Monday, April 4, 2016

  1. Drowned City: Hurricane Katrina and New Orleans, Don Brown, Graphic Novel, Before.
  2. A Home for Mr. Emerson, Edwin Fotheringham, Nonfiction, Before. 
  3. The One and Only Ivan, Katherine Applegate, Newbery Winner, During and After.
  4. One Crazy Summer, Rita Williams-Garcia, Diversity.
  5. Pay It Forward, Catherine Ryan Hyde, 5th-6th Grade Read-Aloud, During and After.
  6. Please Bury Me in the Library, J. Patrick Lewis, Poetry Collection, Before and During. 
  7. Rain Reign, Ann M. Martin, Diversity.
  8. Rebel McKenzie, Candice Ransom, Choice List, Before During and After.
  9. Red Thread Sister, Carol Antoinette Peacock, Diversity, Voki, During.
  10. SALT: A Story of Friendship in a Time of War, Helen Frost, Blabberize, Web 2.0, After.
  11. Sunny Side Up, Jennifer L. Holm, Graphic Novel.
  12. Swindle, Gordon Korman, My Pick, Before.
  13. A Tangle of Knots, Lisa Graff, Choice List, Infographic, During and After.
  14. Third Grade Angels, Jennifer A. Bell, 3rd-4th Grade Read-Aloud.
  15. When You Reach Me, Rebecca Stead, Newbery Winner, Before and During.

Saturday, April 2, 2016

SALT: A Story of Friendship in a Time of War
Written by Helen Frost
Published by Farrar Straus Giroux Books for Young Readers, 2013
This novel in verse follows two twelve year old boys, Anikwa who is of the Miami village of Kekiongra, and James who is of the trading post outside of Fort Wayne. These two boys have formed a friendship, but this friendship is threatened when the fear and tension of what is now know as the War of 1812.
Lexile Level:
Age Range: 10-14 years
Page Count: 138
Suggested Delivery: Student Read-Alouds

Key Words: Friendship, War, Loyalty, Home, Family

Internet Resources:
Helen Frost Website
This is the authors website which is a great place for students who enjoyed the book and want to read more of the authors books can come to see a list of all her books. It is also a great resource for teachers as it has a link to a Myaamia dictionary that both the teacher and students can use to look up how words are pronounced. There is also links to more information about the Miami culture. Lesson Ideas
Both of these PDFs have lesson plan ideas to go along with this book that are a great for the teacher to use. There are discussion questions, links to other resources, social studies connections, and language arts activities that go great with the book.

  • Slingshot: a forked stick with an elastic strap fasted to the two prongs, usually used to shoot small stones. 
  • Treaty: a formal agreement between two parties.
  • Siege: a military operation in which enemy forces surround an area cutting off access to supplies in order to gain a surrender from those who are surrounded. 
  • Stockade: a barrier formed from wood, used to protect against attack.
  • Trade: buying and selling goods and services.
  • Fort: a strong place occupied by troops surrounded by walls, ditches and other forms of protection. 
Teaching Suggestions:
  1. While reading the story make connections to social studies. The students can research the Miami tribe as well as the Great Salt March in India. The teacher can also give a lesson on the War of 1812 and the American settlers.   
  2. Have the students use the character list in the beginning of the book to create a character map of all the characters in the book. Do this before reading so that the students can refer to them while reading, leave room for them to add descriptions while reading.
Reading Strategies:
  1. Before: The teacher will give a vocabulary lesson on the words in the back of the book in the Miami (Myaamia) words glossary. The teacher will play a blabberize in which is the saying of each word and the meanings. Students will also be given a printed copy of the words to keep with them while reading. 
  2. During: Students will pair up with another classmate and each pair will receive a number. In each pair the students will decide who is to read Anikwa and who is to read James. Students will read the book aloud to the class each pair going one after another when it is their number.  
  3. After: At the end of the story give the students an exit slip. On the exit slip ask the students to compare the life of James and Anikwa. Have the students list at least 3 reasons how the lives of James and Anikwa are the same and/or different. 
Writing Activity:
Students will create a verse for the book. The students will choose to be Anikwa or James and will create a verse in the form of that character describing what they think is going to be their future. Students will type up this verse and share it on their blog on kidblog. Students will be able to read everyone else's blogs in class and see how they predicted the future in their verse.

Monday, March 28, 2016

One Crazy Summer
Written by Rita Williams-Garcia
Published by HarperCollins Publisher, 2010

What an interesting summer Delphine, Vonetta, and Fern are in for when Pa and Big Ma send them to their mothers in Oakland, California. They are in for a surprise when they get their and find that their mother wants nothing to do with them and ships them off to a summer camp which is sponsored by the Black Panthers. The summer of 1968 will be one the girls will never forget.
Lexile Level: 750L
Age Range: 9-11 years
Page Count: 218
Suggested Delivery: Small Group Read, Read-Aloud
National Book Award Finalist, Coretta Scott King Award (Author), Newbery Honor Book, Scott O'Dell Award for Historical Fiction

Key Words: Summer, Sisters, Civil Rights, Independence, Camp.

Internet Resources:
Civil Rights Video
Since this book deals with the civil rights movement I think that it would be good to make a video like this one available to the students to watch. Some students may not know very much about the Civil Rights Movement and this is a very good video that gives them lots of information.
Author Page
This is a webpage for the author Rita Williams-Garcia. It has a description of who she is as well as a link to the authors website. On this page you can see all of the books that she has written and you can click on each of these books and read descriptions which is great for the students who want to read more of her books.

  • Justice: judgement in the assignment of reward or punishment.  
  • Riot: a public act of violence or unruly behavior.
  • Rally: a large gathering of people intended to create enthusiasm.
  • Racism: the prejudice that one people are superior to another. 
  • Humiliation: strong feelings of embarrassment.
  • Ignorance: the lack of knowledge or education. 
Teaching Suggestions:
  1. In the book Delphine and her sisters go on a day trip by themselves. Have the students plan a day trip to anywhere in the United States. Have them plan all of the places to visit and anywhere they want to eat. Ask them to try and figure out how much money it will cost to get there and how much everything there will cost. 
  2. Have students do a little research into the people of the Civil Rights Movement. Ask each student to pick one person to research and create a profile of the person. Once everyone has created a profile have them share them with the class.
Reading Strategies:
  1. Before: Give a mini lesson before reading about the Civil Rights Movement and some of the major events so that the students have context for reading the book. The video in the internet resources would be a great way to introduce the Civil Rights Movement.
  2. During: Break the book into sections. Ask the students to read a section and then at the end of it come up with something that happened in that part that they want to talk about. Have them get into groups of 5 and have discussions about what they came up with at the end of each section. 
  3. After: Have the students write letters to Big Ma or Pa at the end of the summer telling them everything that they did that summer and how they liked living with Cecile. The students can pick to write it from any of the perspectives of the three sisters.
Writing Activity:
Have the students research the Black Panthers. After they have done more research about them, have them write a journal article from the perspective of Delphine about the Black Panther Party. Have them use examples from the text as support in their journal articles.

Sunday, March 27, 2016

When You Reach Me
Written by Rebecca Stead
Published by Wendy Lamb Books an Imprint of Random House Children's Books, a Division of Penguin Random House LLC, 2009. 

Miranda is an average 6th grader with a best friend named Sal, who know how to navigate their New York City neighborhood. They know where is safe to go, and who and where to avoid, like the crazy man on the corner. All was going fine until one day something happens to Sal and these mysterious notes start popping up in random places. These notes have warning for things that have to do with her and things that have not even happened yet. When she finds the last note will it be too late?
Lexile Level: 750L
Age Range: 9-12 years
Page Count: 208
Suggested Delivery: Read Aloud
2010 Newbery Medal Winner; Boston Horn/Globe Book Award for Fiction

Key Words: Mystery, Friendship, Supernatural, Entertaining, Time.

Internet Resources:
Rebecca Stead's Website
This is the authors website, which is a fun and very interactive page for the students to visit to learn more about the author, explore the other books that she has written and is also great for educators who may want to have her come and speak about her books. There is also a link to her blog that the students may enjoy reading.
When You Reach Me Teachers Guide
This is a teachers guide from the publisher which is a great resource for people who are teaching the book. There is everything from vocabulary and pre-reading suggestions to curriculum connections that a teacher can make while reading the book.

  • Omen: a sign of something to come. 
  • Assumption: a thing that is accepted as true or as certain to happen without proof. 
  • Perspective: a point of view.
  • Essential: necessary or important.
  • Justification: the act of showing something to be right or reasonable. 
  • Appreciate: value or be grateful for someone or something. 
Teaching Suggestions:
  1. Since this book is a mystery, make sure to stop along the way and have students make predictions every time something major happens. Especially stop after Miranda gets each of the notes as to what is going to happen. 
  2. Miranda is named after the Miranda Warning. You could have the class research what the Miranda Warning is in groups and create a poster to teach the rest of the class and the teacher. 
Reading Strategies:
  1. Before: To get the students in the mind frame of reading a mystery have them fill out a questionnaire about mysteries. Before asking the questions provide them with a summary of the book. The questions are from this teaching guide. Ask students: 1)What is a mystery? What kind of book would you label a mystery? 2) Above is a summary of When You Reach Me. What are some of the mysterious mentioned in this summary? 3) Why do you think people read mysteries? What makes mysteries fun? 4) What is a clue, and why is it important for a mystery story to include clues? 5) What are some mysteries you have read?  
  2. During: I would have the children create a concept map while reading to keep track of everything that happens. 
  3. After: Have students get into groups of 5 and have book discussions. Give them the 7 discussion starters of friendship, self-identity, family, social classes, bullying, fear, and finding clues. For more guidance on what to ask the students about these discussions visit the teaching guide
Writing Activity:
Ask the students to pick their favorite part of the novel and to write a journal entry as if they were Miranda describing what is going on in her life and the feelings that she is having associated with those points in the story.

Saturday, March 26, 2016

Red Thread Sisters
Written by Carol Antoinette Peacock
Published by Viking an Imprint of Penguin Group (USA) Inc., 2012

All Wen and her best friend Shu Ling wanted were to be adopted into a family of their own. When Wen gets adopted she realizes that leaving her friend behind was much harder than she thought. Wen promises Shu Ling that once she is in America she will find a family for her. But promises can be hard to keep especially when time is running out.
Lexile Level: 700L
Age Range: 8-12 years
Page Count: 236
Suggested Delivery: Independent Read, Read Aloud

Key Words: Friendship, Promises, Family, Determination, Adoption.

Internet Resources:
Red Thread Sisters Author Teaching Guide
This is a great resource for teachers who want to teach this book. The author has prepared many lessons that you could teach along with this book. There are also a list of discussion questions made by the author and a section about the author.
Book Trailer
This is a trailer for the book which I think is great to get the students excited and motivated about reading the book.

  • Orphanage: a place for children who have been orphaned, to live and be taken care of. 
  • Gratitude: to show that you are thankful, readiness to show appreciation and to return kindness.
  • Wardrobe: a large, tall cabinet that is used to hang and store clothing. 
  • Advocate: to publicly recommend or support someone or something. 
  • Extra: an item in addition to what is usual or strictly necessary. 
  • Allowance: giving someone a sum of money regularly, usually for doing something in return.
Teaching Suggestions:
  1. Finding the theme lesson idea from the author. Have each students take 3 sticky notes and write down 3 quotes from Wen that her character felt strongly about. Post on the board all of the sticky notes and have the class come up and read all of them. From there have a discussion with the class about what they think the theme of the book is.
  2. Before the students read the novel have them come up with a list of qualities that their sister has as a sister or if they do not have a sister, the qualities that they would look for in a sister. After reading the novel have them write down the qualities that both Shu Ling and Emily posses as sisters. Have them compare the lists and see how it is the same and different.
Reading Strategies:
  1. Before: Since the novel revolves around the myth of the invisible red thread, read to the students the cover and the inside flaps of the book. Teacher can play a Voki like this one to start the book introduction. Once they have a picture of what the book is about, read the myth of the invisible red thread which is located on the first page of the novel and ask the students to think about how this is going to connect to the story and whether or not they think it is true. Have them do this is the Think-Pair-Share model. 
  2. During: Have the students read the novel using Directed Reading Thinking Activity. For reference to how this works here a description. Ask the students to stop after page 33, have them consider how they think that Wen's life in America is going to be, as well as a prediction as to whether or not they think that Shu Ling will be adopted. Stop again at page 112 and have them reconsider their predictions. At the end of the book have them revisit their predictions and write about how their predictions did or did not come true.
  3. After: On the lesson plan made by the author there is a great set of questions that the students can answer after having read the text that ask them to cite specific examples so they will better develop their skills of going into a text to find evidence as well as compare and contrast questions. 
Writing Activity:
In the novel Wen and Shu Ling write letters to one another. At the end of the reading ask the students to write a letter as if they were Wen to the Aunties back at the orphanage, Have the students write about some of the major points that happened in the book, paying attention to how everyone was feeling. The letters have to have all of the appropriate parts.
The One and Only Ivan
Written by Katherine Applegate and Illustrations by Patricia Castelao
Published by HarperCollins, 2012

When Ivan ends up living in a shopping mall he does not think it is so bad. He has become used to people watching him through the glass walls of his domain and he rarely thinks about his life in the jungle. Ivan mainly focuses on his friends, Stella and Bob and painting, That all changes when the newest member of the mall, Ruby a young elephant, arrives. With her arrival change comes and Ivan is the only one that can make it happen.
Lexile Level: 570L
Age Range: 8-10 years
Page Count: 319
Suggested Delivery: Small Group, Independent Read
2013 Newbery Medal Winner

Key Words: Hope, Friendship, Heartwarming, Realistic Fiction, Protection.

Internet Resources:
The Book Website
The website for the book has a summary of the book along with reviews. There is a tab in which you can read about the real Ivan as well as meet the author.
Book Trailer
This is a book trailer for The One and Only Ivan. This would be great for the students to watch before reading the book to make them want to read it because it is very dramatic.

  • Unkempt: not neat or cared for.
  • Feeble: lacking physical strength.
  • Domain: territory.
  • Silverback: an adult gorilla male over the age of 12 with an area of silver hair on his back. The silverback is a figure of authority, responsible for protecting his family. 
  • Juvenile: of, for, or relating to something young.
  • Gingerly: with extreme care or caution. 
Teaching Suggestions:
  1. In the back of the book there is a list of discussion questions that are great to ask students to better their inferential comprehension. 
  2. The novel has a theme of belonging so this is something that you can discuss with students. You can ask the students to discuss the idea of belonging from the point of view of each of the characters. Then have them relate it back to what their idea of belonging is to them.
Reading Strategies:
  1. Before: To get the students excited about reading The One and Only Ivan, have the students listen to the NPR on the real Ivan. This is a great way to build schema before reading the novel. Ask the students after listening to the NPR what they are expecting the story to be like. 
  2. During: Students will get into groups of 4 and will read the book and complete reciprocal teaching. The book will be broken into 8 sections in which everyone will be able to have the job of summarizer, questioner, clarifier, predictor, twice. Here is a worksheet to give each student so that they know what their job is. 
  3. After: Using the RAFT Writing model ask students to write a letter to someone who holds animals in captivity to tell them why they should not keep them in captivity. They will be asked to make references to the book and how Ivan's life was in captivity. Here is a worksheet to help students write the letter using the RAFT model.
Writing Activity:
Ask the students to answer the following question in their reading journals: "What do you think Ivan's greatest challenge was? Use examples from the text to support your reasoning."

Friday, March 25, 2016

Sunny Side Up 
Written by Jennifer L. Holm and Illustrated by Matthew Holm with color by Lark Pien
Published by Graphix, an imprint of Scholastic Inc., 2015

Sunny goes to Florida to visit her grandfather, she has high hopes of an awesome summer, but when she gets there she realizes that her summer is going to be spent with a whole bunch of old people. That is until she meets Buzz who turns it all around with all of their adventures. While her summer does not end up being as bad as she thought the question is why was she sent away for the summer? What is going on at home?
Lexile Level: GN240L
Age Range: 8-13 years
Page Count: 217
Suggested Delivery: Independent Read

Key Words: Summer, Vacation, Family, Guilt, Disappointment

Internet Resources:
Jennifer L. Holm's Website
This is the authors website. This would be great for the students to get to know the author. She has a link called Book Report Central which is all about the herself. There are also links for educators as well as a trailer for the book.
Matthew Holm's Resource Page
This is a great resource for teacher who want to teach their students about graphic novels. Matthew Holm has complied a list of resources for teachers with links to articles on how to teach graphic novels and lessons to use.

  • Terrific: extremely good.
  • Bazaar: a fundraising sale of things usually for charity.  
  • Emphysema: a disease in which there is damage to the lungs which causes breathlessness. 
  • Bicentennial: a two-hundredth celebration of a significant event. 
  • Comics: a way of expressing a story through images and very few words. 
  • Tourist: a person who is traveling or visiting a place for pleasure. 
Teaching Suggestions:
  1. Since this is a graphic novel I would ask the students to pick one of the scenes in the novel and write what they think was going on in that scene based on the pictures. After they have written it down ask them to share with the class the scene that they saw from those pictures. 
  2. This book deals with a pretty serious topic, I think that it would be beneficial to have a whole class book talk so that if they have any questions the teacher can be able to answer them. If the students do not bring up what Sunny's brother did on their own the teacher can prompt this discussion by asking what happened between Sunny and her brother.  
Reading Strategies:
  1. Before: Since many of the student may not have ever read a graphic novel I think it is important to teach a mini lesson prior to reading. Here is a link to a PowerPoint created by the illustrator of Sunny Side Up about graphic novels that you could use.   
  2. During: Break the book into 4 sections and assign each group a section in which they are responsible for teaching the rest of the class about. Each group will be asked to present to the class their part of the reading. Ask students to pay attention to the problem in the story and the final resolution.  
  3. After: Ask the students to complete an exit slip after finishing the book. Ask them to write down one thing that they learned about graphic novels. Ask them to relate this new fact to something that they read in Sunny Side Up.  
Writing Activity:
Ask the students to respond to the prompt: "Write about a time in your life when you had to have a difficult conversation with a friend or family member. Make sure to make connections between how you felt and how Sunny was feeling in the novel."