Sunday, February 5, 2012

PBL World: June 18-22, 2012

I get asked a lot about where to learn about Project Based Learning. There are the usual learning sites like BIE and Leading PBL. Now there is an incredible opportunity coming soon: PBL World.
Join the Adventure @

Mine! by Shutta Crum (A) & Patrice Barton (I)

In a good picture book, the pictures are just as important for telling the story. It's what makes picture books one of the most difficult to write. In Mine, Shutta Crum, a veteran of picture books has done it again, along with Illustrator Patrice Barton. With one word, Shutta tells a story that young children will enjoy and can "read" to their adults. Barton effectively collaborates with Shutta's concept and creates high quality images that makes the story moving "along" with the core text.

While parents of young children will love this book because their child(ren) can take over the reading, authors are also winners with this book. Aspiring authors of picture books will find this book a seminal text for understanding how economy of words is critical to storytelling with pictures. Show don't tell is the guide to this story, and makes for interesting study of word choice to move forward an idea.

What some people don't realize is that the author constructs the story and how it arcs. They craft the concept and themes. The illustrator takes the text and concept to create the pictures to "show" the story. Not easy.

Picture books such as Mine! is a great tool to explicitly show aspiring authors that each word must have an important role in the story. Otherwise, delete. From the perspective of teaching writing styles, Mine! should take its place along with among others John Jakes, Maya Angelou, and Ernest Hemmingway.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Free Kindle Offer: Marketing Made Easy...for Learning?

I follow a couple of authors, particularly the Newbie's Guide to Publishing blog by JA Konrath. They are continually redefining book publishing and marketing. With the eBook industry opening huge doorways for people to publish their work direct to the public, the question should be asked, How can this work for learning?

The short answer is Authentic Product assessments. When students are producing papers or projects how might they be published for an authentic audience? Schools pay for or charge families to purchase books for a book in their hands. Ebooks significantly cut costs for families and increase profits for fundraising to schools. Class anthologies or student directed projects could lead to author experiences and chances to post reviews. Part of the publishing process, students could create marketing plans or schemes.

With that said, if you'd like a chance for a free Kindle and books from marketing savvy authors...Read on...

10 Free Kindle Fires, 75 free ebooks, $300 in gift cards, a $500 library donation! Entries for 10 free Kindle Fires are already underway at and gift cards are bing randomly awarded on Twitter for those who tweet about the Big Kindle Boogie.

On Feb. 1-2, bestselling thriller authors J.A. Konrath, Blake Crouch, Scott Nicholson, Lee Goldberg, and Scott Nicholson are making 75 Kindle books free on Amazon. They are also making a $500 donation to the local library of one Kindle Fire winner. They are also releasing the five-book Ultimate Thriller Box Set for free during the event. Contest is international, no purchase necessary. You can also join the Facebook party at

Three easy ways to enter:
  • Use the entry counters at
  • You can also enter manually by tweeting to be eligible for Kindle Fires and Amazon gift cards: 10 free Kindle Fires. 75 free ebooks. #bigkindleboogie RT to enter for a Fire!
  • You can email ONCE PER DAY with "Boogie entry" as subject line
Everything free, everything fun. Good luck!