Sunday, October 30, 2016

Cassie Beasley Author Visit

I first met Cassie Beasley in September of 2015.  I had just finished reading her debut novel, Circus Mirandus, a month before.  And I knew that my students would love it as much as I did!  So I asked Cassie to visit my school, and she agreed!  Her visit was on October 17.  She gave presentations to our fourth and fifth graders during the day and attended our annual Reading Night that evening.

Circus Mirandus is the story of fifth grader Micah Tuttle, who lives with his grandfather, Ephraim.  For years, Ephraim has told Micah stories of the magical elusive Circus Mirandus.  Stories about a beautiful flying bird woman, an invisible tiger who guards the gates, and a man who bends light and who owes Micah's grandfather a miracle.  Now Ephraim is gravely ill, and Micah believes that finding the circus is his only hope of saving his grandfather.

To prepare for Ms. Beasley's visit to our school, all of our fourth and fifth graders read Circus Mirandus.  I purchased two class sets of the book with Scholastic dollars raised at our last book fair.

Our teachers decorated each of the halls in our school as one of the book's settings (the circus entrance, the Amazonian Bird Woman's tent, the Lightbender's tent, Mr. Head's Menagerie, and Micah's tree house).

We also set up a circus-themed photo booth that doubled as a backdrop for the morning news.  This was very popular during Reading Night!

In Circus Mirandus, Micah and Ephraim have a magical talent for tying knots.  So several of my classes researched how to tie knots and we displayed their work in the media center.

During her presentations, Ms. Beasley talked about living on a pecan farm in south Georgia, what her days as a full-time writer are like, and the importance of editing her writing.  She also had kids participate in an activity that taught them how to be specific with their writing.  I loved the question and answer part best.  Since all of our students had read Circus Mirandus, their questions were very thoughtful.  Our students were mesmerized by Ms. Beasley's presentation.  They loved Circus Mirandus and were amazed that the author was actually at our school!

"Because it was a ridiculous, amazing thing to do, and once in a while, it's good to be ridiculous and amazing."
-Circus Mirandus

Monday, October 3, 2016

Orange you glad you read?

This new display just went up in my media center today!  I pulled a variety of books (everybody, fiction, and nonfiction) with predominantly orange covers and displayed them with a sign that says "Orange you glad you read?"  Click on the picture of the sign below to download it for your library!

Saturday, October 1, 2016

Atlanta Maker Faire 2016

Today my son Caleb and I attended the Atlanta Maker Faire in beautiful downtown Decatur.  A Maker Faire is a gathering of people who make things who share their creations with others.  There is always a wide variety of projects that are shared, from arts and crafts to robotics.  There were so many wonderful experiments to see and projects to tinker.  I learned a lot that I hope to use in our school Makerspace!

Janke Glass Studios demonstrated how to blow glass.

This man from the Flint River Knife Club made a knife out of an old motorcycle chain.

The 3DP Workbench is a huge 3D printer!  It made the red chair above.

Zane from Hack Berry Lab helped kids make their own paper lamps using a template cut on a cutting machine, an LED light, and a coin cell battery.

Nature's Appeal makes beautiful crocheted rugs and bags out of recycled plastic bags (plarn).

These guitars are made out of cigar boxes and they play beautiful music!

Kennesaw State University has a robotics team that designed an autonomous submarine.

A local school with an amazing robotics program brought some of their Vex robots for festival goers to drive.

I love this hot wire!  I have a little hand-held hot wire, but this one cuts much straighter!

These 3D selfies by My 3D Worlds are so realistic!