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Often educators’ creativity spills over into a book, blog, app or other work. We’re happy to showcase members’ talents.

If I Were the Teacher

On the first day of school, Max dreams about what he would do if he were the teacher. His ideas are wild, chaotic and downright hilarious. In the end, Max realizes that it’s probably good he’s not in charge. He’s thankful for his teacher and decides that if she’s his teacher then he doesn’t want to change a thing. If I Were the Teacher, by Cardiff Elementary Teachers Association member John Tiersma and illustrated by art educator Ron Van Der Pol (for younger elementary students), is a read-aloud that helps teachers build a safe and loving community of trust and wonder. The book promotes valuable conversations of imagination and curiosity while deepening the bond of the teacher- student relationship. On Amazon.

Handbook for Virtual Teaching

California Virtual Educators United member Dr. Nicholas Baker recently published Virtual K-8 Teaching: A Handbook for Building Productive Teacher-Student Relationships. An educator in the virtual setting for more than two decades, Baker’s book is a deep dive into the ways virtual K-8 teachers build those ever-elusive relationships with virtual students. Research and insights from eight virtual middle-school teachers are included on such topics as student engagement, teacher academic and social presence, the nurturing of
student sense of belonging, bridging the transactional distance gap and the importance of the student’s educational community. In addition, a useful collection of teacher tips and tricks helps build meaningful, productive relationships with students that foster success. On Amazon.

Space Opera Saga Continues

High school English teacher and Las Virgenes Education Association member Lance Novak has just published his fifth young adult novel, Miss Sophia Sanchez: Earth Defender — the third installment in a science fiction/space opera series. Sophia Sanchez, the youngest corporal stationed on the starship Excelsior, and her squadron of fighter pilots escort an expeditionary team to planet Gnoman to begin relations with the fumpbushtas, a proud, dwarf-like race of intelligent beings. Meanwhile, a leezhahi force has also ventured to Gnoman. Can Sophia help stop the fumpbushtas from becoming the latest leezhahi conquest? And can she and her colleagues help humans take back Earth, an abandoned planet now colonized by the leezhahi? On Amazon, Barnes & Noble and more.

Adventures of Seraphina

CTA/NEA-Retired member Aaron Hall, who spent 20+ years teaching, writes children’s books under the pen name Hannah Hope. His books feature a central biracial character named Seraphina whose stories focus on topics of interest for young readers in grades 3-8. In “Seraphina in Ukraine” (2022), Seraphina looks at how she — and you and your friends — can help the war-torn nation. In “Planet Seraphina at an Observatory” (2022), she and her friends are saving Earth and invite you to help them. “Seraphina and the Tail-Waggers: A Sensitive Heart Book for Kids” (2023) explores “people’s best friends.” On Amazon and other booksellers.

Read Aloud Stories

UTLA member and elementary substitute teacher Paul Laverack has created a YouTube channel, “Read Aloud With Mr. Paul,” which contains more than 100 story-time videos of great children’s books. These funny, touching, wonderful stories, from kindergarten classics to fairy tales to immigrant stories for older students, are a great resource for educators who need to rest their voice during the day and for children to listen to at bedtime — or anytime. On YouTube.

A Fight for Survival & Freedom

Pittsburg Education Association member and 10th grade English teacher Brandon Lawson’s latest creative work is “Nova’s Blade,” Book 1 of a young adult dystopian series. Writing under the pen name Will Scifi, Lawson fashions a world ruled by ruthless corporate oligarchs and deadly games — where one woman’s battle will ignite a rebellion. Nova is forcibly drafted into a televised death match tournament amongst kidnapped women known as the Valkyries. The victor wins a golden ticket to liberation and a marriage to a member of the world’s wealthiest families. There is, of course, much intrigue and drama offstage as well. On Amazon.

Ideas & Activities for Kids

CTA/NEA Retired member Carol Greene taught grades 4, 5 and 6 for 33 years — the last 12 of them as a creative arts specialist in San Jose. She’s also a music specialist and a ventriloquist who used puppets to help her teach; after school she was a Girl Scout, Cub Scout and Webelos leader. Greene recently wrote and illustrated “WOW,” a book that includes many of the participation activities and songs
she created during those years. “Wow” is meant to encourage children to try new things, from making masks to dancing with a teddy bear. Elementary school teachers can use it as a guide for student writing and art projects. On Amazon.

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