Monday, July 28, 2014

Monday Made It: Class Decor & Number Line Freebie

Back to School time puts me in a crafty mood! I have tried to start nibbling away at my to do list. Here are three little projects that somehow got done this week. I hope you find some inspiration!

My son is growing up! He decided this summer that he no longer wanted a lot of his action figures and Hot Wheels. After we passed the toys on to some younger boys, we were left with an empty rack of colorful bins. I wanted to find a use for this in my classroom, but the bins didn't match my black/red/white decor. 
So, I asked the hubs to pick up some black spray paint for plastics on his way home. I used the Valspar brand. It worked well, but let me warn you. Make sure that you are wearing long sleeves and disposable gloves. If you get this stuff on you, it is seriously hard to scrub it off! Here is how they looked in progress. 

I am really pleased with the final product! I used the bins to organize my school supplies. This area will mostly be for my parapro and myself. We will have easy access to materials for small groups and can see when we need to restock items. I can take zero credit for the awesome labels though. Those are the handiwork of Amy Groesbeck. You can check them out in her TPT store {HERE}

In fact, I liked these so much that I bought Amy Groesbeck's math bin label set, too. You can check those out {HERE}. I laminated them and added them to some Sterilite shoebox size containers using double sided tape. 





My hallway window had a ribbon curtain for the last two years. I liked it, but it didn't fill enough of the space. I can sew things like buttons or rips, but I don't use a sewing machine. I needed an inexpensive, easy fix. I used the same tutorial I used before to make my ribbon curtains. You can get all the step by step directions with clear pictures {HERE}. I made a change or two. I used 2 yards of black, red, and white tulle. I cut the strips 3 inches wide instead of 1 1/2 inches wide. Then, I just tied them around the tension rod in a repeating pattern. It looks even better in person than in the pictures. 
View from hallway
View from inside the classroom



The number line that I have been using in my classroom has seen better days! It may have been a hand me down from another teacher. I looked online but I couldn't find one that was the size or color I wanted. I also wanted to add in some skip counting features. So, I whipped up one of my own. 


  • I like it because it is fairly small and should fit all on one wall. 
  • I alternated black/red for even/odd or counting by twos.
  • Students can count by fives by saying the numbers with red stars above them.
  • Students can count by tens by saying the numbers with red stars in a black box above them.
  • This number line is for 0-120. You can grab your freebie {HERE}
Well, I must say that my first Monday Made It with 4th Grade Frolics has been a lot of fun. Have fun exploring all of the other awesome ideas on her blog {HERE}

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Getting to Know the Teacher Freebie

Many moons ago, I had a super sweet mama send me a survey in her son's folder on the first day of school. She wanted to know more about me, my likes, and my dislikes. Then, on my birthday, Christmas, Teacher Appreciation Day, and at the end of the year, she used my responses to get absolutely perfect gifts for me. I thought that was a wonderful idea!

Once my kids started school, I stole borrowed her idea. I always find it very helpful to have a list of gift ideas to pull from for their teachers (especially once my kids leave the school where I work and I don't know their teachers as well).

The computer that I had this stored on is no longer in use. So, this morning, I whipped up a new one. I thought you might like it, too. I included a color and b/w version.

If you don't have school age kids, this survey works well for your grade level teammates, too! I hope you can use it! You can grab your freebie {HERE}. :)




Tuesday, July 22, 2014

A Porcupine Named Fluffy Book Chat

Back to school means meeting lots of new people and learning lots of new names! I always read A Porcupine Named Fluffy by Helen Lester some time during the first week of school. This is sweet story about a porcupine named Fluffy who discovers in many amusing ways that he is far from actually being fluffy. So, he sets out to make himself fluffier. He tries all kinds of silly ideas! It isn't until he meets a rhinoceros who has an unusual name too that he decides being himself is alright. If you haven't heard the story before, here is a read aloud I found on YouTube.


I am working on a series of studies of books by Helen Lester. A Porcupine Named Fluffy is the first one. You can check it out in my TpT store {HERE} or by clicking on the picture below.

During the first week of school, we also read Chrysanthemum by Kevin Henkes.
Chrysanthemum also has lots of trouble with her name! Since Fluffy and Chrysanthemum have so much in common, why not compare and contrast these two texts? This week's freebie is a sample page from my new book study! Click the picture to download your copy! Enjoy!
Please stop by Deanna Jump's blog for more book chat blog posts! :)


Saturday, July 19, 2014

Close Reading Strategies

Close Reading is such a buzz word in education right now! (No, it doesn't mean holding the book close to your face as this picture may imply! hee hee) Close reading is reading text carefully and with intense purpose and focus. I have been using parts of the close reading method, but this coming year I want to try for full implementation. I had several dilemmas though.
  1. I only see my RtI students for a small amount of reading instruction time per day. After we gather our groups and review phonics and sight words, we have about 25 minutes of true reading group time left. So, how do I maximize the time? Is this enough time to implement Close Reading?
  2. These are RtI kids! How should I make this method accessible to them? They generally don't implement strategies well. I also needed this to work for multiple genres, too.
  3. They need (and I need) for these strategies to transfer over to their general classroom instruction time and independent reading time. What could I possibly give them that will be functional in all settings?
I have been mulling this over ALL SUMMER! Finally, an idea hit me! I want my students to be great readers, right? Why not use GREAT as their reading strategy acronym?!? So, here is what I came up with! 

G = Grab a text on your level.

This will work in all settings because with me they are given appropriate text to read, in class they have leveled texts to read, and during their independent reading time or A.R. time they check out books according to their assigned Lexile level. We will also go over strategies for how to tell if an unlabeled text is on your level. I think I will do a lot of the next steps using my Daily Common Core Reading Passages. You can purchase them individually by nine weeks or in a $ saving bundle in my store {HERE}.

R = Read the entire text.


This part we had already been implementing. We read the entire text all the way through without stopping for questions. We just sound out unknown words, use context clues as best we can, and keep chugging along until we've read it all. For this first read, our goal is just a general overview or the big idea of the text. 

E = Enjoy the details when you reread. 
In general, my kiddos initially resist the rereading portion of close reading. However, they do start to realize that their rereading wasn't as choppy and they can make better sense of the story the 2nd time around. This part is CRITICAL for gaining fluency and improving comprehension! Again, this will work for any genre. They will pick up more details about characters, theme, setting, sequence of events, etc. once they have read it through at least one other time. 

A = Annotate or mark the text.

Annotate is a big word, but kids love big words! I think with practice they can handle the word and the method, too. I am planning to use colored pencils, highlighters, highlighting tape, wiki sticks, and more to give them different annotation tasks. We will circle unknown words, put questions marks by parts we don't understand, number to sequence the story, underline story elements in different colors, and more. I think that a little daily practice will go a long way. The goal of course is to train them to think critically about what they read. They can't mark up their library book, but they can train themselves to mentally note when they see a word they don't understand. 

T = Text proof is found for every answer. 

To me, this one is as critical as the rereading. Whenever there is question about a text (whether it is written or oral), I am going to require my students to back up their answer with text evidence. If it is a literal question (Who? Where? What?), they will have to point to, circle, or refer to their evidence directly from what they read. If the question is inferential (How? Why? What makes you think that..?) they will have to find evidence to support their answer from clues in the text. For example, How do you think Junie B. felt when Lucille left her to chase Ricardo? I think that she felt angry BECAUSE the text says "I crossed my arms, stomped my foot, and did a huffy breath at Lucille". That is how people act when they are angry.

I put these images together along with some cut out letters to create this bulletin board. I even ventured into the school building during summer to grab this picture for you! You are welcome! ;)


Now, if you think that this set will be helpful to you, feel free to grab this freebie {HERE}! Please let me know what you think! It is my hope that these 5 strategies (leveled text, read entire, reread, annotate, and prove answer in text) will help our students become GREAT readers!


Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Giraffes Can't Dance Book Chat Fun

I love to start out the school year by reading Giraffes Can't Dance by Giles Andreae and Guy Parker-Rees! Kids come in to a new year with fears and presuppositions about what they can and can't do. This book is the perfect chance to get them to think of a new year as a fresh start full of possibilities! Gerald Giraffe is a terrible dancer (or so he thinks) until a wise cricket shows him that anyone can dance when they find the right music! 

I taught 2nd grade inclusion for a few years. I also used the different types of music and dancers in the book to discuss how everyone in our class was different and may need different things. We could all learn in our own way just as the animals danced in their own way!


I found a fantastic channel on YouTube. This artist has turned the poetry in the book into a song. LOVE IT! My sweeties love to watch video versions of books on our SMARTboard and this one is no exception! You can check out more awesome books set to music on the Fun Songs Guy's YouTube channel. {HERE}. I also have a Pinterest board full of video versions of books. You can check it out {HERE}.



I have no idea whose original idea this craft was. (Please let me know if you do so I can give proper credit.) I have made a few modifications to it over the years. I generally avoid painting due to the mess factor and time. Sadly, I never took any photos of all of the different versions that my students created, but my son loved hearing the story and volunteered to make his own version today. I gave him the book, crayons, scissors, glue, white paper, and a pack of construction paper, and let him go. This is his interpretation of Gerald's dancing under the moon and stars.
Again, what's a book chat without a freebie?!?  Here is a quick little story element organizer to go with your craft. Put it all together and you've got a couple of great centers! 1. Read the book. 2. Watch the video. 3. Make your craft. 4. Complete the organizer. Easy-peasy-mac-n-cheesy!  
Click HERE or on the picture to grab your freebie. 

You can read more book recommendations HERE at Deanna Jump's Book Talk Tuesday Linky Party!

Have a great day and remember the wise words of Gerald Giraffe, "We all can dance when we find music that we love." :)

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Thursday, July 10, 2014

Building Community in the Classroom

They were going to be the class of my dreams! I read over my new class list once more and beamed. They were all sweet pumpkin pies with glorious test scores and supportive parents! And then...something happened that would change everything! The principal asked to see me. She said that she needed to add another inclusion classroom to 2nd grade and I had been selected for that assignment. This would require some significant changes to my class roster. Neither one of us knew at the time just how many changes this decision would bring. Word travels fast in a small, rural community. Soon, parents were calling and asking to have their child transferred out of my room. They had heard that my room would include kids with special needs and they wanted their sweet pumpkin pie away from that kind of environment. It's ugly, but it's true, friends. My revised list looked nothing like how I had envisioned this year's group, but they would become my favorite class of all time.

Even before I met any of my students, the meetings started. I had meetings with advocates, DFACS, IEP teams, psychologists, and medical teams. My special needs students were well represented. Their every need was covered, but there weren't any meetings about how to prepare the rest of my class. How was I supposed to really "include" everyone in my inclusion class? How was I supposed to train them to react to medical issues, violent outbursts, or frustrating behaviors when they occurred? Well, I would like to share some of my discoveries with you. Some of them, I stumbled upon in a crisis. Others the kids themselves taught me. You may not be an inclusion teacher, but I would be willing to bet that you will have at least one child with special needs of some kind in your upcoming class. 

1. Heads Down/Eyes on Books  I didn't have to use this one much, but it worked when I needed it. The class and I talked briefly about how you would not want to have someone staring at you if you were having a seizure or were crying. We used this strategy for those times when a quiet, respectful environment was needed, but they weren't in any danger. We practiced it a few times when our special friends were out of the room. Then, one day, a child in our room with leukemia felt faint and could not walk to the clinic. All I said was, "Heads down. Eyes on Books." The kids grabbed their independent reading books from their desks, put their heads down on their desks, and silently focused all of their attention onto the books. Administration and the medical team arrived and were able to remove the child from class in a manner that protected his dignity. The team returned later to brag on how well the class behaved during a crisis. The students absolutely beamed!

2. Emergency Exit There were a couple of times when the classroom was no longer a safe environment. Again, this is occasionally the reality of  life with special needs children. An exit plan should be put in place. We had rehearsed this scenario in advance, too. So, one day, out of the blue, when a typically docile autistic student suddenly threw a chair. I only said to the class, "Emergency exit, please". They immediately lined up at the door farthest from the upset child, filed into the hall, and sat against the wall outside of our room. A designated student alerted the teacher across the hall. She called for back up and monitored my class until help could arrive. Things returned to normal quickly and no one was in harm's way. 

3. The Buddy System  This was one was a huge help with children with medical issues! For their protection, they could not go anywhere (media center, clinic, even the restroom) unaccompanied. The nurse met with a few other students and enlisted their help. She taught them how to tell if these students needed help and to how to find an adult if they saw any reason for alarm. To protect the students' feelings, they were not aware of our buddy system. David thought it was just a coincidence that Jacob needed to use the restroom, see the nurse, or return a library book at the same time that he did. Jacob, however, felt like a superhero with a secret identity! 

4. Our Secret Signal This one may be the best idea I ever had! While I did not violate any student's confidentiality or rights, we did have some frank discussions about possible disruptive behaviors they may observe and how to handle them. If this wasn't addressed, the classroom environment could quickly deteriorate and tattling could reach epidemic proportions. So, we instituted a secret signal. Our signal had three parts. I held up my finger to form the number one, placed it over my heart, and then lifted it up to my lips. Our signal meant, "This is one of those things that he/she cannot control. Act with love from your heart. Keep quiet." Here is a quick example that happened in my room that year. 
Child 1: We need to start work on this center now.
Child 2 (with Tourette Syndrome and OCD): I can't start until I do 25 jumping jacks.
Child 1: What? I'm going to tell...
Me: secret signal
Child 1 (winks and nods at me): Never mind. I understand. I will get us set up while you finish your jumping jacks.

That is the extent of the training that I gave them. The rest of the lessons were ones that they taught me. You may have heard people say, "Children can be so cruel." That is true. They can. So can adults. Like adults, they can also be remarkably kind! Here are just three of the many stories from that revolutionary year that will forever warm my heart! 

David had leukemia. All of his hair had fallen out and he had to wear a toboggan when his head got cold. I hadn't noticed his embarrassment about being the only one in class wearing a hat, but the little girl seated across from him did. So, one day, when he slid his hat over his head, he looked up and smiled because Megan was wearing a toboggan, too. No words were exchanged-- just smiles. The next day, their whole table was wearing toboggans. Soon, everyone in class was sporting toboggans. It just took the kindness of one observant little girl to bring about a dramatic change to our classroom. 

Andy had a rare form of muscular dystrophy. Due to his large, electric wheelchair, need for a high table, and space for additional staff, he had to sit in the back of the classroom. One day, I was approached by Tim (w/ ADHD) who wanted a favor. He said, "Can I maybe move to the back of the room with Andy? I think I could concentrate better back there and I could keep him company." I agreed to give it a try. They created such a bond with each other. Andy helped to keep Tim on task. Tim picked up anything Andy dropped and turned in his work for him. It was almost a symbiotic relationship. Then, Andy had to have surgery. He would not return for at least six weeks. I offered to let Tim return to a table closer to the front. He thought about it for a moment and declined. He said, "I would feel better staying back here. I am just going to save his seat until he comes back." I wish you could have seen Andy's face when he rolled back into class and Tim said, "You're back, buddy! I've been waiting for you!"

Tristen was autistic. He would only talk about Transformers. He never made eye contact with others. He talked to himself at lunch. The other children tended to avoid him. Then, thanks to a boy named Henry something miraculous happened. Henry was an amazing athlete. He was one of my top students. He wore the latest styles. He even had cool hair. The girls stared at him. The boys wanted to be like him. One day at lunch, Tristen put his hands over his ears and started rocking back and forth. That's when Henry noticed that some kids from another class were laughing at Tristen. Henry picked up his lunchbox and moved right next to Tristen. They didn't speak to each other. They just sat together and ate their lunches in silence. The next day, Henry sat next to Tristen again. This time, Henry's best friend tagged along. Before the end of the week, the entire "cool" table had relocated to Tristen's table. Henry sought out every opportunity to act in kindness towards Tristen. At field day that year, our class was finishing up our turn at the jump rope event. All of the other students had had their turn except for one--Tristen. The parents and their children were starting to move on to the next event. Then, they heard one solitary voice cheering, "Come on, Tristen! You can do it, buddy! Keep going!" Of course, it was Henry. The kids all dropped their water bottles and came running back to help. Seventeen children cheered while Tristen smiled and awkwardly jumped rope. I looked up and saw tears streaming down Tristen's mom's face. Henry's mom cried and walked over to hug her.  That is the moment that solidified their standing as my favorite class of all time. Were they what I expected? NO! Were there hard days? More than a few! I may have learned more from them than they learned from me that year. The lessons of friendship and community last. Community can't be forced. It reminds me of tending a flower garden. You have to provide the right environment. Model patience and acceptance. Put safety procedures in place. Then, watch it flourish. You may find extraordinary blooms in unexpected places. 

At the close of this past school year, I attended my daughter's awards ceremony at the middle school. Tristen's name was called out for an award. He walked to the center of the gym floor and proceeded to bow multiple times. Some students and adults ignorantly snickered, but above their attempts to suppress  their giggles, I heard loud clapping and a voice I would know anywhere call out, "WAY TO GO, TRISTEN!"  My eyes welled with tears and I whispered, "You tell 'em, Henry!" 

Monday, July 7, 2014

Comparing and Contrasting

Have you seen stares as blank as the copy of a Venn diagram on the table in front of them? I know that I have. Some students can generate similarities and differences like nobody's business. Others don't even know where to even begin. So, what's a teacher to do? Well, in this post, I have a few differentiation tips, a new product, a literature suggestion, and a freebie to share with you.  

Here are a few quick tips that I have stumbled upon during my years in inclusion and RtI instruction.
  1. Accept that some tasks are too difficult for some children without providing some scaffolding for their thought processes. There are children whose intellectual capabilities limit them from being able to complete higher level or critical thinking tasks without some kind of accommodations or assistance. Thinking ahead about their needs is vital for their success. Many of these same students can compare and contrast if given only minimal help. 
  2. Guiding questions can make a huge difference! I have often been surprised at the thoughtful responses my struggling students have given when they are answering only one question at a time. The size of the task was manageable for them.  When working in a small group, I ask guiding questions. Sometimes I pass out a list of questions on a strip of paper. I have also posted them on a pocket chart or the SMARTboard. Some examples would be: How does each animal move? Who was the main character? Where did each story take place? When was this person born? Students refer back to the text or texts in search of the answers. They aren't being expected to pull these ideas out of thin air. 
  3. Cut and Sort:  Providing students with cut and sort information is a great starting point for training them to recognize similarities and differences and organize their information. Many students who cannot generate the information on their own can correctly identify if the statement is true for only one subject or for both subjects of the task. 
  4.  This and That Rule: I try to model organizing thoughts by using a this and that rule. When students have found an answer for this person, event, text, etc. I show them that often they are looking for antonyms for that other person, event, text, etc. For example, if this text says that ants  are insects then they are trying to find a word in that text that shows that spiders are __________. (arachnids) This information is then matched up on the graphic organizer. This helps aid comprehension by organizing the information for quick recall. 
  5. Use a variety of graphic organizers.  Some students struggle with Venn diagrams, but the connectivity of a double bubble makes better visual sense to them. You may need to experiment with various formats: T-charts, double bubbles, check off sheets, highlight or color code. Students need to understand that Venns are not the only way to express alike and different. 
  6. Use visuals and pictures.  Many students can come up with similarities and differences when they have a visual example to look at. For example, a student could tell you that a horse and a cow both have long tails and walk on four legs just by viewing the picture. 
  7. Require meaty answers.  Don't let struggling students off the hook with easy answers. If you are comparing alligators and crocodiles, do not accept that one of their names starts with an A and the other starts with a C. They will try to get by on that level of thought! Ask them if that information is about the actual animal or just its name. Refocus their attention on the task. They will generally come through with a better response.
Here is a little peek at what is included in my newest TPT product. There are anchor cards, original texts (color and b/w), and various comparing and contrasting exercises based on the text. I am really excited about implementing this next year! I hope it will be useful to you, too. You can check it out {HERE}.
My favorite part of this pack is the culminating activity/center/assessment part! Students are given blank double bubble maps and a set of picture choices. They choose the pairs that they want to compare and contrast based on their prior knowledge of the subjects. My sweet son helped me out with this one again. He LOVES animals so those are the images that he picked. I love how this one is basically differentiated by the students themselves! 

My nature lovin' son brought home an A.R. book to read that was amazing! I may have said, "Good gravy, boy, you know how to pick a great book!" There is a series of books called "What's the Difference Between?" They compare and contrast two animals that people often confuse such as alligator/crocodile, frog/toad, butterfly/moth, leopard/cheetah, and many more. They are written by different authors, but are all illustrated by Bandelin Dacey Studios. The one my son checked out from the library compared turtles and tortoises. 
I love the layout of the pages. For instance, the left side had a full page illustration and text about the habitat of the turtle. The right side had a full page illustration and text about the habitat of the tortoise. It is just made for modeling comparing and contrasting with a graphic organizer. You may want to ask your media specialist to purchase this series for your school. 

If you happen to have access to this amazing book or if you want your students to do a little research, I have a double bubble freebie for you. It comes with a blank venn and cut/paste clues for differentiation. This is how the completed venn will look if you use the differentiated method.  Click {HERE} or on the image to download your copy. 
You can see more great book recommendations at Deanna Jump's Book Talk Tuesday linky here.

What have you found to be helpful when teaching comparing and contrasting? Please share any advice you have. I love to hear from you!

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Our Favorite Authors: Implementing Author Studies in the Classroom

Did you ever run through the library to see if your favorite book was on the shelf? Have you ever said, "Preorder? Yes, please!" to your computer screen? Then, chances are you have had a favorite author. Your students are no exception to this rule. Which books do they rush to grab from the book baskets or bookshelf during Read to Self time? You know which ones! That is why you stock up on those books when they are the $1 book in the Scholastic flyer or in a collection pack at Sam's Club. 

Would your students like to be introduced to more books by their favorite authors or even learn more about the life of the author? Maybe an author spotlight is a feature that you want to add to your classroom next year. It can be very easy to set up and maintain. Here is a quick example I created about Kevin Henkes with labeled instructions for implementing this idea in your room, too. 
Sorry this picture isn't cheerier. It is summer and this was taken in my home office. I refuse to step foot into the school building until August! :)
1. The chart paper I had at home isn't lined. So, I improvised by adding some printed words and clip art (Thanks, Melonheadz!)
2. I found a picture of Kevin Henkes through Google images and printed it out.
3. I added his biography from my new Authors in the Spotlight pack.
4. I scanned some of my book covers and printed them out.
5. I placed all of the books by Kevin Henkes that I had here at home in a basket. 
6. I added a touch of whimsy with a stuffed character. I ordered this Penny doll this week because my RtI students are starting out the year reading Penny and Her Song.
7. Kids love choices! So, each red folder contains a different activity from my new pack. Students can choose how they want to respond to what they read. Find out more below! 

I just added this set of biographies and activities to my TPT store. The activities included are completely generic and can be used for any author study. Right now, the pack features biographies (color and b/w) for Jan Brett, Eric Carle, Doreen Cronin, Roald Dahl, Theodor Seuss Geisel, Kevin Henkes, Ezra Jack Keats, Ruth Krauss, Beatrix Potter, David Shannon, Mo Willems, and Margaret Wise-Brown. If you are interested in this pack, you may want to purchase it soon. I will be adding more biographies to the set when the artist is finished creating more images and the price will increase. If you buy it now, you can download any updated versions for free!

Here is a sneak peek at one of the activities in this set! Many thanks to my sweet soon to be second grader for his help on this one! It is summer after all, but he was a good sport about it! I did let him dictate his sentences though. ;)
Which author's books are a must have in your classroom library? I know that my room couldn't function without the works of so many talented authors! It is hard to choose a favorite!

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

America the Beautiful Book Chat and a Freebie

In 1893, an English professor named Katharine Lee Bates was traveling westward by train. She visited various sights on her journey. From the pinnacle of Pike's Peak, the words to a poem began to take shape in her mind. When she returned to her hotel room, she penned the text for "America the Beautiful". Now, more than 100 years later, her great-great-grandnephew has illustrated her lyrics in a wondrous book.


While I adore the lyrics and have sung this song since childhood, the illustrations absolutely steal the show. Chris Gall has woven American history into the book in a beautiful manner. Each page features an important event in history or a trait of America. He included an "About the Artwork" page in the back of the book that explains the historical significance of each page. These are two of my favorite pages from the book. 
The last page's illustration shows the events of May 10, 1869 when the Transcontinental Railroad was completed at Promontory Summit, Utah.

The line, "Who more than self their country loved and mercy more than life" includes an illustration of the NY firefighters on September 11, 2001. 


This YouTube video is also another great way to incorporate "America the Beautiful". The lyrics are read to a montage of some spectacular American images.



Again, what's a book chat without a freebie? This little opinion writing organizer has the main idea in the middle and four supporting details. Click {HERE} or on the image to grab your copy. Make sure to stop by Deanna Jump's book chat linky party for more great recommendations. Have a blessed fourth of July, y'all!