Fourth Grade Journey

A Fourth Grade Teacher's Journey Through the World of Books

Monday, March 27, 2017

Music Monday #25 (Shooting Star by Owl City)

"Shooting Star" by Owl City

*The other week I presented a song by Owl City called "Fireflies".  It was so well received by my fourth graders that I thought it would be cool to present them with another selection by the same band.

*We have had a few artists this year that we have heard more than one song from them and it is always a fun occurrence.

*This video was actually filmed right here in Minneapolis which is cool because we are a district just outside of the city.

*Today is our Twenty-Fifth Monday together and that means it is time for another musical selection.

*I truly believe Mondays are my favorite day for our writer's notebooks.  

*Each Monday I present a piece of music to my fourth graders.  I usually present this song via a video so they are hearing and seeing the music.  

*After I share the video, we discuss the song/video for a few minutes as a class.  It is always a joy to hear what my young listeners have to say about the song.  

*They then get busy writing in their notebooks.  We start off at the beginning of the year writing for about five minutes.  This will gradually increase as the year progresses.  

*Here are some ideas I give the writers to think about during their writing time...

*Their opinions of the song.
*Their likes and dislikes of the song.
*What the song reminds them of.
*Any connections they may have to the music.
*What they think the message in the piece may be.
*What listeners can learn from the song.
*A fictional story about the music/video.

*These are just some ideas I give to the writers.  They are really free to write anything they would like as long as it connects to the song.

*After our silent reading, we spend a few more minutes sharing out what we wrote.  

*I keep a collection of the videos on our Schoology Site so that my students can always go back and rematch them anytime they wish.

Our Musical Monday Selections for 2016-2017 
Week #1 - "What I Am" by                                                    Click Here for Week #1 Music
Week #2 - "Clay" by Grace VanderWaal                                               Click Here for Week #2 Music
Week #3 - "One Voice" by Billy Gilman                                               Click Here for Week #3 Music
Week #4 - "I Don't Know My Name" by Grace VanderWaal                Click Here for Week #4 Music
Week #5 - "Proud" by Heather Small                                                    Click Here for Week #5 Music
Week #6 - "There's a Hero" by Billy Gilman                                        Click Here for Week #6 Music
Week #7 - "Can't Stop the Feeling" by Justin Timberlake                    Click Here for Week #7 Music
Week #8 - "Thriller" by Michael Jackson                                             Click Here for Week #8 Music
Week #9 - "Beautiful Thing" by Grace VanderWaal                            Click Here for Week #9 Music
Week #10 - "Live Like a Warrior" by Matisyahu                               Click Here for Week #10 Music
Week #11 - "Thankful" by Josh Groban                                             Click Here for Week #11 Music
Week #12 - "Hall of Fame" by The Script and                    Click Here for Week #12 Music
Week #13 - "Clouds" by Zach Sobiach                                               Click Here for Week #13 Music
Week #14 - "Hopeful" by Bars & Melody                                          Click Here for Week #14 Music
Week #15 - "Do They Know Its Christmas" by BandAid                   Click Here for Week #15 Music
Week #16 - "My Hero" by Harris J.                                                    Click Here for Week #16 Music
Week #17 - "What a Wonderful World" by Louis Armstrong             Click Here for Week #17 Music
Week #18 - "Be Humble and Kind" by Tim McGraw                         Click Here for Week #18 Music
Week #19 - "Dreamer" by Chris Brown                                              Click Here for Week #19 Music
Week #20 - "One Call Away" by Charlie Puth                                    Click Here for Week #20 Music
Week #21 - "I Lived" by One Republic                                               Click Here for Week #21 Music
Week #22 - "One Shining Moment" by Luther Vandross                    Click Here to Week #22 Music
Week #23 - "Fireflies" by Owl City                                                     Click Here for Week #23 Music
Week #24 - "Rise Up" by Andra Day                                                  Click Here for Week #24 Music

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? (3/27/17)

Thanks to Jen and Kellee for hosting this idea on their site.  Here is a link to their site...
Books I Read this Past Week...

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

*Young-Adult Novel (5 STARS out of 5 Stars)

Glory Over Everything by Kathleen Grissom

*Novel Published for Adults (4 STARS out of 5 Stars)

My Book Review

Matylda, Bright & Tender by Holly M. McGhee

*Middle-Grade Novel (5 STARS out of 5 Stars)

My Book Review

Last Bus to Wisdom by Ivan Doig

*Novel Published for Adults

*I've abandoned this novel for now.  May come back to it this summer.  It didn't grab me at this point in my reading life.

Books I Will (continue to) Read this Week 

The Hearts of Men by Nickolas Butler

*My novel published for adults

OCDaniel by Wesley King

*My middle-grade novel (maybe middle-school novel?)

The Pecan Man by Casie Dandridge Select

*My novel published for adults (Audio)

Lucky Strikes by Louis Bayard

*My young-adult novel

Sunday, March 26, 2017

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

How I Heard About It:  This novel had lots of BUZZ on Twitter.  That is where I first heard about it.  The more my Twitter friends would comment about the novel, the more I wanted to read it.  While having drinks with Donalyn Miller here in the Twin Cities awhile back, she offered to send me a copy of the book.  She continues to amaze me with her generosity and kindness.  I finished the story last night and hope I can do this novel justice with my thoughts and ideas.  

What It Is About:  Starr exists in two different worlds. The first world is where she grew up in a tough neighborhood where poverty and crime hover over its residents.  The second world is her high school that she attends which is located "away" from the "hood".  For the most part, she keeps these two worlds separate and daily life is going alright for Starr.  That is until she gets a ride home from a party with a friend that she has known most of her life.  While in the car, they are pulled over by a white policeman and her friend is questioned and shot by the officer.  This event sends Starr, the neighborhood residents, and the kids at her school into a tail spin of questions, issues, disagreements, stress, and tension.  With Starr being the only "witness" she is throw into the middle of this media frenzy and she isn't sure she can handle it or make everyone happy with the information she has and shares.  

What I Thought Of It:  Sometimes when there is so much "press" about a book, it doesn't always live up to the hype, praise, and accolades.  That was not the case with this story.  The plot sucked me in from page one and didn't let go until I finished the last line.  I almost felt like I was reading a headline or watching the nightly news.  The development of this story ties so closely to what is happening in our country on a daily basis.  I appreciated that the author presented "both" sides in a kind, sensitive, and thoughtful manner.  There were many tough issues scattered amongst the pages, but Angie Thomas did a fantastic job of getting those real-life issues down in print.  The writing style was such that as a reader I felt like I was right there in the middle of everything that was going on.  As I read, I constantly kept thinking about how I felt, how I would react, and how I would respond to this in "real life".  Such an important book to be read.  

Who Should Read It:  Because this is such an important and timely novel, I believe all high-school students should be "required" to read it.  So much to think about, discuss, and figure out how to bring the people of our country together as one.  The novel is also absolutely perfect for adult readers.  This will definitely be a book I share with my fellow readers.  Happy Reading!  

Rating:  5 STARS out of 5 Stars

Saturday, March 25, 2017

The Glory Over Everything by Kathleen Grissom

How I Heard About It:  Long ago, historical fiction was not in my repertoire of self-selected reading material.  I remember someone recommending to me The Kitchen House by Kathleen Grissom.  I said I would give it a try and see what I thought.  It was a pleasant surprise and I ended up enjoying the story quite a bit.  So much in fact that I begin to tell other reader friends about it.  A few weeks ago I was picking out picture books from my local library for my classroom and begin to do some searching for a new audio book.  This title popped up and I put it on my checkout list.  The other day I finished listening and will share my thoughts here...

What It Is About:  This time the story takes place in 1830 and our main character is Jamie Pyke.  He has run from his "past" and is living a brand new life as a wealthy silversmith.  Jamie keeps the company of rich white folk and surrounds himself with the best of the best.  This is a long way from his childhood.  He is also keeping a major secret that he is holding deep within himself.  Jamie is the son of a black slave and her master.  After he takes on a new lover, who happens to be married, Jamie learns that his own "servant" Pan has been captured and is going to be sold into slavery.  This brings back many memories for Jamie, and he knows he must do something.  He owes Pan's father because that man helped Jamie escape from his own "hell".  Jamie embarks on a journey back south to rescue Pan even though he is afraid to face his past and the people from it.  

What I Thought Of It:  I read the actual text of The Kitchen House and this time I listened via CD during my commute to and from work.  I'm not sure if this made a difference, but there was a change in the experience.  I liked the overall story, but was not connected to it like I was with the first book.  Once Jamie began the journey the story picked up and I became more invested in the characters and their struggles.  It is always difficult to read about the lives of people that struggled during our countries' history, but one that is necessary.  The author did an excellent job of capturing the mood, feeling, and essence of this time period.  I must admit there were moments of the story when I had to sit in my car to listen to the story because it was a "critical" point in the plot.  

Who Should Read It:  Of course if you read The Kitchen House, then I recommend you continue the story with this second installment.  If you are a fan of historical fiction, I think you would enjoy the story.  The writing is strong, the characters are well developed, and there are quite a few twists and turns.  Happy reading...

Rating:  4 STARS out of 5 Stars

Friday, March 24, 2017

Friend Friday #182 (Scar Island by Dan Gemeinhart)

Hi!  I'm Ayub and I read the book called Scar Island written by Dan Gemeinhart.  

I thought this book was great 
because it had a lot of boys in the story and they got into a lot of trouble which made for a good book.  

My favorite part in the story was when the adults died because they were so mean to the boys and kind of deserved it.  Plus the boys were happier without them. 

The character that I liked best was Jonathan because he was the main character and the last boy to come to Scar Island and that was when everything happened in the story.

I think the author wrote this book because maybe had visited a boy's prison before and wanted to write a story about it.  Or he wanted to write a kind of scary story and would keep me reading the whole time.  

I would recommend this book to my friends because it has a lot of adventure in it and everyone that read it in our class really liked it so I know other kids would too.  

Reading to me is something peaceful because when I'm reading I feel relaxed and the book takes me away to another place.  

*Ayub is a great reader in my class.  
*He is soft soften and reads from a variety of genres.
*We read this novel for our "Breakfast with Books" book club and it was the first time Ayub joined us.
*I hope maybe we have hooked him and he will join us for our last couple of book clubs.  

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Life Lesson #25 (Be Inclusive)

"Be Inclusive"

*This is the twenty-fifth Thursday of our school year together and that means it is "Life Lesson" Thursday.

*If you follow our Thursday Life Lessons you know most of the lessons/videos are of a serious nature, a strong lesson/theme, and a message that my students can take forward with them in their lives.  

*It always means a lot to me when a student brings me an idea for a "video clip" to use for our Life Lesson Thursday.  Even more meaningful is when a "follower" of this blog and/or Twitter, takes the time to email me an idea that he/she has used with their own students.  That is the case with this "lesson".  

*I have never seen the "Canadian Tire" ads or knew how meaningful they were.  Now that an online "friend" has shared them with me, I will definitely be using them with my students.  

*I set aside time during each day for us to work in our writer's notebooks. 

*We talk about what types of writing we can do in the notebook.  Here are some of the possibilities...

-What we notice in the video
-What we wonder about
-Connections we have to the video
-Thoughts, feeling, emotions about the video clip
-Reminders we have from the lesson/message
-Create a fiction story about the video

*Once the video is shared with the writers, we spend a few minutes "talking" about what we observed.

*My writers set up their HEADING in the notebook and we get busy writing.

*During the start-up of the year, I have my students write for about five minutes.  We slowly build our stamina for writing and slowly add time to the writing block. 

*At the end of the individual writing time, we call on a few volunteers to share their actual writing and/or further thoughts about the video we watched and wrote about.

*If there is time, I sometimes share the video clip with my class at the end of the writer's notebook time.  

Life Lessons for 2016-2017…          

Week #1 - Be Brains -                                                  Click Here for Week #1 Lesson
Week #2 - Be Kind to Others -                                     Click Here for Week #2 Lesson      
Week #3 - Be Safe -                                                     Click Here for Week #3 Lesson
Week #4 - Be Responsible -                                        Click Here for Week #4 Lesson    
Week #5 - Be a Friend -                                               Click Here for Week #5 Lesson
Week #6 - Be Courageous -                                        Click Here for Week #6 Lesson
Week #7 - Be Life Changing -                                      Click Here for Week #7 Lesson
Week #8 - Be Spooky -                                                Click Here for Week #8 Lesson
Week #9 - Be Kind -                                                     Click Here for Week #9 Lesson
Week #10 - Be Courageous (To Continue On) -          Click Here for Week #10 Lesson
Week #11 - Be Motivated -                                           Click Here for Week #11 Lesson 
Week #12 - Be Inspired -                                             Click Here for Week #12 Lesson
Week #13 - Be Merry -                                                 Click Here for Week #13 Lesson
Week #14 - Be a Team -                                              Click Here for Week #14 Lesson
Week #15 - Be Giving -                                                Click Here for Week #15 Lesson
Week #16 - Be SHOUTful -                                          Click Here for Week #16 Lesson
Week #17 - Be Happy -                                                Click Here for Week #17 Lesson
Week #18 - Be a Reader -                                           Click Here for Week #18 Lesson
Week #19 - Be Powerful -                                            Click Here for Week #19 Lesson
Week #20 - Be Brave -                                                 Click Here for Week #20 Lesson
Week #21 - Be Positive -                                              Click Here for Week #21 Lesson
Week #22 - Be a Friend -                                             Click Here for Week #22 Lesson
Week #23 - Be Strong and Courageous                      Click Here for Week #23 Lesson
Week #24 - Be Dance-Like                                          Click Here for Week #24 Lesson

Trailer Thursday #182 (Scar Island by Dan Gemeinhart)

Scar Island by Dan Gemeinhart (Trailer by Milana)

Scar Island by Dan Gemeinhart (Trailer by Reece)

*One of my goals this year to promote reading, books, and literacy was to expose my readers to the idea of "trailers".  

*The most recent "Breakfast with Books" book club selection was Scar Island by Dan Gemeinhart.  It was well-received by many of my readers and we had a great Skype session this past Monday.  

*I asked the "book clubbers" if they would create a book trailer to capture the essence of the story.  It always amazes me how you can take the same book and receive such a wide variety of trailers.

*Our goal is to create a book trailer a week that we can share with our classmates.  

*We are collecting all the trailers we make and putting them into our Schoology Site.

*Each student will have their own album where they can keep all of their trailers.  Then the other readers will be able to browse those trailers and find a new book to read.   

*As the year progresses we will learn what should be included, and not included, in the trailer to make them the best they can be.

Here are Some Other Trailers that Promote this incredible author