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!
Melissa Stewart’s A Place for Butterflies and all of the other books in the same series are an integral part of my nonfiction unit. They’ve always been a powerful tool to highlight different text structures. The main text uses the cause and effect structure while the sidebars use the problem and solution text structure. This year I took it a step further, and I asked students to think about why Stewart chose these text structures. She could have chosen a chronological/sequential text structure or elected to write books about the physical features of butterflies or birds or turtles or frogs or bats, but she didn’t. Why? They knew the answer of course, because Stewart wanted text structures that showed readers that every action they take, be it from bringing cloth bags to the grocery stores or planting butterfly gardens, counts.
By Jerry Spinelli
Lexile level 550
Sure, you’ve taught compare/contrast text structure during your non-fiction unit, but what about during your fiction unit? Jerry Spinelli’s The Warden’s Daughter open’s with a breathtaking passage comparing and contrasting a birdhouse to a prison. It sounds like a bizarre connection, but the reader soon finds out it’s the same building. Now it’s a birdhouse, but when the narrator lived there, it was a prison. After studying the gorgeous compare/contrast text structure, you can compare and contrast the first two pages of The Warden’s Daughter with the first two pages of Gennifer Choldenko’s Al Capone Does My Shirts. So, crack open The Warden’s Daughter and let the gorgeous compare/contrast text structure whisk you away to 1959.
By Tara Lazar
Guided Reading Level M
Lexile Level AD540
Looking for a fun book that will reach out and grab voracious and reluctant readers in one swipe? Look no further than Tara Lazar’s Monstore. Readers love that the monsters in this book don’t do their job of keeping the younger sister out of the older brother’s room. After all, most students can relate to not wanting to do their job, or doing their job in a way that doesn’t quite match up with the authority figure’s expectation. Since the authority figure is the older brother, this book is every younger sibling’s dream come true. So sit back, relax and get ready to laugh. Monstore is bursting at the seams with monsters and delight. Oh, and don’t forget to look for the one-eyed monster, Peeps!
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.