Archive for October 2011

Book Pass

October 25, 2011

I tried something in Mrs. Bullen’s fifth grade class today that I learned at a conference I went to recently. It’s called “Book Pass”, and it’s a fun and very effective way to expose students to lots of books in a small amount of time.   I pulled twenty books out of the fiction stacks that don’t get the attention they deserve (because it seems that everyone wants to read “Bone” or a book by Rick Riordan or J.K. Rowling) and gave one to each student. Everyone read for two minutes, wrote down their reaction to the book, then passed it to their neighbor and we started again with a new book. I “played” too, even though I’d read all of the books before. What a great way for kids to really sample lots of books and see what  interests them! I loved hearing the discussions of  the books at the end of class, and many of the books got checked out.

Caroline: Sleepover-bound!

October 5, 2011

Caroline in Mrs. Jerome’s class was awarded her “million dollar bookmark” today, signifying that she has completed her eight books and her projects for the Fourth Grade Library Sleepover.

I always tell the students it isn’t a race:  they have the whole year to read their eight books and share them with the class.  But there are always a few eager beavers (should I say eager READERS?)  who are motivated to finish early.  Caroline did not take the easy way out, either:  she read very challenging books and she did excellent projects.  Today she brought me this “lift the flap” poster about GODS AND GODDESSES OF OLYMPUS written and illustrated by Aliki.  I really like the detail she used to illustrate each god and goddess.  And when you lift each flap, there is more information.



A few hours later, Caroline presented me with this illustrated information sheet about THE WORST (BEST) HALLOWEEN EVER  by Barbara Robinson.  She wrote about the characters, the problem, and the setting, against a backdrop of Halloween candy!  Very creative.

(Note:  Click on the images to enlarge them and read Caroline’s work.)

Milo: sticky notes and brain freeze by Alan Silberberg

October 4, 2011

Here’s a book review by a fifth grade student in Mrs. Conrad’s class, Emily:

This is the fifth time Milo has moved!  Milo doesn’t think it will be the last time, though.  After all, it seems to Milo that moving is part of his life.

Milo’s family is a little, well, strange.  Sure, he has a Dad.  And a sister, of course.  But….they’re probably not like yours.  But what about the mom? Well, she had cancer and she died.  The main part of this book is about Milo figuring out how to deal with the fact that his Mom is gone.  Milo feels lost without a full family.

There are three people who make him feel better:  his best bud, Marshall, makes him laugh.  Hillary, his next door neighbor, knows how he feels and makes him feel safe.  A neighbor lady who has lost her husband teaches him that even if somebody close to you is gone, there are ways to keep them “alive”.

It sounds like this is a really sad book, but it is also very funny.  For instance, Milo is “in love” with Summer Goodman, and one of the first times he sees her he is buying SUPER SOFT TOILET PAPER!  How embarassing!  He and Marshall have a nice, funny friendship that reminds me of the way boys really do fool around.

This isn’t a graphic novel, but it does have a lot of sketches that are fun to look at.   I recommend this book to anyone who likes realistic stories about love, life, and family.

Addie’s Apple Doll

October 4, 2011

I always read THE APPLE DOLL by Elisa Kleven at this time of year to my second grade classes.  It’s a story about a lonely girl who finds friends after she shares her apple doll at school. She learns how to dry the apple in lemon juice, and the apple starts to look like a “grandma” or a “grandpa”.   The students are often interested enough to take home the directions for making their own apple doll, and SOMETIMES an apple doll will appear in the library the next week or so!  This morning, Addie in Ms. Lee’s class brought me her apple doll.  Here is Addie showing her doll:



Addie reported that she made the apple doll with her grandmother, and she sewed some of the clothes herself.  GOOD JOB, ADDIE!  Your doll is so cute.