Nonfiction Explosion in The Classroom Library

Yesterday was an amazing work day in my classroom. Margie (@loveofxena) spent the day working with me, and we got a ton done. Working with her has made me think about how so often setting up a classroom is done in isolation. One teacher, in charge of the entire classroom, making all the decisions on their own. I am so thankful that I had Margie to help me figure out how to make the room student friendly.

Check out the rest of my classroom set up videos below.

5, 4, 3, 2, 1 Interview: Pablo Cartaya

Early this year I read Pablo Cartaya’s The Epic Fail of Arturo Zamora. I LOVED IT. Spending time with Arturo’s family in Miami was the perfect way to start summer. I hope you find value in my interview with Pablo.

5,4,3,2,1 Interview

  • Can you tell us a little bit about THE EPIC FAIL OF ARTURO ZAMORA?

Thirteen-year-old Arturo Zamora fights a greedy land developer who threatens to tear down his abuela’s restaurant. In the process, Arturo has his first encounter with love, discovers poetry, and learns the importance good old-fashioned community activism. Family is at the heart of this book. Plus food. Lots and lots of food .  


  • What is the best part about being an author?

Can I give you two best parts? One is creating characters that allow readers to dream themselves into a story. The other is getting to talk to young people. I learn so much from young people.

  • What’s the hardest part of being an author?

The hardest part of being an author is also one of the greatest parts. Revising! Revising can be brutal but it’s necessary.

  • If you could spend one day living in the world of a book, which book would you pick?

I would totally pick Twenty-thousand Leagues Under the Sea written by Jules Verne! What adventure awaits us, Captain Nemo??


  • What advice do you have for the young creators in my classroom?

Never be afraid to fail.

Happy Saturday: The Vanderbeekers

I hope everyone is having a wonderful day. Mr. Schu, I hope your clavicle is healing nicely. Please don’t try to do too much work.

Books Featured In This Video

The First Rule of Punk by Celia C. Pérez

Pelé the King of Soccer by Eddy Simon and Vincent Brascaglia

The Vanderbeekers of 141st Street by Karina Yan Glaser

A Boy, a Mouse, and a Spider by Barbara Herbert and Lauren Castillo

Falling Water by Mark Harshmanm Anna Egan Smucker and LeUyen Pham



Setting Up My Classroom Day 1

Setting up a new classroom is a big project. This year I’m moving from third to fifth grade, and with that move I’m headed to the opposite end of the school. Yesterday, was my first day working in my new room. It felt good to get some things done. I’ll probably head in tomorrow and then take a week off before I hit it really hard. I thought it would be cool to make a video showing my room from where it started to what it looks like when school starts, but I just don’t have the patience. Instead, I made a video all about Day 1. Maybe I’ll make another one tomorrow, or maybe I’ll wait until the room is nearing completion.

I made this video of seeing my classroom for the first time the Monday after school got out.

Using Anchor to Podcast With Your Students

I’ve always wanted to start a podcast with my students. The stress of finding a site to host, finding music, and sending it to iTunes made it a little to intimidating for me. This summer I found Anchor when listening to an episode of Gary Vanerchuck‘s podcast. I checked it out, and I very quickly discovered that this platform has tremendous potential in the classroom. Anchor is a free app that can be found in both the Apple and Google Play stores.

It isn’t perfect, but I guess nothing is. I wish you could pay to remove the Anchor branding from the beginning and end of the podcast, but that seems like a fair price to pay for a free service.

I made a little video showing just how easy it is to use Anchor.

If you’d like to hear the sound quality and the look of an Anchor show sent to iTunes and Google Play, you can click on the link below and listen to the show I created: Reading With Mr. Sharp.

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If you have any questions or ideas about using Anchor please leave a comment below, or send me an email. I’d love to learn and grow with you!