Monday, April 28, 2014

Must Read Monday {4-28-14}

I recently finish Three Times Lucky and I couldn't put it down. It had me on the edge of my seat the entire time! No wonder it won a Newberry Honor Award. Then while I was at the public library browsing the new book section, I saw that Shelia Turnage had a follow up book called "The Ghost of Tupelo Landing". I got it right away and began reading. The main characters Mo and Dale are very humorous and always end up right in the middle of the action! Both of these books are mysteries and I have a feeling when I share the books with my students they will be fighting over them.

On another note, Three Times Lucky would be a great read aloud or book club book for students grade 4 and up. If I recall correctly there were a few questionable parts in the beginning that might not be appropriate for younger kids. I could be totally wrong though because I read it a few weeks ago.

Description from Amazon for Three Times Lucky:
 A hilarious Southern debut with the kind of characters you meet once in a lifetime 

Rising sixth grader Miss Moses LoBeau lives in the small town of Tupelo Landing, NC, where everyone's business is fair game and no secret is sacred. She washed ashore in a hurricane eleven years ago, and she's been making waves ever since. Although Mo hopes someday to find her "upstream mother," she's found a home with the Colonel--a café owner with a forgotten past of his own--and Miss Lana, the fabulous café hostess. She will protect those she loves with every bit of her strong will and tough attitude. So when a lawman comes to town asking about a murder, Mo and her best friend, Dale Earnhardt Johnson III, set out to uncover the truth in hopes of saving the only family Mo has ever known.

Full of wisdom, humor, and grit, this timeless yarn will melt the heart of even the sternest Yankee.

Description from Amazon for The Ghost of Tupelo Landing:
The eagerly anticipated followup to the Newbery honor winner and New York Times bestseller, Three Times Lucky

Small towns have rules. One is, you got to stay who you are -- no matter how many murders you solve.

When Miss Lana makes an Accidental Bid at the Tupelo auction and winds up the mortified owner of an old inn, she doesn't realize there's a ghost in the fine print. Naturally, Desperado Detective Agency (aka Mo and Dale) opens a paranormal division to solve the mystery of the ghost's identity. They've got to figure out who the ghost is so they can interview it for their history assignment (extra credit). But Mo and Dale start to realize that the Inn isn't the only haunted place in Tupelo Landing. People can also be haunted by their own past. As Mo and Dale handily track down the truth about the ghost (with some help from the new kid in town), they discover the truth about a great many other people, too.

A laugh out loud, ghostly, Southern mystery that can be enjoyed by readers visiting Tupelo Landing for the first time, as well as those who are old friends of Mo and Dale.

Thanks for stopping by! I love comments and new book suggestions!


Sunday, April 27, 2014

A Peek At My Week {April 28, 2014}

Here again for another week with Mrs. Laffin!! 

I'm coming back from my Spring Break this week and I imagine it is going to be very hard to get up in the morning! But I spend the morning planning out the week with my teaching bud, Madison, and we are very excited about our plans. 

First off, we will be starting a week long greek mythology unit. I absolutely love greek mythology as did my students last year. I think what is appealing to students is all the interesting stories. They know that the gods/goddesses aren't real but it is fun to hear all the crazy myths about them. I will be using the following unit by Nicole Shelby throughout the week for different activities.
(Students will complete story maps, character analysis, and use the venn diagram from her pack.)

For the first half of the week during reading groups, I plan on using a Reading A-Z close reading pack. (If you haven't checked them out you totally should :)) The students are put into groups of four. Each student gets a different myth and they read it two times by themselves. Then they answer the key question: "How are some ancient tales and our present day language connected?". After they have completed this all the students will come together with their group and share what their myth was about and come up with a general answer to the key question. 

Later in the week, the students will be given a different version of their myth and they will get into groups with those students who have the same myth as them. They will compare and contrast the two versions. On Friday, I plan on having the students present a short summary of their myth to the class. Then we will discuss the different allusions we use in the present day! 
(This is the book I will get the different versions from.)

After reading groups are over, the students will split up into two groups for mythology rotations

Group 1 will be working on researching 1-2 greek gods/goddesses, heroes, or creatures. They will list three facts about their character and and symbols that are important to them. After the research is complete the students will make a "trading card" on the iPad using Keynote. Once their trading card is finished they are going to write a Most Important Poem from the Greek Mythology Pack above. 

Group 2 will spend time immersing themselves in books about Greek Mythology. We took the majority of the school library's books about this topic :O. Hopefully no one will want to read about myths in the next week :). While they are reading, students will make a T-chart and record any text they find interesting on one side and tell why they like it on the other side. I think it's very important for students to become immersed in a topic and have choice over what they read so that's why we included this as a rotation. 

Now on to math!! I usually just blog about reading because that is my passion but I am very pumped about a product I bought on TPT this weekend! Are you ready? Ok I am going to try interactive math notebooks for the first time tomorrow using the product below! It looks super kid-friendly and very engaging. I've been hesitant to use interactive notebooks all year because I feel like all the cutting and gluing will take a long time. But when I saw the geometry pack, I thought this is something that is hands on and the group of students I have really need that. 

As a final note, I am working on a TPT product and want to give everyone a little sneak peak. I hope to be done with it by next week! 
This will be greek god fact cards that I am going to use at a fluency station! 

Thanks for stopping by! I love hearing comments and new ideas!

Monday, April 21, 2014

A Peek at My Week {Spring Break Edition}

I'm linking up with Jennifer over at Mrs. Laffin's Laughings. Head on over to see what others are doing during the week.

My Spring Break is FINALLY here. Boy do I need the break. Some of my students have been giving me a run for my money. But now that it is here I'm all rested and plan on taking some day trips. Today my husband and I are planning on going to Linville Caverns! Pictures will be posted on my instagram! :) Tomorrow we are going to the NC Zoo with some great friends! On Wednesday, I'm going to visit some family. Then on Thursday one of the girls in my grad school class and I are going to observe some teachers at Ibraham Elementary School. Finally on Friday I am going into school to level my classroom library. (We had three optional workdays this week due to the snow days. I took off two but felt bad taking off all three). 

Does anyone have any ideas on the best way to level a classroom library? I plan on using Scholastic Book Wizard to get the levels. But I'm not sure the best way to organize them. 

I'm also going to link up for Must Read Monday over at Teaching Madness.

The focus this week is on Poetry.

Below are some of the books I use to teach poetry. I like to focus on free verse poetry when it comes to writing poems because students aren't required to write poetry for the CC standards. This gives them no limits and they can get used to writing in the poetry genre. In order to prepare students to write poetry I have them read a variety of poetry forms for weeks before we start writing. In Katie Ray Woods's book Study Driven she called this the immersion stage.With that said, here are some books the students have been using to immerse themselves in the poetry genre .

Here is the Amazon description: 
The wind and I play
tug-of-war with my new kite.
The wind is winning.
When you’re a guy, nature is one big playground—no matter what the season. There are puddles to splash in the spring, pine trees to climb in the summer, maple seeds to catch in the fall, and icicles to swordfight with in the winter.
       Nature also has a way of making a guy appreciate important stuff—like how many rocks it takes to dam up a stream, or how much snow equals a day off from school.
 So what kind of poetry best captures these special moments, at a length that lets guys get right back to tree-climbing and kite-flying? Why, guyku, of course!

Here's the Amazon Description:
Homework, chemistry class, food fights, and accidental farts-this book covers all the ups and downs of school. Starring an adorable cat and a colorful cast of animal classmates, Jack Prelutsky′s poems come to life in fully illustrated spreads.

Then of course you have the trusty old Shel Silverstein. It's what kind of poetry I read when I was a kid. 
Amazon Description:
Millie McDeevit screamed a scream
So loud it made her eyebrows steam.
She screamed so loud
Her jawbone broke,
Her tongue caught fire,
Her nostrils smoked...
Poor Screamin' Millie is just one of the unforgettable characters in this wondrous new book of poems and drawings by the creator of Where the Sidewalk Ends and A Light in the Attic. Here you will also meet Allison Beals and her twenty-five eels; Danny O'Dare, the dancin' bear; the Human Balloon; and Headphone Harold.
So come, wander through the Nose Garden, ride the Little Hoarse, eat in the Strange Restaurant, and let the magic of Shel Silverstein open your eyes and tickle your mind.

That's all for now. :) Please leave me comments below about your favorite books to use with poetry! 


Sunday, April 6, 2014

April Currently! :)

I'm linking up with Farley over at Oh Boy 4th Grade for this month's April Currently. 

Listening: My husband is watching basketball (he's a huge sports fanatic) while some last minute school work. 

Loving: This beautiful spring weather puts me in such a good mood! If only every day were like this. I went on a 3 mile run/walk earlier and it was superb!! Talk about motivation!

Thinking: Where is spring break? We still have TWO more weeks until Spring Break. I am dying!!! The spring fever is getting to my kids and they have been off the chains. 

Wanting: I love HIMYM and am very sad it went off the air. Especially the way it did. I still have very mixed emotions about it.

Needing: A bath is a must for me after a run! 

Below are some fun things going on in my room: 

I had my first book raffle with my new birthday books. I got the idea from 4th grade frolics! The kids loved it. Plus I've read all but one of them so that helps. If you are looking for a way to spark reading motivation this is the way to so it. The kids get the smaller books for a week and the bigger books for two weeks. It motivates them to read quicker. 

I got my figurative language wall up today and can't wait for kids to start posting the figurative language they find in their books. One of my poetry rotations is for my students to read poetry and if they spot anything interesting they need to stop and jot it down. This will be perfect to show what they are finding. We have been finding figurative language in our books all year but it will be nice to have a place to document it. :) also my kids love seeing their name up on the wall. It makes them feel famous or something. 

Thanks for stopping in! 


A Peek at the Week {4-7-14}

Hello fellow bloggers! Susan here with a peek at my week with Jennifer over at Mrs. Laffin's Laughings.

This week should be pretty easy considering two of the days my students will be taking the 3rd Quarter benchmark assessments. I'm anxious about how they are going to do with it being so close to the EOGs. I'm sure they will do fine because we have all worked so hard!

Now, for the rest of the week I have some exciting activities line up.

For my guide reading groups, I am using books from Reading A-Z. The books I've chosen are Wildlife Rescue and Titanic Treasure. I plan on trying something new this week that I heard about at the NC Reading Conference during Jen Jones's presentation. She introduced the idea of using TBE (Text Based Evidence) Graphs to get students to refer back to the text. Students get to shade in boxes on their graph for the quality of response they give to a question asked. They are required to use quotation marks and tell where in the text they find the evidence for the question. Students should display their answer on whiteboard. The graph gives the students instant gratification when they answer a question correctly. I am super pumped to finally try this out this week. Wish me good luck. Here is a picture of her product in use below. Click here to take you to her TPT store.

I plan on continuing my poetry rotations that I blogged about on last weeks Peek at the Week. But my focus this week is on Alliteration and Hyperboles. The poems I will be teaching with are called The Base Stealer by Robert Francis and I Ate a Spicy Pepper by Unknown Author. 

If you haven't read any of my posts before you probably don't know, but I'm getting my masters in Reading Education at Appalachian State University! Currently I am taking a poetry class as an elective and I have learned some fun teaching activities that I can take back to the classroom. One that I've been dying to try out is using scripted poetry. It's basically the same as a reader's theater but you use poetry instead and usually there are only a few speakers. The students are going to read it and answer the same questions above about the poem. I want to make sure the get the general gist of the poem. Then they are going to re-read it several times. Eventually they will add gestures, lots of expression, and have a performance. If time allows, I'd like  them to find pictures to go along with the poem, background music that fits the mood, and make an Animoto with their poem. But with it being so close to the end of the year who knows if we will get to that. (Maybe an after the EOGs plan) Below is an example of one of the poems I scripted today! It's very easy to do and I believe it is going to be a real hit with my kids!

Keep A Poem In Your Pocket
By Beatrice Schenk de Regniers

Person 1: Keep a poem in your pocket

Person 2: And a picture in your head

Person 3: And you'll never feel lonely

Person 1, 2, 3: At night when you're in bed.

Person 1: The little poem will sing to you

Person 2: The little picture brings to you

Person 3: A dozen dreams to dance to you

Person 1, 2, 3: At night when you're in bed.

Person 1, 2, 3: So - -

Person 1: Keep a picture in your pocket

Person 2: And a poem in your head

Person 3: And you'll never feel lonely

Person 1, 2, 3: At night when you're in bed.

I started a text talk with Wonder last week using the first 5 chapters and plan on finishing up the vocabulary portion this week! Text Talk's are typically used with K-2 to build vocabulary and comprehension but my teaching partner and I decided that if we did it with a 5th grade level book we could make it work. The kids absolutely love Wonder and are dying to read more.  The vocabulary portion includes a yes/no example game, word associations, what's the word, and which word works best. If you haven't used a text talk in the lower grades I highly suggest it! :) 

Thanks for stopping by this week!


Thursday, April 3, 2014

Positive Thinking Thursday 4-3-14

I'm linking up with Jennifer Over at Mrs. Laffin's Laughings for her first Positive Thinking Thursday link party. :) I think this is a fabulous idea to keep teachers in an optimistic mood.

So here you go! I absolutely LOVE this kid and he motivates me and my students! Check it out!

Stay tuned next week for more positivity. :)


Monday, March 31, 2014

Must Read Monday Linky Party

I have made it my personal goal to read more children's books this year so that I can become more like the great "Book Whisperer", Donalyn Miller. I have made a Good Reads account (if you haven't you so should) and it lets you keep track of books you have read, want to read, and are currently reading. It also has a place to set a reading challenge for the year. My goal is 80 books. I've read 19 so far this year.

(The Social Network book is an interactive choose your own path book. I thought it would be perfect for kids to learn about Social Media since it surrounds their everyday life.)

The most recent book I read is the new "Who is J.K. Rowling?" book. As soon as I saw it at Barnes and Noble I decided I had to have it. I am a HUGE Harry Potter fan. I have read all 7 of the books multiple times! 

I think this is a must read because it lets kids know how the infamous Harry Potter series came to be. Also for those of your students who are hesitant to start the series might want to read it after learning about how J.K. Rowling came up with her billion dollar idea. 

In general I love the "Who Was….?" Series because the books are written in kid-friendly language, the covers are attractive to the eye, and they get kids interested in the biography genre very quickly. My students are trying to reach their goal of reading 10 nonfiction books by the end of the year and they have just now begun to work towards it. (They spent the first part of the year working towards their 10 fiction books challenge.) I have showed them this series and now many of them are addicted! When I showed them my new book my students were begging to read it!

What is your favorite "Who was…..?" book?

Do you set yourself a personal reading goal?

Drop me a line below! :)


Sunday, March 30, 2014

New Blog Design and Blog URL Address

I have updated my blog, added some new social media buttons, made an Adventures in 4th Grade Facebook page, and made a Grab Button! I feel so accomplished! :) 
In addition to all those things I wanted to change my blog URL address from to adventuresin4thgrade15.blogspot. I hope you will follow me on bloglovin and on my new Facebook page! :)

Spring Cleaning Sale

I'm a day late but my whole store will be on sale (20 % off) today through tomorrow. 

Some of my top products are listed below:

Hope you find something you like! I'm off to shop with my favorite sellers! :)


A Peek at the Week 3/31/2014

I am linking up this week with Jennifer over at Mrs. Laffin's Laughings!

It has been quite a long time since I've posted in the blog world. Graduate School, my class, and reading tons of children's books have tied up all my time!

To kick off National Poetry Month we will be diving into poetry this week using some ideas from Hello Literacy's blog.

Idea # 1: Poem of the Week Focus Lesson

I have had a Poem of the Week since the beginning of the year and I've been using poems and the Take 5 teaching points from the book below.
But after reading what Jen Jones has been doing with her poems I thought I would give it a shot! Click out her blog post and she gives you a sample of her lesson and a planning template. 

Idea # 2: Close Reading of Poems
I took Jen's idea and tweaked it to fit my class. I decided that I would have poetry rotations so that I could meet with my students in small groups. I plan on have four rotations over a two day period. Each poem that we read focuses on a specific type of figurative language.
Teacher Time:
We will be reading the poem three times to practice our fluency. We will answer the following questions after the first read: What is the subject?, Who is speaking?, Who are they speaking to?, and What is the mood of the poem?. After the second, read we will be looking at the specific figurative language we are studying. To end the day, we will why we think the author wrote the poem. 
Get a copy of the materials I am using during this lesson here

Poetry Stop and Jot:
Students will use the Stop and Jot sheet in the link above while looking through poetry anthologies independently. Students are looking for verses they find interesting and record their thoughts about the verse. 

Fluency Fact Task Cards:
Another great idea from Jen Jones. Students will read the task card three times with a buddy to work on their fluency.

In my last rotation, students will be answering questions from the book below. This will sharpen their opinion writing skills. 

I feel very excited to try out these rotations! Tell me below how you celebrate National Poetry Month.

One last note:
Last night a created a Donors Choose Project to get more high interest nonfiction texts for my classroom library. If you have read "The Book Whisperer" you know that she says the better classroom  library you have the more you can get your students interested in books. 
"Engaging students with reading and encouraging the development of lifelong reading habits begins with providing students with a wide range of interesting reading material and lots of opportunities to examine, read, write and talk about books with their teacher and classmates. Students should have access to lots of books in the classroom and the opportunity to self-select some of their own reading materials (Guthrie, J. T., & Humenick, N. M., 2004).
If you would like to donate or know someone who likes to support teachers check out my project below. If you donate by April 6th and enter INSPIRE at checkout they will match the donation by a $1. 

Examples of the Books I'm Requesting are:

"Who Was…..?" Series

"What was….?" Series

Graphic History Series and Graphic Science Series

Thanks for stopping by!!

Monday, January 20, 2014

My Steps Towards Becoming a Book Whisperer!

Over the past year I have made some great changes to my classroom and the ways that I teach. One of the biggest things I am working towards is becoming a Book Whisperer just like Donalyn Miller. I have been trying to get more books for my classroom this year plus read them. Another thing I have recently started to do to get my students interested in the books I have bought is to show them book trailers versus giving a book talk. Below are some of my favorite 4th-6th grade books I have read this year plus their book trailers. I can already see an enormous difference in my students' eagerness to read with these quality books. I think when I have read a book and approve of it the students are more  willing to give the book a chance. If you haven't started becoming a book whisperer I suggest you begin because the only way to show students the importance of reading is by having a good role model like a teacher or parent. By fourth grade some students already hate reading so if you can make a difference in just one student by talking to them about books it could change that child's life!

The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane

Tuesdays at the Castle


A Long Walk to Water

Flora and Ulysses

Among the Hidden

What are some ways you have become a "Book Whisperer" this year?

Any suggestions for me?

Thanks for checking out my blog!