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When Good Grades Break Bad!

When Good Grades Break Bad!

The Report Card by Andrew Clements touches on a lot of hot topics that can bring about some lively class discussions. It is a great book to use in your classroom or homeschool for a whole class novel study, small book groups, or individual book studies.

We read a lot of books about the underdog, the kid fighting learning problems or disabilities in some way and they are fantastic in helping students gain empathy towards others that may struggle in different ways than we do. The Report Card flips the narrative and discusses what it may be like to be the smartest kid in class. What stigma does that give a student? How might it make them feel as much as an outcast as the student with a learning disability?

The Report Card also brings about the controversial topic of standardized testing and how it affects students of all abilities. How valuable are these tests? Do they cause more harm than good? My personal opinion is a resounding YES, but I digress for this book review. šŸ˜‰

From the Book Jacket:

Nora Rose Rowley is a genius, but don’t tell anyone. She’s managed to make it to the fifth grade without anyone figuring out that she’s not just an ordinary kid, and she wants to keep it that way.

But then Nora gets fed up with the importance everyone attaches to test scores and grades, and she purposely brings home a terrible report card just to prove a point. Suddenly the attention she’s successfully avoided all her life is focused on her, and her secret is out. And that’s when things start to get really complicated….

I offer a complete novel study to accompany The Report Card for use in the classroom or homeschool. The unit includes both a printable format and a Google Driveā„¢ format for use in a paperless classroom or with Google Classroom.

A report card laying on a desk

I think you will be hard-pressed to find a student who can’t relate to someone in The Report Card. This book will drive some great discussions in your classroom and will help students look at learning and testing in a different light and hopefully realize that a person is so much more than a test score or a grade.


Are you interested in reading about and sharing ideas with other educators on using children’s literature in your classroom? My goal is to bring together teachers and homeschoolers who teach grades 3-8 and use novels with their students. I’d love for you to join me to learn, share, and grow together!

Click here or the image below to join my Facebook group, Book Talk with The Teaching Bank!

Click to join Book Talk with The Teaching Bank


*The Teaching Bank participates in the Amazon Associate Program and earns a fee from qualifying purchases made on the Amazon.com site.

What Would You Do in Order to Achieve your Dream… for Freckles?

What Would You Do in Order to Achieve your Dream… for Freckles?

Judy Blume is a legend for telling humourous stories about the angst that kids face while growing up. Freckle Juice is yet another of her masterpieces. It is a great book to use in your classroom or homeschool for a whole class novel study, small book groups, or individual book studies.

Freckle Juice was first published in 1971. The story is one just about every kid can relate to, the desire to have something that a peer we admire has. In this case, Andrew wants to be just like his classmate Nicky who has freckles. The irony is Nicky would love to not have them showing that the grass is not always greener on the other side! Mix in a young entrepreneurial, Sharon and you have a funny story that kids will love.

From the Book Jacket:

More than anything in the world, Andrew Marcus wants freckles. His classmate Nicky has frecklesā€”they cover his face, his ears, and the whole back of his neck. But when Andrew asks Nicky where he got them, Nicky just says he was born with them. Some help he is!

Thatā€™s when Sharon offers Andrew her secret freckle juice recipeā€”for fifty cents, she promises, Andrew can look just like Nicky. His freckleless days are over! He rushes home to whip up the concoction. Grape juice, vinegar, mustardā€¦

But what starts out as a simple freckle juice recipe quickly turns into something disastrous. Andrew is still determined to get his freckles, and to show that pesky Sharon that she doesnā€™t know everythingā€”and he has the perfect solution! Or does he?

I offer a complete novel study to accompany Freckle Juice for use in the classroom or homeschool. The unit includes both a printable format and a Google Driveā„¢ format for use in a paperless classroom or with Google Classroom.

Blue-eyed boy with freckles

Just Blume does it again with Freckle Juice. It’s a great story for kids to ponder the “What if only I had…?” and how our desires can make us gullible to people trying to take advantage.


Are you interested in reading about and sharing ideas with other educators on using children’s literature in your classroom? My goal is to bring together teachers and homeschoolers who teach grades 3-8 and use novels with their students. I’d love for you to join me to learn, share, and grow together!

Click here or the image below to join my Facebook group, Book Talk with The Teaching Bank!

Click to join Book Talk with The Teaching Bank


*The Teaching Bank participates in the Amazon Associate Program and earns a fee from qualifying purchases made on the Amazon.com site.

How Long Can Fifth-Graders go with NO Talking?

How Long Can Fifth-Graders go with NO Talking?

Andrew Clements in the master of school stories that kids can relate to. No Talking, published in 2007, is no exception. It is a great book to use in your classroom or homeschool for a whole class novel study, small book groups, or individual book studies.

No talking, which won the California Young Reader Medal in 2010, is a humorous book about words unspoken, words spoken in anger, and especially about the power of words spoken in kindness. Andrew Clements has created a thought-provoking and entertaining novel that will appeal to the average fifth-grader.

From the Book Jacket:

“You have the right to remain silent.” However… 

The fifth-grade girls and the fifth-grade boys at Laketon Elementary don’t get along very well. But the real problem is that these kids are loud and disorderly. That’s why the principal uses her red plastic bullhorn. A lot. 

Then one day Dave Packer, a certified loudmouth, bumps into an idea — a big one that makes him try to keep quiet for a whole day. But what does Dave hear during lunch? A girl, Lynsey Burgess, jabbering away. So Dave breaks his silence and lobs an insult. And those words spark a contest: Which team can say the fewest words during two whole days? And it’s the boys against the girls. 

How do the teachers react to the silence? What happens when the principal feels she’s losing control? And will Dave and Lynsey plunge the whole school into chaos? 

I offer a complete novel study to accompany No Talking for use in the classroom or homeschool. The unit includes both a printable format and a Google Driveā„¢ format for use in a paperless classroom or with Google Classroom.

boy holding finger on lips to indicate be quiet

No Talking instills an inspiring moral message and creates vivid mental illustrations. The reader is led to be reflective of the type of language they use and how easily communication can be taken for granted. This is a book that can lead to many great class discussions. No Talking inspires and challenges students to become active critical thinkers of how language and communication play an integral part in our lives.


Are you interested in reading about and sharing ideas with other educators on using children’s literature in your classroom? My goal is to bring together teachers and homeschoolers who teach grades 3-8 and use novels with their students. I’d love for you to join me to learn, share, and grow together!

Click here or the image below to join my Facebook group, Book Talk with The Teaching Bank!

Click to join Book Talk with The Teaching Bank


*The Teaching Bank participates in the Amazon Associate Program and earns a fee from qualifying purchases made on the Amazon.com site.

Underdogs use the Power of Friendship to Become Freak the Mighty

Underdogs use the Power of Friendship to Become Freak the Mighty

Freak the Mighty by Rodman Philbrick is a must-read. Philbrick combines heart, adventure, suspense, drama, and heartbreak to make this an instant classic that all your students will love. This is a great book to use in your classroom or homeschool for a whole class novel study, small book groups, or individual book studies.

Freak the Mighty was first published in 1993. The tale is timeless. Max is an outcast. He feels stupid, too large, hated for the crimes of his father, basically unloved and all alone in the world. Kevin is smart and adventurous but has a disease that prevents him from doing all he wants to do. When Max and Kevin form an unlikely friendship they fill each other’s weaknesses with their own strengths to create Freak the Mighty. Together there’s no stopping them!

From the Book Jacket:

Max. Freak. Best Friends. Forever.

“I never had a brain until Freak came along…”

That’s what Max thought. All his life he’d been called stupid. Dumb. Slow. It didn’t help that his body seemed to be growing faster than his mind. It didn’t help that people were afraid of him. So Max learned how to be alone. At least until Freak came along.

Freak was weird, too. He had a little body-and a really big brain. Together Max and Freak were unstoppable.

Together, they were Freak the Mighty.

I offer a complete novel study to accompany Freak the Mighty for use in the classroom or homeschool. The unit includes both a printable format and a Google Driveā„¢ format for use in a paperless classroom or with Google Classroom.

Large boy holding smaller boy on his shoulders watching the sun set.

Freak the Mighty touches on so many topics: learning disabilities, family issues, low self-esteem, physical disabilities, adventure, heroics, and loss. It is a tale that just about every upper elementary to middle school student can relate to or empathize with. It will help them look differently at those that have been deemed the outcasts to help them unleash the gems that are hiding in plain sight.

Until 9/30/19, you can find Freak the Mighty in the Scholastic TAB Book Order for only $1. It’s a great time to stock up on this novel for your classroom!


Are you interested in reading about and sharing ideas with other educators on using children’s literature in your classroom? My goal is to bring together teachers and homeschoolers who teach grades 3-8 and use novels with their students. I’d love for you to join me to learn, share, and grow together!

Click here or the image below to join my Facebook group, Book Talk with The Teaching Bank!

Click to join Book Talk with The Teaching Bank

*The Teaching Bank participates in the Amazon Associate Program and earns a fee from qualifying purchases made on the Amazon.com site.

Discover The City of Ember

Discover The City of Ember

Where do we draw the line between doing what we’re told to do and doing what we know is right? The main characters Lina and Doon, in Jeanne DuPrau’s dystopian scientific novel, The City of Ember are forced to make this choice.

The City of Ember was first published in 2003 and made into a movie in 2008. It is the story of 12-year-old protagonists, Lina and Doon, who are forced to disobey the rules when they discover a way to potentially save the people of the failing city of Ember.

From the Book Jacket:

The city of Ember was created by the Builders to contain everything needed for human survival. It workedā€¦but now the storerooms are almost out of food, crops are blighted, corruption is spreading through the city and worst of allā€”the lights are failing. Soon Ember could be engulfed by darknessā€¦

But when two children, Lina and Doon, discover fragments of an ancient parchment, they begin to wonder if there could be a way out of Ember. Can they decipher the words from long ago and find a new future for everyone? Will the people of Ember listen to them?

I offer a complete novel study to accompany The City of Ember for use in the classroom or homeschool. The unit includes both a printable format and a Google Driveā„¢ format for use in a paperless classroom or with Google Classroom. it is a great book to use in your classroom or homeschool for a whole class novel study, small book groups, or individual book studies.

The City of Ember is a fascinating book that really makes you wonder and think. It is suspenseful and engages the reader to want to continue. This is the first book in DuPrau’s series and it ends with the reader wanting more. It is a great book to hook your reluctant readers to choose to continue the series on their own.

There are a lot of STEAM ideas that can be correlated with this novel and it will lead your students to examine what we may be doing to our Earth that may cause catastrophe down the line. It’s a great thought-provoking novel to use in the classroom, small groups, or in a homeschool setting.



Are you interested in reading about and sharing ideas with other educators on using children’s literature in your classroom? My goal is to bring together teachers and homeschoolers who teach grades 3-8 and use novels with their students. I’d love for you to join me to learn, share, and grow together!

Click here or the image below to join my Facebook group, Book Talk with The Teaching Bank!

Click to join Book Talk with The Teaching Bank


*The Teaching Bank participates in the Amazon Associate Program and earns a fee from qualifying purchases made on the Amazon.com site.