Cheryl's Articles
Cheryl has written 91 articles on various Four-Blocks topics for California based website To read her articles, please visit

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Books Used in Cheryl's Seminars

  • Books Used in Cheryl's Seminars - In my seminars, I display books and am often asked for a bibliography. I don't generally give out a bibliography because I rarely ever bring the exact same books to each seminar. Sometimes I'm grabbling books as I pack, thinking to myself, "I've gotta share this book with them!" So, I'm sharing many of the books I've been bringing along with me. I'll just share a line or two to remind you about what's in them

Books Cheryl Has Coming out Soon

  • Just-Right Writing Mini-Lessons, Grades 4-6
    (Sigmon and Gilpin, Fall 2007, Scholastic Publishing Co.) Written with 6th grade teacher Lisa Gilpin, this is the third and final in the Just-Right Comprehension series. It's based on state standards and strategies recommended by the National Reading Panel and other experts. The lessons demonstrate how to teach strategies in the context of a daily mini-lesson. It'll make planning so much easier for the busy teacher who wants to teach lessons that make a lasting difference to students.

Books Cheryl Has Written

  • Buy Now!Just-Right Comprehension Mini-Lessons, Grade 1
    (Sigmon, May 2007, Scholastic Publishing Company) This is the first in my newest series of mini-lesson books published by Scholastic, and it will premiere at the IRA conference. Just like the writing series, it's based on a solid curriculum of the standards taught in most US states. These are lessons that can be taught in many situations-whole group, tutorials, small group, guided reading, and in content lessons. Although text is suggested in each lesson, the lessons can be easily adapted to your own reading materials. I think you'll love this series!

  • Buy Now!Just-Right Comprehension Mini-Lessons, Grade 2-3
    (Sigmon, May 2007, Scholastic Publishing Company) This book for grades 2-3 in my newest series of mini-lesson books published by Scholastic will also premiere at the IRA conference. Again, it's based on a solid curriculum of the standards taught in most US states. With lessons more sophisticated than the grade 1 lessons, this book has fun and engaging ways to teach tough strategies. These are lessons that can be taught in many situations-whole group, tutorials, small group, guided reading, and in content lessons. Although text is suggested in each lesson, the lessons can be easily adapted to your own reading materials.

  • Buy Now!Writing Mini-lessons for the Content Areas, Grades 4-6+
    (Sigmon and Ford, September 2005, Scholastic Publishing Company) Scholastic reports that this book has been the best-performing book in its cycle, and had one of the strongest trade releases they've ever seen! The book is organized around 5 essential tools that help teachers successfully integrate writing with science and social studies lessons. The writing lessons and content are based on 10 state standards documents as well as national writing, social studies and science standards. As a feature of the book, you'll find a full thematic unit on Citizenship built around the immigrants' experience at Ellis Island, including a unique Reader's Theater production. This book should be a huge help to teachers at upper grades who are struggling with trying to get it all done!

  • Buy Now!Just-Right Writing Mini-Lessons, Grades 4-6
    (Sigmon and Ford, 2006, Scholastic Publishing)
    This book is full of wonderful mini-lessons for your upper grades classroom! In keeping with the other books in this series, this book is based on a curriculum of the standards that most states feel students need to know and be able to do at these grade levels. Everything from getting your students to observe the margins on the paper to writing research papers is included in an easy-to-follow format. Get this one today!

  • Buy Now!Just-Right Writing Mini-Lessons, Grades 2-3
    (Sigmon and Ford, 2005, Scholastic Publishing Company) This is another in the series of mini-lesson books based on a solid curriculum of state standards. We used the common standards among eleven different states and integrated each into a natural context. Each lesson fits into a 10 minute mini-lesson that's perfect for a Writing Workshop. Scholastic did a super job of laying out the lessons, each on one page-easy to read and use. Hope you'll like it!

  • Buy Now!Just-Right Writing Mini-Lessons, Grade 1
    Sigmon and Ford (Scholastic, 2004) This book previewed in January and was featured in Instructor magazine with excerpts! Based on the standards documents of 11 states, this book will help teachers find a natural, appropriate context for instructing the standards that must be taught in first grade classrooms. There are 75 creative lessons with additional hints and ideas in every lesson. Teachers at grades 2-6, watch for the next books in this series!
    (ISBN: 0-439-43116-6)

  • Writing Mini-Lessons for Third Grade
    (2002, Carson-Dellosa Publishing Co., Inc.) Sigmon and Ford
    This book offers step-by-step mini-lessons for approximately 50 skills, strategies, styles, and techniques with 3-5 follow-up ideas for each of the lessons. The lessons all demonstrate how teacher modeling puts elements of grammar, mechanics, and usage, as well as writing process, genres, and styles, in an authentic, practical context for students. This book is sure to make your daily writing lessons easier and more effective!

  • The Teacher's Guide to Four Blocks
    (1999, Cunningham, Hall, and Sigmon, Carson-Dellosa Publishing Company, Inc.) This is the guide all Four-Blocks teachers need to get the framework implemented. Written for teachers in grades 1 - 3, this step-by-step guide gives you the basic theory but also descriptions of lessons and activities.

  • Modifying Four Blocks for Upper Grades
    (2001, Sigmon, Carson-Dellosa Publishing Company, Inc.) This book is a comprehensive look at what upper grades teachers have done to modify the basic framework for success at grades 4 - 8. Book lists, great vocabulary activities, and practical ideas for implementation have made this popular with upper grades teachers. The forms and other reproducibles in the back are a neat feature of this book!

  • Lesson Plan for Modifying Four Blocks for Upper Grades
    (2001, Sigmon, Carson-Dellosa Publishing Company, Inc.) Upper grades teachers have commented that they appreciate the guidance provided in this lesson plan book. Whether you have one language arts class or three, this book gives you flexibility for planning and a weekly planning guide to ensure that students get a well-rounded program. There are some great reproducibles in the back!

  • Implementing the 4-Blocks Literacy Model
    (1997, Sigmon, Carson-Dellosa Publishing Company, Inc.) Many administrators and teachers have loved this short and to-the-point guide to Four-Blocks. This book provides the basic outline of each block, planning checklists, and coaching/observation checklists. The observation checklists are especially helpful to administrators and support personnel who visit Four-Blocks classrooms regularly.

Books with Class
In this section, I'll share books with many uses in the classroom. This month's choice, even though it's a picture book, can be used at any grade level from first grade through the middle grades and beyond. I hope you'll like it!

  • P is for Princess by Steven Layne and Deborah Dover Layne - Itís another alphabet book, but this one is a sophisticated informational book that can be used for upper and lower grades. First, let me warn you that the cover will likely throw you off and make some of your male students reluctant to pick it up. Thatís so unfortunate! Thereís a good lesson to be taught based on the cover aloneóYou canít always judge a book by its cover! The history provided for each of the pages of royalty is amazing!
  • Knuffle Bunny by Mo Willems - Another great book from Mo Willems whose work you know from Donít Let the Pigeons Drive the Bus! This Caldecott Honor Award book is for the primary students, K-2. This is a storyline that all of us can identify with and one that provides a rich context for teaching and learning.
  • The Incredible Book Eating Boy - Henry loved books, but he didn't love them like most of us. He loved to EAT books-books of all kinds.
  • T4 - The first novel written by Ann Clare LeZotte is a beautiful book of poetry that tells a story of an unfortunate chapter of world history with its setting at the onset of WWII in Nazi Germany. The odd title is the shortened address, Tiergartenstrasse 4, which housed Hitler's project to extinguish all mentally ill and disabled people in an attempt to breed his perfect nation.
  • The Silver Cup - This is a well written book by Constance Leeds about the life and circumstances of Anna, a fifteen year old girl whose life was affected by the Crusades in 1095 in Germany. This one is riveting for students and adults!
  • When Abraham Talked to the Trees - Elizabeth Van Steenwyk - This beautifully illustrated picture book about a young Abraham Lincoln shows the power of an author zooming in on one aspect of a famous life. This story also makes a powerful connection between reading, writing, speaking, and listening.
  • Henry and the Kite Dragon by Bruce Edward Hall - This story, set in the midst of New York City, is a beautiful illustrated book with a message of tolerance and understanding that will enrich your curriculum in many ways.
  • Mr. George Baker - I was introduced to this beautiful picture book when I spoke at the Georgia Regional IRA Conference in November and immediately fell in love with it. The story is a simple one for use at all grades
  • Yummy, Yummy! Food for My Tummy! - Written by Sam Lloyd Illustrated by Jack Tickle
  • The Tale of Despereaux Written by Kate DiCamillo Illustrations by Timothy Ering
  • Thesaurus Rex - In primary grades where you're introducing the concept of a thesaurus, you'll love this book!
  • Take Me Out of the Bathtub - This would be a great book of poems to read and sing anytime, but it'll really bring zing to your classroom the last few weeks of school!
  • You Have to Write - Written by Janet S. Wong, illustrated by Teresa Flavin Margaret K. McElderry Books. What an encouraging book for students who've felt that they have little to say in their own writing! This is a picture book written as poetry that really makes a point that all of us have something to say in our writing.
  • This month I'm featuring not one but THREE books for special reasons; When Marian Sang; Porcupining; and Freak the Mighty-one because it's especially appropriate for Black History Month; one in celebration of Valentine's Day; and one because it's a book I've fallen in love with and can't wait to share with those of you at upper grades who haven't read it yet. Hope you'll enjoy them!
  • Diary of a Worm - If you loved her book, Click, Clack, Moo, Cows That Type, prepare to love this book by Doreen Cronin even more! I don't know when I've laughed so hard at a picture book! Follow a charming, typical boy-like worm as he writes in his diary daily.
  • Jeepers Creepers - Halloween would be the perfect time to introduce this book to your classroom, but it'll be fun at any other time of the year, too! This book features an array of colorful beasties from A to Z in a clever rhyming pattern. Enjoy!
  • Everything on a Waffle - This Newbery Honor Book by a Canadian author is such a treat to read! Filled with the most vivid, eclectic characters, Everything on a Waffle takes the reader on a wild adventure with Primrose Squarb.
  • The All-New Book of Lists for Kids - This month's book is a bit different from the ones I typically post in this section. Admittedly, I tend to overdose on narrative text (both fiction and non-fiction). The book this month is comprised of list after list (over 300, in fact!) of nearly every thing imaginable that students of all ages care about.
  • Mercedes and the Chocolate Pilot
    by Margot Theis Raven is based on a true life event about a pilot who flew missions across Berlin, Germany after the end of WWII. These missions were different from those flown by most pilots. One most compassionate pilot dropped chocolates and candies to the children of West Berlin, knowing how difficult wartime was for children who could not fully comprehend what was happening around them. This story tells how this act of kindness changed the life of one young girl and connected her life to the pilot.
  • Joey Pigza Swallowed a Key
    written by Jack Gantos
    1998, Harper Trophy/HarperCollins Publishing
    Here's a book that every teacher and administrator should read----even if it's not shared with your students!
  • Leonardo's Horse
    written by Jean Fritz
    illustrated by Hudson Talbott
    2001, G.P. Putnam's Sons, NY
  • The Journey
    by Sarah Steward with illustrations by David Small
    (2001, Farrar Straus Giroux, New York)

Recommended Adult Books

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** Four-Blocks is a registered trademark of Carson-Dellosa Publishing Company, Inc. Find these books at all book stores and teacher supply centers that carry Carson-Dellosa materials.