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Sunday, August 31, 2014

Juicy Nibble

Hi there, everyone! I spent the day with my family at the Saratoga Race Track, a Labor Day tradition.  This is a picture of me with my mom and my cousin Andrew.  Andrew is in the Coast Guard. We are very proud of his service to our country. We played several fun games, ate great food and laughed A LOT! I hope you enjoy your last few days of summer and are excited for school on Wednesday, I know I am! :)

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Juicy Nibble

What do teachers  like to do during the last few weeks of summer?  The same things they always like to do, hang out, talk, laugh, eat great food and have fun!  Here is the 4th grade team at my house celebrating our friendship and all of the great times that we have together. :) 1 blue ticket if you can NAME the little girl with Mrs. K.  **BONUS** 3 blue tickets if you can identify the long necklace I am wearing.  All of the teachers lAUGHED OUT LOUD when they saw it, Mrs. Merten especially!  I hope you are taking some time during the last few weeks to have some fun with friends and to share some good food, we did!  See you soon!

Sunday, August 17, 2014

A Big Bite

Mrs. W soaking up a few rays of sun this past weekend on the beach in NJ before school starts.  It is very typical of me to be wearing BIG sunglasses and have a book in my hand on the beach.  Also, I look surprised because Luke, my son, likes to take pictures of me when I least expect it. This is as close to a smile as I have ever come in one of his surprise photos.  I usually don't know he is taking my picture.  :)

Hi there!  My name is Mrs. Williams and in the upcoming future you will receive your placement letter for 4th grade.  If your letter says that I am your teacher, WELCOME, and get ready for a year of fun and learning!  In the Important Documents gadget in the right hand column you will see a letter for you to read and one for your parents.  Enjoy the last two weeks of summer vacation and I will see you soon.  Keep reading!

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Bookworm Buzz

Summer is coming to an end but I am still reading as part of the #bookaday challenge.  I have read 98 books so far this summer and there are still 8 days to go.  I think I can make my goal of 100 books!  Have you been keeping up with your summer reading?  What has been the best book that you have read so far? Leave a comment and let me know. :)
The Sasquatch Escape (The Imaginary Veterinary, #1)The Sasquatch Escape by Suzanne Selfors
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A fun  series about two friends and a veterinarian for imaginary creatures.  This book is just right for 4th graders and will become an instant hit with many students.  It will make a great addition to our mythology text sets.  I am looking forward reading the other adventures in this series.  There are a total of four books in this series so far.  Mrs. Richards will have to add this one to her LONG list of books to get for the classroom library.  Let me know what you think.


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I'm My Own DogI'm My Own Dog by David Ezra Stein
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I laughed OUT LOUD at this book.  This book will be great when we learn about point of view and drawing conclusions.  Mrs. Richards MUST GET this book.  I have a feeling it is going to be one of those books that gets borrowed permanently. :)


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Bugs in My Hair!Bugs in My Hair! by David Shannon
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I loved this book!  A realistic fiction story with non fiction woven in, in the form of *facts.  An interesting text structure for students to explore.  In addition, students, teachers AND parents will make many connections with this book.  Mrs. Richards will have to get one for the nurse's office.  The illustrations are fun and the story is FUNNY. Let me know what you think.
Me and My Big MouseMe and My Big Mouse by Ethan Long
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Funny, funny, funny.  This will be great when we talk about point of view and making inferences/drawing conclusions.  Author's craft (tongue and cheek) would be a good lesson for writer's looking to experiment with author's craft.


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Velvet, Vol. 1: Before the Living EndVelvet, Vol. 1: Before the Living End by Ed Brubaker
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

For my high school friends who love graphic novels and a female heroine.  Velvet is a secret agent who needs to right a few wrongs.  I love her and have added this book to my pull list at Friendly Neighborhood Comics.  There is a great which contains an interview with Ed Brubaker, the author of the Velvet series. Let me know what you think


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MapleMaple by Lori Nichols
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I loved it!!!  The message, the mini-lesson possibilities, the illustrations; this book even made Mrs. Merten cry.  Mrs. Richards will have to get this one. :)


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Ninja Boy Goes to SchoolNinja Boy Goes to School by N.D. Wilson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A really fun book for reader's and writer's workshop.  Many similes, inferences to make, connections and fun pictures to read.


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Julia, ChildJulia, Child by Kyo Maclear
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

An interesting way to look at childhood and how to remember what it was like to be a kid.  Good read for the busy parent.


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Peanut Butter & CupcakePeanut Butter & Cupcake by Terry Border
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

An interesting take on friendship.  The illustrations were exciting.


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Dog Days of SchoolDog Days of School by Kelly DiPucchio
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Interesting book with a theme of "be careful what you wish for, you just might get it." Much to discuss here!


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Nancy KnowsNancy Knows by Cybèle Young
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Nancy has a hard time staying focused and remembering.  I think some students will make some interesting connections to Nancy and parents will be able to relate as well.


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My rating: 4 of 5 stars
A great read for the student who is moving, or even a new student. The message of change unfolds gradually and with a sweet ending.  Students who have moved involuntarily, or will be moving away from friends will make many connections.

My rating: 3 of 5 stars
A book for our younger friends that is a good introduction to text structure.  The fiction and non fiction are woven together nicely and would be great for younger readers.

My rating: 3 of 5 stars
What happened AFTER the mighty Casey struck out at the plate?  This book gives an answer, and it is a girl named Joy!  Told in rhyming verse, this book can be used in writer's workshop when writing "what happened when the story ended?"  This book will make a nice addition to the poetry basket and the baseball basket.

My rating: 3 of 5 stars
A great way to show writers how to have two voices in a story without using dialogue.  The descriptive sentences and imagination are super.  The mini-lesson possibilities are endless with this book.



Born from the HeartBorn from the Heart by Berta Serrano
My rating: 1 of 5 stars

Not my cup of tea and I think it would be confusing for many students.  The intent was good but the message missed the mark.


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Saturday, August 9, 2014

Bookworm Buzz Special Edition


For the past few summers I have been watching other teachers and people who love books participate in the "Picture book 10 for 10," on August 10th and I always say, "next year."  Well, next year is finally here and this is my first post for #pb10for10.  I am so excited!  Even though there is a non fiction #10for10 in February, I have included some in my list.  Thanks to Cathy Mere and Mandy Robek for hosting this event. I have been reading  posts from previous years and I have been trying to decide what my theme will be. After much reflection,  I have decided to make my theme a Tim Gunn inspired "Make it Work," list of picture books.  There have been  SO MANY great picture books published this year.  I had a hard time choosing which books to put on my list, but I have chosen 10 books that I will add to my collection and find a way to "make it work."  These 10 books will be used throughout the year to enhance instruction and will become instant favorites, no doubt! Whether it is the fashion world, education world, or book world, I think Tim Gunn would approve!  So start the music and light the runway, here comes my #pb10for10 August collection!  Click on the numbers for a link to Amazon.com, or better yet, find these books at your local library.  Carry on!
1.      I have spent so much time at my local library this summer and this book is a great example of how the librarian can be a friend to everyone and how the library has something to offer for everyone.  This book will be used as part of reader's workshop launch.  I have saved over $1000.00 this summer by using my library card, I bet I could get a new wardrobe with those savings!

2.   I made some really fun connections with this book and I LOVED the dedication.  I will use this book on the first day of school and throughout the year for a variety of mini lessons.  This is one of my favorite picture books of the year. :)
3.  Product DetailsI love Dan Santat, as an author AND an illustrator.  Beekle is a wonderful story about friendship, accepting differences and imagination.  I will use this during the first week of school and throughout the year.

4.  Product DetailsI can't say enough about this book and all of the cool lesson ideas that popped into my head while reading it,  re-reading it, and re-reading it.  Dan Santat comes through again with amazing illustrations.  Like I said, I love  Dan Santat.  I think we will need to add his books to a text set for an author/illustrator study. I'll make it work!
5.    Students will make so many connections with this book.  I can imagine using it in reader's and writer's workshop, during the first week of school and just for fun!  The illustrations are very vibrant and allow the reader the opportunity to read the pictures!
6.   This non fiction book is a travel guide for readers to Marc Brown's favorite places in New York City.  The author's voice is clear and the reader can easily tell how much Marc Brown loves NYC.  I will use this book in writer's workshop and in Social Studies when we study the Northeast.  The illustrations are very colorful and the inside/back covers contain many fun facts about NYC.

7.    This is another great story about friendship and how friendships evolve over time.  It is just plain old fun and I am certain that I can make this one work too!

8.    Students love to read about Lonesome George and this book will make a nice addition to our endangered and extinct animals text set.  The illustrations in this book are beautiful, I can't say enough about them.  I have a feeling that this may be one of those books that gets borrowed permanently. :)

9  What 4th grader doesn't like talking about, or at the very least learning about dung and the dung beetle?  I had no idea there was so much to learn.  This book will be used for many mini lessons across the curriculum.  
10.   This is another one of my favorite books of the year.  It is a non fiction story that reads like a journal.  The photographs are amazing and it will make a great addition to our text set for Mr. Popper's Penguins.

This was a fun but challenging activity.  I wouldn't have been able to do it without my local library.  I was warned that this day may become expensive as I find other great books that I will need to add to the classroom library.  Whether in the fashion world, or the education world, I think Tim Gunn would be proud. As I browse through the other blogs and the posts for #pb10for10, I thought it might be helpful to keep Tim Gunn's advice in mind.