T.S. Spivet gives perspective

T.S. Spivet gives perspective

Companion Questions

The *.pdf document contains an introduction, map link and questions for all the chapters.  They were  created originally for a bright 6th grader.

My friend, Ninja, and I set out on an epic journey of our own this past academic year.  As part of our adventure, I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to include T.S. Spivet’s adventure.  I looked high and low for lesson plans or activities (Why reinvent the wheel?!) but did not find it.

I created a set of Companion Questions to accompany an academic exploration of Reif Larsen’s The Selected Works of T.S. Spivet.

I’m sharing them here and hope that you and your students pack your bag and go exploring!


Texas in February for TCEA 2016

Texas in February for TCEA 2016

i'm presenting at tcea 2016

UPDATE: My handout from the session, click here.

If you’re looking for cool things related to geospatial technology, digital maps, interactive online mapping….and need it to be free for your school. (Yes, FREE! No catch…really!)

Join the TCEA GEOSIG at one of these presentation during the annual conference in February!

geo sig logo outlines


Elementary Social Studies: Thinking Spatially

12:00-1 pm in Room 17A

Tom Baker & Anita Palmer

Connect with Your Community Using 21st Century Tools

3:30pm-5pm  in Room 6B

Carolyn Mitchell & Roger Palmer


Enhancing Social Studies with Digital Maps

1:30-3pm in Room 4A

Tom Baker, Anita Palmer & Chris Bunin

Dead Authors, Dusty Books and Mapping Their Connections

1:30-3pm  in Room 6B

Barbaree Duke


GEO-SIG Luncheon: Dining with Drones

11:30-1:30 in Hilton Room 415AB

Tech ‘n Twenty: Read, Write, Map…What!?! Webinar Links

Thanks to the cozy crowd that joined me this evening at the TCEA Tech ‘n Twenty webinar.  Here are the links for all those that couldn’t be there.


Dickens: http://bit.ly/1gYBtW8

Verne’s 80 Days:

™ Basic Time Zones and Stops http://bit.ly/1gYAOnt

™ Full activity with My World GIS at NatGeo http://bit.ly/1gYB9Xu

Dr. Snow’s Cholera Maps

™ Activity: http://bit.ly/1gYCJZp

™ Map: http://bit.ly/1gYD4ey

Puzzles: The Chocolate Caper

™ Activity: http://bit.ly/1bV8DjU

™ Map: http://bit.ly/1gYAFAs

Common Core Reading Standards and GIS: www.barbareeduke.com/commoncore


Great Watermelon Conumdrum http://bit.ly/1gYBQjs

Add Your Haiku: http://bit.ly/12l0PW1


English Teacher’s Guide to Mapping

™ Authors http://bit.ly/1gYzYan

™ Context and Setting http://bit.ly/1gYA2Xy

™ Journeys http://bit.ly/1gYA5mg

Human Geography maps: http://bit.ly/1el8Npb  

English, SS and Geography maps: http://barbareeduke.com/mymaps

Earth Science maps: http://bit.ly/16Gik5s

NCGE Webinar PPT

NCGE Webinar Program http://www.ncge.org/webinar-schedule

Q & A: How can I hold students accountable for reading?

Q & A: How can I hold students accountable for reading?



A great online resource, We Are Teachers, often posts questions for the general community to assist our colleagues.  With Common Core, NCLB and other initiatives, we need to get creative and push our students to think more.

Here’s the question posed on their site and my suggestion.  Do you have a good idea? Share your comments!

Question: How can I hold my students accountable for reading our novel?

Answer: In this electronic age, kids using online resources is inevitable; however, I say push them beyond the facts to rethink the facts.  Using the book details to connect to other things…keeping dead authors and dusty books fresh is important to students.  This helps them see purpose.  If we pick on ol’ Tom Sawyer, then we might assign an internet article on grave robbers, and then have them read that chapter.  Perhaps we tie geographic elements to map out the story.  If you have to make a map of where Tom goes and how they’re connected…you need to understand what happens and more.  Pick a funky word deep in the chapter (a different one for each class) and have them use it all day. When I taught, 7th grade I used to do something different with each chapter to keep the kids guessing.  Asking open ended questions, gives much more interesting answers and pushes students to THINK, THINK, THINK.