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review 2017-04-07 03:03
The Little Engine That Could
The Little Engine That Could - Watty Piper,Doris Hauman,George Hauman

This book is great for showing that when you put your mind to something you can do anything. That having self talks with ourselves are healthy and very encouraging at times. This book shows that doubting yourself does not get you anywhere but confidence and perseverance does. I would use this in my classroom by giving them a train that has "I think I can..." and they will have to write things that they can do and are good at. After they write this they can draw themselves in the train and we will hang them on a track going up a hill and hang in the hallway. My classroom will be filled with encouraging words and positive thoughts. I think this book could be read with anyone but is mainly for the younger grades. The Lexile Level is AD740L.

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review SPOILER ALERT! 2017-03-31 16:08
Great STEM Activities!
Iggy Peck, Architect - Andrea Beaty

Andrea Beaty, author of "Iggy Peck, Architect", "Rosie Revere, Engineer", and "Ada Twist, Scientist" (along with others) has written these great STEM books that I believe will inspire many kids (and adults)! This particular book is about a boy named "Iggy Peck" who loves constructing things out of all sorts of weird materials like diapers. His parents are weary and his teacher HATES architects, so Iggy feels defeated. But on a class trip, the whole class gets stuck on an island and can't get to the other side because the bridge had collapsed, so Iggy, with the help of his classmates, builds a bridge to save the day. 

I would 100% use this in class for different types of math lessons! Here are some ideas:

1. Have the students go home and measure a room of their house (with the help of an adult). If they don't have a measuring tape at their house, you can let them measure the classroom instead. 

2. Let the students design their dream house on graph paper. This could work on shapes, dimensions, length/width, measuring, and working with scale.

3. Have the students use Legos to design a bridge, house, or other structure.

 

ATOS Reading Level: 4.1

Lexile: AD 850L

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review 2017-03-31 15:54
Chrysanthemum's a Daisy!
Chrysanthemum - Kevin Henkes

This lovely Kevin Henkes book has been one of my favorites since I was a kid. I really connected to Chrysanthemum- even though I wasn't bullied because of my name, I did hate my own, wanted to be called "Lily", and mac & cheese was/is my favorite food just like the main character of the book. "Chrysanthemum" is a great book to use in the classroom because it talks about feelings, bullying, and being nice to people. Because this book is very well known, there are many resources available for it.

An activity that I have done in the past is this: I printed out large versions of positive (happy face, heart eyes, etc) and negative (crying, frowny face, etc) emojis and glued one of each to a popsicle stick- enough for each person in class. While the book is being read aloud to them, the students react using their emojis. This is great for younger grades, but can be adapted to older grades by having students fill out an anchor chart of positive/negative emotions that go further than the usual "happy" and "sad". The anchor chart can then be used during writing so that the students have a mini thesaurus to look at. 

 

Guided Reading: L

Lexile: 460L

 

Scholastic Discussion Guide:

http://www.scholastic.com/browse/collateral.jsp?id=32395

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review SPOILER ALERT! 2017-03-29 00:50
The Rope Swing Broke- And So Did My Heart
Bridge to Terabithia - Katherine Paterson,Donna Diamond

"Bridge to Terabithia" is a very sad book that confronts the realities of life in a way that really connects with kids. The book is about Jess and Leslie, two friends who create an imaginary land called Terabithia which they visit often. After Leslie dies in a tragic accident, Jess reflects back on his memories and is transformed in the rest of the book. Though this novel has much to offer in terms of literary devices- character development, vocabulary, symbolism, etc. But it also opens an array of other opportunities. Nature is a large part of the book as well as imagination and friendship. Because I am a big believer in STEM, I think this book would be a great opportunity to work on some STEM activities. There are many STEM lessons that involve designing bridges, building them, and testing their strength. Doing this activity would also focus on teamwork and cooperation. Overall, this book has many possibilities and I highly recommend it for any older classroom. 

 

Guided Reading Level: T

Lexile: 810L

Grade Level Equivalent: 4.6

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review 2017-03-29 00:17
BFG- Best Fictional Gift
The BFG - Roald Dahl,Quentin Blake

This well known book is a favorite of many- and I know why. Roald Dahl is an amazing author and his work really shows through this book. It tells the story of a young orphan named Sophie who meets the BFG- Big Friendly Giant. He is the only giant that isn't nasty or a children eater. Instead, he and Sophie come up with a plan to save future children from being eaten- by telling the Queen of England and having her lock the other mean giants up. This book is perfect for all sorts of activities in the classroom. A quick search of "BFG" on pinterest pulls up many fun activities that engage the children while allowing them to learn new things. One of the best ideas I saw was incorporating "The BFG" into STEM activities (https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/The-BFG-by-Roald-Dahl-STEM-Challenge-2538071). Students are asked to dream up then construct a fork that the BFG could use to eat his food. This can be taken to the next level, though. Students could fictitiously design tools, utensils, and other important items for people with disabilities. Not only would this put their STEM minds to use, but would also get students to think about other people who don't necessarily have that easy of a life and that "simple" tasks can be hard for other people. 

 

Guided Reading: U

Grade Level Equivalent: 5.8

Lexile: 720L

 

Another Cute Idea:

https://www.pinterest.com/pin/138345019782627706/

 

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