Ugly Beauty

A Giant Robber Fly Face (picture taken by scientists at under a scanning electron microscope at the University of Oklahoma) This is the bug my students captured and sent in to be judged. We did not win

Back in September my students and I scoured the school grounds in order to find the ugliest native Oklahoman bug we could possibly locate. (See my first blog about this HERE)This fellow won their votes (I believe he was named Harry). We wrote a paragraph describing our bug and sent him away for judging.

Four looong months later, they finally announced a winner…and it was not the H.P. Robber Fly. But isn’t his picture awesome??

To see more great ugly bugs, check out the winners, and learn more about this great science contest Go To: http://www.uglybug.org

Here is our essay about old Harry Boomer Bug…Remember, we wrote this within a few weeks of school starting and 80 students had a say in what went into this short draft. I am very proud of what they put into this! ENJOY:

Our Ugly Bug contestant is a Giant Robber Fly. Giant Robber Flies are known by the Latin name “Promachus”, which translated to ‘Promachos” in Greek means ‘Champion.” Also known as a Bee Killer or an Assassin Fly, the Giant Robber Fly is classified as follows:

Kingdom – Animalia
Phylum – Anthropoda
Subphylum – Hexapoda
Class – Insecta
Order – Diptera
No Taxon (Orthorrhapha)
Superfamily – Asiloidea
Family – Asilidae
Subfamily – Asilinae
Genus – Promachus

Robber flies live in dry, not cold, habitats that include short grass and sparse plant life.

A few interesting facts about these bugs are that they eat other (larger) insects, have three simple eyes between their two compound eyes, and that they are hatch in the winter and later will die in the winter. These insects also do not have a mouth. They use their proboscis as both an injector of poisoned saliva and as a straw to suck their liquified food through.

We found this Giant Robber Fly (named Harry) behind the playground equipment in a sparsely vegetated area at the edge of a wooded space. This area is full of multiple species of insects such as mustard bugs, grasshoppers, praying manti, and dragonflies.

Thank you for your time and consideration in this contest. We hope you enjoy Harry’s ugly whiskers!

Sincerely,

The 5th Grade Class of Highland Park Elementary

Advertisements

PHEW! One Down…

I want to thank everyone for showing such patience and restraint (Or just ignoring me) while I have been mostly absent from the blog the past several weeks. As I’ve mentioned once or twice, my students and I have been madly reviewing and preparing for the State Writing Test…which happened this morning.

I am incredibly proud of all the hard work and obvious thought that my kids have put in to preparing for, and partaking in, today’s test.

Now we are moving forward with

A) MORE SCIENCE! I am super excited to get into more hands on science work with these guys. Their curiosity and creativity pushes us all to new heights.

and

B) Publishing our own book of Short Stories, written by the Highland Park 5th Grade of 2015 and edited by Tyree Tomes. Its a great thing!

Thank you again, I hope to bring more non-school related posts to you soon! Have a Whimsical Wednesday!

Lost and Found

Dr. Tyree’s first book, Lost and Found, is currently FREE for digital download! This book takes a look at things LOST in the Garden of Eden and FOUND through Christ’s sacrifice.

A great, Biblically based read for all those interested, I highly recommend Lost and Found by Dr. Wilson Jay Tyree.

We also currently have a contest running on our Facebook, Tyree Tomes, and the winner will get their choice of a personalized/autographed copy of any book from our current catalogue. Head on over to find out more!

Have a GREAT DAY!

Writing Affirmation in the Classroom

I AM an author I KNOW how to WRITE The WORDS LIVE in ME And My Story WILL BE AWESOME

I AM an author
I KNOW how to WRITE
The WORDS LIVE in ME
And My Story WILL BE AWESOME

I just wanted to pop today and share a little piece of joy with you. I currently have 83 students in my 5th grade writing program. Our state test is this coming Tuesday. We (meaning me) are starting to really feel the pressure. So today, before beginning our practice test, I am leading my students in two ‘echo’ exercises. #1 is our (almost) daily tradition of S.W.B.A.T. (Students WILL Be Able To…) followed by the lesson’s standard. For example, my board today states “S.W.B.A.T. – Follow a Prompt and Write a Narrative.”

After that rousing chorus, as the students are turning to begin their work, I am calling their attention back to the other side of the board and leading them in the echo of “I AM an AUTHOR! I KNOW how to WRITE! The WORDS LIVE IN ME! MY STORY WILL BE AWESOME!”

Each class is given the opportunity to repeat this after me 3 times. The first time they are hesitant, not really sure what I’m doing. The second time they are slightly more confident but still not so sure of themselves and their abilities. The third time though…OH THE THIRD TIME! Their voices ring proud, strong, and true and you can just tell that they know what is what now. They are enthusiastic, they are pumped, and THEY ARE AUTHORS!

It is an amazing thing to see and hear and I am so very proud of each and every one of my kids. So proud, in fact, that I took a few moments out of an unexpected ‘free’ period to announce it to you!

Please keep in mind all of the kids across the states, and the world, who are about to start taking these tests. Encourage those you can and think of those you can’t. Sometimes a little affirmation goes a long way.

Live Like the 80s…the 1880s

*disclaimer* I wrote this to show as an example to the students on Friday. They are writing a practice narrative essay about having a ‘no screen’ (or modern tech free) day.

“Why is it,” Jedidiah mused, “that these people get such a kick out of visiting our little place?”

Thunder, his grey streaked stallion, just snorted and shook his head impatiently as the two stood at the roadside, waiting on yet another giant sport utility vehicle to pass through the gate. The humming of their motors were some of the only mechanical sounds emanating from the surrounding acreage and soon, even those were silenced. People came from miles around to spend a day in the country and learn what they termed ‘the old ways.’

Signal interrupters placed strategically throughout the farm allowed for no reception on cell phones, even ‘myfi’ wouldn’t work for their computers and smartphones! No television sets adorned the living room tables or the guest room wardrobes. There weren’t even modern radios! Instead of mp3 players or a boom box, the radios provided were from the early part of the 20th century, and not many AM stations play Lady GaGa or Taylor Swift.

Chuckling at the city kids who were hanging out of SUV windows, Jed waved his hat and smiled cordially. “City Folk,” he mumbled to himself, “Don’t even know a horse when they see one!”

“Time to get to work Jed,” Karl laughed, swinging through the gate on a buggy, “Let’s show these folks what a day looks like when you aren’t staring down at a screen all day long!”

Buffy and Biff

Dr. Tyree’s current freebie: Buffy and Biff: An Unfortunate Relationship is available right NOW for FREE DOWNLOAD! This is a great conversation starter with teens and tweens about keeping yourself pure and away from promiscuity! Using the Bible for his proofs and basis, Dr. Tyree approaches this sensitive topic with grace.

Go get yours today! As he says…This is Zero Shades of Grey!

And don’t forget to head on over to Facebook and ‘like’ Tyree Tomes for more frequent updates on our free giveaways. We are only 3 ‘likes’ from our first HARD COPY GIVEAWAY! One lucky Tomer will win their choice of a physical copy of one of our books.

Mending a Broken Heart

My Q&A a Day journal has some deep and meaningful questions sprinkled throughout its pages. Yesterday’s was the incredibly thought provoking “Write Down the Cure for a Broken Heart.”

I was stymied for a minute or two before coming up with this answer:

Pray it out, Write it out, Cry it out, Cuss it out, and burn it all back together with chips, salsa, and action flicks. 

Now I want to know what your advice would be. Since the journal only allows for two or three small lines per answer, I want your response to be condensed into just a few short sentences. I hope none of you are currently dealing with this issue but…let me have it….How do You Cure a Broken Heart?

Q&A A Day

I am so excited to bring to your attention today a truly interesting journal. Now I know that some of you might be thinking, “But I don’t journal!” or maybe even, “I don’t like to write!” (*shudder*) That’s ok! This journal is built for quick, short, and to the point responses!

just about 4 lines per year...5 years per day! The perfect place to catch snippets of your life and how things change!

just about 4 lines per year…5 years per day! The perfect place to catch snippets of your life and how things change!

Photo on 2-13-15 at 7.14 PM #3

Q&A a Day by Potter Style is not just a fun and interesting take on journaling, it is also comes in an elegant and handy cover. The hard bound burlap colored book (designed by Danielle Deschenes) is approximately 6″ x 4″ and sports beautiful gilt edged pages. The text design by Judy Stagnitto Abbate is, in my opinion, the perfect mix of elegant classicism and modern sass, creating a very modern retro vibe that can be comfortably carried in a handbag or left on a bed side table.

      Cover Photo for an absolutely intriguing journal!

I am very much looking forward to seeing how my answers change and evolve over the next five years…and with questions like “Who was the last person to make you angry?”, “What’s the Most Creative Thing You’ve Done Recently?”, and “What’s your favorite accessory?” I can’t help but feel like this will be a treasure to keep for more than just the next five years! This may be an item that can, once filled out, be passed on down through generations because, regardless of writing talent, it will offer tid bits about Mom/Dad or Grandma/Grandpa (Or even great-aunt Jo) that may never come up in general conversations!

I give this book a heart-felt 5 out of 5 dragons for both cover and content! Hurry and go grab your own: You start on whatever day you get the journal and just keep going!

Hope this review was helpful for you! Have a marvelous and Blessed Valentine’s Weekend 2015!

The First Mythical, Magical, Inter-Species Taco Stand

Today, much like every other day for the next 2 weeks, my classes are concentrating on refreshing their minds, spirits, and creative fingertips on narratives. For those few hundred readers out there that are NOT 5th or 8th grade writing teachers in the state of Oklahoma, let me fill you in really quickly…state tests for writing are beginning on february 24th, the prompts include reading passages (2 passages and a prompt usually), and they state just announced that the prompt will definitely be some sort of narrative piece. (PHEW!)

Since every passage based narrative prompt I find is some sort of Folk Tale (Of which there are 7! sub-genres) we have been happily diving back into that unit. While discussing pre-writing today, Mrs. L’s home base and I connected my ‘brain blurb’ of 5 random characters/items in order to create a truly epic brainstorming….I give to you, (ON MY BRAND NEW WHITE BOARD) The pre write for my children’s picture book (Oh yeah, hey mom if you’re reading this..I need to discuss something art related with you…):

THE FIRST MYTHICAL, MAGICAL, INTER-SPECIES TACO STAND!

WP_20150213_001

I LOVE THIS IDEA! I can’t wait to get started…my other 2 novels may just have to take a back seat for a hot beefy minute!

Though you can’t see it clearly, what happened was that my five ‘fairy tale’ words were “Dragons, Fairies, Unicorns, Humans, and Tacos” since 4/5 of that list love to eat Tacos…well, you see where this is headed right?

Just a ‘little’ teaser

This is an excerpt from the recently written new chapters of The Stone Dragon Saga Book 4: Dragons in the Deep. In this section we are dealing with a problem of significant proportions…Anna’s new and unwanted (yet BEAUTIFUL) butterfly like wings. This section sets us up for at least two interesting adjustments (alterations really) in the story, and one amazing, astonishing, REALLY BIG secret to be revealed…

“Fascinating…” Z circled the box, staring through lime green edged, thick goggles. “Some type of phosphorescent maybe? There are some types of se life that grow in deep waters even though light doesn’t reach to their depths. Maybe…”

Her mumbling railed off as she continued to round the glowing box, clipboard and 3 pens gripped tightly as notes and measurements were swiftly and meticulously taken.

Seizing the opportunity found in Zoey and company’s excellent distraction, Jane grabbed King Ferdinand’s arm and dragged him out into the empty walkway.

“We have a problem!”

“I know,” Ferdinand interrupted distractedly, “There’s no way Jemas and Bernard are in that little box. So what’s in there? They have an orange tinged glow, according to the information we’ve gathered, so what is THIS?! Could it be a trap?”

“Ferdinand!” Jane’s sharp reprimand brought the Fairy King’s attention back to focus. “That is NOT our biggest problem right now!”

“Anna still won’t come out huh?” Ferdinand patted her arm in the typical, ‘oh poor child thinks she has a big problem’ manner that adults seem to naturally inherit as they grow older (and he had had a LOT of years to practice!)

“Nope,” Jane smiled sarcastically, “But that’s probably because she HAS WINGS!”

“Huh,” Ferdinand held up a finger and dazedly shuffled back into Zoey’ research cabin. “Sorry to interrupt everyone, but Joseph is needed for a conference with our bosses. Thank you.”

“Our boss—umph!” Ferdinand yanked Jo out of the cabin and down the walkway, one hand under the artist’s elbow as they marched past Jane and led the way until their small group had made it back to the relative ‘safety’ of their own ship; Joseph grumbling and questioning the entire way.

“Now Janie,” Ferdinand spoke very slowly, enunciating every word. “Tell us again.”

“AGAIN?” Joseph sputtered, “You never told me the first time! What…”

“Hush.”

“Ok,” Joseph quieted sullenly and sat down, finally taking the hint.

:Now then Jane,” Ferdinand raised perfectly arched eyebrows at the girl. “You may proceed.”

“Ok, woo,’ Jane took a deep breath and released it quickly, “Franme’s light show gave Anna big beautiful butterfly wings.”

“Oh,” Joseph rubbed at his ears. “You may have to tell me again, there’s a sudden buzzing in my brain.”

“I know the feeling,” Jane agreed sadly, “And I have no clue how to fix it.”

“Excuse me,” Flynn’s voice cut through the fog of magical tension like a whip, startling and scaring all involved.

“Flynn,” Joseph stumbled over his words as he tried (and failed) to stand quickly, “What, uh, what can we do for ya today Captain?”

“WE just came to make sure everything was ok,” Garron answered slowly, ducking out from behind his twin. “When we saw you racing across the decks, we got a mite bit worried.”

“We’re fine,” Jane tried to lie, Ferdinand and Jo nodding like bobble heads beside her.

“Ok then,” Flynn smiled calmly, “So tell us about Anna’s wings.”

“Oh.”

A beautiful set of wings any half-fairy lady could be agitated by!