Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Book Review Tuesday: The End of the Line by Sharon McKay


The End of the Line by Sharon McKay

From the publisher:

Ordinary citizens risk everything to save a young Jewish girl in wartime Holland. 

Five-year-old Beatrix looks on in horror as the soldier forces her mother off the tram. It is 1942 in Amsterdam, and everyone knows what happens to Jews who are taken away by the Nazis. The soldier turns his attention to Beatrix, when suddenly, the ticket-taker, Lars Gorter, blurts out that she is his niece. With his brother Hans, the tram conductor, they manage to rescue the child from the same fate as her mother. 

The two elderly brothers realize that they are now in charge of the little girl. They are at a loss -- after all, neither one has ever married, let alone has children. They know that harboring a Jew could cost them their lives, but in desperation, they turn to a neighbor, Mrs. Vos, for help. But even these kindly rescuers cannot shield Beatrix totally from the horrors of war. 

Based on real events, this suspenseful novel vividly portrays the fear, uncertainty, and terror of the Nazi occupation in Holland. It is a story that reflects both the worst and best of humankind. A worthy addition to children's books about the Holocaust, The End of the Line will leave young readers to ponder how the most dreadful conditions can lead ordinary citizens to perform the most heroic acts. People like Lars, Hans, and Mrs. Vos, who risked their own lives to save Jews in wartime Europe, were later recognized and honored as "Righteous Gentiles."

Interest:  Ages 8-11

My Review:

I don't teach about WWII, so it's not been a priority on my get to learn about it list. I know that I learned something about it in high school, but it obviously didn't stick.  Years ago, I visited the Holocaust museum in Washington D.C. It has a lasting impression on me, but really didn't peak my interest. I didn't want to go out and learn a lot more about the war. But ever since I returned from my cruise this summer, I'm been rather fascinated with reading stories about WWII. While we were in Berlin, we went to Sachsenhausen Concentration Camp. Since then anytime I see a book about the war, I look to see if it might interest me.

As soon as I read the write-up of this story, I knew I wanted to read it.  When reading about stories of people that helped the Jews during the war, you don't often hear about what happened in Holland. At least I've never read anything. This was a fairly short story, it took me about an hour to read but the story was very well written and definitely gave me an idea of what the people of Holland had to go through to survive the war. I will say that there was a surprise at the end of the story that had me in tears.

This is definitely a story I would recommend to my students. It tells the horrific story of what happened to people of the Jewish faith, but in a way that a child would understand it. If you cover WWII in your classroom, this is definitely a story for lesson plans!

You can find more information about the book, including lesson plans on the publishers website.

You can get the book at the following retailers:


Thanks go out to Annick Press via NetGalley for a copy of the story in exchange of an honest review.




Saturday, January 17, 2015

Classroom Organization: Daily Work


As most of you know, I teach two different grades. I need a way to keep all my papers organized and I think I finally found the way!

I found this Rubbermaid organizer on clearance at Staples, but it was the only one they had. An associate looked in the system and none of the other local stores had any. So I hunted on eBay and found another one (LOVE that place!!).


I wanted to decorate the front, so I created a sign to fit across the front.  The front is about 13.5 inches, so I had to print two pieces of paper and glue them together. I didn't want a create in the top layer, so I have to make it 10.5 inches to leave room around the edge where the ink wouldn't print.


I glued the label on to the pattern paper and then cut out the dip on top.



I laminated it and then used double sided tape to adhere it to the organizer.


Inside the colored folders are classwork papers and homework.


I put the student's papers in horizontal (since there are more of them) and the answer key behind the papers going vertical. This helps to separate the papers within the folder.


Behind the colored folder is a manila folder that holds my unit tests.


 If you enjoyed this idea, please consider following me at Teachers Pay TeachersFacebookBlog Lovin'PinterestTwitter or Instagram.

For more Bright Ideas, be sure to check out the linky below!




Wednesday, January 14, 2015

The Real Teachers of Blog County



When you go to blogs you usually see classrooms that look perfect! We'd all like you to believe that our classrooms look that way all the time. Ha ha, I wish! Whenever I take pictures of my classroom, I make sure to straighten everything up so it looks perfect!  I've even gone back into my classroom during a school break to take a better picture of something because I didn't like the way it looked.

This is the way my classroom normally looks...


This is my teacher area. I try to keep myself organized with all my binders,  but I never find time to re-file my papers. This picture was taken the first day of fall break when I took 2 days to straighten it all back up again.  I don't think it has been this bad again...it only took me a couple of hours to straighten up during winter break.

There is hope for me yet, with 1.5 weeks into this quarter everything still looks pretty good!!


If you want to see more "hidden secrets" go to Second Grade is Out of this World and check out what everyone has posted!


Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Book Review Tuesday: Kitty Hawk and the Curse of the Yukon Gold


Kitty Hawk and the Curse of the Yukon Gold by Iain Reading

From the publisher:

Kitty Hawk and the Curse of the Yukon Gold is the thrilling first installment in a new series of adventure mystery stories that are one part travel, one part history and five parts adventure. This first book of the Kitty Hawk Flying Detective Agency Series introduces Kitty Hawk, an intrepid teenage pilot with her own De Havilland Beaver seaplane and a nose for mystery and intrigue. A cross between Amelia Earhart, Nancy Drew and Pippi Longstocking, Kitty is a quirky young heroine with boundless curiosity and a knack for getting herself into all kinds of precarious situations. 

After leaving her home in the western Canadian fishing village of Tofino to spend the summer in Alaska studying humpback whales Kitty finds herself caught up in an unforgettable adventure involving stolen gold, devious criminals, ghostly shipwrecks, and bone-chilling curses. Kitty's adventure begins with the lingering mystery of a sunken ship called the Clara Nevada and as the plot continues to unfold this spirited story will have armchair explorers and amateur detectives alike anxiously following every twist and turn as they are swept along through the history of the Klondike Gold Rush to a suspenseful final climatic chase across the rugged terrain of Canada's Yukon, the harsh land made famous in the stories and poems of such writers as Jack London, Robert Service and Pierre Berton. It is a riveting tale that brings to glorious life the landscape and history of Alaska's inside passage and Canada's Yukon, as Kitty is caught up in an epic mystery set against the backdrop of the scenery of the Klondike Gold Rush. 

Kitty Hawk and the Curse of the Yukon Gold is a perfect book to fire the imagination of readers of all ages. Filled with fascinating and highly Google-able locations and history this book will inspire anyone to learn and experience more for themselves as Kitty prepares for her next adventure - flying around the world!

My review:

I thought that the book started out a bit slow, but it quickly picked up about a few chapters into the story. One thing that you have to get use to is that the author has the main character talk to herself A LOT! I realize that we want to know what the main character is thinking, but it through me off a times because her thoughts were always in quotes.

I loved that the book included interesting facts that would enrich my students background knowledge. They learn facts about airplanes, whales, gold mining and the klondike. I think the story would appeal to both boys and girls because of the subject matter and adventure that the characters go on.

This is definitely going on my student bookshelf in my classroom. This is book 1 in the series. You can learn more about the rest of the series HERE. I'll definitely be adding the rest of the series to my bookshelf and recommending it to our librarian.

You can pick up a copy of the book at the following retailers:

Amazon | Barnes & Nobles

Thanks go out to the author for a copy of the book in exchange of an honest review.

Would you like to win a copy of this book? I have 3 paperback and 3 Kindle versions of the book to give away!


a Rafflecopter giveaway


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Interior Angles of Triangles and Quadrilaterals



We started our lesson by taking down notes in our interactive foldable graphic organizer. I project the notes on the overhead screen for them to copy. I then put a printed copy of the poster on my bulletin board.



Next I gave them this sheet of triangles and quadrilaterals and they colored in each of the corners.


The next step was to prove that the interior angles of a triangle were 180 degrees and 360 degrees for a quadrilateral.  The students tear of the corners of the shapes and put them together to form 180 or 360 degree combined angles, thus proving the angle sum theorem.


You can find this product in my TpT store here:



I've linked up with Mrs. Stanford's Class Hump Day Highlight linky. Click on the image to see what others are up to this week.








Sunday, January 4, 2015

Top 5 Blog Posts of 2014


I'm a little late linking up with Ideas by Jivey, but later is better than never!








13 Colonies Foldables


Clearly the overall winners were my classroom organization series so I'll be sure to include more of those this year!  I hope everyone had a great holiday season and good luck with the rest of the year!


Monday, December 29, 2014

Top 10 Instagram Pics of 2014


I hope that you are following me on Instagram, but if you are not you can still see what my top rates pictures were!



All straightened up and ready for the next quarter to start! #teacherorganization #teachersofinstagram #teachersfollowteachers
I do a lot of organizing while on our school breaks. I'll probably be going in this week too.


Come see how I made my cart go from drab to FAB! Cork board and border from @michaelsstores. #create2educate #teachersofinstagram #teachersfollowteachers http://amyalvis.blogspot.com/2014/08/classroom-organization-information.html
I love my cart! I keep all the things that I need each day on top of it so that I at least feel a little organized, LOL!


Time to unpack everything! School starts in a week. #teachersfollowteachers #teachersofinstagram

I hate that we have to pack up everything for our short summer, but you gotta do what you gotta do...


We did our moon phases foldable today. Tomorrow we get out the styrofoam balls and lamp. #teachersofinstagram #teacherspayteachers #teachersfollowteachers #sciencerocks

My kiddos love doing foldables and I try to have one for every topic that I teach.

I've now got 5 iPads. What are your favorite 5th and 6th grade math apps for student practice? #teachersofinstagram #teachersfollowteachers #ipad

I'm so happy that I got these from Donors Choose! We use them daily.

@target deals and steals. It was pretty picked over but I still got some good stuff! #teachersofinstagram #teachersfollowteachers

You can NEVER have too many school supplies!

My haul of paper from @staples for our interactive notebooks. Buy one get one free - bright paper packs. #teachersofinstagram #teachersfollowteachers #howteachersspendtheirpaycheck

I have been told by my students that doing their foldable on colored paper is much more fun than plain ol' white so I try to stock up when Staples is having a sale.

@michaelsstores right now!!

Everyone loves a good sale!

Ready for kids on Monday. #teachersofinstagram #teachersfollowteachers

Organization topics are probably my favorite thing to post!

A perk of having a mother that is a retired teacher is her offering to grade papers because she gets bored in the weekends!! I guess all the helping I did as a child is finally paying off! emojiemojiemoji #teachersfollowteachers #teachersofinstagram #momsrock

Gotta love my mom!