Literacy Scores Down? I Can Help

Welcome to my blog!

Literacy scores down? I can help. ElaineDonadio.com is an invaluable resource.

Need ideas for using my middle grade books? Please click here to visit my website/blog for lesson ideas and study guides. Tie-ins with science, social studies, and literacy.

*Whole class reading activity, much like a text book. I’m still a proponent of the balanced literacy and whole language movements where students imitate the activities of the characters in the books. The science presentations can act as a springboard to an actual student activity.

*Small group discussion. Each book can be presented to the rest of the class as a play, Readers Theater, science fact presentation according to chapter contents, individual reports, a multimedia presentation, chart presentations, etc.

*Independent reading and/ or book reports.

*Supplemental classroom reading can serve as material for class discussion, report or presentation.

*Multiple intelligences can be addressed by allowing presentations of the book plots or actual science or social study facts through the visual or performing arts. How bout a dance of the dolphins? Or a play about how creatures interact in their environments? A song telling the life cycle of an insect? A watercolor representation of the underside of a horseshoe crab? Creating a costume to demonstrate how creatures can be camouflaged in their worlds? A news flash detailing the dangers of fracking on the environment? A puppet show detailing the swamp biome?

*Instead of traditional text –books, use my books. Perhaps, the students can write letters to one another or to friends and family telling what they’ve learned. Create a class newspaper account of a day in the life.

*Brainstorm a combination of modalities to be presented at a school assembly.

*Utilize the formula poems found in The Ocean’s Way and The Ocean’s Way Poetry Companion as a model and have the students present facts in this same format.

*Conduct an author study to compare and contrast my books with one another or with books by other authors.

* Create a diorama or model to show relationships, life cycles, or habitats.

*Design a travel brochure for the places the book characters visit.

*Vote for a class president using the book characters as candidates.

 

Book Titles The Science Project, The Ocean’s Way, Who Do Voodoo?,
The Ocean’s Way Poetry Companion, 
Sojourn Into The Night-A Memoir of the Peruvian Rainforest

All titles are available for preview and purchase at Amazon and Barnes & Noble websites. Available in digital and paperback formats.

Questions? Call 718-746-0758 or click here to email.

All rights reserved April, 2018.

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What’s It All About? The Ocean’s Way Poetry Companion by Elaine Donadio

What’s It All About?

 

You can preview and purchase The Ocean’s Way Poetry Companion at Amazon or Barnes & Noble websites for a digital or paperback copy, or you can visit Smashwords.com for a digital copy.

The Ocean’s Way Poetry Companion

 

Enjoy a day at the beach as we walk through sand, jump the waves, hear sea birds calling to each other as sea creatures seek food and shelter in a wondrous, hidden ocean biome.

This book can stand alone or act as a companion to my middle grade fiction ebook, “The Ocean’s Way” which tells the story of eleven year old Holly’s learning experience with marine life in Florida. A sample chapter appears after the Glossary.

This collection of 37 unrhymed poems (anagram, diamante, tanka) about ocean-related topics  is classified and organized alphabetically and supported by beautiful color photographs for visual clarity.

An extensive Glossary contains definitions, parts of speech and a pronunciation guide.

The Beach–  coral reefs, sand, sea shells, tides, tsunami, waves

Marine Mammals–  dolphins, killer whales, manatees, pilot whales, polar bears, sea lions, seals, sea otters, walruses, whales

Marine Birds–  albatross, gulls, penguins

Marine AnimalsCnidaria–  jellies, sea anemones

Marine Reptile– sea turtles

Chelicerata Arthropods–  horseshoe crabs

Carnivorous Fish–  rays, sea horses, sharks, starfish

Decapod Crustaceans–  crabs, crayfish, hermit crabs, lobsters

Cephalopod Mollusks-  octopus, squid

Mollusks- clams, mussels, snails

My books are primarily geared to middle grade readers. They’re loaded with well-researched science facts and are appropriate for classroom study and/ or  supplemental or independent reading assignments with tie-ins for science, literacy and social studies. The secret of their success is their ability  and purpose in allowing the reader to have fun while learning—experiencing the world through the eyes of the characters—journeying with a friend, in a sense. Content area reading is what it’s all about.

Please visit my website ElaineDonadio.com  for study guides for this book. You can use the book for some of your answers, but you will have to do outside research, also.

Questions or comments? Please email me at author@elainedonadio.com. I’d love to hear from you.

Happy reading!

All rights reserved 2018.

 

Study Guide 5- Who Do Voodoo? by Elaine Donadio

Chapters 26-31.

Please see my Nov. 2, 2017 blog post for the updated study guide schedule.

You can preview and purchase Who Do Voodoo? at Amazon or Barnes & Noble websites for a digital or paperback copy, or you can visit Smashwords.com for a digital copy.

You might want to purchase a copy of The Ocean’s Way Poetry Companion to be ready for our next focus book on February 3, 2018.

 

Phil pulls his best friend Nestor into a real mess. His desire to play the role of hero endangers all involved. It’s touch and go for a while, with the future looking bleak. The force for good arrives just in time to save the group from a questionable fate. Phil avows that he has learned his lesson, but has he really?

 

These questions are based on Chapters 26-31.

 

1. Propose an alternative ending. Go as far back in the story as necessary to prepare a reader for the new ending. Use dialogue and narrative.

2. Elements of Mystery

Characters     – the detective, the culprit, and minor
characters who provide clues
Suspects         – the characters who are possibly  guilty
Setting             – a place that lends itself to a feeling of
uneasiness and concern
Problem         – a crime or puzzle is presented
Plot                   – the clear beginning, middle, and end of the story; clues and false clues (distractions) are presented
Distractions  – lead the detective away from the truth; also called red herrings
Suspense        – events that make the reader worry about the main character(s)
Solution          – all necessary clues must be included in the story so the detective   and the reader can participate in a satisfactory unriddling

 

Analyze and apply the elements of mystery with details found in the book. See how the story follows the genre requirements. Be sure to re-write the list of elements and assign specific events from the story next to the element that it exemplifies.

 

3. Now, create your own mystery story. First, make a story outline by using the elements of mystery as listed in Question 2 and fill in your own ideas. Write at least 500 words. Be sure to use dialogue and narrative.

 

4. You can imagine Phil’s parents’ reactions to hearing the story of their son’s imprisonment at the hands of such unscrupulous people. Create a dialogue between Phil and his mother after Phil returns to New York City.

Phil:
Ms. Williams:
Phil:
Ms. Williams:
Phil:
Ms. Williams

Now keep the conversation going.

 

5. Let’s take a good look at the story. Which characters are essential to the plot? Why? Think of two characters whose presence does not change the story in any way. What roles do these characters play in the story?

Take a look at Phil’s poem about New Orleans found in the last pages of Chapter 31. Use another modality to express Phil’s perceptions of this beloved city. Compose a song, draw a picture, design an outfit, construct a model or write a play to capture Phil’s memories  of his experience.

True or false? If Phil were to be in the same set of circumstances in the future, he would act exactly the same as he does in the story. Support your answer.

 

Spoiler alert: I will not be providing the answers for the questions. If you’re a serious adventurer, then you will discover the world on your own. Support all your answers with facts found in the book or your own research where required. Seek and you shall find!

You can email Elaine Donadio at author@elainedonadio.com

Next: The Ocean’s Way Poetry Companion Study Guide 1. See you on February 3, 2018!

All rights reserved 2017, 2018.

 

Study Guide 4- Who Do Voodoo? by Elaine Donadio

Chapters 21-25.

Please see my Nov. 2, 2017 blog post for the updated study guide schedule.

You can preview and purchase Who Do Voodoo? at Amazon or Barnes & Noble websites for a digital or paperback copy, or you can visit Smashwords.com for a digital copy.

 

Phil has discovered the hidden staircase to the basement. Nestor reluctantly follows Phil’s lead. Phil’s happiness in discovering his imprisoned family members is cut short by the arrival of the family of imposters. They demonstrate that they mean business causing Phil’s attitude to change from bravado to fear and regret.

 

These questions are based on Chapters 21-25.

1. Phil has found the secret passageway to the basement. Phil is acting brave and confident. Nestor goes along, but expresses doubts about their safety. Build a case for Phil’s bold actions, and Nestor’s misgivings. Use facts from the story.

What was The Underground Railroad? List each state in the route. In which states would runaway slaves and conductors most likely and least likely find help? Why? Evaluate the success of this escape system. What influence did Harriet Tubman have on the lives of slaves and on the success of the North during the American Civil War? Pretend you are Harriet Tubman. Send a secret coded message to a loyal contact in the South, describing your latest success in sequestering a slave family on their journey from New Orleans to Ohio.

 

2. What surprises you about the actions  and behaviors of the family of imposters—Mabel, Sam and Angel? Track their behavior from the beginning to this point in the story.

3. In Chapter 23, Phil and Nestor find Aunt Delphine, Uncle Antoine, and Belle being held prisoners. This chapter does not have a happy ending. Re-write this chapter with an optimistic, but realistic conclusion.

4. In what ways are Aunt Delphine and Uncle Antoine different from the people who are impersonating them? What do their speech patterns and word choices tell us about them?

5. Use your imagination, but be realistic. Predict what might happen next in the story. Who are the characters who might miraculously appear in the nick of time to save the group from a very sad ending? What role might each of them play in the rescue?

 

Spoiler alert: I will not be providing the answers for the questions. If you’re a serious adventurer, then you will discover the world on your own. Support all your answers with facts found in the book or your own research where required. Seek and you shall find!

You can email Elaine Donadio at author@elainedonadio.com.

Next: Who Do Voodoo? Study Guide 5. See you on January 27, 2018!

All rights reserved 2017, 2018.

 

Study Guide 3- Who Do Voodoo? by Elaine Donadio

Chapters 14-20.

Please see my Nov. 2, 2017 blog post for the updated study guide schedule.

You can preview and purchase Who Do Voodoo? at Amazon or Barnes & Noble websites for a digital or paperback copy, or you can visit Smashwords.com for a digital copy.

 

Phil and Nestor visit Barataria Bay, a historical stronghold of famous pirates. Phil is inspired by this visit, and begins to devise a plan of action. Colette offers invaluable help. Phil’s investigation leads him to what he believes is the underlying motive behind the hoax that is being perpetrated. The puzzle pieces are coming together.

These questions are based on Chapters 14-20.

1. Explain the difference between a swamp and a bayou. Define wetlands, and give examples with definitions. What important roles do cypress and tupelo gum trees play in maintaining the wetlands ecosystem? What is an ecosystem?

Where does chewing gum come from, anyway? (Hint: not the store)

Why are wetlands important? How would the destruction of the wetlands affect the environment? Which creatures are capable of destroying the balance of nature in the wetlands of Louisiana? Explain.

In what ways does urban expansion impact wetlands and coastal regions?

 

2. Barataria Bay is an area rich in natural resources. Why would unscrupulous people have a special interest in acquiring rights in this location?

In many respects, Pirates Jean and Pierre Lafitte were shrewd businessmen, despite their mostly illegal practices. In what ways did they demonstrate their strategic thinking? Use details from the story and your own research to support your answer.

Phil envisions an action plan based on his findings about Jean and Pierre Lafitte’s tactical maneuvering. Predict some different ways Phil might implement the pirates’ behavior into a plan of his own.

The War of 1812—Which groups were involved in the conflict? Causes? Effects? Famous generals? Four men who later became US presidents? Why was the Battle of New Orleans fought after the peace treaty was being discussed? Britain and America both claim to have won the conflict known in America as the War of 1812. Defend or refute the claims of one of the sides of the conflict.

 

3. What is your opinion of Colette’s plan for the boys? What do you foresee going wrong?

What qualities are necessary to be a good detective? How do Colette, Phil, and Nestor measure up to this standard?

In your opinion, is the police officer’s presence at Daisy Dukes a coincidence or part of a plan? Support your answer.

Defend or refute Phil’s decision not to involve any adults in his investigation. Support your answer.

 

4. What is fracking? How is it harmful to the environment? What obstacles would opponents of fracking have to overcome in order to prevent corporations from overtaking land for their own purposes?

 

5. Jennifer, the waitress, appears as a hovering presence during Phil and Nestor’s visits to Daisy Dukes. What might her role in the story be? Is she a force for good, or for evil? Support your answer.

 

Spoiler alert: I will not be providing the answers for the questions. If you’re a serious adventurer, then you will discover the world on your own. Support all your answers with facts found in the book or your own research where required. Seek and you shall find!

You can email Elaine Donadio at author@elainedonadio.com

Next: Who Do Voodoo? Study Guide 4. See you on January 20, 2018!

All rights reserved 2017, 2018.

 

Study Guide 2-Who Do Voodoo? by Elaine Donadio

Chapters 8-13.

Please see my Nov. 2, 2017 blog post for the updated study guide schedule.

You can preview and purchase Who Do Voodoo? at Amazon or Barnes & Noble websites for a digital or paperback copy, or you can visit Smashwords.com for a digital copy.

 

Phil is hurt and embarrassed by the way he and Nestor are being treated by the St. Pierre family. He doesn’t understand their lack of love and concern and feels like a failure in the role of Icebreaker. Strange things happen and it is clear the boys’ presence is not wanted. Phil and Nestor do some sightseeing and have a wonderful time experiencing new things, and even manage to make a new friend. Phil makes up his mind to devise a plan to get to the bottom of the bizarro world in which he finds himself.

 

These questions are based on Chapters 8-13.

1. Why do you think Phil is so obsessed with being viewed as a hero? What qualities do heroes have that set them apart from other people? How are heroes generally treated in society? What examples can you think of where people went out of their way to destroy a hero’s life? If you don’t know any real life situations, use movie or TV heroes to answer the question. What conclusions can you make about the problems heroes might face?

2. What beliefs, practices and celebrations are associated with the residents of New Orleans? How are they the same or different from your family’s belief system? What would happen if your family moved to New Orleans? Send an email message to your best friend back home telling about a typical day in your new life.

3. What do the boys learn at Mardi Gras World? What conclusions can we draw from the care and attention that goes in to the Mardi Gras celebration? In your opinion, is it worth all the trouble? Defend your position.

4. The boys make a new friend, Colette, whose father is a detective with the New Orleans Police Department. What part could they play in helping Phil find answers to his questions? Predict some possible events that might occur now that these two characters have been introduced.

5. At this point, what clues do we have that something is very off with Phil’s relatives in New Orleans? Phil wants to stick around until he can get to the bottom of all this strange behavior. To which clues has Phil not paid enough attention? What recommendations can you make to help Phil figure out what’s going on? Why do you believe the St. Pierre family is acting so strangely? Support your answer.

 

 

Spoiler alert: I will not be providing the answers for the questions. If you’re a serious adventurer, then you will discover the world on your own. Support all your answers with facts found in the book. Seek and you shall find!

You can email Elaine Donadio at author@elainedonadio.com

Next: Who Do Voodoo? Study Guide 3. See you on January 13, 2018!

All rights reserved 2017, 2018.

What’s It All About? Who Do Voodoo? by Elaine Donadio

What’s It All About?

Series: The Montgomery School Kids

Book Three –  Who Do Voodoo?

You can preview and purchase Who Do Voodoo? at Amazon or Barnes & Noble websites for a digital or paperback copy, or you can visit Smashwords.com for a digital copy.

 

Who Do Voodoo? is a mystery intended for middle grade readers, especially 10-12 year olds.

Jesus and voodoo. Party and prayer. Love and betrayal. Twelve year old NYC boy, Phil Williams, struggles with conflicting messages when, entrusted by his grandmother in the role of Icebreaker, he visits estranged family in New Orleans as he sets out to restore the family relationship and ends up rescuing his great-aunt from the grips of death at the hands of an unforeseen evil presence. With his best friend, Nestor, in tow, Phil encounters a series of strange events. Is it Voodoo? Or scare tactics by mere mortals? And why?

Phil’s visit to the Land of Pirates results in a plan of action and determination to follow clues to solve the mystery. His investigations lead him to the source. Wanting to be viewed as a hero, Phil refuses to involve the police and unduly places everyone at the merciless hands of the culprits. Help comes from a hovering presence just in the nick of time.

Phil learns his strengths and weaknesses as he struggles to put the jumbled puzzle pieces in play. His appreciation of true friendship is apparent as his love of family and New Orleans are renewed.

He visits Jackson Square, St. Louis Cathedral, the French Quarter, Mardi Gras World, the crypt of the Voodoo Queen of New Orleans, Jean Lafitte Louisiana, the Audubon Aquarium and Riverwalk. Phil learns about Louisiana’s history, swamps and the state’s concerns for environment and wildlife. He now understands the far-reaching effects of “fracking” and why environmentalists and public safety representatives are so strongly opposed.

If Phil had it to do all over again, what would he have done differently? Probably nothing.

My books are primarily geared to middle grade readers. They’re loaded with well-researched science facts and are appropriate for classroom study and/ or  supplemental or independent reading assignments with tie-ins for science, literacy and social studies. The secret of their success is their ability  and purpose in allowing the reader to have fun while learning—experiencing the world through the eyes of the characters—journeying with a friend, in a sense. Content area reading is what it’s all about.

Please visit my website ElaineDonadio.com  for study guides for this book. You can use the book for some of your answers, but you will have to do outside research, also.

Questions or comments? Please email me at author@elainedonadio.com. I’d love to hear from you.

Happy reading!

All rights reserved 2018.

 

Study Guide 1- Who Do Voodoo? by Elaine Donadio

Chapters 1-7.

Please see my Nov. 2, 2017 blog post for the updated study guide schedule.

You can preview and purchase Who Do Voodoo? at Amazon or Barnes & Noble websites for a digital or paperback copy, or you can visit Smashwords.com for a digital copy.

 

Phil Williams and Nestor Ramirez are feeling very cool right about now—traveling by themselves to New Orleans on official family business. Phil is entrusted to be the Icebreaker to mend hurt feelings between Phil’s grandmother and his great-aunt. Nestor is along for the ride. Their optimism is quickly dashed by the strange reception they receive when they arrive in New Orleans.

 

These questions are based on Chapters 1-7.

1. Compare and contrast how Phil and Nestor are the same and different. Which one would you rather have as a friend? Why? Phil is disturbed by some things he’s experiencing. What clues do we have that something is amiss?

2. Suspense is when the reader feels anxious or worried about the characters and what might happen next. Which events in Chapter 3 – Chapter 7 help build suspense?

Tell about a time when you felt afraid or worried. What caused your nervousness? What steps did you take to calm yourself down? In what ways are Phil and Nestor’s actions the same or different from how you reacted when you were in a tense situation?

3. What does Phil hope to accomplish by his trip to New Orleans? Pretend you are Phil who is now able to send a text message to his parents. What would the text message say?

4. Things are not making sense at the St. Pierre household. List the strange things that are happening. What inconsistencies appear? What do you believe is the biggest clue that Phil might be in over his head? The boys are in a tough position. Phil is embarrassed by his family’s behavior. With hospitality sadly lacking, the boys are told to spend the day sightseeing. What alternatives, if any, are open to them?

In what ways do Madame Destiny’s words tie-in with the strange events the boys are encountering?

Predict some things that might happen later in the story. Support your answer with details from the book.

5. We know Angel has beady eyes, but that’s all the description we have. Design a T-shirt with the face you imagine for Angel in the center, surrounded by five words or phrases that tell what he’s all about.

Describe Phil and Nestor’s friendship. What do you notice about the way they treat each other? What can we learn about friendship from observing their behavior?

 

Spoiler alert: I will not be providing the answers for the questions. If you’re a serious adventurer, then you will discover the world on your own. Support all your answers with facts found in the book. Seek and you shall find!

You can email Elaine Donadio at author@elainedonadio.com

Next: Who Do Voodoo? Study Guide 2. See you on January 6, 2018!

All rights reserved 2017, 2018.

Study Guide 5- The Ocean’s Way by Elaine Donadio

Chapters 14-18.

Please see my Nov. 2, 2017 blog post for the updated study guide schedule.

You can preview and purchase The Ocean’s Way at Amazon or Barnes & Noble websites for a digital or paperback copy, or you can visit Smashwords.com for a digital copy.

This is the last study guide for this book. You might want to purchase Who Do Voodoo? to be ready for our next focus book for January.

Holly and Jasmine have experienced many changes. Holly in particular is deeply affected by what she has learned about dolphins and pilot whales giving her a new understanding of how each person can contribute to the balance of nature and the preservation of the environment.

 

These questions are based on Chapters 14-18.

 

1. List at least five facts you learned about manatees. What has the state of Florida done to insure their safety?

2. List at least five facts you have learned about pilot whales. In what ways are pilot whales like humans? In what ways are they different? What is it about pilot whales that make them so vulnerable? What other creatures can you think of whose behaviors could lead to their own downfall?

3. How are donations used to help rescued sea creatures in Florida? Why do you think the government and people of Florida attach so much importance to maintaining the safety of the wildlife in their state?

4. Design a fundraising campaign in your school and/ or community to help raise money to help in the rescue of stranded sea creatures. Decide how to raise the money. Create a poster. Research marine rescue organizations. Choose one to be the recipient of your monetary gift. You do not actually have to put this plan in practice, but please do the plan either way.

Which creatures need rescuing where you live? What could you do to help?

5. Take a look at Holly’s poem about the ocean on the last two pages of Chapter 18. Explain Holly’s fascination with the ocean. Design a T-shirt to capture Holly’s message using a slogan, images, and words to attract attention.

6. Holly and Jasmine have both changed from the beginning, middle, and end of the book. How has each one changed? What influenced these changes? Do you believe these changes are temporary or permanent? Support your answer.

If you had to choose one thing to change about yourself, what would it be? Make a decision now to accomplish this goal. Research. Analyze. Plan. Do.

 

Spoiler alert: I will not be providing the answers for the questions. If you’re a serious adventurer, then you will discover the world on your own. Support all your answers with facts found in the book or outside resources. Seek and you shall find!

Next: Who Do Voodoo? Study Guide 1. See you on Dec. 30, 2017!

You can email Elaine Donadio at author @elainedonadio.com

All rights reserved 2017.

Study Guide 4- The Ocean’s Way by Elaine Donadio

Chapters 10-13.

Please see my Nov. 2, 2017 blog post for the updated study guide schedule.

You can preview and purchase The Ocean’s Way at Amazon or Barnes & Noble websites for a digital or paperback copy, or you can visit Smashwords.com for a digital copy.

Holly and Jasmine visit marine parks and are treated like special guests. They learn a lot about dolphins, alligators, wetlands, ecosystems, the environment, and the balance of nature.

 

These questions are based on Chapters 10-13.

1. Go to the fourth page of Chapter 10. Answer the ten questions about dolphins. Include answers from Chapters 10 and 11, the Internet, and any source books you may have. Check your answers on the sixth page of Chapter 10.

2. Make a Venn Diagram to compare and contrast dolphins and alligators. If you had to live your life as one of these creatures, which one would you choose? Why?

3. What are wetlands? We learn that alligators are apex predators. Describe the food chain among the creatures of the Florida swamps.

4. What would happen if the Florida wetlands were destroyed? Explain the effects on the environment and ecosystems. How would the world be affected if alligators became extinct? How would the world be affected if dolphins and pilot whales became extinct?

5. Choose a creature living in the South Florida swamps. Research facts and list them. Using these facts, create a Tanka poem to tell about your creature. Use the Tanka poem about the swamp in Chapter 13 as a model. See the formula below.

Tanka Poem – 5 lines

Line 1  – 5 syllables
Line 2  – 7 syllables
Line 3  – 5 syllables
Line 4  – 7 syllables
Line 5  –  7 syllables

 

Spoiler alert: I will not be providing the answers for the questions. If you’re a serious adventurer, then you will discover the world on your own. Support all your answers with facts found in the book or your own research. Seek and you shall find!

All rights reserved 2017.

You can email Elaine Donadio at author@elainedonadio.com

Next: The Ocean’s Way Study Guide 5. See you on Dec. 31, 2017!

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