If you don’t read Al Capone Shines My Shoes by Gennifer Choldenko before you leave fourth grade, I will track you down and shove it into your hand. It has a humorous tone throughout the action-packed plot, and has many new and old problems that Moose solves in an interesting way. BEWARE: this book involves Moose getting a note from the notorious Al Capone himself. There are many more reasons to read this book, but I chose just three. My first reason is the book has a humorous tone, even in tight places. An example of where the book has a humorous tone is “Nothing is the way it’s supposed to be when you live on an island with a billion birds, a ton of bird crap, a few dozen rifles, and 278 of America’s worst criminals.” This is humorous because it shows that Moose doesn’t like where he lives yet he’s making the most of it. Next, the book has a fast-paced action plot. A time where the action is fast-paced is “Something cracks, a sound like splitting wood. The world spins, the boat deck is slipping out from under me. My legs buckle, a sharp pain rips my skull.” This is fast-paced because it’s packed with lots of tension and some of America’s worst criminals. Finally, there are many problems in the book. An example of a problem is “She’s standing over Rocky, who isn’t crying now. He isn’t making a sound. His eyes are panicky and his skin is almost blue. Why isn’t he moving?” This is a problem because Rocky is Moose’s best friend’s brother, and he’s choking. All in all, Al Capone Shines My Shoes is a humorous, fast paced book with multiple problems.
It’s an amazing book!
It’s August 16th which means some of you are back in school, and the rest of us will be back any day now. So what do you do with those early finishers? Check out this Weathering and Erosion Text Set. It includes fourteen different texts. Most of the texts are books which you can order through your local library. However, there are two online articles 1) The Boston Building Stone Walking Tour and How Does Acid Rain Affect Marble and Limestone. If you decide to purchase America's National Parks Memory Game, here is the worksheet I refer to in the text set. In addition to the texts, I include guiding questions that students can answer in their science notebooks. So click away and rest assured you won't have to answer the dreaded question, "What do I do now?"!
Please feel free to leave a comment with other texts that teachers could include in this set.
Thanks so much!
If you like cupcakes, cookies, and brownies you will love The Candymakers by Wendy Mass. You should read this book because it has a lot of surprises, interesting characters, and is somewhat suspenseful. My first reason you should read this book is that there are many surprises. For example the author states, “Her parents must be on a mission already.” This is surprising because normal parents wouldn’t usually be on missions. My second reason to read the book is there are interesting charters. An example is, Philip, “The taller boy (in the blue suit! and tie!)” This is interesting because most kids don’t wear suits and ties. My third reason to read the book is that the story is suspenseful. My proof is the author says that Daisy does the following, “In her head she counted down: five, four, three, two, one then she leapt.” Then, it’s a new chapter from a different point of view and you have to wait to see what happens to Daisy. Remember, these are all the reasons why you should read The Candymakers by Wendy Mass.
If you like candy and sweet treats, you will really love The Candy Smash by Jacqueline Davies. You should read this book because the action plot, the emotional plot and Evan’s poem keep you wondering. First, you always wonder who put the candy hearts in everybody’s shoeboxes. The author includes, “Where did this candy come from,” asked Mrs. Overton, looking surprised.” Second, you have to wait to the end to see if Megan really likes Evan or it is two other people. The author implies, ¨It was like a math equation with symbols: if M.M. = Megan Moriarty and E. T. = Evan Treski and a heart = love, then M. M. + E. T. inside a heart = Megan Moriarty loves Evan Treski. But what did that mean?” The last thing that keeps you wondering is, who Evan’s poem is about. The poem said,
lately in my heart
you laugh your
you smile your
you gallop past
me standing still
and Jessie asks, “Who was pony girl? What did these words mean?” See? You really should read this book. You will find the answers if you read The Candy Smash by Jacqueline Davies.
Written by Katrina Goldsaito
Illustrated by Julia Kuo
Looking to incorporate sound sensory details, onomatopoeia and fun into your students’ writing? Look no further than The Sound of Silence written by Katrina Goldsaito and illustrated by Julia Kuo. After reading the book, be sure to check out their We Doki Doki page at http://thesoundofsilence.org/wedokidoki/1
Then, to celebrate the end of the year, create a The Sounds of the Classroom book. Take a photo of each child doing one of the activities below, and he or she can create onomatopoeia to accompany his or her action. Enjoy!
The Sounds of the Classroom
Which One Doesn’t Belong by Christopher Danielson belongs in every elementary school classroom. Each student should be able to pick up a copy of this book any time she chooses, look at the four shapes on each page and ask herself why each shape doesn’t belong. It’s a puzzle with multiple answers. But more importantly, it’s a tool that will lead to rich, deep mathematical discussions in the classroom. And most importantly, it will help your learners respect one another as they listen to each other’s ideas. Sound overwhelming? No, worries! There’s an outstanding, detailed, easy-to-follow, seventy-five page teacher’s guide to go with it. Check it out at https://www.stenhouse.com/content/which-one-doesnt-belong .
Looking to spice up your American Revolution unit? Check out Mara Rockliff’s Gingerbread for Liberty: How a German Baker Helped Win the American Revolution and Barbara Kerley’s Those Rebels, John & Tom. Not only is the artwork in both biographies delicious, but the dynamic duo lends itself to a fantastic comparison of nonfiction text structures. Rockliff tells Christopher Ludwick’s tale using a problem/solution text structure while Kerley tells John Adams’ and Thomas Jefferson’s story using a compare/contrast text structure. Students will have plenty to compare and contrast after reading these two stunning texts.
For #PoemInYourPocketDay pluck a poem from Hypnotize a Tiger by @CalefBrown. Not only are his poems tons of fun, they’re chock-full of portmanteau, alliteration, and rhyme. From “the scores of peacocks and adorable pandas in Pandora’s box,” that make up a “Pandoradox” to “the cats upon the mountaintop” making “catsup for the town,” Hypnotize a Tiger invites readers to slow down and revel in the glory of imagination and word-play. To top it off, cheeky narrators provide commentary on each poem that will spark lively conversations in your class. Enjoy!
By Sharon Creech
Lexile Level 790
It's spring which means April, National Poetry Month, will be here before we know it. Every year as part of our celebration of National Poetry Month our fourth graders write “I Am From” poems. “I Am From” poems typically describe students’ homes inside and out, family traditions and beloved family members. This year in addition to student samples, I’m going to read “But First, Before Zora,” which is a poem on page two of Sharon Creech’s new novel Moo. At the beginning of the novel, Reena lives in a big city, but by the end of the novel she’s planted roots in Maine. After we finish reading the novel aloud, I will ask students to write an “I Am From” poem from Reena’s point of view now that she calls Maine home. I can’t wait to see what they come up with!
Whether it be for one specific student, a small group of kids, or a whole class, finding a "just right" book makes the teacher's and the students' day.