Fourth Grade Journey

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

Friday, September 30, 2016

Friend Friday #159 (The Misadventures of Max Crumbly by Rachel Renee Russell)


Hi!  I'm Drew and I read the book called The Misadventures of Max Crumbly written by Rachel Renee Russell.


I thought this book was crazy because Max has an enemy in school and gets shoved in his locker a lot.  


My favorite part in the story was when he got shoved in his locker because he got to explore the vents.  



The character that I liked best was Max Crumbly because in gym class he barfed on Thug's foot.


I think the author wrote this book because she wrote the Dork Diary series which mostly girls read so she wrote this book so more boys would read it.  


I would recommend this book to my friends because they like comic books and this book is kind of a like a comic book.  

Reading to me is fun because there are so many different adventures in the book.


*This was the fourth book that I gave a book talk on.
*Drew's name was "drawn" so he was the first student in our class to be able to read it.  
*It did not take Drew long to get through the book and I think his review is spot on.
*I know many readers will be looking forward to the second book in this new series.
*Great job Drew!  




Thursday, September 29, 2016

Life Lesson #4 (Be Responsible)


"Be Responsible"


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

*Our school is focusing on Be Kind, Be Safe, and Be Responsible as our three major expectations.  I wanted to tie those into our Thursday Life Lessons.  

*Last week we had a video on "Being Safe" and this week it is all about "Being Responsible".  I tried to find some fun and interesting videos for the kids to watch.  Yet, I still want them to learn about the importance of these expectations.   

*Each Thursday I share a short video clip with my writers.  The clip has some type of "lesson" I want to share and teach my fourth graders.  

*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

Trailer Thursday #159 (Hilo the Boy Who Crashed to Earth by Judd Winick)

video
Hilo the Boy Who Crashed to Earth by Judd Winick
(Student Created Trailer by Zak)

*One of the things I'm focusing on and teaching my students is the creation of iTrailers.

*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 we found about this particular book...








Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Picture Wednesday #4 (Be Responsible)

"Be Responsible"

*This is the fourth Wednesday of our school year together and that means it is "Picture Wednesday".

*Our school is using the PBIS model this year and are focusing on Be Kind, Be Safe, and Be Responsible.  I wanted to tie our writing into our Be Safe conversations, but do it in a fun/silly way. 

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

*Each Wednesday I feature a photograph, image, or graphic.  My goal is to have my writers do some thinking, reflecting, and writing about the image.

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

-What we notice in the image
-What we wonder about
-Connections we have to the picture
-Thoughts, feeling, emotions about the visual
-Reminders we have from the image
-Create a fiction story about the picture

*Once the image is revealed to the writers, we spend a few minutes "talking" about what we see.

*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 writers and slowly add time to our 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 visual in front of us.


Our Images from 2016-2017...  
Week #1 - Back to School - Click Here to See IMAGE
Week #2 - Be Kind to Others -  Click Here to See IMAGE
Week #3 - Be Safe - Click Here to See IMAGE

Wonder Wednesday #159 (Book Bins)

 Wonder Wednesday - Book Bins

*This probably isn't a WONDER for most people, but for myself these plastic "bins" have truly been a wonder in my classroom.

*In the past, I've tried many different "tools" to organize my students and their books.  We have used book bags, keeping books in our desks, and checking out novels one at a time.




*After reading Franki Sibberson's book about the reading classroom in grades three through six, I saw that she used these bins for her readers.  It was like a lightbulb went on and I know I found a method to use with my readers.

*The end of the summer found me shopping for these and trying to find the "best deal".  It was actually my wife who found them for a pretty good deal.  We bought 30 of them in a variety of really great colors.  I was the happy teacher.

*It took us a few weeks to really figure out how we were going to use these during our reading workshop.  The fourth grade readers now are expected to keep 4-5 books in their bin at all times.  I love that when they finish a book, they can go directly to their personal bin and get their next book.  My readers use to waste reading time looking for that great next book.

*The simple things are really what can change our teaching practices the greatest.  The organization is awesome and keeps all of us reading, reading, reading!!!


 I guess I need to confer with reader #1 and get this bin filled.

 These readers sure are busy reading all the books above.

 Reader #10 makes me so happy!

 Everyone building personal book collections.

 It is interesting to observe the differences in book choices.

 Many classic books are being read by my fourth graders.

Some readers may have problems finding enough space for all their choices.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Treat Tuesday #159 (Happy Book Birthday)

Treat Tuesday:  Burger Fi

*We were in Lincoln, Nebraska this past weekend.  My wife and I made the road trip to visit our daughter who is a senior there.

*After watching the Husker football game on the JUMBO-tron outdoor screen, we headed next door to a Burger Fi restaurant.

*I had never been to one of these burger places, but am a huge fan of a good burger and this place did not disappoint.


*If you ever find yourself in a town or city with a Burger Fi restaurant, I highly recommend you stop by and enjoy a good old fashion burger with a side of fries.

*They also have some wonderful "beverages" on their menu that go perfectly with the meal.


Treat Tuesday:  Middle-Grade Novel










Treat Tuesday:  Young-Adult Novel










Treat Tuesday:  Novel Published for Adults


Monday, September 26, 2016

Music Monday #3 (One Voice by Billy Gilman)


"One Voice" by Billy Gilman

 *This just might be the year of all new "Music Monday" selections.  Last week I picked a new song from America's Got Talent and this week I'm going a bit old school, but with a current twist.  Billy Gilman had this hit years ago and now is a contestant on The Voice.

*Today is our third 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 will.i.am                                           Click Here for Week #1 Music
Week #2 - "Clay" by Grace VanderWaal                                      Click Here for Week #2 Music

An Inside Look #17 (Lily and Dunkin by Donna Gephart)

An Inside Look - With Donna Gephart
Author of Lily and Dunkin


*Another Monday, means another "inside look" with an author.

*It has been such an honor to connect with authors and "chat" with them about their novel, the characters, and their thoughts about the story.

*I have had such fun connecting with authors and "picking" their brains.



*Here are the links to the first SIXTEEN interviews…




*I was lucky enough to have Donna send me an ARC of Lily and Dunkin last spring.  I had heard such wonderful things about the story and was thrilled to be able to read it before it hit shelves.

*All of Donna's novels are wonderful.  Each one of them has brought such joy and insight to my life.

*After starting these "Inside Look" blog posts, I was choosing novels that I was currently reading.  When thinking about other books that I would like to look at more closely, this one definitely came to mind.

*Donna was gracious enough to agree to the interview questions.  I appreciate her time, her thoughts, and giving us an intimate look at two extraordinary characters.

*Here are the interview questions and answers...

Lily and Dunkin by Donna Gephart (Released May 3, 2016)


How did you come to know Lily and Dunkin?
Lily’s character is a composite of the many, many narratives I read/listened to/watched of transgender people who bravely shared their experiences in essays/memoirs/podcasts/documentaries.  Dunkin is inspired by our son, who has bipolar disorder, but his character is also based on mountains of research.  Once I began writing, the characters took on lives of their own, of course.



What do you think is Lily and Dunkin's most admirable quality?
Lily is so big-hearted.  One reviewer said that her favorite relationship in the book was between Lily and her beloved banyan tree, Bob.  I liked that because it showed how Lily cares deeply about others.  Dunkin cares so much about his little family, even as he struggles mightily with his illness and situation.  And I like how he finds ways to show Lily that he cares about her, and those gestures matter so much to Lily.



Is there anything you wish Lily and Dunkin would have changed or done differently in their story?
Oh, I wish they didn’t make all the mistakes they made, especially Dunkin, but that wouldn’t be realistic.  We all learn from those mistakes and they’re necessary for growth.  They make us better, more compassionate humans.



What do you think Lily and Dunkin can offer to other children that are experiencing similar situations to what they went through?
Lily and Dunkin have the power to let a lot of young people know they are not alone, that there are others with the same feelings and struggles.  That’s powerful to find a friend in literature when you feel alone in the world.  And to those young readers who aren’t in similar situations, Lily and Dunkin can open hearts and minds to understanding, appreciating and embracing differences.  



What was the hardest scene to write about these two young people?Some of the scenes in this book tore at my heart so much that I’d avoid writing them — oh, look, time to reorganize my bookshelf by author . . . no, wait by title . . . no, by color.  Hmm, let’s see what’s in fridge now.  Until finally I gathered the emotional courage to write the difficult scenes that were inevitable, yet  painful.  



Who do you think was Lily and Dunkin's biggest supporter and why?
Lily found support from her yoga-mat-toting mom and knitting-crazy older sister and of course her good, tough friend, Dare.  And Dunkin’s mom and exercise-obsessed grandmother provided his safety net.  Why were they so supportive?  Love.  



Why do you think some people have such a hard time accepting other people that are different from them?
Fear.  Ignorance.  Once we know a person, it’s really hard to dislike them and to be cruel to them.  And one of the ways we can “know” a person is through literature.



What do you think Lily and Dunkin are doing as the present time?  Hmm.  Maybe they’re sipping a cuppa at Dunkin Donuts and laughing about one of Dunkin’s magic tricks.  At least I hope so.

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? (9/26/16)



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...


Goodbye Days by Jeff Zentner

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







Everything on a Waffle by Polly Horvath

*Middle-Grade Novel (4 Stars out of 5 Stars)


Review coming soon!  







Books I Will (continue to) Read this Week…    


The Nix by Nathn Hill

*My Adult Novel (For BBC - Boy's Book Club)









The Boundless by Kenneth Oppel

*My Middle-Grade Novel (Audio)









Falling Over Sideways by Jordan Sonnenblick

*My Young-Adult Novel









The Scourge by Jennifer A. Nielsen

*My Middle-Grade Novel

Friday, September 23, 2016

Friend Friday #158 (The Wild Robot by Peter Brown)



Hi!  I'm Audrey and I read the book called The Wild Robot written by Peter Brown.


I thought this book was awesome and funny because Roz is a robot, she is in the wild, and she can speak to animals.  


My favorite part in the story was when the animals found the robots because it was funny and amazing how they found them.  



The character that I liked best was Roz and her son because Roz was nice and helpful and her son was funny and loving.  


I think the author wrote this book because he thought people wold enjoy the book like I did.  


I would recommend this book to my friends because it is funny, cool, and awesome.

Reading to me is amazing and awesome because it is fun and bring you to a new world of possibilities.  


*Audrey and I are going to get alone really well this year.
*She is even more of an avid reader than myself.
*In the first 13 days of school, she has read so many great books and just keeps wanting more.
*It is awesome to see how much she enjoys reading.
*I look forward to sharing many new titles with her this year and know she will share titles back with me.  






Thursday, September 22, 2016

Trailer Thursday #158 (Origins of Olympus by Kate O'Hearn)

video
Origins of Olympus (Pegasus) by Kate O'Hearn
(Student Created Trailer by Kaitlyn)

*One of the things I'm focusing on and teaching my students is the creation of iTrailers.

*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 we found about this particular book...


Life Lesson #3 (Be Safe)


"Be Safe" in Our World


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

*Our school is focusing on Be Kind, Be Safe, and Be Responsible as our three major expectations.  I wanted to tie those into our Thursday Life Lessons.  

*Last week we had a video on "Being Kind" and this week it is all about "Being Safe".  I tried to find some fun and silly videos for the kids to watch.  Yet, I still want them to learn about the importance of these expectations.   

*Each Thursday I share a short video clip with my writers.  The clip has some type of "lesson" I want to share and teach my fourth graders.  

*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

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Wonder Wednesday #158 (Save Fred)

Wonder Wednesday - Save Fred

*I know this activity has been around for quite some time, but I just recently heard about it and saw it on Twitter this past summer.

*I loved the idea of it and what it hopefully teaches our young people.



*Each small group got a plastic cup, four toothpicks, life saver, and a gummy worm.

*They tipped the cup upside down, put the life saver under the cup, and the gummy worm on top of the cup.

*They challenge was to use just the paper clips to get the life saver from under the cup and put it on top of the cup (boat) with the gummy worm.

*The students did a great job with four paper clips, so then I challenged them to try with three, two, and one paper clip.

*The focus of this lesson was on cooperative work and how we can reach our goals when we work together. 

*The whole process was wonderful and one that I will use for years to come.

*I've linked an activty sheet you can print that gives directions and a flow sheet for the group members to fill out...


*Here is a look into the activity that we shared together...

 

Picture Wednesday #3 (Be Safe)

"Be Safe"

*This is the third Wednesday of our school year together and that means it is "Picture Wednesday".

*Our school is using the PBIS model this year and are focusing on Be Kind, Be Safe, and Be Responsible.  I wanted to tie our writing into our Be Safe conversations, but do it in a fun/silly way.

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

*Each Wednesday I feature a photograph, image, or graphic.  My goal is to have my writers do some thinking, reflecting, and writing about the image.

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

-What we notice in the image
-What we wonder about
-Connections we have to the picture
-Thoughts, feeling, emotions about the visual
-Reminders we have from the image
-Create a fiction story about the picture

*Once the image is revealed to the writers, we spend a few minutes "talking" about what we see.

*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 writers and slowly add time to our 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 visual in front of us.


Our Images from 2016-2017... 
Week #1 - Back to School - Click Here to See IMAGE
Week #2 - Be Kind to Others -  Click Here to See IMAGE