Skip to main content

I am a junior in the Special Education Collaborative program at Southern Connecticut State University. In the very little free time that I have I enjoy reading and spending time with family.

Catherine Pelley

Realistic Fiction Mini Lesson

2 min read

Realistic Fiction Mini lesson for a ninth grade class using the novel Paper Towns by John Green:


I will begin by asking students if they know what a paper town is. We will brainstorm some ideas about why John Green chose this as the title of the book.

I will then have students pair up to research what paper towns actually are. We will then have a discussion about copy right traps. I will ask students to consider the purpose of including these copyright traps on maps, and the implications that copyright traps might have on those who use maps.

As a class students will then make predictions about how copy right traps play a role in the novel.

We will then begin by reading the first 8 pages of the novel aloud. This part of the novel is about Margo and Q discovering a dead body in the park when they were children.

After reading this section of the novel I will ask students to:

  1. Evaluate the differing reactions that Margo and Q both have upon finding the dead man in the park, and thereafter—how does each react immediately? What lingering questions does each have about the dead man and what happened to him?
  2. Consider the opening of this novel. What tone does it set?
  3. Consider the thematic and symbolic implications of Margo’s statement, “Maybe all the strings inside him broke” (8). What does this statement mean? What might the “strings” come to symbolize?


I have chosen to write my lesson using this novel because it is based on an adventure between two teenagers. This is something that will engage older students because they are always looking for an adventure. This novel also deals with a wealthy main character, a middle class main character, as well as minority characters. This aspect of the story will help all students find some sort of connection within the text that will spark their interest. 

Catherine Pelley

Realistic Fiction Writing Response

2 min read

According to the article Shut My Mouth Wide Open: Realistic Fiction and Social Action written by Cynthia A. Tyson, does she feel that fairy tales should be taught throughout the curriculum? Why or why not?

Tyson feels that using fairytales throughout the curriculum may have a negative impact on the academic success of certain students long term. She believes this because some students have a hard time engaging themselves in outdated fairy tales. Because of this, she believes that using contemporary fairy tales with students is a better alternative because it gives more students an opportunity to connect with readings and gain the literacy skills that they will need later on.

In the article Depictions and Gaps: Portrayal of U.S. Poverty in Realistic Fiction Children's Picture Books why is it that some areas in the books reflect the reality in the United States, but areas such as poverty are misrepresented? Provide examples and support your thoughts


This article explains that the misrepresentation of poverty is caused by a “lack of consensus among scholarly research regarding the representations of people living in poverty.” I find this to be extremely insulting that researchers are not taking the time to get accurate data about things that are going to be represented in their books. Poverty effects people of all nationalities and throughout all places in this country. Books about poverty should not just have minority characters who live in an urban setting. Students should be reading stories that teach them the truth about the world, not the stereotypes within it.  

Catherine Pelley

#WalkMyWorld #LE10

2 min read

I’ve been waiting to complete until more people posted . I got so busy these last few weeks of classes, but I finally had some time to look through the feed at everyone’s posts. I have chosen to compare my story to Erinn Coady’s. I have never met Erinn, but I have been able to get to know her through her blog posts in this class. has taught me that family is very important to Erinn and me. We both realize that if it weren’t for our families our lives would be very different. We owe all that we are today to them. I also learned that Erinn is a very positive person. She chose a vase of flowers to represent the shape of her life which I thought was very symbolic. The flowers in a vase are constantly changing for newer more vibrant flowers as are the aspects of our lives. If something isn’t going the way that we want it is okay because soon enough something better is going to come along in its place. Finally, I learned Erinn and I are both uncomfortable about silence. I love noises because having too much silence makes me anxious. Erinn questioned why she hates silence so much in .  Although I have never met Erinn, participating in the events has helped me realize just how much we have in common. I’m sure eventually our paths will cross at SCSU, but until then, keep up the positive attitude! 


Here is a link to my storify where I discuss all of my learning event posts.

Here is a link to Erinn's blog where she discusses all of her learning events.

Catherine Pelley

Fantasy Response

2 min read


Do you think that fantasy and science fiction books, like Harry Potter, The Hunger Games and the hundreds of age appropriate books and series, should be a part of standard curriculum or read as optional pleasure/summer reading books?

Although I love science fiction books, I do not believe that they should be a part of the standard curriculum because some parents may not be comfortable with their children reading about magic or self-sacrifice. In public schools teachers need to be extremely cautious about what they require from students and what is optional because you never want to force a child to read something that their religion is against or that their parents do not approve of. Including these types of books in your classroom library or as a suggested summer reading book would be better because the students who want to read it can, and the students who do not can choose something else.

Would you assign and teach fantasy and sci-fi books in your middle school/ high school classroom? If yes, explain why and which book(s) would you assign and to what grade? If no, explain why and what type of books would you focus on instead?


I would have to strategically pick which books I would feel comfortable teaching in my classroom because of the reasons I have stated above. I would not teach Harry Potter books, but I would love to assign The Giver and Feed to my students because these novels really make you think about life in a whole new way. I believe that these stories would generate great class discussions without conflicting with any of the students’ religious beliefs. I would probably assign these books to a tenth grade class because the ideas in each novel are very complex and younger readers would probably not be able to analyze them as well. 

Catherine Pelley

My Fantasy World

1 min read



My fantasy world is filled with fairies and mermaids. All living creatures live in magical treehouses in the most beautiful parts of the forest. The sunset is always orange and pink, and the ocean water is always warm enough to swim in. My fantasy world is a vision right out of a storybook. 

Catherine Pelley

Mythology Mini Lesson

2 min read

Grade: 3

Common Core State Standard: 


Recount stories, including fables, folktales, and myths from diverse cultures; determine the central message, lesson, or moral and explain how it is conveyed through key details in the text.

Mini lesson:

 I will introduce the genre of mythology to my students with the story The Rainbow Serpent by Dick Roughsey.


Prior to reading the story I will define mythology for my students. I will explain that myths are stories that are created in order to explain something that is not understood like a natural disaster, love, hate, or illnesses. I will emphasize that fact that myths are make believe and are simply made up stories for things that cannot be completely explained.  I will then tell students that I am going to read them a myth and their job is to identify what the purpose of the myth is. In other words, what is the story trying to explain to us?

After reading the story aloud to the students I will ask them to turn and talk to one another about what they thought about the story’s characters, setting, and overall message. After about 3 minutes I will have the students share what they discussed with their neighbors. I will then ask students to explain how these elements help to portray the myth of the story. As a class, we will use the students’ responses to come up with what the story is trying to explain to us (e.g. how the shaping of the land, mountains, and rivers were created). I will then have students turn and talk again about how they know that this story is a myth. After about 3 minutes I will have them share their reasoning with the class. This will help students to think back on specific parts of the story that are not realistic. We will then discuss as a class the aspects of the story that are realistic so that students can see that not all of the information in myths is made up.

For the closure, I will have students pick a mythological story out of a basket that I previously put together. Students will then be required to go back to their seats to read the story and identify what the myth is trying to explain using key details from the text. 

Catherine Pelley

Zeus Biopoem

1 min read


Image result for zeus

1. Greek name: Zeus 

2. Four traits of character: Wise, fair, just, merciful.

3. Relative of: Son of Cronus and Rhea. Brother of Poseidon, Hades, Hestia, Hera, and Demeter. Father to Athena.

4. Lover of: Being in control, intimidating others, Hera.

5. Who feels: Protective of Hera, yet the need to have relationships with various women.

6. Who needs: His winged horse, Pegasus to carry his lighting bolts.

7. Who fears: Being one of the most powerful Gods, Zeus did not have much to fear.

8. Who gives: thunder, lightening, and power to other Gods.

9. Who would like to see: himself in full domination. 

10. Resident of: Mount Olympus

11. Roman Name: Jupiter

Catherine Pelley

The Fox and the Grapes

1 min read

The moral of The Fox and the Grapes is that sometimes we want things that we cannot have, and we have to be okay with that. 


Some questions that I would ask students about this fable are:

1. How did the fox handle not being able to reach the grapes?

2. Do you think the grapes were really sour?

3. Give me an example of a time when you wanted something but could not have it. How did you react to this situation?

4. How could have the fox have reacted to this situation differently?


Catherine Pelley

A new ending to The Lion and The Mouse

3 min read


Original story:

A Lion lay asleep in the forest, his great head resting on his paws. A timid little Mouse came upon him unexpectedly, and in her fright and haste to get away, ran across the Lion's nose. Roused from his nap, the Lion laid his huge paw angrily on the tiny creature to kill her.

"Spare me!" begged the poor Mouse. "Please let me go and some day I will surely repay you."

The Lion was much amused to think that a Mouse could ever help him. But he was generous and finally let the Mouse go.

Some days later, while stalking his prey in the forest, the Lion was caught in the toils of a hunter's net. Unable to free himself, he filled the forest with his angry roaring. The Mouse knew the voice and quickly found the Lion struggling in the net. Running to one of the great ropes that bound him, she gnawed it until it parted, and soon the Lion was free.

"You laughed when I said I would repay you," said the Mouse. "Now you see that even a Mouse can help a Lion."

A kindness is never wasted.

My version:


A Lion lay asleep in the forest, his great head resting on his paws. A timid little Mouse came upon him unexpectedly, and in her fright and haste to get away, ran across the Lion's nose. Roused from his nap, the Lion laid his huge paw angrily on the tiny creature to kill her.

"Spare me!" begged the poor Mouse. "Please let me go and some day I will surely repay you."

The Lion was much amused to think that a Mouse could ever help him. But he was generous and finally let the Mouse go.

Some days later, the Mouse heard hepless sqeaking in the distance. He ran as fast as his little legs could carry him. The sqeaking got closer and closer. The Mouse soon found the Lion dangling a poor mouse by his tail.

"Put him down!" cried the Mouse.  

"I let you go, but I need to eat!" explained the Lion.

Thinking quickley, the Mouse ran to the Lion's den where he found is sleeping cub. He convinced the cub to play a game with him where he was the boss and the cub was the student. The cub loved games so he agreed to play along. The Mouse brought the cub back to the Lion and told him that if he ate the mouse than he would have to hurt the Lion's cub. As hungry as the Lion was, he could not bare to think of his precious cub being hurt. He put the mouse down and agreed never to eat any of the Mouse's relatives. The two mice went running off happily together and the Lion and his cub went off to look for something different to eat for lunch. 

Moral of the story: Never underestimate the power of someone smaller than you. Just because you think you are more powerful than someone else does not make it true. 



Catherine Pelley

An attempt at writing my own fable...

3 min read

Here's a shot at writing my own fable:

There once lived an elephant and a dog. The elephant was the biggest and bravest animal in town, while the dog was seen as the weakest and most naïve. Every day the elephant would tease the dog with a tennis ball to show all the other animals how easily a dog can be amused. The elephant would then throw the ball for the dog to fetch, and then leave with all the other animals by the time the dog brought the ball back to continue playing. This made the dog sad because he never had any real friends. He wondered if the elephant was right, “Am I the weakest and most naïve animal of the bunch?”

A few weeks later the elephant gave birth to a cute and tiny baby elephant. All the animals gathered around to see the newest member of their animal family…even the dog. All the animals laughed at the dog for showing up and told him to just go play with his ball. The dog slowly walked away sad that he couldn’t enjoy the new baby elephant with everyone else. Suddenly he heard a big commotion coming from behind him. He ran back to the crowd to find out that the baby elephant was stuck in a burrow that his mother was too big to get him out of. None of the other animals could fit inside the hole to help get the baby elephant out, but the dog was just the right size. He ran to the baby elephant’s rescue before anyone could stop him. While inside the burrow he used his tennis ball to coax the baby elephant out without scaring him. Everyone cheered when the baby elephant came out and was reunited with his mother. The elephant thanked the dog and told him that he is not weak after all. He is brave and his tennis ball is not stupid, it is powerful. From that day on all of the animals treated the dog with kindness and respect. Never again was an animal picked on because they were different from the others.



The moral of this story is to never judge someone based on their appearance or hobbies. Everyone is an important part of this world in their own way, and one day we may need this person’s help with something that we cannot do.