Monday, August 24, 2015

It's Raining Bats and Frogs!!


We continue our discussion with word wizard Rebecca Colby as she travels around the world, celebrating her book, It’s Raining Bats & Frogs! Enter to win the overall giveaway for a $50 USD Amazon voucher (or £30 GBP Amazon voucher) at the end of the tour. You’ll find details about the tour here!

And who doesn’t love a scavenger hunt! Follow Rebecca’s tour to find out which blogs contain the clues and then collect all the answers. There are eight answers to find and submit in total.

So what should you be looking for? Witch names, of course! Each post will mention a fictitious witch somewhere in the discussion. To be in with a chance of winning, leave a comment on the blog where you found the name (but please DON’T reveal the name) , including Teacher Authors! At the end of the tour, send Rebecca (at website address here) a list of all eight names via her website contact page, and enter the Rafflecopter entry form on her page. You have until 11.59pm EST on 5 September to enter the scavenger hunt giveaway!

Today, Rebecca talks about her process how a writer (and a teacher) can create a teacher’s guide that teachers can use! Thank you, Rebecca!




When I began teaching, I was gobsmacked to learn how much the profession had changed from when I attended school. Gone were the handy, school-supplied textbooks that provided teachers with lesson plans and worksheets. Instead, I found myself spending all of my free time creating my own lesson plans and worksheets, or researching teacher websites for appropriate resources. My full-time teaching job quickly became two full-time jobs.

After publishing my first book, I was determined to make my book as accessible and as desirable as possible to teachers. Teachers are the busiest people I know! If I wanted teachers to use my book in the classroom, I knew I needed to both create the resources AND bring them to the teachers. By the way, here’s a scavenger hunt answer for you--today’s witch name is Ethel.


Pinpoint your book’s USP

One of the first things you need to do is pinpoint what your book’s unique selling point (USP) is in respect of teachers using it in the classroom. How does it fit in with what is taught?


My first book was about a wee lassie who swallows all manner of Scottish birds and animals. The USP was obvious: I placed my primary focus for the activity guide on Scottish wildlife and their habitats. However, with my second book, which is about a witch parade, the USP wasn’t as clear. I focused on several aspects of the book—after all, witches aren’t a typical classroom topic. So while the main English activity asked children to create their own rhyming spells, math found them comparing and ordering the size of frogs, science had them playing a game of bat and moth to learn about echolocation, and art saw them creating musical rainsticks.


Research relevant curriculums

Find out what is being taught at what grade level. The best way to do that is to research both The Common Core Standards and state curriculums. While researching your own state’s curriculum is a good place to start, keep in mind that unless your book releases with a regional publisher, then you also need to look at other states’ curriculums—particularly curriculums for the larger (and often bellweather) states. Two good examples are California and Texas.


Make teachers happy

Just producing an activity guide is sure to make a teacher happy, but if you want to go that extra mile, think about two things: 1) How can I make the activities cross-curricular? and 2) How can I extend children’s learning?

While my guide is cross-curricular and covers most subjects taught in school, some of the individual activities are also cross-curricular. For example, the art activity involves making a witch puppet, which can later be used in English to act out and retell the book. In this way, one activity allows for learning in two areas of the curriculum.


Teachers are also always looking for ways to extend children’s learning. In one of my science activities, children are asked to measure rainfall over the course of a week. This can be done simply by marking water levels on the side of the rain collection container with colored felt-tip pens and comparing levels. But if a teacher wishes to extend children’s learning and introduce standard units of measure (or the teacher wants a differentiated activity for more able students), he or she could ask the children to measure the rainfall in inches or centimeters with a ruler.


Where to share

Now that you have your guide, what do you do with it? I always make mine available as a download from my website. But teachers are incredibly busy, remember? Bring the guide to them. Post it on websites like Teachers Pay Teachers and Share My Lesson. Forward it to your publisher. They often hold a database full of educational contacts. Bring hard copies of the guide to library, festival, and bookstore event. And if you have some spare time, you could email teachers and let them know about your guide. After all, you’re probably going to email a few teachers anyway to see if they’d like to set up author visits with you. Mention the guide and where to find the download in the email.


Speaking of which, if you’re interested in downloading the free teacher’s activity guide to It’s Raining Bats & Frogs, you can find it here.


I want to say thank Teaching Authors for hosting me again today, and to all of you for reading this post! If you have any tips of your own, or if you decide to produce a guide for your book, I’d love to hear about it!

Illustration by Steven Henry

Thank you for stopping by, Rebecca!

Bobbi Miller

37 comments:

Rebecca C said...

A couple other tips would be to BUY AGE-APPROPRIATE LESSON BOOKS and/or HIRE A PRO. Buying age-appropriate lesson books is not absolutely necessary but the books might give you a feel for whether or not you’re on the right track with your own activities. They’re also great for inspiring ideas. Or you might consider hiring someone else to do all the hard work for you. Producing an activity guide takes a lot of time. Time that could be spent writing your next book. There are educational consultants who are happy to work with you to produce a teacher’s guide to your book. I produce my own but one such consultant that comes highly-recommended is Marcie Colleen. You can check out the guides she’s produced here: http://www.thisismarciecolleen.com/my-teachers-guides.html

Lily said...

Oh, wow! I can hardly wait to create a teacher's guide for my middle grade novel! :)

Rebecca C said...

Wonderful! All the best with creating your guide, Lily, and thanks for stopping by!

Pen N. InkBlog said...

So happy to get these tips. Had no idea where to post my guide.
Thanks
Susan

Joyce Ray said...

I've been thinking about a teacher guide, also. It's especially helpful to know sites where teachers will have access to them. Great tips!

Carmela Martino said...

Thanks for sharing your wonderful tips on our blog, Rebecca!

marciastrykowski.com said...

Thanks for these great tips on creating teacher's guides, Rebecca!

Bobbi Miller said...

Rebecca: Thank you for the additional information in the comments!! These are great!

Bobbi Miller said...

Lily and Joyce: I so agree! I was so pleased with this information. Rebecca made the process easy to follow, and most especially, where to submit the guides!

Bobbi Miller said...

Marti, Susan and Marcia: Thank you for stopping by!

Garden Girl said...

Your cross curricular curriculum guide is sure to be a success, Rebecca. It will be a valuable resource to accompany It's Raining Bats & Frogs.
~Suzy Leopold

Rebecca C said...

Susan, Joyce, Carmela, Marcia, and Suzy: Thanks for your all your kind comments! I'm glad the info was useful, Knowing where to put the guide so that teachers will see it is key because they're not likely to find it on your website alone.

Rebecca C said...

Bobbi and Teaching Authors: Thank you once again for hosting me on your blog this week and last week! I really enjoyed connecting with your readers and creating fun rhyming magic spells together!

Bobbi Miller said...

Thank YOU, Rebecca, for including us on your tour. I've had a grand time following the tour, and reading all of your wisdoms. And these two posts, the magic rhyming spells and this information on teaching guides, are just fabulous!

jan godown annino said...

Rebecca your 1st picture book was a hoot & a holler & this one sounds perfectly batty - applause, wearing my best witch costume,
from across The Pond!

Glad you generously reminded us of those who hardworking folks who offer to turn books into teacher's lessons, such as Marcie Colleen.

Enjoyed following the links to your site, too.

Thanks for including us in your parade.

Rebecca C said...

Ha! Witch costumes are the best, Jan, and not just for Halloween! :) Thanks for your comments. So pleased to hear you liked my first book. Cheers!

Damon Dean said...

Rebecca, thanks for the mini course on Teacher Guides! Your points helped drive some work on my own teacher guide I'm working on for a work in progress.

Thanks for sharing, thanks for hosting Rebecca, Bobbi. Teaching Authors rock!

Rebecca C said...

I'm so pleased to hear that the tips helped you progress with writing your own teacher's guide, Damon! Thanks for letting me know and for stopping by today! I also enjoy reading Teaching Authors' blog posts. It's a wonderful resource!

Bobbi Miller said...

Jan: I so agree! Rebecca's books are just great fun reads. A hoot and a holler, for sure!

And Damon, you rock!

Thank you both for stopping by! I am grateful to Rebecca for sharing her wisdom, and am pleased you found them as helpful as I did!

Nikolina said...

Enjoying following this tour and the scavenger hunt!! Thank you!

Nikolina said...

Enjoying following this tour and the scavenger hunt!! Thank you!

DarijaXO said...

I will finish college and officialy become a teacher in a couple of years and I have to say that our books (here in Croatia) rarely have a teacher's guide which is a real shame.

Dario Z said...

I’m following the scavenger hunt, thank you for this cool game you organised!!! :D :D

Bobbi Miller said...

Nikolina, Darija and Dario: Thank you for your kind words! Rebecca's blog tour and scavenger hunt has been great fun! And she has shared such useful information in each one. I am glad you found them helpful! Good luck on the scavenger hunt!

GuruOnAMountain said...

Enjoying the posts and the scavenger hunt.

Jade H said...

Enjoying the scavenger hunt

Laura Walker said...

Thank you for the fun hunt!

HesperusWreck said...

I'm enjoying this hunt and these articles!

Suzie W

Wes McIntosh said...

Great tips Rebecca!

Mike Williams said...

It is very interesting reading these blogs. Thanks for sharing.

Bobbi Miller said...

Thank you for stopping by, Laura, Jade, Suzie, Wes, Mike and Guru on a Mountain! Rebecca has really created a special, informative and interesting tour with her posts. We are very grateful that she shared her time and wisdom with us here at Teaching Authors. Be sure to sign up with the Teaching Authors so that you can continue receiving our posts!

Missellm Bur said...

comment

just stopping by. I am on the scavenger hunt.

Elisha

Carmela Martino said...

Just picked up a copy from my library. What a fun read! And I love the little surprise on the last page. :-)

Kirsty Moles said...

Just flitting by on a broom

Victoria Prince said...

Great tips :)

Vickie Jackson said...

Fab tips there

Rebecca C said...

Thank you all for stopping by to read the post!
Carmela - I'm so glad you were able to get a copy of Bats & Frogs at your local library! And equally pleased that you enjoyed it.