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Monday, June 28, 2010

Bookworm Buzz

Dear Reader,
I hope that you have continued reading and have found some great books that you love and want to share with other readers. I have a few that I want to share with you. Poetry is one of my favorite genres, and Patricia MacLachlan's new book, Word After Word After Word combines poetry and prose together to tell the story of five friends and their experiences with a Poet who comes to visit their classroom. Sound familiar? I kept making connections to our poet, Ms. Liz. This is a short read which is just right for fourth graders, and I know that you will just love it! Another book, written in free verse poetry is Locomotion, by Jacqueline Woodson. This book will be o.k. for many of you, but may be a someday book for some of you. Older siblings will enjoy this book. This story is about Lonnie Collins Motion and his sister Lili, who have to live with different foster families after their parents die unexpectedly in a house fire. Lonnie's teacher helps him deal with his feelings by writing poetry. This book was a National Book Award Finalist and the sequel, Peace, Locomotion comes out in paperback at the end of July. I loved this book too and can't wait to read the sequel.
Andrew Clements has started a new series called Benjamin Pratt and the Keepers of the School. This book is a mystery/adventure that takes place in Massachusetts near the ocean. This book is filled with action and suspense from the first chapter until the last. Benjamin and his friends have to keep their school from being destroyed to make way for an amusement park, and there are some unsavory adult characters that they have to deal with. Book 2 in the series will be coming out in January of 2011. This book is just right for end of the year fourth graders as there are many vocabulary words that deal with sailing, and require good reading stamina in order for the story to make sense. If you read it, let me know what you think.
Graphic Novels are also a favorite genre of mine. The Summer Vacation From the Black Lagoon, by Mike Thaler, is a quick read and just right for all fourth graders. This book follows Hubie as he begins his summer vacation and the many adventures he has before the new school year begins. Those of you who are avid Black Lagoon fans with enjoy this book, and those of you looking for some quick laughs will enjoy it too. Lunch Lady and the Summer Camp Shakedown by Jarrett J. Krosocka, is the latest in the Lunch Lady series. This graphic novel tells the story of the Lunch Ladies and the Breakfast Bunch kids and their adventures with the mysterious swamp monster who haunts their summer camp. This book is just right for fourth graders. Those of you who have been following this series as devoted fans may be a little disappointed with this book. It is my least favorite so far because it doesn't have the same easy flow and creativity as the other books in the series. Basically, it just didn't keep my interest like all of the other books. Krosoczka is a talented writer and I will keep up with the series, but I thought it was important to let you know that this just wasn't one of my favorites. If you feel differently after reading it, let me know. I would love to hear what you think about this book.
Today I am starting a new graphic novel called, Ghostopolis, by Doug Tennapel. I can't wait to get started! Look for my review later in the week.
Read on, readers!
Mrs. W

Monday, June 21, 2010

Big "A"pple Book Buzz

O.K.-you asked for it, so here it is, book reviews for adults! Many parents have asked me to review the books that I am reading which are for adults, not children. First let me say that so many of the children's books that I read are wonderful for adults , the symbolism alone in children's literature can spark quite an interesting and intellectually stimulating conversation (think of Newberry Award Author Kate DiCamillo). In addition, much of the literature that is written for young adults is very edgy and thought provoking. With that being said, I understand that sometimes adults want to read books that are written for adults. My first review is of the new Stepehen King short story, Blockade Billy. I have been a King fan since high school, Christine was the first King novel I ever read, and I was hooked! Blockade Billy is a short story about a baseball player and his short tenure in MLB. I LOVED IT!!!! There is another short story at the end of the book which I didn't care for, but the first story was worth it. The next book on my list is The Lonely Polygamist by Brady Udall. In addition, I am going to try(again) to read The Girl With the Dragon Tatoo by Steig Larson. I attempted it a few summers ago, when it first came to the United States, and just couldn't get into it. However, there is so much hype around the sequels, and about the author, who died suddenly from a heart attack before he could realize the success of his novels, that I am willing to give it another try. If anyone has read it, I would love to hear your comments and thoughts about this novel.
One last note, when children see their parents read, they know that reading is valued and important, it is more than just a "homework" assignment. Show your children that reading is important to you by READING!
Read on, readers,
Mrs. W

A Big Bite

They came in this morning as 4th graders and left as 5th graders. It has been a great year. Everyone has learned so much and come so far, well done! Stay tuned all summer for book updates, travel adventures and poetry updates. Have a great summer and keep reading!

Friday, June 18, 2010

A Big Bite

The Headlight

The Beltbulb

The Wristlight


The Power Circuit

WOW!!!! The LAST full week of 4th grade is done! September seems so long ago. We spent the week reflecting on all that we have learned this year. In reading, our final book count for the year was 1,145 books-that's approximately 45 books per student at a little more than one book read per week. Also, we have reflected on our goals in Reader's Workshop and talked about the great progress that we have made. Attitudes about reading have "changed dramatically," to quote one student. Many students report that they enjoy reading much more now than they did in September. Nothing could make me happier! Great job everyone and KEEP READING! In math, we completed our string art designs, they look awesome! On Friday, we completed the "Light Your Way," engineering activity as a culminating project in the electricity unit (see pictures above). Ask your child to talk about the hands free light they created with their team. We have created posters showing the year in pictures using articles from Time For Kids. We have written brief captions for each picture on our poster. In music, the students had Show and Tell and there were several outstanding performances on the guitar, violin and piano. This is a very musically/artistically inclined class. Mrs. Mac was very impressed!
The weekend looks like a hot one, try to stay cool and look for our last post of the year on Monday!
Mrs. Williams

Juicy Nibble

Dear Families,

Thank you so much for the plant and the plant stand, they are beautiful and will look amazing in my garden! The gift cards to Regal Cinemas, Barnes and Noble, Cold Stone Creamery and Dunkin Donuts are greatly appreciated. I am overwhelmed by your generosity and thoughtfulness. Have a wonderful summer full of good times and happy memories.


Ann Williams

Friday, June 11, 2010

A Big Bite

What a week! Sports Day, the Coffeehouse, tile installation! 4th grade is winding down really quickly. Thanks to all of the volunteers who helped to make this week a success, I couldn't have done it without all of you. Mrs. Bua, Mrs. Dickinson, Mrs. Conley, Mrs. Woelfel and Mr. Whitmore all stepped up to the mike at our coffeehouse. Great Job! Mrs. Kane organized the snacks that so many of you provided, thanks! Mrs. Whitmore and Mrs. Sameski along with two other parents installed the tiles near the art room. It is a professional job and the entire staff at JFK is impressed with their work. The kids wanted everyone to know that they have read 1,041 books so far this year. We will take a final count next week. Enjoy the pictures, they are worth so much more than words.
Have a great weekend!
Mrs. Williams

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Juicy Nibble

Another successful Tie Dye Tuesday! Thanks to all of the parents who helped this morning, Mrs. Conley. Mr. Sameski, Mrs. Kane, Mrs. Varda, Mrs. McDonnell, and Mrs. Lane. I am so happy that the weather held, even if it was HOT! A note is coming home today about how to care for the shirt. We will be wearing them next Monday for Sports Day and next Wednesday for the Coffeehouse!