This summer, my husband and I visited Iceland,
a country with sprawling glaciers and spurting geysers.
One of the most spectacular sites was Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon–
formed from the meltwaters of Breiðamerkurjökull Glacier.
As the glacier shrinks, the lagoon grows.
We sped past icebergs that have split off from the melting glacier.
This ice is over 1000 years old!
Melting glacials mean waterfalls–and they are abundant!
You can walk behind Seljalandsfoss, but be ready to get wet.
Gljufrabui Waterfall or “canyon dweller’ is a short walk from Seljalandsfoss. We found it hidden in a cave. But first we had to navigate a path of slippery rocks.
One drizzly day, we visited Faxi Waterfall.
The purple Lupine decorating its banks is a member of the pea family.
There are more than 700 geothermal areas in Iceland.
Beautifully colored bacteria live in hot springs,
where underground heat brings the water to its boiling point.
We bought some geothermal apple bread that had been baked in the warm ground.
Geothermal energy provides more than 80%
of Iceland’s heat and hot water.
In Reykjavík, sidewalks stay snow-free–
heated by underground hot springs.
In a few weeks I will post Part II of our Icelandic adventure.
Meanwhile, I look forward to the new school year
and to meeting you in the classroom.
Keep reading and writing!
In Mrs. Braham’s classroom, writing lessons are not packed away like their chromebooks at the end of class. These students have lifted their writing out of the classroom and lofted it into the wider world. Using persuasive writing, the third graders convinced the principal and the PTO to create a plastic bottle recycling program! What a “persuasive” lesson on the power of words.
I was excited to be with Ms. Braham’s students to help kick off their informational writing unit. Now I am looking forward to returning to see what they are up to next! @mrsbraham3
Thank you for sending me your nonfiction projects. I learned a lot of fascinating facts from reading them. I also learned how smart you all are and what good writers you are! Many of you did an excellent job including similes, vivid verbs, and alliteration.
Below are some of my thoughts about your work . . . with apologies to Jacob because your Star Wars project appears to have gone missing. May the Force be with your teachers in finding it.
Stella: Welcome to My Room
You used your “paintbrush” to paint a vivid picture of your room, Stella.
Two awesome similes—
“My walls are white as marshmallow.”
“My little cousin and my little sister “make the room SO dirty it’s like the cafeteria floor after the first lunch.”
But my favorite sentence is—
“The thing I like most about my room is that I have someone to share it with.”
Anya: How To Be An Expert On The Wizarding World of Harry Potter
What an excellent job in sequencing the events of the story, Anya and in giving details about the characters’ looks and personalities.
I enjoyed the interesting chapters you wrote about the different houses and the equipment needed to be a wizard.
Michael: How to Hide from Your Annoying Brother
I am impressed by your ingenious ideas, Michael! (Sorry about your brother blowing up your Minecraft game.) Maybe one day you’ll use your considerable creative talents to design your own video game.
Thomas: Star Wars
You’ve demonstrated a wealth of knowledge about Star Wars weapons, Thomas. I learned a lot—including the fact that there is a Star Wars bounty hunter with my name—Jango Fett. Thanks for that information!
Derek: My Favorite New England Patriots
I love the way you started your Introduction, Derek – “Boom!! The ball goes right into your hand.” That opening made me want to read on. Your last sentence in the Introduction also enticed me to keep reading—Get ready to learn a lot about famous players. Your passion for football shines through!
Jaylee: Best Friends Whenever
You are lucky, Jaylee, to have a best friend like Kayla. It is good that you appreciate each other. I love your advice about being kind to others—even if they are not your best friends.
Tristan: Animal Jam Animal Jam sounds like fun! Aren’t animals amazing? My husband used to play Space Invaders, which you showed in your Mini Games section. That was many moons ago!
Kevin: Elite Team
I like the way you started with a question, Kevin. That gets the reader involved.
“Do you want to have the ultimate Madden Mobile team?”
It was also clever how you ended by returning to that question.
“So now do you want to play Madden Mobile?”
You did an excellent job of telling readers at the beginning what they will learn. Then at the end, you summarized what they learned.
I enjoyed your many sensational similes!
“Bo Jackson is like a truck with an engine that never runs out!”
“He is like a palace guard in England except he protects Tom Brady not the Queen of England.”
“J.J. Watt is like a pro sumo wrestler because he’s super strong, super tuff and super big.”
“Larry Fitzgerald is like superman. Nobody can stop him.”
“Also when he sees someone ahead of him, like most tight ends he runs over the guy. Rob Gronkowski is like a Mack Truck!”
“Stephen Gostowski is like the most accurate weather man.”
Konstandina: Girl Scout Flavors
Very enticing information, Konstandina! I was intrigued by the statistics you gave regarding flavor preferences. I agree with you—I can’t choose! Your illustrations are great too. The opening photograph made my mouth water and the old drawing you found was cool. Are you in the photograph of the scouts on page 3?
Gracie: RaeAnn Williams
You’ve painted some vivid pictures, Gracie!
“Ireland has the personality of a mouse being chased by a big, hungry, cat.”
“I’m about as fast as a tennis ball trying to go up hill, when RaeAnn is almost as fast as a football player.”
“EVERY time RaeAnn saw me she would put on the biggest smile ever and wave her hand so much it’s like she’s waving 50 times per second.”
Speaking of pictures, I love the picture you put in at the end of the two girls holding hands. I also love the insect paintings you picked.
P.S. Why did you name your dog Ireland, if her father was American and her mother was French?
Zachary: Madden Mobile
Wow! You have given extensive details, Zachary. I didn’t know anything about Madden Mobile, but after reading your Buncee Book I feel very well informed. Doing research is lots of fun when you like the topic, isn’t it?
Luke: Famous Tennis Players
Amazing photographs, Luke! The one of Gael Moflese on your title page, where he is stretched out horizontally as he hits the ball, is jaw-dropping. I also like that you emphasized how necessary practice is. My favorite part was when you said that sometimes Gael Moflese tries a very difficult shot and fails. But even though he might feel foolish and people might laugh, at least he tried.
Brendan: Independent Read
That’s great that you love reading. I can tell by your sentence—
“I was waiting for it for 5-10 minutes (which seemed like 1000 HOURS).”
I’ve never heard of A to Z Mysteries by Ron Roy. I’ll have to get it from the library. There used to be book called Minute Mysteries, because these mysteries could be read in a minute. You had to guess the solution to each mystery by analyzing the clues. Thanks for the mysteries book tip!
Ryan/Jacob: Madden Mobile Playing
I like the fascinating fact you put into your Introduction, Ryan—
“In 2009 Madden Mobile sold 2.3 million copies.”
Your enthusiasm shines through in your writing and you’ve added lots of action photos.
Excellent beginning, Adeline! You start off by plunging the reader right into the diving scene—
“ON YOUR MARK! You take your stand on the diving block early in the morning. GET SET, GOOO!!!”
I see you also took out your “paintbrush” with this simile—
“A dive is like a spaceship soaring through the solar system in space!”
Good job adding questions to lure in the reader.
Giuliana: Figure Skating
Beautiful photos and graphics of skaters, Giuliana!
Excellent Introduction that speaks directly to the reader—
“Who is going to be the next figure skating champ? It might be someone from Wakefield, Boston, or Melrose. Or maybe it might be you!”
I can really picture this—
“When you glide, you shoot your body like a hockey puck that has just been touched by a hockey stick shooting itself across ice.”
“ . . . like you’re running away from a maniac brother with 2 darts in his hand aiming for you and misses.”
Your videos are wonderful. They make me want to do just what you advise at the end—
“So, GO TRY IT ON ICE!”
Sam: All About Dirt Bikes
I like the way you named your chapters with opposites. Very Clever, Sam!
Fast/Slow Winning/Losing Start/Finish
This is a great phrase—“flickering fast.”
Intriguing questions and fun to imagine—
“Who would win a dirt bike vs a lightning bolt?”
“Dirt bike vs a motorcycle chopper?”
You found some fantastic photos.
Cassidy Silva: Hamster Cages
Cute animation and voice-over for your hamster wheel!
You really had your paintbrush out here—
“A hamster running in its wheel is like a hamster scattering from a giant monster. “A hamster wheel is like a frisbee spinning in the air.
“You know what they say, ‘Happy hamsters love to drink like an elephant eating nuts.’ Your humor is terrific—“Well OK I admit I only say that.”
Adding sounds keeps your writing interesting—“and… POP!”
You’ve also done a great job of sprinkling in lots of questions.
I never knew hamsters were such clever escape artists!
Feel free to send me any of your other “Exciting Writing!”
Thanks again to all at Grennwood,
Read or download my school program/author visit brochure:
They know where to go
With no GPS.
Definition: MIGRATE means to move from one region or habitat to another.
Derivation: MIGRATE comes from the Latin word migrāre,
which means to move from place to place.
Other words with this root: Immigrant a person who comes to live permanently in a new country Migrant a person or animal who migrates OR a person who moves from place to place for work, especially a farm laborer
Examples: Gray Whales
Each fall they travel 5,000 miles from Arctic feeding grounds to warm Mexican breeding lagoons. In the spring they head back. African Elephant
At the start of the dry season they migrate to find water holes. Monarch Butterflies
In autumn, they fly 2,500 miles to warmer regions in Mexico or southern California.
Did You Know? Many European song birds migrate to Africa in the winter. Some scientists believe they use this time to practice their singing–“like a bird band camp”–in preparation for the mating season when they return.
Some are pretty. Some are not.
Some are huge. Some . . . a dot.
They outnumber us, 200 to one.
You can’t escape them; there’s no place to run.
They live high and low, in Earth’s every nook . . .
Even in your room. Go look.
Definition: An ARTHROPOD is an animal with jointed legs, an external skeleton, and a segmented body.
Derivation: ARTHROPOD comes from two Greek words. Arthro means joint and podos means foot.
Other words with these roots: Arthritis, a painful inflammation of the joints Podiatrist, adoctor who treats foot problems Tripod, a three-legged stand
Insects, such as butterflies and ants
Did You Know? A scientific survey found that an average of 100 arthropod species live in every American home. Some roam in search of food crumbs. Others hunt for hair or nail clippings.
In the news:
Learn more about the arthropod home survey: New Scientist