Saturday, August 15, 2015

Fiction Friday: Chapter 10

It must be August, because here I am getting my Fiction Friday post up on a Saturday AND it follows my last Fiction Friday post. Yup, no other posts in between. It's back to school time for sure!!

It's funny how when August hits and back to school goes into full swing how hard it is to check everything off that To Do List. I didn't get everything I dreamed done this week but I did get my classroom set up, worked with my team to finalize some grade level procedures and policies, AND I got to spend one whole day at a workshop with Tanny McGregor. More on all of this to follow later this week.

For now, let's talk books books. Don't you just LOVE books?!?

This week I read...

The Terrible Two
Written by Jory John and Mac Barnett
Illustrated by Kevin Cornell

This was the perfect book to follow Pickle from last week. The Terrible Two is the story of Miles Murphy, a prankster by nature, who moves to a new town and has to reestablish his pranking reputation. The only problem is there is already a prankster at his new school in his new town and this prankster is good.... REALLY good. The best part about this notorious new prankster is he is the person nobody would suspect. He keeps it all secret and wants to team up with Miles to create the ultimate school prank.

The back of the book sums it up perfectly, "From friends and bestselling authors Mac Barnett & Jory John comes this deviously funny new series about fitting in, making your mark, and finding a friend where you least expect one. Oh, and cows."

The Terrible Two is simple a good time in 224 pages. The chapters are quick and filled with illustrations that help the story come alive. Miles and Niles (aren't the names great?) are hilarious characters. At first trying to out do each other, Miles finally gives in and they join forces for the prank of the century that made me laugh out loud. This was a big hit in my classroom last year and I can see why.  Students that enjoy Diary of a Wimpy Kid or Stick Dog will love this book! I'm so pleased it is a battle book this year for my 4th graders because they are going to eat this up!

Check out these fantastic illustrations...

I would recommend this book for grades 3-5. You could absolutely read this book aloud, but I think it's a fun independent read so you can really study the great illustrations. This is one kids will gravitate to on their own. I am probably going to need a second copy for my classroom. 

Book Information:
  • 224 Pages
  • Realistic/Humorous Fiction
  • 620 Lexile Level
  • Grade Level Equivalent - 4.5 

The House on Hackman's Hill
by Joan Lowery Nixon

This is an oldie but a goodie. Have you read it?  The house on Hackman's Hill was once the home of an eccentric Egyptian art collector and is said to be cursed by the Egyptian god, Anubis. Years ago Dr. Hackman suddenly disappeared and so did his famous mummy. Years later, there is a $10,000 reward to recover the lost mummy and Jeff and Debbie just know they can find it. However, when a blizzard traps them inside the spooky mansion, they find they may have underestimated the truth behind the stories they were told. 

Does it sound spooky?  It is a little spooky and very suspenseful. I wouldn't call it a really scary book, but I probably wouldn't hand it over to all my 4th graders.  That being said, I know kids who would devour this book. One of the things I liked most about the novel was how the original story of the house gets told to the children almost as a completely separate story in itself. By the time the children explore the house, you can already see parallels and connections as the story starts to almost relive itself with them. There is also a great opportunity to learn about Egyptian history and culture throughout the novel in a kid-friendly way. The story is very well done (especially in 126 pages) and ends just perfectly.
I would recommend this book for fourth graders and up.  It's a great book for kids who like to read those Scary Stories books or loved Coraline and The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman. It would also make a very spooky October read aloud if you are feeling brave. The kids would be on the edge of their seats for sure. 

Book Information:
  • 126 pages
  • Scary Stories/Supernatural
  • 780 Lexile Level
  • Guided Reading Level - T
  • Grade Level Equivalent - 6.4

Have you read either of these novels before?  What did you think?

What wonderful books have you discovered this summer?  Link up or comment below to join the conversation and have some fun!! Every day is a good day for Fiction Friday. :)

Friday, August 7, 2015

Fiction Friday: Chapter 9

Another Friday has come and almost gone AND it's officially August. I have one more week of summer vacation before I officially go back to start my teacher work week, but (of course) I have already been back in my classroom getting ready. I just can't help myself!

This week for Fiction Friday, I journey back into the world of chapter books.

This week I read...

The Lost Planet
by Rachel Searles

In The Lost Planet, Chase wakes up on a unknown planet surrounded by unknown people with a wound to the back of his head and his memory completely wiped. The only thing he knows is "Guide the star" but nobody (including Chase) knows what that means. He sets out on a great adventure to uncover his mysterious past and figure out who and what he is that makes him so special.  Chase is different and his strange gift may be exactly the thing that saves him.

Filled with tons of questions, creative alien worlds, and non-stop action, The Lost Planet is a true blue legit science fiction read for children. For students who can suspend reality and stick with a book even though they have a million questions, they will love how everything starts to fall into place in the end and builds beautifully towards the sequel, The Stolen Moon.

I was very impressed with the vocabulary in this book.  Lots of great words used and some repeated several times throughout the novel.  It didn't feel repetitive in any way, but it did give readers time to infer the meaning from context, practice the word, and learn the word. As a teacher, I love that!

I would recommend this book for grades 4-8. I enjoyed it and will be looking to pick up the sequel to add to my classroom collection. I can't wait to see what my 4th graders thing of this novel, because for many it will be unlike anything they have read before. :)

Book Information:
  • 400 pages
  • Science-Fiction
  • 750 Lexile level
  • Grade Level Equivalent - 4.6

By Kim Baker & Tim Probert

Ben loves to pull a good prank and he's good at it too. He managed to sneak an entire set of indoor playground balls into his classroom through a window just for fun!  His class loved it! His teacher... not so much.  Ben's pranks are all in good fun and they make 6th grade so much more entertaining. That's why he starts the Pickle Club - a super secret prank club of Fountain Point Middle School and he's recruiting select members. The only problem is that Ben can't include his best friend in the club.  He's the principals grandson and would probably nark.  Together, the Pickle club brings an unlikely group of friends together and fills the school with laughter, but the one member they left out may be exactly the one member they need.

Pickle is hilarious and fun! It would make a great read aloud for grades three and up.  My students loved reading this book last year, so if you don't have a classroom copy go grab one. It is definitely teacher and student approved! I think it's going to make my classroom read aloud stack this year.

Book Information:
  • 256 pages
  • Realistic Fiction
  • 700 Lexile Level

That's it for me today. Don't forget to click through all the links below to discover more awesome books and share your own favorite reads by commenting or linking up yourself. I've discovered so many great books this summer this way. And a huge thank you to all the bloggers that link up. Y'all rock!!

Happy Reading!

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Top 10: Best Things about the Start of the School Year

August is here. It's hard to believe...this summer has sailed by.  I'm not sure I'm fully ready to go back, but ready or not school is just around the corner. I do know I'm ready to start buying school supplies and back to school clothes.  I already scored some spectacular TPT products during the BTS15 sale.

It's also time for the monthly Top 10 list link-up with Hailey at The Third Grade Nest.

This month the topic is...(well, what else?!?)... back to school!

1. New supplies are simply the best.

2. I'm chomping at the bit to see my roster this year. Will I have any siblings?!  I hope so. I love getting to keep families from year to year.

3. Choosing a first day outfit means going back to school clothing shopping.  I'll probably need to get a few outfits, so I have choices for the first day... right?

4. A new year brings a blank slate. I love that. No time to dwell on the things I wish I had done better. The time to push forward is here. Go forth and conquer!

5. I love books.  Organizing and restocking my library is a huge part of my classroom set-up, but it's pretty much my happy place.

6. Setting up my classroom is one of my greatest joys. Everything is so clean and so organized. It will never look like that ever again during the year, but that's okay, lol. Sometimes learning is messy. :)

7. Routine makes me happy. 

8. There is nothing better than seeing your former student run into your room, scream, and give you a big hug!

9. It's finally time to try out all those create bulletin board ideas I've been pinning on Pinterest. Here's to hoping I have enough wall space.

10. And the final reason back to school is the best is... that school is starting. I still love school. I love learning new things, creating projects, playing games, and doing activities. I may be the teacher now, but school has always been an exciting and wonderful place for me to be. I hope I can continue to create that experience in my classroom and truly foster a love of learning in the children that walk through my classroom door each day.

What do you love about going back to school?  Please tell.

Hop on over to The Third Grade Nest to link up and join the fun!