Meet Steve....

Monday, January 30, 2012 2 comments
No, no, not Steve from Blue's Clues, Steve Reifman-teacher, author and book lover!
Why am I featuring Steve? Is his latest children's book, Chase Against Time for preschoolers? Nope! My connection with Steve is a love of words. He is a quote guy and anyone who knows me well, knows I am a quote gal! My dream is to be quoted one day and not just on Twitter!

Here is my interview with Steve. I appreciate his time and am excited to share his ideas! Read this! You will be glad you did!
What is your favorite food? 
By far, pizza is my favorite food. I don’t eat it that often, but when I do, I love to get pepperoni on it.

How long have you been writing? Have you always loved writing?
I have been writing since I started my teaching career. In the beginning, I wrote only non-fiction books for teachers. It wasn’t until seven or eight years ago that I started writing my first fiction project, Chase Against Time. My love of writing grew tremendously when I started working on Chase Against Time.  
Tell us about the connection you have between being a reader and writer.
As a kid, I loved reading mysteries. The Encyclopedia Brown books were my favorite. As an adult, I try to write the type of mystery book that I would have liked as a child – fast-paced and full of action.

What inspired you to write Changing Kids' Lives One Quote at a Time?
For the last fifteen years or so, I have done a “Quote of the Day” discussion with my students a couple mornings per week. I found these conversations to be so valuable and so effective for developing character that I decided to gather my favorite quotes, write a series of talking points for each one, and turn it all into a book so parents and teachers everywhere could have this type of discussion with children.


Where is the coolest place you have ever visited?     
It’s either Lambeau Field in Wisconsin where the Green Bay Packers play football, Maui, or Japan. Maui is my favorite place on earth, and I hope I can visit again sometime soon.  
Is there one quote that you often revisit?
“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.”                                    -Aristotle

I love this quote because it is about developing lifelong habits, which I believe is one of the main aspects of my teaching. 

Chase Against Time is a mystery. Do you find yourself leaning more toward mysteries in your own reading?
Yes, I love reading adult mysteries. Agatha Christie and Dick Francis are two of my favorite mystery authors.   

If you could meet an author, living or not, who would it be and why? 
W. Edwards Deming. His books about quality have inspired me greatly and have had a tremendous influence on the way I teach and the way I live.

We love how Chase is real. Did you have a special inspiration for this?
The television show “24” inspired me to write Chase Against Time, so Chase is a kid’s version of Jack Bauer, the main character from “24.” There is also a lot of myself in Chase Manning.

What is in store for Chase?
I don’t want to give too much away, but Chase will have three more real-time, single-day adventures before the end of his fifth grade year. 

Words of advice for writers….young or young at heart?
Write because you love to write. When I started writing Chase Against Time, I did it for fun, and I did it to see if I could actually write a mystery book. I didn’t do it to try to get published or to make money. Even if nobody ever read the book, the whole experience still would have been worth it. I had an absolute blast writing the book. It took a great deal of time, but it was a labor of love.

Our media specialist reviewed Chase Against Time. Here is what she had to say....

Chase Against Time by Steve Reifman looks to be a great new addition to the middle grade mystery shelf. Chase is a regular kid who investigates the way that a regular kid would. No “special abilities” exist for this grade school sleuth. The story illustrates the way that mysteries get solved in the real world – by questioning suspects, putting together the pieces, and working out motives. One of the most effective devices that the author uses is assigning a time to each chapter. This adds a modern feel to a genre that dates back to the Hardy Boys, Encyclopedia Brown, and the Boxcar Children. Reifman proves that inappropriate language and situations are not necessary to entice readers. This series will satisfy those long for a book that can be read by third, fourth, and fifth graders alike.
Great for teachers and parents!
I read Changing Lives One Quote at a Time and have already recommended it to teachers and mommy/daddy friends. Mr. Reifman shares powerful quotes with ideas that are great for kids and adults, too. I opened a small meeting with one his ideas. For more on Steve and his work, please visit 

It's Raining, It's Pouring...

Sunday, January 29, 2012 No comments
the tired mommy is snoring....

Visit LabelDaddy to see my latest guest post! Fun things to do on a rainy day with your little ones!’s-raining-it’s-pouring

Throw a comment my way while you are there!

World Read Aloud Day

Monday, January 23, 2012 1 comment
So sorry for not posting in the last few days! I have been (literally) up to my elbows with the Common Core math standards for first grade. I am writing a couple of units for the DoE and while I consider it an, it is serious work. At one point, I called on my inner Dorie and said. "Just keep swimming, just keep swimming...." Look for freebies on the Teacher Action side, soon!

Blah, blah, blah!

In super exciting news, my profile is posted on the LitWorld site as we inch closer to World Read Aloud Day! Check it out! Have you made plans, yet?

Stay tuned for our plan and how YOU can help!

Leave a comment while you are there!

Click here to register! Everyone can participate one way or another!

What do you want to be when you grow up?

Saturday, January 7, 2012 1 comment
The year was 1987. The grade was 5th. The teacher was Bill Goodwin (also happens to be my favorite teacher!) 
Assignment: Interview yourself when you are 25. What will you be when you grow up? 

Did I write about being a teacher? No. a lawyer? Nope. an actress (my secret dream?) NO!
I wrote about being an author. Not just any author, but a children's book author. Now when I say that I have always wanted to be an author, looks like I have a leg to stand on. Who knew?
 I was also going to have 5 children by the age if 25. WHAT? I wasn't even married at 25. 
 139 books published! People ask me for autographs when I walk down the street! I even used the word "clobbered." Impressive!
Please not the handwriting. Handwriting (and conduct) were the only C's I received in 5th grade. (The other grades were A's, I promise!) 
Look at that little shout out to PTA and teachers! Even in 5th grade, I knew how important parents and teachers are. Thanks Mom and Dad!
Apparently, my books will be made into films, as well. AWESOME!
But what did the 5th grade me look like? BAM! Here I am with my Dad (rocking the shorties) and my little sis, T (rocking the bangs.) 
I may be 9 years behind on that goal of becoming a children's book author, but I have no regrets. I love being a teacher and mommy and there is always tomorrow! Wait...I do have one regret, I wish I would have kept that totally awesome Batman shirt!

What do you want to be when you grow up?

They say its your birthday.......

Friday, January 6, 2012 No comments
Talk about bringing joy to my heart! T has asked for books for his birthday (which by the way is right around the corner and I am in NO way prepared!)

Let the games begin! I was going to go to the book store and look for some new, totally awesome, bright and colorful books but then I remembered..... I AM A TEACHER! I know what books are totally awesome! So instead I visited my classroom (where I also needed to do 1,000 things in preparation for heading back to school. This was by far the highlight of the visit!) 

So what will T be receiving for his third birthday?

His very own copies (not on loan from Mommy's classroom) of.....

He is going to love the SHAPES and cut out pages! He may ask for a dog when this one is over, but I am prepared for that!

and Bill Martin, Jr.'s (Eric Carle illustrated) Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?
This pattern book happens to be one of my all time favorites!

and Ezra Jack Keats' The Snowy Day
This Caldecott winner celebrates snow. T is crossing his fingers and hoping to wake up and see snow out the window! Our chances are not that great here in the ATL. Luckily, we can experience it with Peter!

and last but not least, Digger Man by Andrew Zimmerman and David Clamesha.
This choice is all boy and will be new to me. Amazon says it is about a boy pushing, pulling, building, while his little brother (who is too little to help) watches. It seems sweet and tough all at once. Also notable is that T has an imaginary brother who lives in India. Don't ask. I try not to. He also thinks he is A's little brother instead of her cousin. Again, don't ask! :)

I think we all know I will probably be picking up a few others along the way. I think we also know the books will be thrown to the side while he plays with his new toys. Books will wait for him though. They will wait for the noise to stop and the friends to leave. They will be ready and waiting for the birthday boy to read.

Do you have birthday gift favorites? Please share! 

We Have a Winner!

Thursday, January 5, 2012 2 comments
Allison's comment was chosen by! Allison, please email me ( with your Donors Choose account by tomorrow at 8:00 AM.

Congrats and thank you everyone for entering!

Remember to enter REDSTAMP to receive a matching donation! Hurry before the offer ends! Good luck everyone!


Monday, January 2, 2012 No comments
Check out my guest post on Label Daddy! I'm talking all about "meant to be broken" New Year's Resolutions. Do you have a few of those?

Remember to register for the Donors Choose Giveaway! 

Donors Choo Choo Choose!

Sunday, January 1, 2012 74 comments
I am THRILLED to announce that my latest Donors Choose Project was funded by family, friends, kind strangers, and Lands End! My classroom will be so organized for 2012! 

For so many reasons, I am starting 2012 grateful. I want to pay this forward and share with other Donors Choose members!

I also want to encourage you to support Donors Choose projects with even a small donation. This organization is supporting teachers across the United States. 

If you are a teacher, consider starting a project and going for it! There are people out there who want to help your learners! 

I have a Donors Choose $20 donation ready to go for one fantastic follower! 

How to enter:
1. Follow or subscribe to the blog and leave a comment saying you did! (mandatory entry)
2. Additional chance? Tweet about this and leave a comment saying you did! 
3. Additional, additional chance? Post on FB and leave a comment saying did!
*Contest ends Wednesday, January 4th!

Good luck!

PS Please leave the link to your current never know! :)
PSS I am off to look for matching offers!



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