Hot Topics for Cool Teachers! A WSUNER Conference Presentation


This Saturday I am presenting at the Wright State University Network for Educational Renewal Conference with my colleague and partner in crime, Lisa, on the topic “Hot Topics for Cool Teachers in an Edcamp Setting”. We will be attempting to present the Edcamp Unconference model and break into groups for one session in about 45 minutes! Challenge accepted! I’ll also be recruiting attendees for Edcamp Dayton which will be held locally in October. If you don’t know a lot about Edcamps, check out these links: What is an EdCamp? Introduction to Edcamp and to find an Edcamp near you check out: The Edcamp Wiki which has tons of useful Edcamp information.


Spine Poetry in the Classroom

spine poetry

I don’t know about you, but I’m always looking for fun and pain free ways to incorporate poetry into my intervention classes. I’ve realized that Spine Poetry is a great activity for students to try their hand at making a found poem. Using someone else’s words is much less threatening than staring at a blank piece of paper and trying to fill it with your own thoughts and *gasp* feelings.

After trying out Blackout Poetry the previous week, I thought doing Spine Poetry on a Monday would be a great way to get students out of their seats and thinking critically about what they wanted their poems to say. It was an extra bonus when students discovered new books in the classroom library and checked them out, too!

Not sure what Spine Poetry is?

Step 1. Choose book spines that you want to use for your poem.

Step 2. Arrange the spines into a somewhat logical order.

Step 3. Share your poem

If you’re students need to see examples ahead of time to get some ideas, do a quick Google Image Search and voila! TONS of Spine Poetry examples.

Here are some examples from my students. I condensed them into collages, but you will get the idea. Some students work with partners while others chose to work on their own. I think the poems turned out great for their first attempt at something new.

Click on each picture to see the individual poems.

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It’s Monday! What are you reading? #IMWAYR 4/14/14


It’s Monday! What are you Reading? is hosted by Sheila at Book Journeys and invites bloggers to recap what they’ve read this week while planning ahead on what to read next! Jen at Teach Mentor Texts and Kellee at Unleashing Readers added their own twist by focusing on kidlit, from picture books up to YA.

Here’s what I’ve read lately:

(Click on the book covers to add these titles to your Goodreads TBR piles)


No One Else Can Have You by Kathleen Hale
YA Mystery
My Goodreads Rating: 4/5 Stars
I really liked this creepy book and am surprised that there aren’t better reviews on Goodreads. The main character is pretty endearing despite her complete lack of social skills and I loved all of the quirky characters.


Threatened by Eliot Schrefer
YA Realistic Fiction
My Goodreads Rating: 5/5
I was really surprised that I liked this book even more than Schrefer’s Endangered. I think this would make an excellent read aloud for grades 7 and up and it will give students so much to think and talk about.

city of glasscity of fallen angels

City of Glass and City of Fallen Angels (The Mortal Instruments, books 3 and 4) by Cassandra Clare
2009 and 2011
YA Fantasy
My Goodreads Rating: 5/5 Stars for both books
I am still hooked on the Mortal Instruments Series and loving it! I need to get my hands on City of Lost Souls as soon as possible. I love the characters and although there are so many of them, it is very easy to keep them apart and follow their subplots throughout the books. Cassandra Clare has created an amazing world in these books and I cannot get enough of it!

snicker of magic










A Snicker of Magic by Natalie Lloyd
MG Fantasy
My Goodreads Rating 5/5 Stars
I would definitely not be surprised if this book wins an award this year. It is adorable and filled with so many beautiful lines that I really wanted to highlighted almost every page! Too bad it was a library book. I highly recommend this one and it would make a fantastic read aloud for grades 4-6.


Better of Friends by Elizabeth Eulberg
MG – YA Realistic Fiction
My Goodreads Rating 4/5 Stars
Elizabeth Eulberg is a great author and I have enjoyed all of her books. While this book wasn’t my favorite, I did enjoy the dual narrators and getting both sides to the story. I have already passed this one on to a 6th grade reader and she read it very quickly and passed it to a friend who is devouring it as well.

missperegrine gn


Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children – The Graphic Novel by Ransom Riggs / Cassandra Jean
MG – YA Realistic Fiction
My Goodreads Rating 4/5 Stars
I’ve already professed my love for Ransom Riggs’ work a time or two on this blog and I wasn’t really surprised I liked this adaptation of the first book in the series. A lot of Goodreads reviewers said that they thought it didn’t tell enough, but I thought it told just enough that readers will want to get their hands on the novel version. I gave this to one of my most reluctant 7th grade readers this week and he can’t stop talking about it during reading time, and often interrupts the class to talk about how cool and creepy it is. I like this graphic novel because it is pretty sophisticated and a step up from some of the other graphic novels I have in my classroom that students sometimes read over and over.

zebra forest

Zebra Forest by Adina Rishe Gewirtz
MG Realistic Fiction
My Goodreads Rating 4/5 Stars
This was another possible contender for next year’s One Book, One School and while I thought it was an intriguing story and very different, it was not my favorite. I did really like the ending though and glad for the choices that the characters made. This is a quick read if you are looking for something different.

Here’s what I plan to read next: (Click on the cover for more info from Goodreads)

key to kashdunegood luck of right nowalice in zombieland

cresscity of lost souls


Happy Reading!


Friday’s Blackout Poems


A BIG THANK YOU to all of the Blackout Poets out there that joined in and Blackout Poetry Week! I’m here one last time to recognize some stellar student work and  Jason Stephenson will wrap things up tomorrow, so be on the look out for his post.

 Mr. Pollock’s students submitted more poems today,  and like I said yesterday, they are truly a great example of a #blackoutpoet classroom!  If you haven’t already, check out the #blackoutpoets hashtag to see them all and use them in your own classroom as stellar examples! Here are a few that really stood out today. I can’t say thanks enough to Mr. Pollock and his student poets for participating!


Poet of the Day #1 @Priellloucol

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Poet of the Day #2 @isobelsteenrod

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Poet of the Day # 3  @GeorgeMerhoff

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This HS history class made an ebook from #blackoutpoets based on Paine’s Common Sense. Yeah, it’s pretty amazing, @KerryHawk02 Thank you for sharing.

Thomas Paine Student Blackout Poetryphoto

Thanks to @Maurice’sMonkeys from Whitehorse,Yukon for posting this cool blackout poem today!

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And last, but not least, I wanted to give a quick shout out to my own middle school student #blackoutpoets, who worked so hard this week on their poems. I am one very proud teacher!

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Thursday’s Blackout Poems


It’s Thursday and Blackout Poetry Week is in full swing! I’m here to recognize some stellar student #blackoutpoets from Twitter and Instagram! I’ll be featuring another set of poems tomorrow and Jason Stephenson will wrap things up on Saturday.

We had so many great blackout poems today that it was very tough to choose only a few.



We had a bunch of blackout poems submitted today from Mr. Pollock’s students and they were all creative and inspiring. Check out the #blackoutpoets hashtag to see them all and use them in your own classroom as stellar examples! Here are a few that really stood out. Thanks to Mr. Pollock and his student poets for participating!


Poet of the Day #1 @_spears14

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Poet of the Day #2 @FoyeNathaniel

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Poet of the Day # 3  @caroline_cox123

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Poet of the Day #4  @paigemccllellan_

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Coach Marsee’s #blackoutpoets focused on creating different moods with their blackout poems. The results were fantastic!


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This poem was submitted by @wordsartmagic and is pretty amazing. Thank you for sharing, Gina!

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Tuesday’s Blackout Poems

It’s day two of Blackout Poetry Week and I’m here to recognize some stellar student #blackoutpoets from Twitter and Instagram! Don’t forget, every day Jason Stephenson and I will feature standout poems from those participating and I’m sure you will agree that these two poems are no exception.


6th grader, Gabby made a poem that is both beautiful & powerful! Way to go, Gabby! gabby4

Unfortunately, this picture does not do Gabby’s work justice. Click on the picture for a better look!


This next standout piece is by an 8th grade poet and comes from The Boy in the Striped Pajamas. Great job!


Lastly, I wanted to give a shout out to @CherylTeaches for her #blackoutpoets bulletin board!

blackout bulletin board

It looks like you have a lot of very talented and creative poets! Thanks for sharing!

It’s Blackout Poetry Week!

blackout poets logo

It’s finally here! If you haven’t heard, April 7th – 12th is blackout poetry week on Instagram and Twitter. Jason Stephenson and I will be co-hosting the festivities and we hope that you and your students will join us! Please use the hashtag #blackoutpoets throughout the week and check out other poems from all across the world! Follow our Blackout Poetry Twitter Account to see examples and to stay up to date on all the action during the week.

Each day we will be awarding a “Poet of the Day” in the following categories: elementary, middle school, high school, teacher and author,  and posting them on our blogs. “Poet of the Day” lists will be on Jason’s blog on Monday, Wednesday and Saturday and here on Literacy Love on Tuesday, Thursday and Friday.  Feel free to use the blackout poets classroom and school badges on your own blogs. If you do, please share your classroom or personal blog link in the comments section so others can read your poems.

Have a great week blackout poets!

blackoutpoetofthedayblackoutpoetsclassroom  blackoutpoetsschool