Tombquest Updates

Hello Readers,

Our 6th Grade Chapter is diving into Tombquest Book #1: Book of the Dead by Michael Northop and we have some exciting news.

First, we are well into making our own amulets based on the scarab Alex’s mom wears in the story.  You can see in the picture that we are using modeling clay to design our prototype amulets, which we will then hand off to our design teacher who has agreed to scan them into the schools’ 3-D Printer and print them!

Amulet Prototypes

Amulet Prototypes

When we designed our amulets we used Mr. Northrop’s post on the Scholastic’s Tombquest forum as a guide.  Basically our guys looked for an Egyptian God that interested them.  They then designed the amulet’s shape and wrote about the powers the god granted the owner of the amulet.

They go to the printer on Friday, so check back in next week to see some final amulets.

Second, we just got this book in the mail yesterday.


You can only imagine what we are planning next.  That’s right, if my guys can remember this Friday we will be mummifying a formally living object.


What will happen to a hot dog when you mummify it?  SMS Guys Read is about to find out.

Check back soon for updates.

Read on,

Mr. H

May The 4th Be With You

Hello Readers,

A very Happy Star Wars Day to you all from SMS Guys Read.

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Read On,

Mr. H (Jedi Master)

The Weight of a Human Heart

Hello Readers,

The 6th Grade Chapter of SMS Guys Read has been reading Tombquest Book 1, The Book of the Dead by Michael Northrop.  We are about a third through the story and recently we came across the idea of the weight of a human heart.  We learned that Egyptians would remove the heart of the deceased and weigh against a feather.  If the heart was lighter than the feather off you go to the afterlife.  If you had a heavy heart, off to Ammit… The Devourer!

With that knowledge we created a reading challenge based on the weight of a human heart.

Take a look…

Check back in next week as we develop amulets based on the scarab amulet Alex’s mom wears all day long and has some interesting quirks about it.

Read On,

Mr. H

A Terrible Two Fan Fiction

Hello Readers,

Take a look at this Tweet from author and illustrator Adam Rex…

After replying to Mr. Rex’s Tweet with what I saw as a Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade Balloon shaped like a lemming and after reading and doing some great Reading Challenges with The Terrible Two I decide to take some of my teaching break to write a little fan fiction. Enjoy

The Lemming Balloon of The Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade

A Terrible Two Fan Fiction Tale inspired by a sketch by Adam Rex

by Mr. Hutchinson

Miles and Niles and the Terrible Two prank club had just about run it’s course in the little town of Yawnee Valley.  By the time they had finished middle school they had very nearly put Principal Barkin in the looney bin.  They had carried their pranking ways to the high school, completing mind blowing japes like “Where’s The Mascot Head?” in which the mascot’s costumed head was found in all sorts of strange, amusing and down right embarrassing locations, and “Trampoline Day” which found students arriving at school to find the entirety of the main hallways covered in mini exercise trampolines.  But Miles and Niles were coming to the end of their high school adventures.  They needed one last prank, a prank to end all pranks, a prank that would etch their names permanently on the stone annals of the International Order of Disorder’s Hall of Fame.

But What?

This couldn’t be another local rouse or more school highjinks, no this had to be big… national news big!

“We’ve been in here for days,” whined Miles as he gazed back at a weeks worth of crossed out and abandoned plans scrolled across their prank lair wall.

“It’s here, I know it,” replied Niles tapping his temple, “We just need to focus.”

“Well I’m going to focus down at the diner,” said Miles  “I’m starving and I need to meet up with Holly, she has some big news she wants to share.”

“Do you really think forcing french fries down your gullet in the presences of your girlfriend is going to help us in our prank dilemma?” asked Niles.

“Just maybe,” shot back Miles “and it gets me out of this closet for the afternoon.”

“I have food here you know,” called Niles to the retreating Miles. “True, but you don’t have girls, or fresh air,” countered Miles.

The diner was full of students in what Miles thought to be a very celebratory mood for what he thought to by a typical Wednesday.  He scanned the crowd and found his girlfriend, Holly, in an animated conversation with another elated student. “Holly, what’s going on, why the celebration?” asked Miles.

“Oh hey Miles, we just found out that our student council has been chosen to wrangle a balloon at this year’s Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade!”

“Really what balloon,” asked Miles?

“The Snoopy and Woodstock balloon,” answered Holly “and it’s going to be the lead balloon this year.  We’re first out of the gate, you know after the cheesy little stars and the opening stuff.”

“So you will be in New York City, and on national television,” asked Miles?

“Yea, we fly out a few days before the parade for some practice and background checks, this is big time Miles, not some hayseed tractor pull through Main Street in Yawnee Valley,” said Holly.

“Congratulations Holly, and Holly’s friend,” called Miles nodding to both of the girls “but I have to run, I have, ah, an emergency helper committee meeting with Niles that slipped my mind,” fumbled Miles.

“Fine go, you lunkhead.  Just remember… Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, lead balloon, national TV feed, you got all that?’ asked Holly.

“Yea, sure,” replied Miles.

“Good, now go tell Niles.”

“No, I’m telling you this is our prank platform,” pushed Miles as he reviewed what he knew about the student council balloon wrangling adventure.

“But where is the prank,” asked Niles collapsing into his deep leather thinking chair and mashing the TV remote control power button at the same time.  The TV blared to life and both Niles and Miles turned to watch hundreds of small hamster-like rodents rushing toward the edge of a cliff in unison.  The deep voice over calmly explained, “Here the lemming is at it’s final precipice, this is the last chance to turn back, yet over they go hurling themselves out into space and the waiting Arctic Sea…”

Niles switched the TV off and stared slack jawed at the darkened screen. Miles stood behind the chair in equal amazement.  All their planning, all their mental sweat and anguish, and it all came down to a school field trip and a dated nature documentary!

“You have to get us on that trip,” muttered Miles.

“You have to find a lemming balloon,” whispered Niles.

The plans were frantic and chaotic, but The Terrible Two had almost two months of preparation time and for prankster of their caliber that was ample time.  Niles managed to use his connections in the school administration to secure spots in the student council delegation for two safety helpers/ student chaperones for the New York trip.  Miles managed to locate a black market, back alley helium balloon dealer willing to create a lemming balloon and help make the Snoopy/lemming swap as the balloons were being unloaded. The plan was simple, really.  Get the great lemming airborne and carry on like nothing was amiss.  Continue down the route past Central Park waving at all of the families celebrating the beginning of the holiday season.  Then after the turn at Times Square, continue down 42nd Street past Bryant Park, the NYC Public Library and on to the East River.  The goal being to lead the parade to the river and then escape to the United Nations building and claim international sanctuary and then live out the rest of their lives in the embassy of who ever would take them.  Ecuador seemed up for anyone at the moment.

The only tricky part was getting the police barriers and crowd to move at the 6th Avenue turn.  For that Niles was going to have call in the help of a nemesis, and moron.  The Terrible Two was going to need the help of Josh Barkin!

“What are you Nimbuses doing here,” asked Josh barely looking up from his Death Match Shooter 9 Xbox game.

“We need to get in contact with your grandmother,” explained Niles.

“My nana, she’s probably milking cows down at my uncle’s farm right now.  If you hurry you might catch the show,” giggled the giant lump without breaking his gaming focus.

“Not that grandmother Josh, your other grandmother, the former NYC police chief, Mrs. Rosaline Garner, your mother’s mother,” said Niles.

This made Josh actually look up and pause his game.  “Why in the world would you two want to talk to Grandma Garner?”

“We are part of the student council delegation to the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade and we would love to have her give us some behind the scenes safety background,” explained Miles.

“Why in the world would I want to get you two nimbuses in contact with my Grandma,” wondered Josh.

“Because we just happen to know that you are the student inside to the school mascot and you work after school at the sport and exercise store,” pushed Miles. “So what” “So who else would be able to hide the mascot head in all of those crazy places, but you,” said Miles.

“Or how being an employee of the sports store you had easy access to truckloads of exercise trampolines,” reminded Niles.

“I didn’t do any of those pranks!”

“Maybe, but are you willing to risk it with your dad?” asked Niles.

The Terrible Two left Josh Barkin’s house with both and phone number and email address for former police chief Rosaline Garner.

With all of Nile’s charm and good manners he quickly had Chief Garner making a few calls and got the 6th Avenue turn changed into an escape exit if needed.  All of the officers stationed at that turn were instructed to move the barriers and crowd if they received a signal from the lead balloon wranglers. The day of the parade came and Miles and Niles took up their position on either ends of the school banner and lead the lead lemming balloon down Central Park West, huge smiles on the faces of the Terrible Two.

New York Times Headline the day after the parade

Lemmings At The Parade

The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade takes detour and marches toward the East River!

I hope you enjoyed my tale.

Read on,

Mr. H

Shadow Tails of The Carolinas

Hello Readers,

Some of you may be visiting our blog for the first time, just to find out what all these tails all over our school are all about.  Or maybe you are visiting because of a recent slide show on our scrolling announcements?

Shadow Tail Reveal

If so let us please explain.  If not carry on into the typical grand craziness that we so adore….

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Over the last few weeks we have been reading The Terrible Two by Mac Barnett and Jory John.  The Terrible Two is a great story about an unlikely duo who become the prank kings of their middle school.

We here at SMS Guys Read decided to embark on a mild, secretive, signage campaign warning our fellow middle school students about the dangers of our North Carolina state mammal.

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Now we would like to end our mild amusement with our SMS Guys Read Top Ten facts about The Eastern Gray Squirrel…

  1. The Eastern Gray Squirrel’s scientific name is Sciurus carolinensis, which literally means Shadow Tail of the Carolinas. We think Shadow Tail is a much cooler name then Squirrel.  Why don’t you start calling all squirrels shadow tails?
  2. The tail length of the Eastern Gray Squirrel ranges in length from 150-250 millimeters. That means our social studies teacher is about eight and half squirrel tails tall.  How many squirrel tails tall are you?
  3. Eastern Gray Squirrels are rodents, which means they are in the same family as the Easter Bunny!
  4. The Eastern Gray Squirrel has a black phase, where its fur is nearly all black. This means the Eastern Gray Squirrel has a teenage rebellion/goth phase just like you.
  5. Eastern Gray Squirrels sometimes eat each other, which is both wicked and gross.
  6. Grey squirrels are mainly herbivorous, eating acorns and hazel nuts, berries, fungi and even bark, buds and shoots. However, on rare occasions when plant food is very scarce they will eat insects, smaller rodents, bird eggs and nestlings.  Which means Eastern Gray Squirrels eat pretty much the same thing as middle school boys, save the fungi.
  7. Grey squirrels build a large, untidy looking nest, or drey, in the treetops or hollow tree trunks. The drey is usually lined with moss, thistledown, dried grass, and feathers.  Which is almost exactly like a middle school boy’s bedroom!
  8. Squirrels collect nuts and seeds in the autumn and bury them in many scattered hiding places or “caches” around the wood. They have a highly-developed spatial memory and acute sense of smell, which together aid them in finding the caches even weeks or months later. So the Eastern Gray Squirrel just may be smarter than the average sixth grader.  I mean do you know where your pencil is?  Do you remember your locker combination? Do you?
  9. The Eastern Gray Squirrel is the state mammal of North Carolina. Honest to goodness they voted the squirrel the state mammal in 1969!
  10. The Eastern Gray Squirrel makes a variety of noises including a loud screeching, a “buck, buck, buck,” sound and a chattering often found by “kyukyukyuuuu!” So Eastern Gray Squirrels sound just like middle school hallways.

We truly hope you have enjoyed learning about the state mammal of North Carolina.  If you would like another good read, we recommend The Terrible Two by Mac Barnett and Jory John, there you will learn more than you ever wanted to know about domesticated bovines!

Read on,

Mr. H

Happy Mouse Kingdom Attractions

Hello Readers,

Recently here at SMS Guys Read we have been enjoying Adam Rex’s great story, The True Meaning of Smekday.  Most of us have finished the story long ago, but because of the crazy southern snow season we have not been able to finish all of our reading challenges.

So here, on the week of the opening of the movie Home (based on Smekday), we offer up our first explanation of one of the attractions at Happy Mouse Kingdom.

Enjoy Frogworth’s Hopping Pad

Tune in soon as other members explain Abraham Superlincoln’s Time Machine and Galaxander’s Lunar Lander.  You might even want to check out our sister site, The Inklings, soon to hear about Toontopia, Big Rock Candy Mountain, the Snow Queen’s Castle and of course Mister Schwa’s Grammazing Vocabularcoaster!

and if you want a giggle check the blooper video…

Read on,

Mr. H

The Prankster’s Oath

Hello Readers (pranksters), Yesterday we here at SMS Guys Read made it official, we are now sworn members of the International Order of Disorder. Take a quick look at our swearing in ceremony. Check back in soon as we take our oath to the people and prove that the world looks better turned upside down.

Read on,

Mr. H