Category: DIY

Zeus and Hercules Books

IMG_8675I have to give a big shout-out to Ann Hollingworth.  She has been a big supporter of my blog and has inspired me to write some of my own books.  It’s one of my long-term dreams to write books about my chihuahuas, Zeus and Hercules, for Reading Recovery.

IMG_8676I’ve finally written a couple books and shared them with my Reading Recovery students as a read aloud.  THEY LOVED THEM!  They have really enjoyed seeing pictures of my dogs and love when they interact with my son, Houston.

While we are no “Bella and Rosie” books, I hope one day I get to share my books beyond the wall of Lowell, but for now I will continue to be inspired by the work of Ann and many other authors around the world!

Happy reading!

Superhero Writers

IMG_5188I spent Tuesday and Wednesday this week at UNI’s Jacobsen Center for Comprehensive Literacy’s Reading Recovery Conference and I have come back thoroughly inspired.  I went to a seminar called Engaging the Disengaged Writer by Christopher Lehman, a New York Times Best Selling author and took away so much from it.  I went to it because I think I’m pretty good at teaching reading, but I don’t feel as strong in the way that I teach writing.  I would say that I definitely have disengaged writers in my room.  One of the things he talked about was putting the joy and passion back into it.  Another teacher had already done what I had done with the superhero strategies, but with Star Wars.  She also included a rubric of sorts on what level of expertise you were.  I thought this would be a better (and more positive) way to teach writing with my kiddos.  Even today, as I was modeling some writing to my 3rd graders I didn’t notice I forgot a letter in one of my words (I wrote animal instead of animals).  One of my kiddos said, “Ms. Acuff, you don’t want to be a Sidekick writer.  You have to reread what you write.” and it was then I noticed my error.  It was a good teaching point to the kids on how even I make mistakes and how there are little things we can do as writers to take us from Crime Fighters to a Sidekick and then all the way up to a Superhero.  Also, I left room at the bottom of each page so we could add more descriptions of what would fall into a category as we come upon things and so the kids can take some ownership of the rubric as well.  I want them to make this their own.  I have had a TON of requests for my Superhero Strategies so if you think this is something that would benefit your room as well I’d be happy to share this with you as well OR if you have ideas on how I can make mine better I would love to hear from you!

Donors Choose Groupon

Well hello everyone!  It’s been a while.  It has been an interesting last couple of weeks here in Penthouse B at Lowell.  My son got the stomach flu then my student teacher got the flu and then I got the flu and then my son got sick again.  We are all healthy here again!  It was a little sketchy for a while, but we’re all back!

Another one of my teacher friends clued me in on a great GROUPON!!!  Currently they have a Groupon for Donors Choose.  It is $30 for $10 toward any project.  You can purchase up to 10 of these for yourself and up to 10 of these to give as gifts.  This is a great time to get a bunch of free money for any of your projects or a great holiday gift for any of your teacher friends.

And if you’re so inclined–our project is only $15 away from being fully funded (I bought 3 Groupons–couldn’t help myself!) and would love if you wanted to give Penthouse B an early Christmas gift! (

To purchase the Groupon head to:,+IA,+USA&query=donors%20choose&locale=en_US