Capitol City Visit

Capitol City Visit
Madison Wisconsin

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Thanksgiving Sale!

Thanksgiving SALE going on now! Save 25% on everything in my Etsy shop.


Starts at 1pm CST on Thanksgiving Day and
Ends Tuesday, 11/29/11, at 6am EST.

Enjoy the convenience of my unique

jewelry creations being already marked down for you!

Happy Thanksgiving!


Thursday, November 17, 2011

Children's Book Recommendations for the Better Reader in the later elementary years.

Okay. You've done a great job. Your child is a great reader! Congratulations! They've moved beyond, The Magic Tree House Series, 39 Clues, and even Harry Potter. Today, my child's fourth grade teacher asked me for some book recommendations for her classroom library that she could add for higher level readers! Wow. I was flattered to be asked. This is a list of what I sent on to her, after our discussion. Many of these books are classics. Some are newer, but besides offering a bit of a challenge to a 3rd or 4th grader that may be ready for harder words, there is also so much offered in the way of context, history, or entertainment if the reader looks beyond the surface of the story. Some titles are even Newberry Award winners.

Here are a list of books, all of which we have read, that I feel really worth reading and are at a higher level.

Island of the Blue Dolphins RL 5.5 ***

Cricket in Times Square by George Selden RL 6.2 ***

There's a Boy in the Girls Bathroom by Louis Sachar RL 5.0

Esperanza Rising by Pam Munoz Ryan RL 4.0 ****

Charley Skeddadle (about a boy in the civil war) RL 5.0 *****

The BFG by Roald Dahl, Funny nonsense language.

Matilda by Roald Dahl RL 6.0

Mary Jemison- Indian Captive by Lois Lenski, RL 5.7, Lexile 740, Guided Reading Level T *****

Wrinkle in Time- Reading Level 5.8, Lexile 740, *****

The Magician's Nephew (first book of the Narnia series, before The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe)
By C.S. Lewis RL 5.6, Lexile 790, Guided Reading Level T ***

Gary Paulsen Books;
Hatchet, Lexile- 1020, RL - 6.3, Guided Reading Level R *****
Brian's Winter, Lexile- 1140, RL 7.3, Guided Reading Level R *****

Battle for the Castle by Elizabeth Winthrop, Lexile 700, RL 5.6, Guided Reading Level P *****
Castle in the Attic by Elizabeth Winthrop, Lexile 750, RL 5.9, Guided Reading Level R *****

Indian in the Cupboard by Lynn Reid Banks (and sequels, which I have not read) RL, 5.9, Lexile -780, Guided Reading Level R *****

Chasing Vermeer by Blue Balliett RL 5.6, Lexile 770, Guided Reading Level S ****
The Wright Three by Blue Balliett ****
The Danger Box by Blue Balliett (have not read but would like to)

Johnny Tremain by Esther Forbes, RL 5.5, Lexile 840, Guided Reading Level Z *****

Back to the Day Lincoln was Shot. Time Traveller's Series. by Beatrice Gormely Lexile 740, RL 5.6, Guided reading level S **

Below is a resource I have used over and over, in some form, to assist me in picking books for my boys at certain levels. You plug in the book or
author and it gives you all the leveling information you need (click on the book title for this information).

I've starred the ones that I feel are really great books and even though the child's reading ability may be beyond the lexile or reading level listed, there is so much more to most of these books that I would consider them a don't miss reading opportunity. I have read and loved them all! The more *'s listed, the more highly I recommend them! A few are among my all time favorite books and have read them with each of my children as they were ready!!!!

I thought that since I had the list compiled and had typed it up, that maybe it would be a nice blog post! After all, it is the holiday season and what better gift to give, than a nice book! Books are affordable, too! The list is certainly not complete as to all the books that I could or would recommend. Remember it was offered as a quick suggestion to start a former middle school French teacher on building an elementary classroom library for fourth grade, for students of higher ability. I know there are many more titles I could have listed. These are just a few of the great books available to children today and some that have been available for a long time, but forgotten about!

Happy Reading!

P.S. Don't forget to regularly check out my etsy shop! I am offering regular sales that are promoted in my shop announcement. Today's coupon code is RED25, entered at checkout, for 25% off anything with the color red, incorporated into the piece! Thanks for stopping by!
(sales announced at top of shop page on etsy site)

Saturday, November 12, 2011

SALE Today! Visit my Etsy shop for details!

Sale continues today!

Use coupon code, extendsale, at checkout to receive 66% off your entire purchase from my Etsy shop, full of handcrafted jewelry and Fine Art Photography. Excludes special and custom orders, as well as, previously completed transactions!

Have a great weekend!
~ Carol ~

Friday, November 11, 2011

Celebrate Veteran's Day with a Smile, a Sale, and a Thank You!

Do you ever find that the mail either brings joy and anticipation or dread? It either can arrive with surprises or goodies enclosed in packages or bills enclosed in envelopes.

On Wednesday this week, I got two great piece of mail. One was a package containing the silver wavy bookmark stems that I had ordered to fullfill a custom order to FRANCE! Yes, I am now an international seller! A gift shop in the South of France will be selling my handcrafted, beaded bookmarks! I am soooooo excited about this! I'll be sure to post pictures when I am finished creating them next week!

The other piece of mail was an envelope that would have been very strange, had I not been expecting it. Enclosed in the envelope was a single piece of bright pink (fuschia) fabric! I am creating 6 bridesmaids necklaces for a bride to be in South Dakota and she kindly sent the fabric for me to match the beads! She has a good eye because the fabric matches the beads, exactly. With that taken care of, now I just have to become an international buyer and get the beads I need from China! Whew! This is sure to be an experience. However, it seems to be the ONLY place I can find them in bulk! I"ll also let you know how those turn out!

So, on Veteran's Day.....a day without mail.....I decided to pass some of my good fortune on to you and host an 11 hour sale! For the next 11 hours, from 1pm- 12 midnight CST, everything in my etsy shop is 66% off! WOW! You need to use the coupon code; 11Hoursale at check out to get the discount, but I hope you stop by and see what you can SAVE BIG on today!

Thanks to all of our Veterans, who make HUGE sacrifices for our FREEDOM and SAFETY!

~ Carol ~

Friday, November 4, 2011

Volunteer....It is good for the soul.

Well, it is already November 4th!!! How can that be? Time is moving so quickly, these days!

Today ends the first quarter of the school year here! And this week, I can tell you that I have all my volunteer activities in full swing! Do you volunteer? If not, you should find something you love to do and do it.....for free! Yes, give of yourself and your talents! It will help others and make you feel good, all at the same time.

I started my volunteer efforts long ago. When my eldest child, now 17, was in pre-school, I helped with the elementary school Chicken Barbecue Fundraiser. Meeting neighbors and teachers in the school district got me involved in the PTO. I served as secretary for two years.
My time on PTO was not my most favorite volunteer experience. However, I did learn that I liked being at school with the kids from volunteering in kindergarten. That was 12 years ago!

In 2002, I began hosting a Craft Time for Kids at our local Children's Museum. Once a week, I would prepare a craft and take it to help those children visiting the museum make it to take home. Sometimes, I would read a story, too. I did that for five years!

In 2004, after taking a course to become certified as a Master Gardener, I founded a Garden Club for elementary students at our school. This is our 8th year! Facilitating and teaching the after school lessons on Horticulture is one of my most favorite volunteer activities. It amazes me how year after year, the club attracts about 30 students as members! We do many cool activities. I am sure that's part of the draw!

Through the years, as my children have grown, I've been in the classroom, as a volunteer anywhere from 1-3 days a week! I've found that I really love to teach and my heart lies with the students! I love to enrich. There have been some teachers that I've really clicked with. Over the years, I have felt the need to return to assist these teachers in their efforts to meet student needs. I have a passion for this!

So, this year I am leading Garden Club. We meet once a month. It takes a little time to prepare my lesson, but the satisfaction I receive from doing it is worth it! As far as classroom volunteering;

I am hosting a writer's circle for third graders. I have 6 students in that . They are above grade level writers! I had a group like this last year and we had some of the student's poetry published in a book selected by the Young America Poetry contest! We meet once a week for that.

Reading is another passion. For the last 3 years, I've been privileged to work with a teacher of great experience (40 years) and expertise. She has allowed me to work with her higher level readers in first grade. This year, I have 7 students! We met for the first time yesterday, but now will meet weekly! This teacher paid me the upmost compliment when she recently introduced me to her student teacher telling him that I was a mom but also an "expert" teacher! Wow! I was so flattered!

Over the years, I've also been able to help children having academic difficulty. This year, I am also assisting with children that need more oral reading experience and practice in 4th grade. I do that twice a week!

So what am I telling you? I am telling you to find something you are passionate about and volunteer to do it. Even if you can only do it once a month, you'll find the rewards are much greater than the sacrifice you make to do it! Sometimes, it is hard to get started but once you do; it'll be hard to stop!

Have a Fabulous Friday and Find your Passion!

I am daily adding new pieces to my Etsy shop for the holidays!
Please stop by and visit!
and you can find me on facebook at;
Carol's Jewelry Orchard