Fourth Grade Journey

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

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Sharp by David Fitzpatrick (Adult Book)

For my first "official" book review, I couldn't be more thrilled than to review the book Sharp by David Fitzpatrick.

How I Heard About It:  I saw an interview with David Fitzpatrick and Wally Lamb online on USA today.  Wally Lamb is my favorite adult author so that drew me to the interview to learn more about this book.

What It Is About:  This is a memoir about David's journey into the world of mental illness and how he found his way back.  He spent many years going from one hospital to another to another to another.

What I Thought Of It:  I don't read many memoirs, but when I do I enjoy them.  This was definitely a page-turner and I couldn't put it down.  The story was honest, raw, real, and disturbing at times.  I especially found it difficult to read about David's cutting and burning himself.  It is amazing how people can become so mentally ill that they do hurtful things to themselves.  The therapy he received was fascinating to read about and as the reader, I was rooting for him the whole time.  Of course I also love the fact that David became friends with Wally Lamb many years ago and Wally assisted him on his journey into writing. 

Who Should Read It:  I am recommending this book to everyone I know.  I think any adult reader that enjoys memoirs, will thoroughly enjoy this story.  As I mentioned before, this story is raw and real, but is necessary for David to tell his real story.  The pages read quickly and the story is quite engaging.   

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?

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...

How Rocket Learned to Read by Tom Angleberger (5 out of 5 Stars)
Babymouse Musical #10 by Jennifer L. Holm (4 out of 5 Stars)
Babymouse Dragon Slayer #11 by Jennifer L. Holm (5 out of 5 Stars)
The Library by Sarah Stewart (5 out of 5 Stars)
The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore by William Joyce (5 out of 5 Stars)
Babymouse Burns Rubber #12 by Jennifer L. Holm (5 out of 5 Stars)
Babymouse Cupcake Tycoon #13 by Jennifer L. Holm (4 out of 5 Stars)
The Brilliant Fall of Gianna Z. by Kate Messner (4 out of 5 Stars)

*Sharp by David Fitzpatrick (5 out of 5 Stars) - Adult Book

Books I Will Read This Coming Week...

The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry by Rachel Joyce (Adult Book)
Bobby vs. Girls (Accidentally) by Lisa Yee

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

In Memoriam of Ivan...

I have been thinking a lot about this book since I read the news about Ivan's passing yesterday.  Of course I learned about it on Twitter.  It came as quite a shock.  I know this is true for many people. 

Even before I joined the world of Twitter, I had  heard about this remarkable book.  I read it last winter and knew right away that I had to pick it for my "Breakfast with Books" book club.  My fourth graders and I read the book last spring and had a touching and meaningful book club discussion.  I even had some of the parents in my classroom read the book with their child.  This is exactly what I hope happens when I announce a book club selection.

As I became more and more a part of the Twitter PLN, I realized how important this book is to so many teachers, children, and readers.  It was so cool to follow Mr. Schu on his "Let's Go South" summer road trip and feel like I was meeting Ivan right along side him. 

This summer I've spent time planning what books I will read to my class, what books I will book-talk, and what books I will use for our book club.  I wanted all my students to experience the story of Ivan so I had decided to read The One and Only Ivan as our second read-aloud of the year.  I will be kicking off the year with Wonder

It is going to be even more meaningful when I read this book to my class and I share that Ivan passed away on Monday, August 20th.  This is such an important book that I think all children should be exposed to.

In memory of Ivan...

Monday, August 20, 2012

Meet Mr. Andrus...

Check out the video that I will use to introduce myself to both my new fourth graders and their families.

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?

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...

Darth Paper Strikes Back by Tom Angleberger (5 out of 5 Stars)
Liar and Spy by Rebecca Stead (5 out of 5 Stars)
The Secret of the Fortune Wookiee by Tom Angleberger (5 out of 5 Stars)
Please Write in This Book by Mary Amato (4 out of 5 Stars)
Babymouse Puppy Love #8 by Jennifer L. Holm (5 out of 5 Stars)
Babymouse Monster Mash #9 by Jennifer L. Holm (4 out of 5 Stars)
Marty Mcquire #1 by Kate Messner (5 out of 5 Stars)
How to Steal a Dog by Barbara O'Connor (4 out of 5 Stars)
Marty Mcquire Dig Worms #2 by Kate Messner (4 out of 5 Stars)
Boy + Bot by Ame Dyckman (4 out of 5 Stars)
When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead (5 out of 5 Stars)

*This was probably one of the best weeks I had this summer as far as KID books go!!! 
*I didn't include book cover pictures because of time and that there were so many books.

Books I Will Read This Coming Week...

The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry by Rachel Joyce (Adult Book)
The Brillant Fall of Gianna Z. by Kate Messner
The Library by Sarah Stewart
The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore by William Joyce
Bobby vs. Girls (Accidentally) by Lisa Yee

Sunday, August 19, 2012

My First Blog Post (My Journey to Today)...

I have been putting this off because it makes me very nervous to write an actual blog post.  This blog was created on July 18th, but has not included an actual blog post from me. 

Little steps have been taken to create this blog.  I have been looking at other blogs, reading Tweets on Twitter, and communicating with other educators.  This past summer has been a life-changer for me and "ReadWonder" is just one of those changes.

I finished my 21st year of teaching last spring.  It was a difficult year and to be honest I was probably at one of my lowest points professionally.  I was ready to close the door to my classroom, head home for the summer, and not think about teaching for the next ten weeks.  Well, that was the farthest thing from what actually happened.

Last spring I was curious about Twitter.  I signed up for an account (much to the dismay of my teenagers) and started to poke around.  While at a soccer game for my son, I Tweeted about the book Fake Mustache.  I wasn't sure who would read it because I didn't have any followers.  The details aren't clear today, but somehow Donalyn Miller saw my Tweet and as they say the rest is history. 

Today I am at 208 followers of the most motivating and inspirational educators, authors, and teachers.  Twitter has opened up a whole new world to me and there wasn't a better time that this could have happened.  I feel more energized and excited for the upcoming school year than I have been in years. 

There are so many people to thank for this change in my professional life.  Mentioned earlier is Donalyn Miller who had been a mentor to me ever since I read her book The Book Whisperer.  Two other people that have me in awe are Colby Sharp and Mr. Schu.  It has been an incredible summer following their tweets and keeping up with their blogs.  Their excitement over reading, books, and teaching can be felt through the E-Waves!!! 

During my twenty-one years of teaching I have always had a passion for reading and books.  I love both books for my students and books for my own pleasure.  It is surprising to me that my love for literacy is even bigger and more intense than ever before.  My fourth graders are in for a year of wonderful books, extraordinary characters, and more reading than they have ever done. 

There are so many more people that I could thank for getting me started on this new journey of Twitter, blogs, and sharing electronically (Learning 2.0), but I don't think I can list all 208 of you.  Hopefully you know who you are.

If you do read this post and have any suggestions, I'm an open book so please feel free to give any feedback.  I think I now know how my student writers might feel when I ask them to share their writing.  It can be very scary, but I think I'm ready to hit the publish button...

The Library is Ready...

 I spent a third day in my classroom before our "official" workshop days begin.  My main focus was finalizing the classroom library.  Here is a picture of the non-fiction books.  This is one area that I know I need to build.  That will be a main focus for me this year. 

I am so excited about the main part of my library.  I love the circular book shelf in the middle that will highlight books that I want to make sure my 4th graders will read.  I also brought out some old bins (and bought new ones) to house popular books and series of books. 

I am going to encourage the reading of graphic novels this year.  This was a new genre to me this summer and I want to share these books with my students.  I have Babymouse, Squish, and Lunch Lady books in the red and blue bins. 

My desk sits behind this bookshelf.  I am going to display all of my favorite hard cover books here.  I use to keep them in a cupboard, but I want them out where the kids can see them and read them. 

After a great day in the classroom I cam home to a package in the mail.  More books to read and share with my future fourth grade students...

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Preparing for Season 22...

 I went back into room 113 today to continue the preparations for the 2012-2013.  I brought all the books that I read this summer back to the classroom.  It was fun to lay them all out on the floor and reflect back on everything I read.  I so enjoyed reading Smile.  I'm looking forward to Drama coming out this fall. 

This was a wonderful pile to spread out.  I wasn't much of a graphic novel reader, but once I hit Twitter I realized how great these types of books are.  I'm working my way through the Babymouse books.  I can't wait to get all the way up to the latest book in the series. 

 I read many hard-cover books this past summer.  One of my favorite reads had to be One for the Murphy's.  It is such a powerful novel and so much emotion in it. 
Wow!  Even more hard cover books.   It was so enjoyable to spend many summer days reading on the porch.  Some of my favorites from this picture are The Lions of Little Rock, Liar and Spy, and Out of My Mind
 I spent some more time setting up the classroom library.  I love that I moved it.  It is really coming along.  I put some of my favorite reads on the circular bookshelf.  I also got some of my favorite picture books displayed on the top shelf.  More progress to come soon...

I use to have different clubs that my students could join.  This year the clubs are all going to revolve around books.  An example would be that when I student reads all of the Babymouse books, they can join the Babymouse Club.  This bulletin board will continue to build as the year goes on and we book talk more and more books. 
 Here is a picture of our writing wall.  Each student gets a sheet of paper and as we publish different pieces of writing, we will display them on this board.  What I like is that this bulletin board stays up all year, but changes quite often. 

Monday, August 13, 2012

Season 22!!!

This is what I first saw when I opened my door after being gone for about 10 weeks.  There was summer school in my room.  After 21 years in the same room, it was time for a change.  I knew I wanted to move the library (upper right corner) to a new location. 

Looking pretty good after just three hours of work.  I moved my desk and a working table to where the library use to be.  I formed four groups of six desks.  I can't believe I only have 24 students as of now.  That could change of course.  I got the bulletin boards covered with new paper and borders.  I always like the bright colors in my room.

The new location of my classroom library.  I love it.  I put it in the corner by the window.  You can see the light coming in on the right.  I put my circular revolving bookshelf in the middle.  This is where I will highlight special books.  I got our reading bulletin board started.  The theme for 2012-2013 will be "Smore Readers."  A student from last year came up with the idea.  Each year I have a different reading theme.

The different awards for our reading theme "Smore Readers" will be...

*Cracker Award
*Chocolate Award
*Marshmallow Award
**Smore Award

Sunday, August 12, 2012

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?

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 Light Between Oceans by M.L. Stedman (5 out of 5 Stars)

  Camp Babymouse #6 by Jennifer Holm (4 out of 5 Stars)

Squish #3: The Power of the Parasite by Jennifer Holm (4 out of 5 Stars)

Lunch Lady #2 and the League of Librarians by Jarrett J. Krosoczka (4 out of 5 Stars)



Books I Will Read This Week...

*The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry by Rachel Joyce (Adult Book)
*Darth Paper Strikes Back by Tom Angleberger
*The Secret of the Fortune Wookie by Tom Angleberger

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?

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...

Laugh With The Moon by Shana Burg (4 out of 5 Stars)
The Sandcastle Girls by Chris Bohjalian (5 out of 5 Stars)
Fifty Shades Freed - Fifty Shades of Grey #3 by E.L. James (3 out of 5 Stars)

Books I Will Read This Coming Week...

The Light Between the Oceans by M.L. Stedman (Adult Book)
Camp BabyMouse #6 by Jennifer L. Holm
Squish: The Power of the Parasite #3 by Jennifer L. Holm
Lunch Lady and the League of Librarians by Jarrett J. Krosoczka