Fourth Grade Journey

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

Friday, October 31, 2014

Friend Friday #66...

Hi!  I’m Akos and I’m read the book called Treausre Hunters written by James Patterson. 

I think this book is fun because is it about kids who are treasure hunters.  

My favorite part in the story is when scuba bandits attack their ship because it was exciting.

The character that I liked best was Storm because she was very smart. 

I think the author wrote this book because he wanted to entertain kids with a great story.  

I would recommend this book to my friends because it is very funny and interesting. 

Reading to me is important because it helps me learn.  

*Akos is one of my most interesting readers.
*He reads anything and everything.
*The fun thing about Akos is that he will read the first book in a series (like this one), love it, but not read the next right away.  He says he wants to try something different after he finishes a book.
*I also like how he promotes a book and gets the other readers to read it.
*It sure will be fun to work with Akos this year and suggest books to him.  

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Trailer Thursday #66 (Halloween Edition)...

Halloween by Jerry Seinfeld (Picture Book)

Batman:  The Long Halloween by Jeph Loeb (Graphic Novel/Comic)
*This is for older readers

The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman (Middle-Grade Novel)

Breathe:  A Ghost Story by Cliff McNish (Young Adult Novel)

Help for the Haunted by John Searles (Adult Novel)

Life Lesson #8...

"Too Spooky for Me"

*This week's life lesson is all about having fun.

*Normally my weekly lesson is a bit more serious and ways for all of us to be better people.

*I wanted to share this video clip with my writers because I knew they would enjoy it.

*After viewing the video once or twice, my writers get busy with their notebooks.

*They can write their reactions, thoughts, feelings, reminders, or connections they may have.

*I've used this video before and know that the young writers enjoy the song, words, and visuals.  

Life Lessons from this Year...
Life Lesson #1 - Be Brave
Life Lesson #2 - Be Kind
Life Lesson #3 - Be Courageous
Life Lesson #4 - Be Motivated
Life Lesson #5 - Be a Buddy, Not a Bully
Life Lesson #6 - Be Inspired: Never Give Up on Your Goals
Life Lesson #7 - Be SHOUTful (Shout Your Success)

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Picture Wednesday #9...

Home Sweet Home

*Each Wednesday I pick a different photograph for my students to write about.

*I thought this would be a great one to use this week.

*We don't celebrate Halloween per say, but it is fun to use images that relate to the holiday.

*After showing the picture, we discuss our reactions a bit.

*The writers then write their reactions, feelings, thoughts, reminders, or connections to the picture.

*They can also write a fiction story.

*At the end of our writing time, we have a few share what they wrote.

*This picture should lead to lots of great and "spooky" writing!  

Wonder Wednesday #66...

Wonder Wednesday - Halloween Picture Books

*We don't celebrate Halloween at my school like we use to, but I still enjoy sharing some "spooky" stories with my students.

*Here is a top-ten list of some of my favorite picture books to share this time of year…

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Treat Tuesday #66...

Treat Tuesday - Halloween Bars

*My wife loves to cook and bake, especially around holidays.

*This is a new recipe that we are going to try.

*Does it look good or what!

  • Ingredients...
  • *1 (18 1/3 ounce) box fudge brownie mix
  • *1 cup pretzel, coarsely crumbled
  • *1 cup M&M', plain, chopped
  • *1 cup butterfinger candy bar, crushed
  • *1 cup Reese's pieces
  • *1 cup roasted peanuts
  • *1 (14 ounce) can sweetened condensed milk

  • Directions
  • Preheat oven to 350. Liberally spray a 13x9 pan, set aside.
  • Mix together brownie mix, stir in pretzels and spread in pan.
  • Bake 8 minutes, remove from oven. It will not be fully cooked.
  • Sprinkle with all candies & peanuts.
  • Drizzle milk over all.
  • Return to oven for 15 minutes or until center is set. Cool completely before cutting in bars.
  • Put in fridge for a few minutes to make it easier to cut. Can freeze bars in a ziploc bag.

Treat Tuesday:  Middle-Grade Novel

The Night Gardener by Jonathan Auxier

Treat Tuesday:  Adult Novel  

Help for the Haunted by John Searles

Monday, October 27, 2014

Music Monday #8 (Halloween Edition)...

"Thriller" by Michael Jackson

*We don't really celebrate the holiday of Halloween at my school.  

*I still like to do some special events during the week of the holiday.

*I usually pick this song to use for the Music Monday selection during the week of Halloween.

*Even though this song is an "oldie" the fourth graders still enjoy the song and video.

*I play the video while the writers watch it.

*They get busy writing while listening to just the music (no video).

*At the end of our writing time, we do a bit of sharing.  

Music Monday Selections for 2014-2015…

Week #1 = What I Am by and Sesame Street Characters
Week #2 = Proud by Heather Small
Week #3 = Dreamer by Chris Brown
Week #4 = Roar by Katy Perry
Week #5 = What Does the Fox Say by Ylvis
Week #6 = Rainbow Connection from the Muppets
Week #7 = Good Time by Owl City and Carly Rae Jepson

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? (10/27/14)...

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…

A Man Called OVE by Fredrik Backman

*5 STARS out of 5 Stars!

Books I Will (continue to) Read this Week   

Wake Up Missing by Kate Messner

Friday, October 24, 2014

Friend Friday #65...

Hi!  I’m Taylor and I’m read the book called Judy Moody Saves the World written by Megan McDonald.  

I think this book is good book because is it funny and very interesting!  

My favorite part in the story is the part when she went crazy because it was funny.

The character that I liked best was Stink because he is weird and funny.  

I think the author wrote this book because she knew it would be funny and kids like to read funny books.  

I would recommend this book to my friends because I know they would like it and would want to read the whole series.  

Reading to me is relaxing because when I get into a book I get lost in a different world.  

*Taylor is one of my fourth grade readers.
*She really enjoys reading all sorts of books which is awesome to see.
*At the beginning of the year, she stated that she wanted to read the entire Judy Moody and Stink books.
*Since then she has moved on to other material, but I have a feeling she will come back to these books.
*Thanks for sharing your review with us Taylor!  

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Trailer Thursday #65...

365 Days of Wonder: Mr. Browne's Book of Precepts
 by R.J. Palacio (Middle-Grade Book)

Journey by Aaron Becker (Picture Book)

Upside Down in the Middle of Nowhere 
by Julie T. Lamana (Middle Grade Novel)

Belzhar by Meg Wolitzer (Young Adult Novel)

The Brilliant World of Tom Gates by Liz Pichon (Graphic Novel)

A Sudden Light by Garth Stein (Adult Novel)

Picture Wednesday #8...


*How cool is this picture.  I love it!

*The writers have come to love Wednesday when we do "Picture Wednesday".

*After we first look at the picture, we discuss a bit as a class.

*Then the writers get busy with their pencils hitting the paper.

*They can write their reactions, their thoughts, their feelings, or create a fiction story.

*At the end of our writing time, we have a few of the writers share what they wrote.  

Life Lesson #7...

Shout It Out

*I love the video clips from the Soul Pancake Series and/or the Success Series.

*This one was a new one to me and I thought it was wonderful.

*We watch the video and have a quick class discussion.

*The class then watches the video again to look for anything they may have missed the first time.

*The writing in the notebooks then begins.  

*They can write their thoughts, feelings, reactions, or reminders.

*The wrap-up is to have a few of the writers share what they wrote.  

Life Lessons from this Year...
Life Lesson #1 - Be Brave
Life Lesson #2 - Be Kind
Life Lesson #3 - Be Courageous
Life Lesson #4 - Be Motivated
Life Lesson #5 - Be a Buddy, Not a Bully
Life Lesson #6 - Be Inspired: Never Give Up on Your Goals

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Wonder Wednesday #65...

Wonder Wednesday - Reading in the Wild

*The Book Whisperer by Donalyn Miller changed my whole life and way of teaching reading.

*Reading in the Wild by Donalyn Miller changed me even more and has become the theme of my three reading classes this year.

*Everything we do in our reading workshop revolves around the themes from Reading in the Wild...

Wild Readers Dedicate Time to Read

Wild Readers Self-Select Reading Material

Wild Readers Share Books and Reading with Other Readers

Wild Readers Have Reading Plans

Wild Readers Show Preferences

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Treat Tuesday #65...

Treat Tuesday - Biscuit Breakfast Bake

*One of my most favorite foods is any type of breakfast bake.

*We always have them on holidays and special events.

*Once and awhile we will even whip one up on the weekend.

*10 eggs
*1/2 cup milk 
*1 16 oz refrigerated breakfast biscuits 10 count (I used the Pillsbury flaky kind .. I've also used 2, 8 count croissant rolls and 2, 8 count grands country biscuits ***DO NOT COOK FIRST***
*4 scallions (green onions, spring onions, whatever you prefer to call them)
*2 cups shredded extra sharp cheddar cheese
*If you’re into the meats – cooked center cut bacon or cooked sausage, ham, turkey sausage/bacon (5-6 slices bacon, cooked n chopped ... 6 breakfast sausages, cooked n chopped ... 1 cup diced cooked ham) 
*Large baking casserole dish, sprayed with cooking spray (Note: I think a 9×13 works best, but it might need to bake a little longer)

1. Mix your eggs and milk in a large bowl. Cut each biscuit (I’m all about scissors in the kitchen) into fours and add it to the bowl. I like to do this before I cook the bacon or cut up the scallions – give the biscuits some time to really soak in the eggs. *when I use croissants I just roll as per regular instructions and don't cut them.
2. Cut up your green onions/scallions, shred your cheese, cook and break up your bacon (or sausage). Add everything to the bowl. Add only half the cheese, use rest for the top.
3. Mix it all up and pour into your pan. Bake at 350 for 25-30 minutes .. closer to 30 so it isn't runny

Treat Tuesday:  Middle-Grade Novel

When Life Gives You O.J. by Erica S. Perl

Treat Tuesday:  Adult Novel

She's Come Undone by Wally Lamb

Monday, October 20, 2014

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? (10/20/14)...

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…

Mean Margaret by Tor Seidler

*3 STARS out of 5 Stars!

The Brillant World of Tom Gates by L. Pichon

*4 STARS out of 5 Stars!

Rain Reign by Ann M. Martin

*5 STARS out of 5 Stars!

A Sudden Light by Garth Stein

*5 STARS out of 5 Stars!

Books I Will (continue to) Read this Week

A Man Called OVE by Fredrik Backman

Wake Up Missing by Kate Messner

Music Monday #7...

"Good Time" by Owl City and Carly Rae Jepsen

*When I first got into teaching it was a "good time"!

*As things have changed over the years, it isn't always a good time.

*It is my goal to make teaching and learning as good of time as possible.

*This song is always popular with young listeners.  

*We watch the video and then discuss a bit.  If time allows, I will show it again.

*My fourth graders then spend time writing in their writer's notebooks.

*They can record their thoughts, feelings, reactions, likes/dislikes, or whatever they would like.

*We wrap-up the writing time with a few students sharing.  

Music Monday Selections for 2014-2015…

Week #1 = What I Am by and Sesame Street Characters
Week #2 = Proud by Heather Small
Week #3 = Dreamer by Chris Brown
Week #4 = Roar by Katy Perry
Week #5 = What Does the Fox Say by Ylvis
Week #6 = Rainbow Connection from the Muppets

Sunday, October 19, 2014

A Sudden Light by Garth Stein...

How I Heard About It:  The Art of Racing in the Rain is one of my most favorite adult novels I've ever read.  It was over the top good.  When I heard that Garth Stein was coming out with a new novel, I was beyond excited.  I was actually lucky enough to get an advanced copy via NetGalley.  

What It Is About:  In 1990 Trevor and his father travel from the east coast to the family home called Riddle House just outside of Seattle.  Trevor's parents are having difficulties so his mother has traveled to her home in England while Trevor and his father Jones head west to visit Riddle House.  Trevor's aunt Serena has been taking care of Grandma Samuel who may be suffering from Alzheimer's.  Serena has called Jones back to the family home because she needs/wants her father to sign over the estate to his children so they can have developers sell off the land for "mini mansions."  While Trevor spends time at the estate, he begins to search the many rooms and spaces of the home and learns of the family history that goes back many years.  Trevor believes the house may be "haunted" by several of his ancestors who are trying to share with him the family history, the family secrets, and the relationships that were forever damaged.  Serena  puts forth an idea that Trevor can be the one to convince Grandpa Samuel to sign over the estate.  Trevor isn't so sure this is the right thing to do, and comes to rely on the "spirits" and "ghosts" to help him make his decision.

What I Thought Of It:  To me one of the most exciting things to do in life is to read a new novel by a favorite author.  This was the case with A Sudden Light.  While not quite the caliber of The Art of Racing in the Rain, this was a superb novel.  I enjoyed every aspect of it.  I loved the character of Trevor and his experience at Riddle House.  The Riddle history was fascinating to read about and the male characters were quite interesting to experience.  There were many surprises along the way which kept me reading late into the night.  I'm not generally into "ghost" and/or fantasy stories, but it worked so well in this novel.  The BIG ending to the story brought everything together with a shock that I'm still thinking about.

Who Should Read It:  If you are an avid adult reader, then this is the book for you.  If you have read anything else by Garth Stein, then this is the book for you.  If you want to read a great fiction story that makes you keep turning the pages, then this is the book for you.  The novel was completely entertaining, engaging, and satisfying.  I highly recommend it to any adult reader.  You will not be disappointed.  Happy Reading!

Rating:  5 STARS out of 5 Stars

Friday, October 17, 2014

Friend Friday #64...

Hi!  I’m Jacob and I’m read the book called Tommysaurus Rex written by Doug Tennapel.

I think this book is cool because there is a T-Rex and not many books have one of those.  

My favorite part in the story is at the end of the story because there was not only one T-Rex, but two.  How cool is that?  

The character that I liked best was Ely because he is the main character and the whole story was about him.  

I think the author wrote this book because he wanted to create a graphic novel that kids would love.

I would recommend this book to my friends because I give it 5 stars and I know they would like it.  

Reading to me is cool because I like adventure and you can read about adventures in all books.  

*Jacob is one of the most avid readers in my class this year.
*He favorite genre is the graphic novel.
*Jacob has gone through most of my graphic novels in the classroom and it has only been a month and a half.
*It has been great to see him stretch his wings a bit and has started to read from other genres.
*No matter what he reads this year, I think the Doug Tennapel books will remain his favorite.  

Rain, Reign by Ann M. Martin...

How I Heard About It:  This title was being tossed around on Twitter several times so when I saw it on the shelf at the book store I grabbed it and couldn't wait to read.  We are presently on fall break (MEA) so when I picked it up yesterday, I could not put it down until I finished.  

What It Is About:  Rose is diagnosed on the Asperger's Syndrome spectrum.  She lives with her "cold" father.  Her mother has left the two of them.  Rose has an aid at school to help her through those difficult moments when she gets stuck.  She has a passion for homonyms, prime numbers, and following rules.  Rose's life isn't easy, but her dog Rain brings her joy, security, and a best friend that she doesn't have at school.  Besides Rain, Rose also relies on her uncle who couldn't be more different from her own father.  When I hurricane hits their  town, life comes to a stop for Rose's family, but Rain ends up out in the elements and doesn't return.  Rose and her uncle do everything in their power to find Rain.  During their search they learn something quite shocking about Rain that will forever change Rose's life and her relationships.

What I Thought Of It:  I absolutely loved this book.  I loved it so much that I Tweeted the author and send her a message via Facebook.  I wanted to let her know how much I appreciated her writing this book.  Once I started the book, I could not put it down.  I finally had to lay it down last night when I couldn't keep my eyes open anymore, but finished it right away this morning.  Rose was sweet, endearing, and a girl that all of us would love to get to know.  The relationship between Rose and Rain was one of a kind and one that all dog lovers will be able to relate to.  I also thought the relationship between Rose and her uncle was so awesome to read about.  Everyone needs an uncle like this.  I'm so excited to share this title with my fourth graders because I know they will enjoy it as much as I did.

Who Should Read It:  This is the perfect novel for fourth graders.  It would make for a strong read aloud or for a stand alone book.  I'm thinking of choosing this novel for an upcoming "Breakfast with Books" book club selection.  A strong reader in third grade could also handle it quite easily.  Readers in fifth and sixth grade would also enjoy the book.  If you have a dog lover, a student with Asperger's, or just an avid reader; then this is the novel for them.  Happy Reading...

Rating:  5+ STARS out of 5 Stars

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Mean Margarret by Tor Seidler...

How I Heard About It:  This was another find on my book shopping trip last weekend.  The cover caught my attention.  When I quickly previewed it, I thought the format would appeal to my fourth graders.  I thought it was a new book, but when I got home I found that it was actually published in 1997.  

What It Is About:  Margaret (Maggie) is a horrible little child that is the ninth sibling in her family.  She is crabby, mean, and demanding.  A few of her older siblings decide they have had enough of her and take her out to the woods and leave her there.  She is found by a pair of woodchucks named Fred and Phoebe.  Phoebe has always wanted a child of her own and decides she and Fred must keep and raise Maggie as their own.  Fred isn't so sure, but decides to go along with it.  Life turns upside down for the woodchucks along with the other animals of the forest.  A sneaky snake has a plan to get rid of the human baby.  Meanwhile Maggie's family tries to get along without her and makes some changes for the better.  The family wants their ninth child back and the animals of the forest want to help Maggie as much as they can.

What I Thought Of It:  The beginning and ending of this book were quite good, but I thought there were parts in the middle that were a bit slow.  It was a different type of story and I enjoyed it overall.  I'm always looking for books with animals as the main characters because I know that kids like these types of stories.  It was great to read how the animals stood up for each other and how Maggie's family changed for the better.  It was a quick read and I'm glad I read it.  

Who Should Read It:  I will be announcing this book to my fourth graders and know they will enjoy it.  It is the perfect format for this age of reader.  I also think that readers in third grade would also enjoy this book along with grade five readers.  It could make for a fun read aloud, but because there are so many wonderful illustrations it might be better to be in the hands of the child.  Happy Reading...

Rating:  3 STARS out of 5 Stars

The Brilliant World of Tom Gates by L. Pichon...

How I Heard About It:  While shopping for books last Sunday, I ran across this book on the shelf.  The cover and title caught my attention and I decided to give it a shot.  I'm glad I did and will be add this book and series to my classroom collection.  

What It Is About:   Tom Gates is a fifth grader in Mr. Fullerman's class.  He isn't the ideal student.  He would rather be doodling, bothering his older sister, or getting the attention of the girl he likes in class.  Tom finds all possible excuses for why he can't get his homework in.  The time in his "band", his drawing, and hanging out with his best buddy.  When Tom and his friend find out their favorite band is coming to town, they will do anything to get tickets to the show.

What I Thought Of It:   The story of Tom and his fifth grade adventures were quite entertaining.  I know there are many graphic novels out there that follow the format of "Wimpy Kid", but this one is pretty darn good and fun to read.  I enjoyed all the "graphics" that went along with the story.  The plot moved along quickly and I was curious as I read to see how everything would turn out.  Not knowing anything about this book, I was pleased with it.  I will definitely be getting the other books in the series.

Who Should Read It:  Being a graphic novel this book needs to be in the hands of the reader.  They need to be able to take in all the illustrations up close and in person.  The adventures of Tom Gates would be perfect for readers in grades three through five.  I know it is going to be a hit with my fourth graders.  Happy Reading!

Rating:  4 STARS out of 5 Stars

Trailer Thursday #64...

It's a Tiger by David LaRochelle (Picture Books #1)

The Day the Crayons Quit by Drew Daywalt (Picture Book #2)

Interrupting Chicken by David Ezra Stein (Picture Book #3)

The Brillant World of Tom Gates by Liz Pichon (Graphic Novel)

A Dog's Life by Ann M. Martin (Middle-Grade Novel)

Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand (Adult Novel)

The Boy in the Striped Pajamas by John Boyne (Young Adult Novel)