"Dear Mrs. Kiester, a few years ago, maybe in 2003, you came to my school to give a two-day workshop to a group of teachers. At the time of the workshop, I was teaching at Garden Grove in Simi Valley, California. Although I enjoyed your presentation very much, it hasn't been until recently that I realized how valuable those two days have become to me. I have pulled out your books, Blowing Away the State Writing Assessment Test and Caught'ya, every year since then. I have taught at a number of schools and grade levels--from primary to remedial 8th grade--and all of my students have shown terrific growth and success when I use your methods and materials. This past week I was involved in another in-service day. Part of the day was to do some long-term planning for teaching writing with my grade level. We got a new teacher this year, who is very enthusiastic but inexperienced. When I brought out all of my Jane Bell Kiester materials and started sharing what I was doing, it was like seeing again for the first time. She was so excited! She got online and ordered several of your books. She will be doing the Caught'yas, and we are planning the first-ever-at-Township-Elementary Dictionary Day in May! So THANK YOU for your hard work and dedication. Know that your passion is appreciated and is being passed on to students."
"Every teacher in the school has impelled the Caught'ya material. The students are really excited and love it. We also implemented the 'Word of the Week,' and it is proudly displayed on our school marquee and on the board in every class. It is highlighted on the weekly bulletin, and everyone is endeavoring to use it appropriately. We also have a school-wide monthly writing prompt. Each class chooses one student's writing for me to read. I then choose two to read to the school on the PA system. I'm telling you, the teachers were motivated by you and your material. Thanks so much for caring about all children, and thanks for sharing your talents with us."
-Sherry LaCost, principal, Simi Valley, CA
"I teach in a year-round school, and I am totally disoriented about time! I bought a copy of your Caught'ya book for use with my students at Swannanoa Valley Youth Development Center, a facility for incarcerated youth. I just had to write to tell you how much I like your book and how successful it is with this population. I have been teaching English for over twenty years, and this is the best system for teaching grammar that I have found. My students are high-school age, but they are far below grade level. They do not find the stories in this book beneath their dignity, even though they are the toughest thugs in the state of North Carolina. They come in each day, get their notebooks, and do thier Caught'yas. I am absolutely amazed and delighted at how quickly most of them are learning the rules of grammar. They love the individual attention as I move around the room, and they love that I write a big 100 on each day's entry as they get them correct in front of me. With our smaller classes, I can work with each kid each day. The only adjustment I have made to your program is to shout out 'Perfect!' when they have the sentences corrected. They beam when I yell out the positive message. Thanks again for your great book and creative system for teaching grammar!"
-Stephanie Wilder, Swannanoa Valley Youth Development Center, NC
"I have implemented your 'Hairy Beast and Friends' 9 weeks into my classes, and the kids just LOVE IT! I had previously been doing Daily Oral Language, and some of my "hard-to-reach" students never budged; however, since I have been using your Caught'ya technique, they have been so excited. Everyone loves doing it and can't wait for me to 'catch' them. I can't tell you how wonderful this has made my classes. I have actually ENJOYED teaching grammar, and they are learning and having fun at the same time. I just wanted to say THANK YOU for giving me a great idea that really works! Please keep coming up with your wonderful teaching methods for us struggling teachers.....we need all the help we can get!"
-Katherine Brown, Chaloner Middle School, Roanoke Rapids, NC
"You may not believe this, but I had to share it with you. I just started the Caught'yas this week because I had to miss some days last week. Today we were in second period when there was a bomb threat. We evacuated our middle school to the high-school football stadium next door. While we spent an hour and a half there, one of my students asked me to do vocabulary. I had 75 seventh graders yelling their Caught'ya words and their meanings at the top of their lungs. You would have thought we were having a pep rally."
"This is my second year using Grammar with a Giggle in my English/language arts classes. What a wonderful resource! The children actually look forward to daily grammar work. I use a writer's workshop setup for the class which is sixth grade. Last year we used the story about the magical umbrellas, in which they truly enjoyed incorporating the school's names and data. This year we decided to do the 'Hairy Beast' story. I cannot believe how enamored they are with this story; I actually made a stuffed Hairy Beast to accompany the daily work. The students enjoy the extra credit given after a test if they write what will happen next or predict who the next character will be. Our last writing project was to tell the story from Hilda's point of view. Now the children have started to ask to take our mascot home on weekends. I allowed one of my students to do just that over the Thanksgiving holiday. To my great pleasure and surprise, she arrived this morning with Hairy, a journal of his adventures written by Hairy, and an album of picture to accompany it! I, and many of my colleagues, had quite a fun day reading and looking at the pictures. Thank you for this alternative to skill-and-drill grammar practice. "
-Mrs. J. Chan, Ryan Elementary School, Tewksbury, MA
Check out pictures of Hairy from Mrs. Chan's class!
"I am a sixth-grade special education teacher in a special education school in New York City. I moved here a year ago from Virginia...I first came across your books about 3-4 years ago but was unable to use the ideas in the public school where I taught due to a variety of factors. However, in coming to NYC and presenting your "method" to the director of the private school where I teach, she loved the idea and we took off with it. I have 8 students. Two are severely dyslexic, two are autistic/Tourette's Syndrome, and the rest have all sorts of learning challenges and issues (including three ESL students). From the very beginning, my students have loved "Hairy Beast and Friends." We have had long, intense discussions about Hairy and Hilda's doomed relationship. We have created new characters: Furry Beast, Hairy's older, wiser pilot brother; Jelly Beast; Fluffy Beast; etc.; and are currently wrapping up the story as the end of school approaches. The kids have begged me to move up with them to seventh grade so the saga can continue. I am planning on sharing the story line and concept with the seventh-grade English teacher so he can carry on the "tradition" we have started this year. I just want you to know that my kids have learned and accomplished more this year in language arts than I could have ever dreamed possible. The parents are thrilled, the director is thrilled, I am thrilled, and most of all, the kids now have a level of skill and confidence they never dreamed possible. So, it is with heartfelt appreciation and thanks that I reach out to you. Thank you for the inspiration and help you have given to my class and me this year. You have made a difference in the lives of eight wonderful, beautiful children and helped me feel more skilled than I truly deserve to feel."
-Nancy S., New York City middle-school teacher
"Yours is the only how-to teacher book that I've read cover to cover in the last 10 years. I love Hairy. I recently discovered Giggles in the Middle and have ordered it. I really like the companion CD idea since I use my SMART™ Board exclusively these days...In a desolate, lifeless, serious world of standards that my colleagues bemoan and administrators preach, you and your books are small green seedlings of hope."
-Karen Zutali, NBCT, EYA/ELA
This product was added to our catalog on 9/21/03.