Novel Study: Airman by Eoin Colfer

After reading Airman by Eoin Colfer with my 7th graders, students were given a tic-tac-toe choice menu for their final project assessment.  Each of the choices related to a skill we learned and practiced throughout the year.  Research, narrative,expository writing, poetry, and use of digital creation tools.  I made sure to balance the amount of work load for each, and kept students’ interest level in mind.  My students have been engaged during our project work time in class, and that is half the battle for a teacher.  The choice board was inspired by Kasey Bell’s 


Airman book trailer by T.J. (7th grade)  This book trailer was created with Adobe Spark video.

Here is how I made it work for my class:

Research Choices:

The Saltee Islands by Marcus

The Saltees are a pair of small islands lying three miles off the southern coast of Ireland.The two islands are Great Saltee and Little Saltee.They have been privately owned since 1943 by the Neale family.A line of rocks connect  the smaller of the two islands to Kilmore Quay,county Wexford on the mainland of Ireland.Legend has it that Saint.Patrick pelted rocks at the fleeing devil as he tried to escape his wrath..Geologists characterize the formation of the gravel bar as a neat glacial deposit.The islands are made of precambrian bedrock  between 600 million and 2 billion years old.There were people on the island as long ago as 3,500 to 2,000 B.C.At one time there were Vikings, Normans, and medieval monks that inhabited the islands,there is evidence of a promontory fort,ancient graves, an Ogham stone and ring forts all over the island.There is also evidence of wreckers and smugglers and pirates.The waters around the islands became known as “the graveyard of a thousand ships”because it was so treacherous,perfect for finding treasure.The gains of the wreckers could very well be hidden in the many caves around the islands.

     Great Saltee is today best known as a bird sanctuary.Many birds,from Gannets,Puffins, Gulls and Manx Shearwaters all stop off on the island to nest or to rest on their migration paths.About 120  grey seals also live around the island and prey on the chicks and fish the waters.The story of the owner of the islands, Prince Michael Neale is very fascinating and quite funny.He is the interesting character who bought the islands in 1943 and declared himself King!He built a heavy stone throne and several monuments on the island.On the throne it says ”this chair is erected in memory of my mother to whom I made a vow when I was ten years old ,that one day I would own the Saltee Islands.”He and is family are very generous and invite anyone to visit the island anytime for free and nature lovers and birdwatchers love to go there.




  • Website Title The Saltee Islands, South & East Islands, Ireland
  • Article Title The Saltee Islands                                       
  • Date Accessed May 22, 2019


  • Website Title Wikipedia
  • Article Title Saltee Islands
  • Date Published November 19, 2018
  • Date Accessed May 22, 2019


  • Website Title Saltee Islands
  • Date Accessed May 22, 2019



Website Title:

Article Title: | Saltee islands – SALTEE ISLANDS

Date Accessed May 22, 2019



By: Adam 

Aeronautics is the production of machines capable of flying in the air and aircraft and rocket handling techniques in the atmosphere. In the beginning, the aeronautics concerned only the servicing of the aircraft, until now it has been grimaced by other aviation aspects.

Aeronautics is not just aviation. also includes lighter-than-air vehicles and ballistic vehicles. An important part of aeronautics is the science called aerodynamics, which is the science that deals with the air movement and the way it interacts with objects in motion, such as an airplane.


At first people tried to fly without any knowledge of aeronautics. they usually constructed wings and jumped from the tower with paralyzing or deadly results. The founders of aeronautics were Leonardo da Vinci in Renaissance and Cayley in 1799. Both began their investigations with studies of bird flight.

People think that there were popular kites carrying people in China. In 1282, the European explorer Marco Polo described Chinese techniques. according to him, the Chinese also constructed small hot-air balloons or lanterns and wing toys.

Roger Bacon is the first European who described the principles of a lighter-than-air balloon. A lifter for his balloon would be an “ether” whose composition he did not know. On September 19, 1783, the first manned flight took place. The Montgolfier brothers, along with the Swiss physicist Ami Argand, built a hot-air balloon with a ram, rooster and duck on board.The flight from December 17, 1903 is considered the first flight in history. Orville Wright is the first man in history who has risen to heaven on a plane. The plane was called Flyer I.

The next step of aeronautics were flights to space. The first artificial satellite was fired by the USSR on October 4, 1957. The first man in space was Yuri Gagarin. He flew into space for 108 minutes. His flight took place on April 12, 1961.



Poetry Choice:

   Basketball by James                                                 

Basketball takes a lot of hard work and time

In basketball, you have to keep doing the same moves over and over

You can’t just get really good at it in just a month

To make shots you have to take more than 100 shots a day


If you want to get good at driving in and scoring a layup, you have to be strong

It can be really hard to get good at dribbling the basketball

Because you have to get good at dribbling with both hands and doing fancy moves

People say, “don’t do fancy moves”

Like behind the back and between the legs


But you can get by people a lot easier if you know how to do fancy moves

The reason is that if you do some crazy moves you “juke” them out, you can just go by

All of the fancy moves can get the ball stolen from you if you can’t control the ball

After a while, if you keep practicing all of this stuff you’ll get really good.


The Islands by Charles (Inspired by the novel, Airman, by Eoin Colfer

The night sky

The place where the birds fly

The morning sky

Where you hear birds cry

Out over a clear blue sky.


Overheard from the fence

There’s prisoners acting sad and dense

Just waiting for the chance

To go off and hop the fence

To the land that put them in a trance.


If you go down a chimney far and wide

You’ll find a house where a man resides

A man who flies from high to low tide

And with him resides

A man who has a lack of eyes

Simply put an old state spy.


Gangsta Granny by David Walliams

Last year one of my sweet students, Finlay, gave me a book written by David Walliams.  The book is titled Ratburger.  I had such a great time reading it with my own children.  David Walliams’ style of writing reminds me of Roald Dahl’s, which I love!  After reading the book, I researched the author and found that he has quite a list of other stories.  I asked Finlay if he would lend me his copy of Gangsta Granny to use with his class this year.  See, these amazing books by David Walliams aren’t available in the U.S. bookstores…. yet.  Although, some of his gently used titles can now be found on Amazon and Barnes and Nobles.  In addition, some can be downloaded to a Kindle. Well, Finlay did better than just loaning me the copy!  He had his “Auntie” go to about 9 different stores in Ireland to get us as many copies as she could.  Our 4th grade class thanks you so much for taking the time to do this for us!

Recently, we’ve been reading the novel, Gangsta Granny, in 4th grade.  I introduced the students to the author by going onto his website and letting them hear an excerpt from the book. You can check them both out below.   Finlay’s mom, Ms. Allen, joined us as a guest reader at the beginning of the story.  She has this amazing accent and able to read so expressively.  It really bought the story to life and she was able to define many British vocabulary words from the book.

We are almost done reading the novel and the students will have a culminating project to do.  They have been given three choices to choose from: a digital presentation, board game creation based on the novel, or a written alternate ending to the story.  I can’t wait to see what they bring in and share it with David Walliams!  You never know,  he may just want to visit us, showcase our projects, take us on tour with him, write a new book based on the students’ ideas, donate to our dream playground at or…. Okay, wishful thinking, but anything is possible! -Mrs. Darden

Ms. Allen took time out of her busy schedule to come in and read a few chapters of Gangsta Granny to our class.

Ms. Allen took time out of her busy schedule to come in and read a few chapters of Gangsta Granny to our class.


Book Review of The Crossing by Alex Watson and Robert Watson

Book Review


Brendan D.

I loved the book, The Crossing, by Alex Watson and Robert Watson.  It is educational because it’s about history.  I love how it skips from 2015 back to 1776.  It is fun learning about the battle of Trenton.  It’s funny how the people of 1776 see an iphone.  I love your books; keep writing! – Brendan D.

Alex Watson and Robert Watson wrote another great book. This one is titled The Crossing.

Alex Watson and Robert Watson wrote another great book. This one is titled The Crossing.

Book Review by Alessa

I am reading a science fiction series called Divergent. I am on the second book called Insurgent. It is about a girl named Tris who has a rare, special power called divergence. This series is similar to the Hunger Games. I love this book!

Victoria and Elizabeth Kann Still Going Strong!

I remember hearing about how crazy little girls were going over a book titled, Pinkalicious. I loved the name and when I saw the beautiful cover, I knew my daughter would love it. This was about two years ago. We both fell in love with the story, characters, and whimsical illustrations. Now, my five-year-old daughter has over 20 of the books written by this sister duo team. We even saw Pinkalicious the Musical in Ft.Lauderdale which proved to be a success! While the books may look like they are “too girly”. I can guarantee that boys find Pinkalicious’ little brother quite amusing.  You can learn more about these authors and book at

Read on to see what one of my “Smarty-licious” students had to say about one of the books.

Purplicious by Victoria Kann and Elizabeth Kann

Pinkalicious loves the color pink, but all the other kids love black and tease her for loving pink. She is lonely until she meets a girl who thinks pink if perfect. Her name is Purplicious and she loves the color purple.  By: Emily Goldburg

Another Book Review by a 5th Grader!

The name of my book is All the Wrong Questions by Lemony Snicket. The book is a mystery book about a girl who goes missing. So far, I will give the book 3 stars because it is long and a little hard to understand at first. But, then it gets better. Review by Ari Prince

Book Reviews by 3rd, 4th, and 5th Graders!

My students have been busy reading all sorts of books. It’s great to see them ask to read “just one last page” or choose to read over playing recess at times. I love to hear about the different genres and storylines. All of my students are reading a book of their choice which they will later review on this page. Recently, this is what Adara Noble had to say about Divergent by Veronica Roth- “Divergent is about a world where everyone is segregated by their talent.  It becomes tough for Tris Prior when  she must choose between family and desire.  This book was well written; I wish it wasn’t over”. -Adara Noble

One of my third graders just asked to post the following:

The book A Snicker of Magic is about a girl named Felicity Pickle.
She and her family moved to a magic town called Midnight Gulch.
She collects words when they pop up in the air but only she can
see them because they are magic.
 -Isabel Mazulis