Carol Gordon Ekster

Author and Educator

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Questions and activities for teachers to use with:

Before I Sleep: I Say Thank You

Download Before I Sleep: I Say Thank You wordsearch

Language arts:
-Have students talk or write about their bedtime routines. Have children compare/contrast their bedtime routine either with the boy in the story or with other children.
-Either write about what you are grateful for or draw a film clip as was done in the book. You can focus on one blessing or draw the many things you appreciate.
-Using strong verbs rather than an overused verb and an adverb (like mumble, rather than speak unclearly) is a way to improve your writing.  There are many strong verbs in my books.  See if you can find examples.  Can you find examples in your own writing where you can make your verbs stronger?
-Imagine the boy invites you over to his house to play with him. Tell us about your time. What adventures do you have? Do you get to sleep over?
-Make a prediction how this bedtime routine would be different if the boy had a brother or sister, or if his daddy put him to bed.
-When you read this story did you make a connection to your life, to another book, to the world?
-Discuss how changing the setting of the story could affect the plot. For example, if the boy lived in the desert, what would be different?
- Some words in the story can be used both as a noun and a verb. Try using these in
sentence as both a noun and a verb, then find more in the story: click, parade, share, pick.
-Using similes can enhance your writing. One used in this story is…”as quiet as a secret.”  What else is quiet? Try making up more
similes. [as fast as…., as noisy as… etc.]

 Math:  
-Survey the class to make a graph of favorite before bed activities (story, prayers, tuck-in by parent, etc.)
-Note the appearance of the cat on many pages. What's your favorite pet? Survey the class and make a class graph of favorite pets.
-The genre of this picture book is realistic fiction. What's your favorite genre? Survey the class and make a graph. (realistic fiction, biography, mystery, fantasy, nonfiction)
-The boy promises to help pick tomatoes. If 20 tomatoes fill a bucket, how many tomatoes will fill 5
buckets. Make up more -word problems about tomatoes.
-The boy’s mom gives him a ten-second hug. How many hugs would he get in one minute? In two? In three?

 Creative arts:
-Ask students to draw/paint a picture of their favorite part of their bedtime routine. Get help from an adult, if needed, to place a caption under the picture.
 -Ask students to make a sketch of their favorite part of the book and have them tell why it was their favorite part.
-Dramatic play: Use a flashlight and make hand shadows pretending they are the boy and the cat. What conversation might there be?  Children might want to act out a  scene...perhaps one that might happen in the future. 

  Gross Motor Activities:
-Move like the little boy did in the story.  Can you chug like a caboose? Fly like a plane? Find other examples of movement in the story and try to move that way.


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Questions and activities for teachers to use with: 

Where Am I Sleeping Tonight?- A Story of Divorce
Download Where Am I Sleeping Tonight?
.. wordsearch
 
Language arts:
-Have students talk or write about Mark's problem.  What do you think he can do?
-Have students write a goal they want to set.  How can they meet that goal?
-Have a discussion about why it's important to have friends you can count on.
Ask for specific examples.  
-The boys in the story woke up to music.  Music can affect your mood.  Ask students to write or discuss how it can affect their mood and what music they listen to.
-To cover state standards on figurative language, there are many examples in the book.  Find the examples in the story.  Brainstorm other figurative expressions that could be used instead.

Math:  
-Mark went to school by bus.  Survey the class to make a graph of ways they come to school. (bus, walk, bicycle, car)
-Discuss fractions.  If Mark and Evan have pizza three nights, what fraction of the week do they have pizza?
Creative arts:
-Ask students to draw/paint what they'd wish for if it was their birthday.  
-Mark was learning to be responsible.  That's a positive character trait.  Draw students' silhouettes, using the overhead, and inside the silhouette, have students list positive traits about themselves from A - Z. 
-Ask students to make a sketch of their favorite part of the book and have them tell why it was their favorite part.
-Dramatic play: Use a flashlight and make hand shadows pretending they are Mark and Evan.  What conversation might they be having?  Younger children might want to act out a playground scene.  
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Above is the one of the first sketches I saw for Ruth The Sleuth and The Messy Room.  
Thanks
Kimberly Soderberg, illustrator extraordinaire!
Compare and contrast this picture to the one in the book.  You can print this out for your child to color.





Questions and activities for teachers to use with: 

Ruth the Sleuth and the Messy Room
Download Ruth The 
Sleuth wordsearch

Language arts:
-Have students talk or write about their room.  Each student can describe their bedroom in detail.   Then pass out descriptions so you get another student’s paper.  Now draw the room using the description.  Write names on back and line up the pictures so that names can’t be seen.  See if students can find their own room.  Discuss what they learned from the activity.   
-Discuss or write about why you think Ruth will or will not continue to keep her room neat and organized.  Do you think it’s important to be organized?  Why or why not?
-Using strong verbs rather than an overused verb and an adverb (like shuffled, rather than walked slowly) is a way to improve your writing.  There are many strong verbs in Ruth the Sleuth.  See if you can find examples in the book.  Can you find examples in your own writing where you can make your verbs stronger?
-Imagine Ruth invites you over to her house to play in her room. Tell us about what happens.  
-Discuss the role of sequence in a fiction story. Brainstorm sequence words (first, then, next, etc.) and then go back to the story and try to find them all.   


Math:  
-Ruth wrote with a crayon in the book. Survey the class to make a graph of their favorite writing tool. (crayon, pencil, pen, marker,keyboard)  
-Note the appearance of the cat on many pages. What's your favorite pet? Survey the class and make a class graph of favorite pets.
-The genre of this picture book is realistic fiction. What's your favorite genre? Survey the class and make a graph. (realistic fiction, biography, mystery, fantasy, nonfiction)
-In this 
story Ruth's mom is making chocolate chip cookies. Survey the class and make a graph of their favorite cookie.
-Discuss fractions.  If there were 24 chocolate chip cookies on the cookie sheet, and she made little batches of 3, each batch would be what fraction of the entire number of cookies made?  If she made little batches of 4, each would be what fraction of the entire number of cookies made?  If she made little batches of 6, each would be what fraction of the entire number of cookies made?  If she made little batches of 8, each would be what fraction of the entire number of cookies made?   Can you reduce those fractions to simplest terms?  
-If there were 24 chocolate chip cookies on the cookie sheet, how many kids could share the batch if each child had 2? If each child had 3? If each child had 4? If each child had 6? If each child had 8? 

Creative arts:
-Ask students to draw/paint what they'd wish for in their bedroom.  
-Ruth was learning to be organized.  That's a positive character trait.  Draw students' silhouettes, using the overhead, and inside the silhouette, have students list positive traits about themselves from A - Z. 
-Ask students to make a sketch of their favorite part of the book and have them tell why it was their favorite part.  
-Dramatic play: Use a flashlight and make hand shadows pretending they're Ruth and Zack.  What conversation might they be having?  Younger children might want to act out a  scene...perhaps one that might happen in the future.  

Gross Motor Activities: 
-Move like Ruth did in the story.  Can you slither out from under a bed?  Can you shoot something into your waste basket? Find other examples of movement in the story and try to move that way. Discuss how the characters use their muscles.