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The top 100 banned books

For various reasons, some books are looked at as being unacceptable to read in certain locations, schools, churches, homes. Here is a list of the top 100 banned books according to the ALA (American Library Association) from 1990-2000.

I must add that I've read many of these books, and consider some to be among the best books I've ever read. I'm not trying to promote an uprising, but just point out something I found while surfing. We say we live in a country that is free, yet...

Also, from the ALA website, which I found this at, a quote from author Judy Blume>

It's not just the books under fire now that worry me. It is the books that will never be written. The books that will never be read. And all due to the fear of censorship. As always, young readers will be the real losers.”

Here is the list of the top 15...

1. Scary Stories (Series) by Alvin Schwartz
2. Daddy’s Roommate by Michael Willhoite
3. I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou
4. The Chocolate War by Robert Cormier
5. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain
6. Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck
7. Harry Potter (Series) by J.K. Rowling
8. Forever by Judy Blume
9. Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson
10. Alice (Series) by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor
11. Heather Has Two Mommies by Leslea Newman
12. My Brother Sam is Dead by James Lincoln Collier and Christopher Collier
13. The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger
14. The Giver by Lois Lowry
15. It’s Perfectly Normal by Robie Harris

the rest can be found on this page:

A good link for educators and parents

Here's a link to another good education site I just found today while searching for some ideas. Ironically, there's some more good information on Bullying, and a lot of other useful information. I'll add it to my links as well.


Activities for Summer

Studies have shown that children today are much less active than they used to be. There are so many more outlets for their attention. Sadly, many of these hobbies promote little creativity, exercise, imagination, or interaction. I thought I would list some ideas of things to do during the summer months. It may be hard to get them going on it, but I know from past experience, that these can be a lot of fun.

Keep in mind, some of these depend on the situation, and environment. Please keep this in mind, and modify if necessary.

Ideas for summer, stimulating the imagination and creativity:
1) Create a play - props, scenery, maybe even a script
2) Make up a board game - Include the pieces and directions. Play it with someone.
3) Play board games
4) Obstacle course - Make an obstacle course in the back yard, or even in the house. Climb under, over, roll, hop, skip and jump.
5) Create a TV Program, or News Program- Many homes now have a video camera. Utilize that to the max.
6) Play detective- Create a mystery... leave clues. The case of the missing T.V. (just an example)
7) Promote exercise- Go biking, walking, jogging - as a group if possible
8) Beach day - Sandcastle (architecture) building contest, swimming, diving for rings
9) Plant a garden - Grow it together
10) Plan a road trip- Have them plan the route, covering a certain mileage. Give guidelines that they must follow.
11) Start a business- lemonade? In my day selling worms was a good way to make some money, and kept us busy... up early for the fishermen.
12) Redesign a room- put them in charge.
13) Play school - something I did. I was the teacher, my sister was the student.

Leave comments for any ideas you may have, and I'll add them to my list.


Summer Vacation

I just got home from a nice relaxing weekend camping with my wife and her parents. It was enjoyable, and we had GREAT weather. My wife and I were able to go fishing a couple times, which was a lot of fun. She even caught the biggest fish she's caught in a long time, a nice small mouth bass. We roasted marshmallows, and made smores, ate some good meals, swatted a few thousand bugs, and just had a nice time.

Also, if you'd like me to list your site in my links, send me an e-mail to and I'll take a look at it. If I like the look of it, and the topics, I'll add you to my links.

Thanks for all the comments lately, I appreciate them very much. One more week of the first session of summer school beginning tomorrow!


Are you smarter than the average bear or dumber than a box of rocks?

Are you intelligent, or just full of hot air? Take this IQ test (only once) and let me know how you scored. This is only one version.

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Every year I tell my students that if they can score higher than me, they can teach with me for a day. I had one student come very close this past year, scoring 137. I've taken two different tests, and received a 140, and a 139.

Of course, that only goes on logic and intelligence, not common sense.

An explanation of how the IQ test works can be found here.

Have fun with it... although I'd really like to know how you did.

** Yogi Bear was "smarter than the average bear"
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New week, new ideas

After a relaxing and rejuvenating weekend we're into our second week of summer school.

I'm beginning the week by re-enforcing fractions with the sixth graders. We will add and subtract them, simplify, find equivalents, and multiply and divide them. Today I hope to get through the first three stages of that.

Later on today we'll finish up some papers we've been working on, focusing on a good introduction and conclusion, as well as transition sentences.

My fourth grade students will work for a little while on basic multiplication, followed by a basic division flash card contest. We'll then continue working on dividing by one-digit numbers. We've also worked on reading scripts, and trying to go through the lines more fluently. Finally, the fourth grade will read through a "camping" story, and work on a few worksheets that follow it up.

The fourth grade theme for the week is Camping.

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I'll keep you posted on how it goes.


Happy Anniversary Mom and Dad!

Today is my parents' 38th wedding anniversary! Congratulations to you both!

I really do appreciate all that you've done for me. You both gave me all the tools I needed to be the person I am. You raised me to be respectful, loving and caring. You showed me the way to lead a happy life. And you've always been there for me when I've needed you.

I wish you the best now and always. I love you both very much. I hope my marriage can be as healthy as yours has been.

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A good start

I began the summer school session by testing both groups with the Brigance computation test for math, so I could have an idea on what we really need to work on in math. That took a while, and we went over the test afterwards. From there I'm trying to get them to catch up to where they should be at the end of their respective grade level.

I've started off the reading/writing portion with some stories and questions. This has gone fairly smoothly, although the fluency is an issue with both groups. Which is the reason they are there in the first place, I'd guess. I've stressed grouping words together, and that has already helped some. I'm sure their teachers did that too during the school year, so maybe they just needed a reminder.

If there are any of you that have dealt with summer school that have any comments, please post them, or e-mail me at

I'm always welcome to ideas that will make me a better teacher. This is my first go at working during the summer. I'm trying to keep it fun, yet constant. I'm enjoying it so far.


Themes for summer school

I've decided to go with theme units, at least with my fourth grade students.

We'll start off with the farm, and then do camping next week. I'll bring a tent in from home, make up a fire, and bring in camping chairs, sticks, "roast marshmallows" eat smores, etc... We'll work on writing about both topics.. reading stories about both, and maybe acting out a play. I have one about farmers anyway.

For the final week of June I'll take some time and think about the theme for that final week. I'm considering allowing them to choose a theme, but I may not. It'll depend on cooperation, and enthusiasm.

Any ideas from the readers on a theme for the final week Any sources you know of that I could look at????


Proverbs -

I find these interesting... I've seen some cute ones that primary teachers have done with their students. If you have any of those to share, feel free.

By learning you will teach; by teaching you will learn.
-Latin Proverb

All good things come in threes.
-German Proverb

Luck is loaned, not owned.

A bird does not sing because it has an answer. It sings because it has a song.
-Chinese Proverb

It's not enough to know how to ride -- you must also know how to fall.
-Mexican Proverb

There is no shame in not knowing; the shame lies in not finding out.
-Russian Proverb

You can't see the whole sky through a bamboo tube.
-Japanese Proverb

The greatest love is a mother's, then a dog's, then a sweetheart's.
-Polish Proverb

Wait until it is night before saying it has been a fine day.
-French Proverb

And there are many more great bits of wisdom on this site:


A wise man once said

Never judge a book by its cover!

I know we've all heard this phrase before, maybe a thousand times. This simple phrase can be taken into so many contexts in life. We could simply look at it in physical terms and understand that we should try to read the pages in the book to truly gauge what the book is all about.

In a deeper sense, we can look at people in general, and try not to be as judgemental of them. The same thing applies with people, it's the stuff inside that matters the most.

Off of the soapbox, and onto other things. I try to learn new things every day. In fact today I learned that I'm not as young as I thought I was. My back has had problems in the past, but today it is to the most extreme it's been. Not the best way to start off my summer vacation, but I'll manage. It does seem to feel better once I loosen up during the day. If I'm on my feet it seems better as well. I do have LDDD (Lumbar Degenerative Disc Disease) but this seems more like a muscle pull than the discs.

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I'm still working on some ideas for summer school. I'm using Edhelper. com as one of my sources for material. I'll be teaching students from my normal grade (sixth) in the mornings, and fourth grade students in the afternoon. The sixth grade students will get to work on basic math operations and some reading comprehension, and also working on reading fluency.

The fourth grade students will concentrate on comprehension/fluency and also on the basic math facts.


Summer school

I signed up to teach summer school this year, and I'll begin doing that next Monday. I'm mainly going to be working on catching students up as much as possible in math, reading and writing. I've been able to spend some time getting a few lessons together for them. I'm still waiting for the final numbers to arrive. It should work well, having smaller numbers. That'll give me time to focus specifically on each student's needs.

I'm considering using a version of readers theater for one phase of the reading goal. I think we could have some fun with that.

I'm trying to put myself in the student's shoes, and I know they aren't feeling totally motivated about going to school in the summer. Hopefully they'll enjoy the first day, and I can energize them enough to gain some ground.

In August the second session of summer school begins, and I'll be trying to give the students attending a head start for the upcoming school year. This is the first year a summer session has been offered at our school, at least in the past ten years. I'll try to make this as successful as possible.