One of our new and improved spine labels!

After everything is re-stickered, we can reorganize.  Because, really?  A big wall of random “fiction” isn’t very kid-friendly.


Have a great day!


What do I have to say about ebooks in my school library?


A colleague of mine wants to sit down with me to talk about ebooks in my library because her school is planning to roll out something similar.  It got me thinking.  What do I have to say about it?

At the beginning of this year, I added 12 Barnes and Noble Nooks to my school library.  As of this writing, two of them are broken.  I have emailed Barnes and Noble twice, and haven’t received a reply.  I purchased all of the Harry Potter books for two of them, and they still aren’t on the devices. Something on Barnes and Noble’s side was wrong, and they said that they are working on it.  That was months ago.

I also asked if I can switch from being Barnes and Noble managed to just locally managed, so that I can switch out devices easier if they break, and I haven’t received a reply to that, either.

Last year, I bought 12 Kindle Fires.  They were beautiful, but I had to return them.  The logistics wouldn’t work.  The Kindle Fires don’t work with Proxy Servers, and that is necessary with my school district’s web filters.  It is also next to impossible to purchase things on Amazon with a PO, and my district hasn’t moved to the credit card system yet, so we cannot purchase things from Amazon.

As an Educational Technology person, I like dedicated e-readers for reading.  I think that there are cognitive load issues associated with having all of these different choices when you have a device in your hands.  How can kids concentrate on what they are reading when the email ping goes off or a text message comes in or an alert pops up that a friend just messaged them or… you get it, right?    E-readers definitely have a place for those who want an uncluttered reading space.

The only economical library-friendly ebook retailer (that I have seen) is FollettShelf.  The problem with them is that they are not compatible with dedicated e-readers.  Their books are browser-based.  I can’t use Kindle Fires and I can’t afford iPads, and I think that dedicated e-readers are better for reading.

Do you see a problem emerging?

Now, the Nooks that aren’t broken get checked out all of the time.  I have them grouped into genres: Realistic Fiction for Guys, Realistic Fiction for Girls, Fantasy, Sci Fi/Dystopian, Mystery/Horror, and Paranormal Romance.  There are 20ish titles on each device.  That is an awful waste of great books.  There is no way that kids can read more than one or two books in the time I give them to keep the device.  So, all of those great books are checked out and no one else has access to them.

There is pretty much one game in town for library management of ebooks and audiobooks- Overdrive.  Their pricing structure is way out of my league as a school librarian with 1000 patrons.

Where does that leave me?  I thought about a DRM-stripping program… DRM is ethically wrong and goes against fair use law anyhow…  I thought- what if I stripped the DRM from the books, and then downloaded them to the kids’ devices and then at the end of the checkout period, I could take them off of the devices… wow.  I think that for all of that manual maneuvering of data, I would need at least three more parapros in my LMC.  And it is in legal gray-area, which my district wouldn’t be happy with (to put it simply).

I have a real dilemma on my hands.  Bigger than ebooks, I think.

I want to stay current.  I want my library to stay relevant.  I want kids to have access to all of these awesome books and to be able to read them their way.  Hell, I don’t ever read paper books anymore.  I am strictly an ebook reader.  How can I, as a middle school librarian, expect that these kids aren’t going to want to read this way when I see the benefit of it?  It speaks to the entire field of educational technology, I think.  How do we get all of these awesome advances into the hands of kids?  I can give you a thousand examples of things that would benefit my kids more than you know, but I can’t utilize them because I have no way of delivering them.

I emailed the public library to see if they would like to do a membership drive at my library so that kids can get library cards and check ebooks out from them.  I haven’t heard back.  Does no one read my emails?  Even then, about 20% of my students live in an unincorporated area where they do not belong to the library.  So they wouldn’t be eligible to get cards.

The only upside that I can offer my colleague is that the Nooks do get checked out- they are never not checked out.  But that means that 10 of my patrons are benefiting from the thousands of dollars I have spent at a time.  Ten!

I am at a loss.




The Top Five: iPhone Apps for Middle School ELA Teachers

Pretty specific title, I know. With so many iOS apps out there geared toward education, it is hard to know which ones will be most useful. We end up downloading everything we see only to open it once and then never again. Most apps seem to be geared toward elementary or high school teachers, too. I can’t tell you how many times I have heard, “Oh, just modify it up,” in my elementary district. No! We shouldn’t do that! If anything, we should modify down from high school. But I digress.

Here are my Top 5 (with a bonus) apps:


1. EZ Common Core Language Arts (1.99). There are a few Common Core apps out there now, and they are all pretty good for becoming more familiar with the standards. The free official one is really user-friendly, actually. The reason I find this one worthy of shelling out two bucks is the notes feature. Each standard offers a box where you can add your own notes. I’d use that to jot down lesson ideas as I think of them if it were me. Then, you can email those notes to yourself, if you want.


2. Book Retriever (1.99). I can’t tell you how many crazy interesting ideas I have heard to keep track of a classroom library. I was even guilty of a few of them myself, back in the day. Color-coded index cards, clipboards, stickers, and on and on. None seem to work. Teachers still seem to have a hard time getting students to keep track of the books. The benefits of this little guy are two-fold. First, you can scan every book into the app. About half of the time, the app’s database (which is growing, I’m told) will give you a synopsis, picture, F & P level, Lexile level, and other information. The ones not in the database need to be entered manually, but it is worth it. After all of your books are cataloged, enter your students’ names in the students section of the app. That’s it! Now, when a student wants to check out a book from your classroom library, you have the Lexile and F & P info handy, and you can just check it out to them right on your phone. No more losing your books!

remind 101

3. Remind 101 (FREE). Okay, this is cool. At Parent Night at the beginning of the year, give students and parents your Remind 101 login info, and have them create an account (it takes literally 20 seconds). Then, whenever you have a permission slip due, a big assignment due, whatever- you can send them a text alert to remind them. No one has your personal cell number, and you can send them a text whenever you need to, but they can’t text you back. What I wouldn’t give if my own kids’ teachers used this. It is so hard to keep track of everything they bring home. You would eliminate those uncomfortable parent-teacher conference moments, too. You know the ones. Where the parent says, “Why didn’t I know about this zillion point assignment sooner?!?” And you walk away, annoyed, thinking, “Well, you could have checked the classroom website, or your kid’s assignment notebook, or the online grade book, or…” To which I reply…




4. Evernote (FREE). The entire Evernote suite is a goldmine for the classroom, and I will dedicate a whole post to that sometime soon. Right now, I will focus on the power of the portfolio. I haven’t seen a better way to create student writing portfolios that can handle engaging, visual multimedia that is middle school brain-friendly. Students can drag and drop their writing, audio, photos- really anything they want. Create separate notebooks for separate units, even. They can make their notebooks private, public, or share them just with you. They don’t lose their portfolio if they change schools, districts, or move on to high school. It is so much more authentic than anything else I have seen out there.


5. Twitter (FREE). Excuse my candidness, but if you aren’t using Twitter to improve your teaching yet, you are really, really behind the curve. My Professional Learning Network includes the absolute top names in Ed Tech, Teaching, and Librarianship. I also follow major news outlets, book publishers, and other great sources of short text for teaching and learning. Teachers come to me all the time and say things like, “wow- you seem to know so much.” Twitter is my dirty little secret, really. I think I can attribute at least 75% of the cutting edge stuff I know to Twitter.

So, that’s five. But I need to add one more (you saw this coming)…


6. Pinterest (FREE). Aside from recipes, crafty stuff, and home renovation projects that no one can afford, there is more to Pinterest than you think. I find great classroom printables, engaging visuals to project, and lesson ideas. It is especially good when you are just feeling like everything is getting stale. There is nothing more inspiring that throwing away the script for a couple of days to do something creative and fresh. Pinterest can help with that.

Honestly, I could do a Top 100. Hmm. Maybe later…

Happy Reading!


Pinterest Threw Up All Over My Library.

In my little library, we have a full-sized computer lab that takes up a quarter of the space.  Sooo, with MAP Testing going on, the LMC is closed for business.  And very, very quiet.  Which is maddening nice, because we have time for special projects.

Special project time is when my Pinterest addiction becomes dangerous handy!

First, I ordered a used copy of Where’s Wally from Amazon for a penny and cut out the pages.  I was able to match up five full scenes.  Since they are back-to-back, not all of the scenes will be useable.  This was perfect for me, though, because I had five tables that needed some pizzazz.

After laminating the pages, I taped them to the table tops.

The five tables with Wally

Who could resist?
Who could resist?

That was Pinterest find #1.  I was far from done, though.

I decided to make a statement on my TV.  Note how awesomely vintage it is, by the way…

My Awesome TVSo that was #2.  We are just warming up.

Next, a freshened up display table.  I had a great classics door banner that I bought during my first year of teaching.  Ah, the days when we spent oodles of money on fun stuff for our classrooms, huh?  After the first or second year, we wizen up.  This is a gorgeous vinyl banner made for a classroom door.  My library is a 40 ft by 80 ft rectangle, so a little room dividing is always a good thing.  I made a Classics display.

I Love The Classics

Next, I broke out the Mod Podge.  Yep, my library stunk to high heaven.  Everyone who walked through stopped to ask what on earth I was doing.  The original Pinner (OP in Pinterestland) used wood, but I am much too lazy for such things.  I used foam core.

First, I Mod Podged strips of old dictionary to the foam core.  That dried overnight.  Then, I used a paint pen and some really neat stencils I found next to the paint pens at Hobby Lobby to add the places.  Mount Doom points to our district office.  I’m a Gen-Xer.  We buck the establishment.

Since I used foam core, I was able to use 3M mounting strips to attach the arrows to my incredibly ugly post.  I think it adds character.  I kinda like that the post is there now!


The last thing we did (I say we as in my parapro and I) was this.  It needs no explanation, but I will add it anyhow.  My husband is a graphic design teacher, so I had him make the “touch screen” for me.  All of the books on the display have been made into movies.  The kids love it.


If you want more dangerous creative ideas, be sure to follow me on Pinterest!