Fourth Grade Journey

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

Monday, June 30, 2014

Music Monday Summer Edition #3...

"Cha Cha Slide" by D.J. Casper
*We just returned from an eight-night Caribbean Cruise.
*My wife and I took our two kids (18 and 17) on our annual summer family vacation.
*It was great to get away, relax, spend time with the family, and of course read.
*While on deck reading, I heard lots of music.  
*One of the songs/dances that was played quite a bit was this one.
*I never did get all the moves down, but it was fun to watch everyone else get into it and DANCE!
*It is such a fun, light, and summer-filled song.  Enjoy...

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? (6/30/14)...

Thanks to Jen and Kellee for hosting this idea on their site.  Here is a link to their site...

*Spent the last week on a ship in the Caribbean and got some great reading in!  

Books I Read this Past Week…

Absolutely Almost by Lisa Graff

*5 STARS out of 5 Stars!  

Beautiful Ruins by Jess Walter

*5 STARS out of 5 Stars!

Summer House with Swimming Pool by Herman Koch

*4 STARS out of 5 Stars!

Books I Will (continue to) Read this Week

The Ask and the Answer by Patrick Ness

*My young adult novel.

Circa Now by Amber McRee Turner

*My middle-grade novel.

All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr

*My adult novel.

Friday, June 20, 2014

Blog Post #498 (A Much Needed Break)...

Summer Family Vacation 2014

*It is hard to believe this is my 498th blog post.  Where has the time gone since I started this blog called "ReadWonder."

*For the past 48 weeks, I have blogged everyday during the work/school week.  I'm pretty proud of that.  This blog has become a major part of my professional and personal reading life.

*The season of summer gives me extra time to blog more and add more elements that I just don't have time for during the school year.

*Summer is also a time for family vacation time.  I'm excited to say my family and I are heading off for the seas of summer.

*We will be flying to Miami on Friday, June 20th and spending the night there.  On Saturday we will be boarding a cruise ship that will take us to the Caribbean.

*My daughter just finished her freshman year at UNL and my son will be a senior in high school this fall.  There is nothing I would rather do than spend a week with my wife and these two wonderful kids of mine.

*We will have three days at sea and also get the opportunity to visit the islands of St. Maarten, St. Kitts, Grand Turk, and Puerto Rico.

*I was trying to think of a way to continue the blog while on the trip, but have decided to give myself a much needed break from it.  I do love it, but am looking forward to "NO" blog days.  I think my wife is also.

*So, ReadWonder will not be updated for about a week or so.  I will be back stronger than ever after this awesome summer vacation.

*I have my Kindle all loaded with books that I have been wanted to read for quite some time.

*See you soon and Happy Reading...

Friend Friday #48...

Hi!  I’m Claire and I'm reading the book called The Quirks #1:  Welcome to Normal written by Erin Soderberg.

I think this book is funny because it had a lot of different parts that kept me very interested in the story.  

My favorite part of the story is normal night because it was funny and made me want to keep reading.  

The character that I liked best is Niblet because he's so cute and who doesn't like a monster.  

I think the author wrote this book because she wanted to entertain the readers and she sure entertained me.  

I would recommend this book to my friends because it was funny and had a great plot.

Reading to me is fun because it is nice to read and see other peoples' ideas.  

*Claire was in my fourth grade class this past year.
*I remember her reading this book and the other book in the series.  
*She really enjoyed the story line and was looking forward to the third book coming out later next year.
*Claire was an avid reader and read quite a few books from our classroom library.  
*She also enjoyed reading a book at the same time as a peer in the classroom.  That was always fun to watch.  

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Trailer Thursday #48...

Running with Scissors by Augusten Burroughs (Adult Novel)

Marley:  A Dog Like No Other by John Grogan (Middle-Grade Novel)

We Were Liars by E. Lockhart (Young Adult Novel)

Mr. Wuffles by David Wiesner (Picture Book)

Frankie Pickle and the Closet of Doom by Eric Wight (Graphic Novel)

Life Lesson #2 (Summer Edition)...

"Are You Going to Finish Strong" by Nick Vujicic
*I first saw these video clips several years ago.  I never forgot them.
*Nick is one of the most motivational people I've ever seen.
*When I'm having a bad day or down about something, I think of Nick, and move on.
*His attitude and outlook on life are contagious.  
*I've shared the videos with my students and they are speechless after watching.
*It is my hope these quick clips give you some positive you can use in your own life.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Wonder Wednesday #48...

Wonder Wednesday - The Love of Reading (Part Four)

*This is the fourth of an on-going series I'm going to post each Wednesday.

*I love posting on Wednesdays because it is all about the WONDERS of books, reading, and all that comes with it. 

*Toward the end of the school year, I had my students respond to some questions I had about their reading lives.  

*Each student filled out a reading survey with six questions to answer.

*I will post their thoughts here on Wednesdays throughout the summer.

*One of my most favorite things to do as an educator is to get feedback from my students.

*Here is a look at a couple of my students' responses from the survey I gave...

STUDENT #7 - Amina

Before I was in fourth grade I thought that reading was amazing
because I love reading.  

Now that I'm almost done with fourth grade I think that reading is relaxing
because it is so amazing all the books we have in our classroom.  

This year I learned that as a reader I am a good reader
because I read more than ever and bigger and longer books.  

To me reading is amazing 
because it is and it always will be.  

As a reader I'm most proud of all the chapter books I read
I hadn't read that many before fourth grade.  

The best thing about reading is chapter books and graphic novels
because I love those kind of books.  

STUDENT #8 - Kaiden

Before I was in fourth grade I thought that reading was boring
because I did not like it.  

Now that I'm almost done with fourth grade I think that reading is OK
because it got a little better.  

This year I learned that as a reader I like graphic novels more than chapter books
because they are fun and faster to read.  

To me reading is not the best, but not the worst
because I like it sometimes and sometimes I don't.  It depends on my mood!  

As a reader I'm most proud of reading more books 
I read a lot more books than last year.  

The best thing about reading is ending a book
because I have accomplished something and get to start a new book.  

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

#ABCT (Adult Book Club on Twitter) - Summer 2014...

The #ABCT Has Returned

*I am so excited to be posting this blog entry.

*This opportunity makes me very happy and I hope makes you just as happy.

*Be sure to read on to get all the details…

*Here is the link to sign-up for this awesome event...

How #ABCT Came About:In November, 2012 I came up with the idea of the #ABCT (Adult Book Club on Twitter).  It was during a Twitter discussion on #titletalk that I realized how wonderful it would be to bring together teachers, librarians,  educators, authors, and all other adult readers and form an online book club.  I knew we were reading lots of middle-grade novels, picture books, and other resources for our children, but what about "feeding" ourselves with a delicious and engaging adult novel.  So began the #ABCT.  We have read four adult novels as a Twitter community and have even had some of the authors join us during these discussions.  Here are the novels we have covered so far...

First book:  Life Among Giants by Bill Roorbach
Second book:  Me Before You by JoJo Moyes
Third book:  Schroder by Amity Gaige 
Fourth book:  We are Water by Wally Lamb

The Invite Sent Out:   I invite all Twitter readers, their friends, and anyone else we can spread the word to; to join us for the fifth book club selection for the #ABCT.  It would be wonderful to get as many readers as we can to read the new book club selection, Tweet their thoughts while they read, and meet on Twitter for the book club discussion.  We all enjoy reading those books for our young readers and I know we can enjoy a "big person" book just as much.  So get the word out, join the fun, and read this fifth selection for the #ABCT!

Fifth Book Chosen:   Being on Twitter has been one of the best things I've ever done.  I have come across some of the greatest teachers, educators, librarians, other readers, and authors.  One of my favorite authors is Chris Bohjalian.  I have read all of his books and they just get better and better.  When I came across him on Twitter, it was quite a moment for me.  We have even exchanged "tweets" from time to time.  It was exciting to hear his newest novel is coming out on July 8th.  It is called Close Your Eyes, Hold Hands.  The pre-release press on this book has been very positive and readers that have gotten an advanced copy, have raved about it.  I approached Chris via Twitter, told him I would like to pick this novel, and asked if he would be able to join our online discussion.  He said YES to all of the above.  

When is the Book Club:  The novel will be released on Tuesday, July 8th.  We have scheduled the #ABCT (Adult Book Club on Twitter) for Tuesday, August 5th.  That will give readers a full month to get a copy of this book and get busy reading.  The fact that the author will be joining us during this busy time in his life promoting the novel, is an amazing thing to me.  I'm hoping as many readers will be able to join us and dig into this discussion with the author and other readers.  So mark your calendar to get the book on July 8th and for our book club on August 5th.  Happy Reading!  

We Were Liars by E. Lockhart...

How I Heard About It:  I feel like most of the recent books I've read have come from Twitter suggestions.  That is just one of the great reasons to be on Twitter.  I waited a long time for this book to be released and boy it did not disappoint.  

What It Is About:  The Sinclair family is powerful.  The Sinclair family is rich.  The Sinclair family has secrets and issues.  But what family doesn't.  Every summer they gather on their private island where three homes sit.  One home for each daughter and her family.  Cadence has spent her life going to this family retreat every summer.  She and her cousins have many memories of life at the "compound."  Some of these are good and some of them are bad.  The summer of Cadence's 15th year, life for the Sinclair family will change forever.  Cadence  has an accident and has no memory of the events that took place on this island.  During the next two years/summers, she and her cousins try to reconstruct the events in order to help Cadence remember and move on from this tragedy.  What Cadence finds out will shock both her, her family, and of course the reader.

What I Thought Of It:  I loved this book.  I read it during two sittings.  The writing style is quite different from most books.  The plot builds slowly and reaches the climax just when the reader can't take it anymore.  The twist/surprise caught me completely off guard and now I almost want to go back and reread the book to see if there are clues left along the way.  The characters were all strong in their own way and added greatly to the overall story line.  I have already recommended this book via Facebook and Twitter.  

Who Should Read It:  Everyone should read this book.  Amazon states that the level is for readers between age twelve and seventeen.  After reading it myself, I believe it is best suited for high school readers and adults.  Even though this novel was geared toward young adults, it read like an adult book to me.  This will definitely be a novel that I will be talking about and telling other readers about.  It has been a day or so since I finished and the characters are still in my mind and heart.  Happy Reading!  

Rating:  5 STARS out of 5 Stars 

Treat Tuesday #48...

Treat Tuesday - Chicken Tortilla Bake

*This one is so easy and so darn good.
*We found it via Facebook and tried it out at home.
*It was a winner for everyone in the family.
*Give it a try and enjoy!  

  • 1 can cream of chicken soup
  • 1 10 ounce can diced tomatoes with green chiles, undrained OR 1 c. salsa
  • 12 small corn tortillas, cut into thin bite-size strips
  • 3 cups cubed cooked chicken
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 c. milk
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  • In a bowl combine soup, milk and undrained tomatoes or salsa and set aside.
  • Sprinkle one-third of the tortilla strips over the bottom of an ungreased rectangular baking dish.
  • Layer half of the chicken over the tortilla strips.
  • Spoon half of the soup mixture evenly over top.
  • Repeat layers.
  • Sprinkle with the remaining tortilla strips and top with cheddar cheese.
  • Bake, covered, about 40 minutes or until bubbly.
  • Uncover; bake about 5 minutes more or until cheese is melted.

Treat Tuesday:  Adult Novel

Running with Scissors by Augusten Burroughs

*A memoir that you just won't believe.  

Treat Tuesday:  Middle-Grade Novel

Marley:  A Dog Like No Other by John Grogan

*So glad the adult novel was adapted for younger readers.  

Treat Tuesday:  Television Show/Series

"Game of Thrones" - HBO via Netflix

*I know I'm a bit behind on this one, but am enjoying it.
*This is a very different type of series for me.
*I'm presently on season #2.   

Treat Tuesday:  Movie
"Running with Scissors"  
*Based on the Memoir Running with Scissors by Augusten Burroughs  

Treat Tuesday:  Music  
"Girls Chase Boys" by Ingrid Michaelson
*Seems like no matter where I go this summer I hear this song.
*I have found it pretty catchy and added it to my IPod play list for my daily walks.
*The video was quite interesting.  
*I think she will be around with more songs like this one.  

Treat Tuesday:  Photograph

*I follow "Fascinating Pictures" on Twitter.
*In my classroom we have Picture Wednesday for our writer's notebooks.  
*When I saw this one I saved it to my phone.
*This is the best "selfie" ever!!!  
*Just makes me happy to look at it.  

Monday, June 16, 2014

The Great Greene Heist by Varian Johnson...

How I Heard About It:  This book title came to me via Twitter and my Twitter friends.  I also know it is being read for the Sharp/Schu book club.  I was excited that it was going to be one of the first books I read during summer vacation 2014.  

What It Is About:  Jackson Greene is a conman in middle school and loves to solve mysteries and pull off the ultimate cons.  In this story he comes up against his greatest con in which he must tamper with the class president election results.  The student body is divided into two groups with each group vying to get their candidate into "office".  One of the candidates is on the up and up and wants to win the election in the most honest way she can and the other candidate is on the opposite end of the election spectrum.  Jackson and his crew devise a plan in which they will be sure their candidate wins and the opposing side doesn't.  They learn real fast that the other side to go to extreme measures to make sure they win.  The principal of the school even gets in the action and it isn't on the side you would  think he would be on.  

What I Thought Of It:  This was an enjoyable and interesting read.  It is quite different from most middle-grade novels I normally read.  I liked the mystery of the story and how it was like a "con man" type story just like in the movies.  There were some over the top moments that normally wouldn't take place in a middle school setting, but it made for a fun read.  The characters were interesting to read about and each one played an important part to the plot.    

Who Should Read It:  The novel would make for a wonderful read aloud in grades four through six. Each chapter ends on a bit of a cliff hanger and would keep the audience interested in the story.  If a student wanted to read this book on their own, they should be in grades four or higher.  Since the story revolves around a middle-school crowd, I also think that students in these grades would also enjoy the book.  Happy Reading!  

Rating:  4 STARS out of 5 Stars 

Music Monday Summer Edition #2...

"Summer" by Calvin Harris 
*This is the perfect summer song.
*I first heard it on the radio last week.
*I downloaded it onto my iPod and listen to it on my daily walks.  
*To me it is just a refreshing, fun, and summer-like song.  

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? (6/16/14)...

Thanks to Jen and Kellee for hosting this idea on their site.  Here is a link to their site...

*So great to be summer time and have the time to read, read, read!!!  
*My first week of summer and I'm off to a great start with some wonderful books!  

Books I Read this Past Week…

How to Outrun a Crocodile When Your Shoes are Untied by Jess Keating

*5 STARS out of 5 Stars!

The Chicken Squad by Doreen Cronin

*5 STARS out of 5 Stars!

Three-Ring Rascals:  The Greatest Show on Earth by Kate Klise

*4 STARS out of 5 Stars!

Three-Ring Rascals:  The Show Must Go On by Kate Klise

*4 STARS out of 5 Stars!

We Were Liars by E. Lockhart

*5 STARS out of 5 Stars!

Books I Will (continue to) Read this Week

The Ask and the Answer by Patrick Ness

*My young adult novel.

Absolutely Almost by Lisa Graff

*My middle-grade novel.

Friday, June 13, 2014

Friend Friday #47...

Hi!  I’m Kate and I'm reading the book called The Fault in Our Stars written by John Green.  

I think this book is one of the best I've read because I could not put it down and read late into the night.  

My favorite part of the story is the twist in the middle of the novel between Hazel Grace and Gus because I did not see that coming and was a shock to me.  

The character that I liked best is both Hazel Grace and Gus because I can't just pick one and they made one of the best couples I've ever read about.  

I think the author wrote this book because he wanted to make young people and adults cry their eyes out late into the night with such a strong powerful story.  

I would recommend this book to my friends because I know they would like it as much as I did.  Actually, most of my friends already read it, as did my dad, and many of his reader friends.  

Reading to me is emotional because I usually don't read that much, but when my dad gives me a book and tells me that I must read it, I know that it is going to be an emotional ride.  

*I was thrilled when my daughter Kate said she would be my guest on Friend Friday.
*Right after I read this book about a year ago I told her she had to read it.  
*She started during Christmas break, but never finished it.  She started again in May when she got back from college.
*Kate wanted to finish it before seeing the movie.  She went with friends and then went again with myself and her mom.
*We all loved the book and the movie just as much.  
*My daughter isn't quite the reader I am, but will read a novel when I insist she do so.  This was one of those novels!

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Life Lesson #1 (Summer Edition)...

"Clouds" by Zach Sobiech 

*Each Thursday during the school year I present a "life lesson" to my fourth graders.
*Even though school is out for the summer, I thought I would continue this Thursday tradition.
*Being that I won't be sharing these lessons with my young ones, I will be able to cater to adults.

*Zach Sobiech is such an inspiration to me.  
*He grew up in a suburb near where I live and I followed his story closely.  
*All three of the video clips capture the essence of who Zach was and what he inspired to be.
*I try to live my life in honor of Zach and carry on his legacy.  

Trailer Thursday #47...

Waiting for Normal by Leslie Connor (Middle-Grade Novel)

The Double Bind by Chris Bohjalian (Adult Novel)

Platypus Police Squad:  The Ostrich Conspriacy
 by Jarrett J. Krosoczka (Graphic Novel)

Hooray for Hat by Brian Won (Picture Book)

The Fifth Wave by Rick Yancey (Young Adult Novel)