Fourth Grade Journey

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

Thursday, March 31, 2016

Life Lesson #26: Be Different…

*It is Thursday and that means it is time for another "Life Lesson" video clip.

*This is a new video for me.  I ran across it and it caught my attention.

*Even though there wasn't much going on in the "story, I was captivated.

*One goal is to get my students to be OK with being "different."

*I'm always trying to find ways to help my students reach their full potential.  

*Each Thursday I feature a different video with a "life lesson" in it.  

*After viewing the video once or twice, we chat a bit about it as a group.

*I then have the writers record their thoughts in their writer's notebooks.

*They can write their thoughts, reactions, connections, wonderings, learnings, or whatever is on their mind regarding the video.

*Encouragement is also given to reflect on the "message" of the clip.

*After about 5-10 minutes of writing, we listen to a few of the students share what they wrote.

*It is my hope that through these "life lessons", my students can become the best young people they can be.

Life Lessons (2015-2016)...
Lesson #1 - Be Courageous 
Lesson #2 - Be Kind
Lesson #3 - Be Courageous (part two)
Lesson #4 - Be Motivated
Lesson #5 - Be a Buddy, Not a Bully
Lesson #6 - Be Inspired
Lesson #7 - Be Spooky (Halloween Edition)
Lesson #8:  Be Kind (Kindness Retreat)
Lesson #9:  Be Shoutful
Lesson #10:  Be Happy
Lesson #11:  Be a Reader
Lesson #12:  Be Powerful
Lesson #13:  Be Merry
Lesson #14:  Be a Team
Lesson #15:  Be Giving
Lesson #16:  Be Brave (part two)
Lesson #17:  Be Positive
Lesson #18:  Be Dance Like
Lesson #19:  You Can Do It
Lesson #20:  Be a Hero
Lesson #21:  Be a Friend
Lesson #22:  Be Kind (Part Three)
Lesson #23:  Be Brave and Courageous
Lesson #24:  Be Fearless
Lesson #25:  Be a Sportsman/Sportswoman

Trailer Thursday #134 ("Emotional" Middle-Grade Novels)…

Counting Thyme By Melanie Conklin

Counting by 7's by Holly Goldberg Sloan

The Secret Hum of a Daisy by Tracy Holczer

The Thing about Jellyfish by Ali Benjamin

Mockingbird by Kathryn Erskine

Maybe a Fox by Kathi Appelt and Alison McGhee

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

The Burgess Boys by Elizabeth Strout...

How I Heard About It:  One of my favorite things to do is to browse the audio shelves at my local library.  These audio novels have changed my commutes for the better.  When I came across this title I recognized the author's name.  After reading the blurb, I decided to give it a try.  

What It Is About:  Jim, Bob, and Susan Burgess grew up in Maine.  When they were young their father had a freak accident and was killed.  Each of them carried a memory of this event and those memories didn't match up with each other.  Jim and Bob left Maine to practise law in New York City.  One brother became a big-time lawyer and the other one went into law, but not to the degree his sibling did.  Susan remained in Maine with her child Zach.  After Zach is arrested for a "racially" focused crime, the two brothers are requested to come home to help their sister and her son.  Susan and Zach have been left alone after Susan's husband left her and moved away.  Susan and Zach have had a strange history and the brothers find it hard to relate to them, but know they want to help them as much as possible.  While dealing with the "case", memories and family history is brought back to the current time, and all three siblings realize they must deal with the past in order to move forward.  

What I Thought Of It:  This was an extremely enjoyable audio novel to listen to.  The narrator was outstanding and so easy to listen to.  The story line moved along quickly and was quite engaging.  I loved how the novel really had two major plots running parallel to each other.  The first being the present day case with the nephew and the second being what happened to these three adults in their childhood.  The character development was awesome and I really got to know the characters well.  This was my first novel by Strout and I know I will be reading other works by her.  She is a talented writer.  

Who Should Read It:  I would think that all adult readers who enjoy a strong fiction story with well-developed characters will find enjoyment with this book.  The plot really has everything that a reader craves.  Give it a try and I hope you like it as much as I did.  Happy Reading!  

Rating:  4 STARS out of 5 Stars

Picture Wednesday #28 (HELP!)…


*Today is the Wednesday before Spring Break!

*We are all ready to get away for a week, relax, and of course have extra reading time.

*One activity we participated in this week was creating an iTrailer to promote a spring break destination.

*I thought this would be a fun picture to write about before we head out on our adventures.  

*Each Wednesday we write in our writer's notebooks about a particular image.

*They can record their thoughts, reactions, connections, likes/dislikes, reminders, noticings, or anything else they would like.  

*Some of the writers choose to write a fiction story based on the picture.

*We write between five and ten minutes and then do a quick share at the end.  

*The photos always lead to lots of conversation and the sharing of ideas.  I try to get them to write first and then we can share what we wrote and what we were thinking.

*The writers are really enjoying writing and talking about these photographs.

Wonder Wednesday #134 (Breakfast with Books Book Club)…

Wonder Wednesday - Some Kind of Courage
by Dan Gemeinhart

*I know I have said it before, but book club mornings are my most favorite part of my teaching career.

*We had our sixth "Breakfast with Books" this past Friday, March 25th.

*There were twelve fourth graders that attended our optional book club to discuss the novel Some Kind of Courage by Dan Gemeinhart.

*About a year ago I read Dan's first novel The Honest Truth and fell in love with it.  I told everyone I knew about it and that they had to read it.

*I was thrilled to grab an ARC of his second book at NCTE15 this past fall.

*When I finished the last page, I knew it had to be a "Breakfast with Books" book club selection.

*After contacting Dan to express my love for this book, I was thrilled that he agreed to Skype with my readers.  What a true honor!

*On Friday morning the readers arrived, brought their copies of the book and tasty treats, and were ready to share comments and ask questions of Dan.

*We spent about 45 minutes talking all things Some Kind of Courage.  It was 8:30 AM our time so it was 6:30 AM the author's time.  Now that was gracious of him to be ready at that time of morning.

*Here is a look inside our WONDERful time with this WONDERful author…

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Treat Tuesday #134 (Book Release Tuesday)…

Treat Tuesday - Easy Cinnabon Monkey Bread
*A family favorite for any holiday occasion.

*We enjoyed these this past Easter Sunday.  

*In one word:  YUM!  

  • 3 cans Cinnabon Cinnamon Rolls dough
  • 1 c. sugar
  • 1 tbsp. cinnamon
  • 1/2 c. butter
  • 1/2 c. brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp. honey (or you could use Cinnabon syrup if you can get your hands on it)
  1. Preheat oven to 400º. Grease a bundt pan well, and set aside.
  2. Combine cinnamon and sugar in a large zip to bag.
  3. Open the cans of cinnamon roll dough. Cut each cinnamon roll in 2 pieces. Roll each piece into a ball and place about half of them into the zip top bag. Shake to coat the dough.
  4. Place the coated dough balls in the bundt pan. Place the remaining dough balls into the bag and repeat coating. Place all of the dough in the bundt pan.
  5. In a small bowl, microwave the butter, brown sugar, and honey for 1 minute. Stir well to dissolve the sugar. Pour over the dough balls in the bundt pan.
  6. Bake for 20-25 minutes, until dough on the outside is brown and the center feels “set” when you lightly push on it.
  7. Allow to stand for 5 minutes and then invert onto a plate. Drizzle Cinnabon frosting over top before serving.

Treat Tuesday:  Middle-Grade Novel

Treat Tuesday:  Young-Adult Novel

Treat Tuesday:  Adult Novel

Monday, March 28, 2016

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? (3/28/16)…

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… 

The Burgess Boys by Elizabeth Strout

*5 STARS out of 5 Stars! (Adult Novel)


Challenger Deep by Neal Shusterman

*3 STARS out of 5 Stars!  (Young-Adult Novel)

My Book Review

Books I Will (continue to) Read this Week 

After You by Jojo Moyes

*My adult novel

*I've taken a break from this book, but will return.

All Rise for the Honorable Perry T. Cook by Leslie Connor

*My middle-grade novel

Writing my Wrongs by Shaka Senghor

*Adult memoir

The Opposite of Everyone by Joshilyn Jackson

*Adult novel (Reading for by book club)

Music Monday #24: Candyman by Zedd & Aloe Blacc…

"Candyman" by Zedd & Aloe Blacc
"Candyman" by Sammy Davis Jr.
"Candyman" from Willy Wonka

*When I find a new piece of music, I must admit I get pretty excited.

*I saw a commercial the other week celebrating 75 years of the M&M.

*They happen to be one of my most favorite candies out there.

*After watching the "new" version of the song, I knew it was going to be a music Monday selection.

*This was our 24th Monday where we featured a musical selection.

*Each Monday I highlight a piece of music to share with my writers.  

*We begin with showing a video that goes along with the musical selection.

*The class will watch the video between 1-2 times.

*After the second viewing, the writers begin to record their thoughts in the notebooks.

*As they write, I play the music in the background (minus the video).

*My fourth graders can record their thoughts, ideas, connections, likes/dislikes, or reactions to the song.  They can also write about the message of the song.  

*I have my students write between 5-10 minutes.  At the end of our writing time, I see if a few of the writers would like to share what they wrote.  

Music Monday Selections (2015-2016)…

Week #1:  What I Am by
Week #2:  Proud by Heather Small
Week #3:  Dreamer by Chris Brown
Week #4:  Live Like a Warrior by Matisyahu
Week #5:  Sunshine by Matisyahu
Week #6:  Better When I'm Dancin' by Megan Trainor
Week #7:  Thriller by Michael Jackson
Week #8:  Hopeful by Bars and Melody
Week #9:  Keep Your Head Up by Andy Grammar
Week #10:  The Rainbow Connection from The Muppets
Week #11:  What Does the Fox Say by Ylvis
Week #12:  Hall of Fame by The Script
Week #13:  Clouds by Zach Sobiech
Week #14:  Do They Know Its Christmas by Band Aid
Week #15:  What a Wonderful World by Louis Armstrong
Week #16:  Am I Wrong by Nico & Vinz
Week #17:  Humble and Kind by Tim McGraw
Week #18:  Today's the Day by Pink
Week #19:  Hold My Hand by Jess Glynne
Week #20:  Fireflies by Owl City
Week #21:  Superheroes by The Script
Week #22:  Happy by Pharrell Williams
Week #23:  Waka, Waka - This Time for Africa by Shakira

Friday, March 25, 2016

Friend Friday #133 (Some Kind of Courage by Dan Gemeinhart)...

Hi!  I am Maria and I read the book called Some Kind of Courage written by Dan Gemeinhart.

I think this book is cool because of what happened during the story.  

My favorite part in the story is when he comes back with his horse and lives with the new family because I think it was a great ending.  

The character that I liked best was Joseph because he is really smart and he knows what to do if you are in trouble.  

I think the author wrote this book because he wanted you to know that even in the most horrible times  you can be courageous.  

I would recommend this book to my friends because it is a great book and many people in my class read it and loved it.  

Reading to me is fun because I love all the different types of stories that I'm able to read.   

*Maria is another avid reader in my class.  
*She mentioned to me that she read this entire book in one evening.  
*This is our current "Breakfast with Books" book club selection.
*We Skyped with Dan about this novel today.  
*This is definitely a 5+ Star book!