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Before getting started, I just want to point out that teachers have been amazing over the last few weeks. I’ve watched entire districts mobilize to provide online and long-distance instruction while also providing a safe way for kids to get breakfast and lunch. Someone tweeted to me that his entire school has made sure that each child has had a phone call from a teacher.

That’s pretty amazing.

It’s no wonder so many people will mention the name of a teacher when asked about who had the greatest impact on their life.

During this time of social isolation (at least that’s what I’m experiencing here in Oregon) my goal has been to create free content that teachers and parents will find useful. Last week, I created a guide and a toolkit. I also wrote a more personal post about providing spaces of permission. I also created a free writing prompt specifically for kids who are in social isolation.




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You can download it here. You can embed the YouTube video or add the video in something like Google Classroom. The only thing I ask is that if you find it useful, please consider clicking the “like” button on the video below and maybe sharing it out on social media? Don’t forget to subscribe to my channel as well.

I’m Releasing a Free Novel

I also wanted to announce a small project that I’m starting today. As a dad, I’ve noticed that my kids are feeling a little anxious and stir crazy being stuck at home. I believe social isolation is the right thing to do and we are sticking with this as a family. However, that doesn’t make it any easier for my kids.

For this reason, I am writing a chapter a day in a children’s book. The age range is somewhere around 9-13. Think middle grades. I understand the need for children to process what they are feeling and to dive into rich stories with a powerful social message. There are some great books that will help children do that. However, I also think kids need to have an escape. They need to laugh and goof off and play. With that in mind, I am going to be sharing a fiction story. This is a new iteration of a story I told a few years ago to my kids a few years ago. I’m hoping other kids enjoy it as much as my kids did. Each day, I will release a new chapter with text and audio, along with a few discussion questions.

 

Overview

Tony Repugno is your average boy. Okay, he’s not your average boy. In fact, Tony isn’t even a boy. He’s a slice of pizza that came to life after a freak lab mistake. His whole life, Tony has been stuck at home in order to keep his thin crust safe and avoid the mockery of being different. But after his father goes missing, Tony leaves the house and heads off on a wild adventure where he must save the city from a sentient robot monster. He’s not the hero they asked for. He’s probably not even the hero they need. But he’s the only hero that showed up today, so that counts for something, right? For years, Tony has wanted to be normal. Now, he’s about to learn that the very thing that makes him different might just be what saves the day.

You can check out the first chapter here.

How to Get It

Each day, I will send out the text and the audio file via email. I will also embed the audio and text on this site. You can then share the site with your students or their families. You can also email out the files or embed them into a learning management system such as Google Classroom. Each day, I’ll include a few discussion questions as well.

Sign up below for access:

John Spencer

John Spencer

My goal is simple. I want to make something each day. Sometimes I make things. Sometimes I make a difference. On a good day, I get to do both.More about me

35 Comments

  • Ashley says:

    Thank you so much for doing this!!!! When will we receive the first chapter? Id love to start sharing with my students today 🙂

  • Thank you, thank you, thank you!!!!
    My crazy, silly, hormone-raging, fart-smelling, drama-stirring students need this so much! And you’ve inspired me to try making a “collaborative story” with them during this Covid-19 Intense Quarantine.
    Have a wonderful day!
    Peace
    Cecily

  • Clarisa Kinshasa says:

    Thank you for providing an adventure for our students to read along with discussion questions. You are helping our students continue reading different genre while at home.

  • Dee Sypherd says:

    Oh, my goodness, John! This is so awesome! Thank you SO much! Your generosity makes me actually tear up!

  • Pat says:

    What a generous gift! Thank you for your encouragement and solidarity in these strange times – it feels less scary when we reach out to each other!

  • Joscelyn says:

    This is great! Thank you for doing this. I’m excited to provide the resources for my students- chapter a day and your creative writing prompt. We are in week 7 and my kiddos are starting to need more to engage.

  • Melissa Merculief Landis says:

    Yes, me too! So awesome!! Can’t wait, and thank you for sharing with us so selflessly!

  • Angie says:

    Thank you!! SO needed for everyone.
    Appreciate your generosity!

  • Ann Roberts says:

    Looking forward to sharing with my students! Thank you so much!

  • Brent Rodgers says:

    How awesome and creative! Thank you for your act of kindness!

  • Louise says:

    Thank you John. I truly ppreciate your gracious sharing of your talent and time. It has been so heartening in these strange, trying, and often lonely days to see how people continue to come forward with kindness and help. Thank you for being one of those people.

  • Louise says:

    Thank you John. I truly appreciate your gracious sharing of your talent and time. It has been so heartening in these strange, trying, and often lonely days to see how people continue to come forward with kindness and help. Thank you for being one of those people.

  • Amy says:

    Awesome! My students will love the break from boredom! I especially see my middle school boys loving this!

  • Dawn says:

    Can’t wait to read this with my son and daughter ????

  • Megan says:

    How will this work? Will I, the teacher, receive the chapter daily and then I forward it on to my students?

  • Jenny says:

    I enjoy the preview so far! Can’t wait for the first chapter!

  • Debbie says:

    What a great idea! Thanks for being willing to share, I know my students will love reading this. Added bonus; it is rare in this generation to have delayed gratification. Sending out a chapter a day really helps develop that skill, which is the “hallmark of a healthy adult”. As a teacher, I really appreciate the discussion questions, as well. You rock!

  • Maria Wusterbarth says:

    When will we start receiving the chapter-a-day videos? I am looking forward to posting the link to my Google Classroom my students and their families! Thank you for your generosity! – Maria

  • Rick Magallanes says:

    Thank you for this amazing resource! I will definitely be using both the writing prompt and audio book with all my students!

  • ASHLEE PAPADOPLOS says:

    I would love access to your novel to share with my students.

  • Mindy says:

    Thank you so much! I know my 7th graders will love it!

  • Maria Heaslip says:

    Leaving a message of love and thanks from the bottom of the world – little ole New Zealand. My students will really enjoy this while in lockdown! You are exemplary and have shone a spotlight on what is to be a good human being. Nga mihi nui.

  • Melissa Higgs says:

    Should I have received the first chapter in my email yet? I don’t want to miss it!

  • Monica says:

    Has anyone received chapter one?

  • Merridith Urbinati says:

    Thanks so much! My students will love it.

  • Karen James-Wilson says:

    Thank you soooooooo much for this resource! I’ve been following since day 1, and I’m excited to share with my students. The comprehension questions really helps to keep our discussions going!

  • Safa Afzal says:

    i love this book , thank you so much

  • Tammy Cresap says:

    Thank you so much, John. This is a wonderful gift. I can’t wait to get started reading this with my students.

  • Rhonda says:

    This is wonderful. Will there be more stories in the future???? The format is perfect for distance learning. Thank you so much.

  • Arlene Cahoy says:

    thank you very much John. this would help in my online classes for SY 2020 – 2021

  • Amanda says:

    Thank you so much for writing this! My one student just emailed me to tell me how he would read it with his Grandma and how much they loved it! He was wondering if you had anymore books geared to that age.

  • Palwasha Tahir says:

    Amazing literacy resources Can’t wait to use these in my lessons! Thank you so much

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