Fourth Grade Journey

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

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Wonder Wednesday #2...

I don't think there is as great a wonder as looking out over your classroom and each and every student is completely engaged in their self-selected book.

This happened to me last week during summer school.  I couldn't resist.  I grabbed my phone and quietly walked around the room and started to take pictures.

The only thing I changed was I asked each student to cover their faces with their books for privacy reasons.  Otherwise, what you see is the wonder that I experienced in my summer school class...

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Treat Tuesday #2...

I'm very excited to share this second treat with you.  Last week we had a yummy slush that is perfect for a hot summer day.

This week I'm sharing one of my favorite recipes.  Several times a year I break out this cookie recipe and whip up a batch to share with my family and friends.

I guarantee you will not be disappointed...

Treat Tuesday - Peanut Butter M & M Cookies

Makes two to four dozen cookies depending on size.

Cream together:
     1 cup margarine
     1 cup peanut butter
     1 cup sugar
     1 cup brown sugar

Add 2 eggs

Stir in 2 cups flour and 1 teaspoon soda.  Stir in 1 1/2 cups M & M's and 1 cup chocolate chips.

Bake at 350 degrees.

For large cookies, bake 1/4 cup of dough for 14-16 minutes.

For small cookies, use rounded tablespoon of dough for each and bake 11-13 minutes.  

Treat Tuesday - Middle Grade Book

 Granny Torrelli Makes Soup by Sharon Creech

Treat Tuesday - Adult Book

The Turtle Warrior by Mary Relindes Ellis

Monday, July 29, 2013

Escape from Mr. Lemoncello's Library by Chris Grabenstein

How I Heard About It: Twitter of course.  It is great to know so many people on Twitter who get ARC's and start talking about certain books before they even come out.  This book was also highlighted on Amazon as a best pick for middle-grade readers. 

What It Is About:  This story follows one boy and several of his classmates on an adventure of a lifetime.  A new state of the art library is having a grand opening in a small town.  There are going to be twelve lucky essay winners who get to experience the library before anyone else.  As an extra surprise to these twelve winners, they find out they get to spend the night in the library.  While in the library, each of the twelve must figure out how to get out of the library and they can't use the same passage they used to enter the library.  There are plenty of clues provided to the children, but they also must use what they know about books and libraries (and games) to be the first one to find the "secret" exit! 

What I Thought Of It:  I so enjoyed this story.  It grabbed me from page one and didn't let go until the last word.  The story was such fun to read and I know would make an excellent read loud to my group of fourth graders.  One of the best parts of the story were all the references to actual books and authors.  The story highlighted how wonderful a library can be.  I enjoyed how the author took the idea of a traditional library and made it into something quite extraordinary.  As of now, I'm thinking this will be my first read aloud for the 2013-2014 school year.  

Who Should Read It:  As I mentioned this would make an awesome read aloud.  I think children between third and sixth grade would enjoy listening to this grand adventure.  It is a longer book with quite a bit of text on each page.  If a middle-grader reader is going to read this book on their own, I would say they would have to be a strong fourth grade reader or higher.  This is a must read and I know will be enjoyed by all readers.  Happy Reading! 

It's Monday! What Are You Reading (7/29/13)...

**I am enjoying my weekly summer reading.  I'm trying to always have an adult book, a middle-grade book, and a professional book going at the same time!  

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...

Escape from Mr. Lemoncello's Library
by Chris Grabenstein

*5 Stars out of 5 Stars!

*At this point, I'm thinking this will be my first read aloud of 2013-2014. 

Books I Will (continue to) Read this Week...

Middle School:  How I Survived Bullies, Broccoli, and Snake Hill by James Patterson

*My summer school class is so enjoying this story.

*We can't wait to wrap it up this Thursday. 

Note and Notice
by Kylene Beers & Robert E. Probst

*My current professional book.  

*I'm excited to start the sign-post lessons this fall.  

One Last Thing Before I Go by Jonathan Tropper

*My current adult book.  

*It gets better and better with every chapter.  

The True Blue Scouts of Sugar Man Swamp by Kathi Appett

*I have been looking forward to reading this book for quite some time. 

Friday, July 26, 2013

Friend Friday #1...

I wanted to get my "little" friends involved with my ReadWonder Blog.  I'm calling it Friend Friday.

Each Friday, I will feature a different friend and the book they are currently reading.  Enjoy...

Hi!  I'm Grace and I'm reading the book called Wonkenstein: The Creature From My Closet and written by Obert Skye

I think this book is fantastic because there are lots of funny parts in the story.

My favorite part in the story is where Robert tells about his thumb buddy because it is cool that he collects them

The character that I liked best was Robert because he is the main character

I think the author wrote this book because he had this funny idea and wanted to share it with others. 

I would recommend this book to my friends because it is super funny and at times can be scary

Reading to me is fantastic and excellent because it takes you to different places.  

*Grace is a soon-to-be fifth grader.  She is in my summer school class.  Grace was my first "friend" to post her thoughts about a book on this blog.  Thanks Grace! 

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Trailer Thursday #1...

The book trailer that started this whole blog just a little over a year ago.

Wonder by R.J. Palacio

I love picture books and this is by one of my favorite authors.

Stuck by Oliver Jeffers

This is our current summer school read aloud.  I'm sharing it with my fourth graders.

Middle School:  How I Survived Bullies, Broccoli, and Snake Hill by James Patterson

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Wonder Wednesday #1...

Another new feature to the blog that I'm calling Wonder Wednesday

It is my intention to either blog about something I'm wondering about or a wonder I have seen or experienced. 

Today was the 11th day of summer school.  To my surprise, I'm enjoying this type of teaching.  The pace is slower, the class size is smaller, and the recess breaks are longer.

During this outside break time, I get to chat with the other teachers who are also teaching summer school.  Some of the "chit-chat" is personal and social related, and of course the rest of it is school and student related. 

My focus has been to give my fourth graders (soon to be fifth graders) lots and lots of time to read and be exposed to books.  We begin our morning with picture books.  They are given a good 20-30 minutes to read and enjoy these books.  They also have a BIG chunk of time to read from books of their choice.  Some of my students are reading graphic novels, some are reading beginning chapter books, and some are tackling longer novels.  Each day I give them more and more time with their books.  They are taking this time and running with it.  It is such a joy to observe!

As I talk with my colleagues during recess about what we are covering during the language arts block, they talk about the skills, worksheets, and assigned books they are teaching.  This just doesn't seem right to me.  They talk about there not being enough time for the kids to have time to read from books of choice. 

I wonder why they think this way? 

I wonder why they don't realize how important it is to give children the time to read?  Especially students that are struggling readers!

I wonder why I don't speak up and share with them the importance of giving our kids great amounts of time to read and be with books?

I wonder why teachers in 2013 are still stuck back in the past about the best ways to reach students and share the love of reading and books with them?

I wonder if I should only be concerned about my "little" world in room 113 and just worry about the students I work with?

As you can see, my summer school teaching (and yearly teaching for that matter) has given me a lot to wonder about...

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Treat Tuesday #1...

Today is the first Tuesday that I'm trying a new Tuesday post idea.  I'm calling it Treat Tuesday.

I hope you enjoy both the Tuesday treat and the book treats that I'm sharing...

Tuesday Treat - Rhubarb Slush...
2 quarts - water
8 cups - rhubarb
3 cups - sugar
1/2 cup - lemon juice
1 3 oz box - strawberry jello
3 cups - vodka
1 two liter bottle - 7 Up

Boil together first four ingredients and strain.  Add the jello, vodka, and 7-up.  Freeze.  When you serve, add 1/2 cup of slush and 1/2 cup of additional 7-up. 

This is a perfect summer beverage to enjoy with friends, family, or alone when reading a GREAT book!

Tuesday Treat - Children's Book... 
Larger-Than-Life Lara by Dande Daley Mackall

Tuesday Treat - Adult Book...
The Buffalo Soldier by Chris Bohjalian

Monday, July 22, 2013

The Light in the Ruins by Chris Bohjalian

How I Heard About It: Chris Bohjalian is one of my favorite adult writers.  I so enjoy his novels.  I started hearing about this new book a few months ago.  It is always hard to wait for a new book when you are anxious to read it.  I tried to get an ARC, but didn't have any luck.  So I waited for the release date and dug right in. 

What It Is About:  The Light in the Ruins takes place both in 1944 during World War II in Italy and eleven years later in 1955.  The Rosatis family is at the center of this story.  They are a wealthy and powerful Italian family.  Their two sons are serving in the military.  Their daughter Cristina lives with her parents at the Italian estate along with a sister-in-law and two small children.  As the war rages on, the Germans start to overtake the home and the grounds of this family.  Cristina becomes involved with one of the German officers.  Eleven years later a serial killer is targeting the Rosatis family and has a score to settle.  The investigator on the case, Serafina Bettini, needs to find out who the serial killer is and why they have targeted this family.  She needs to find out if it has something to do with 1955 or something that may have happened back in 1944. 

What I Thought Of It:   I pretty much read the entire novel yesterday (Sunday).  It was one of those books that once you start, you can't put it down.  I think this is one of Chris Bohjalian's best books he has written.  The back and forth format between 1944 and 1955 worked very well and made the story that much more interesting.  I love story lines that move quickly, but develop the story deeply, and he sure did that with The Light in the Ruins.  This book gave me such an enjoyable day of reading. 

Who Should Read It:  Anyone that enjoys a well-written historical fiction novel, will surely enjoy this novel that Chris Bohjalian created.  Historical fiction isn't my favorite genre, but I was absolutely engrossed in this story.  I highly recommend this novel to all adults that are Bohjalian fans and to those that haven't read any of his work.  This would be a great novel to start with.  Happy Reading! 

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? (7/22/13)...

**I had a much better week with my personal reading.  It feels good to be back in the groove of daily reading and sharing that 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 in the Ruins by Chris Bohjalian

*5 Stars out of 5 Stars! 

The Awesome Almost 100% True Adventures of Matt & Craz by Alan Silberberg

*5 Stars out of 5 Stars! 


Books I Will (continue to) Read this Week...

Middle School:  How I Survived Bullies, Broccoli, and Snake Hill by James Patterson

*I am reading this to my summer school class.  We are enjoying it!  

Note and Notice by Kylene Beers & Robert E. Probst

*My current professional book.  

Escape from Mr. Lemoncello's Library by Chris Grabenstein

*My current children's book. 

One Last Thing Before I Go by Jonathan Tropper

*My current adult book. 

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Happy Birthday ReadWonder!!!

Happy Birthday

ReadWonder Blog

It was a year ago on July 18th, that I began this blog and I'm thrilled to be celebrating its ONE year birthday.

It was a great year of blogging and I look forward to year number two and doing an even better job of blogging about my love of reading and books!!! 

The Awesome Almost 100% True Adventures of Matt & Craz by Alan Silberberg

How I Heard About It: It was on Twitter of course and I think @ColbySharp recommended it.  I also like to read the books that he recommends.  

What It Is About:  This is the adventures of Matt and Craz who are in junior high and love to draw and create cartoons.  Their wish is to be published in the school newspaper, but the kids who are in charge of the paper, will have no part of Matt and Craz' cartoons.  One day the boys see an ad on their computer for an amazing program that will help you become an amazing cartoonist.  These two boys are of course interested, but soon forget about it.  One day a "special" pen shows up.  When this pen is used and the cartoon is copied, the things in the cartoon come to life along with the man that appeared in the ad on the computer.  Well, the boys realized the power and fun they can have with this pen.  Of course not everything goes the way they planned and both Matt and Craz learn some great life lessons about their friendship, their families, and their peers at school! 

What I Thought Of It:   I think I was in a bit of a reading slump as far as children's books go.  This book was a move in the right direction to getting myself back on track.  I really enjoyed this story.  It is part novel, part cartoons, and part graphic novel.  It read very quickly with an interesting and unique story line.  I loved the characters of Matt and Craz.  They were best friends, but very different from each other.  The story was enjoyable because it was silly, strange, and action packed.  It also had some great touching moments about the boys, their families, and their lives at school.  The book was a fast read and I found myself cheering for these two boys all the way through the story!  I gave this book 4 stars out of 5. 

Who Should Read It:  I think this would be the perfect book for a student transitioning from graphic novels to more traditional novels.  The book has a lot of text, but also has pictures and cartoons on most of the pages.  I don't think this book would scare any young reader off because of the amount of text.  It would be the perfect book for an end-of-year third grader, a fourth grader, or even a fifth or sixth grader.  Teachers of these students would also the book as well.  I'm excited to add this book to my classroom library.  Happy Reading! 

Monday, July 15, 2013

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? (7/15/13)

**I can't seem to get into a summer grove with my blog.  Life gets in the way.  I guess I get to it when I get to it right!  Here is some of the reading I've been doing the past several weeks...

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...

And the Mountains Echoed by Khaled Hosseini

*This is my first adult book of the summer.

*I so enjoyed his first two novels.  

*I didn't enjoy this one as much as his first two.

*3 STARS out of 5 Stars!  

The Barftastic Life of Louie Burger by Jenny Meyerhoff

*5 STARS out of 5 Stars!  

Big Brother by Lionel Shriver

*This is our current #ABCT book club selection.

*See my post about this book for more information. 

*5 STARS out of 5 Stars!

The Wig in the Window by Kristen Kittscher

*4 STARS out of 5 Stars!  

Book Love by Penny Kittle

*5 STARS out of 5 Stars!  

Books I Will (continue to) Read This Coming Week...

Middle School:  How I Survived Bullies, Broccoli, and Snake Hill by James Patterson

*I am reading this to my summer school class.  We are enjoying it!  

The Light in the Ruins by Chris Bohjalian

*My current adult book.

Note and Notice by Kylene Beers & Robert E. Probst

*My current professional book.