In fourth grade, readers have monthly Shelfies to track their independent reading lives throughout the year. Once they complete a book, they write the title on their Shelfie. This practice helps them track their reading volume and book choices. Last year, I decided to add a little math joy to our reading community. This year,… Continue reading Book Count Warm-Ups
I wrapped up the teaching portion of our mini lesson and began linking our community work to what I wanted readers to try independently. "Okay, you have two important decisions to make as you go off today! First, you'll choose a NEW short story to experience. As I lay out the stacks, I want to… Continue reading Black Boy Joy!
Two weeks ago, I drove to school thinking about the impressive features I had noticed in fourth graders' information books. Upon their arrival, I checked in with three writers about borrowing their books for the beginning of writing workshop. When we gathered on the rug, I quickly shared that I wanted to begin our time… Continue reading Up Your Nose. . .?!
With 18 index cards in hand, I scoured the shelves of the Millis Public Library. I glanced down at the nonfiction topics each reader was interested in and started pulling book after book. The stack continued to grow as I simultaneously began to consider what mentor text I would use. . .time for something new.… Continue reading Better Readers, Better Humans!
On the first day of school, during our first session of identity mapping, I found myself in many conversations about ice cream with kids. I began thinking, I just found a way to hook readers for our first Meet Someone New Monday celebration. I just knew I'd need to share The Sweetest Scoop: Ben &… Continue reading Get a Scoop Of This!
Happy September! We are back for a fourth year of sharing our love of books with students and YOU, our dedicated readers. We are turning the page as we begin the 2022-2023 school year and plan to bring you new content just twice a week. Stay tuned for some book reviews and literacy learning on… Continue reading A New Chapter: 2022-2023
We are one short school day from summer break in Natick, MA. This weekend, I browsed the children's section at the bookstore, reminded myself of books I saved on Twitter and my camera roll, and began requesting some titles online from the library network. When summer hits, I always have ambitious goals as I try… Continue reading MQ Summer Stack
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jb2mYaGwbyY It's a rainy day in Massachusetts. It is the kind of day that makes me want to snuggle up with a good book so I invited our reading community to do so this afternoon. We cozied up on our green, orange, and blue polka-dotted rug and turned off the lights like a theater. Together,… Continue reading Where Three Oceans Meet by Rajani Larocca
The first bend of our literary essay unit was a challenge. Do these young writers have enough ownership over the essay structure yet? I thought. Naturally, there was quite a range in the levels of independence at the end of our opinion unit, and I found myself feeling nervous for next steps. Yet, I found… Continue reading Writing Joy with Encanto
In Massachusetts, it is the first day of February vacation. I woke up at 8:32, in a panic that I was late for school. My brain quickly reminded me that it is Saturday. Phew! For the next week, I will enjoy sleeping in without alarms, sipping some extra coffee and enjoy reading a book or… Continue reading Thank you, Elly Swartz!
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=85k-Shaj254 For the last couple of weeks, I've been enjoying this collection bit by bit. Thanks to Libby App, I have been able to enjoy each story as a read aloud -- in the car, when walking or on my couch with my paperback copy. The introduction, crafted by editors S.K. Ali and Aisha Saeed,… Continue reading Once Upon an Eid: Stories of Hope and Joy by 15 Muslim Voices
The world is changing, and people are growing by learning more and taking action."-- Fourth Grader Imagine my surprise on Inauguration Day when my partner texted me to share that he had gone ahead and preordered Amanda Gorman's children's book for my classroom! He just knew that my students and I needed it in our… Continue reading Change Sings: A Children’s Anthem by Amanda Gorman
Last month, we welcomed you to 4Q's Reading Community. This time, we'd like to share a bit about our community of writers! Here are some reasons why we think our writing community is special: "We have writing tools." -B Our literacy work at Brown School is anchored in the Teachers College Reading and Writing Project… Continue reading Welcome to Our Writing Community
I'd like you to think for a moment about what we might share with other kids and teachers about our reading community. What makes our reading community special? "We do Meet Someone New Monday." -N On Mondays, my students are introduced to someone who has contributed to the world in their own unique way. By… Continue reading Welcome to Our Reading Community
Last week, author Meg Medina shared a link to an article on Twitter--Why Adults Should Read Middle Grade Books: The value in returning to these books as adults is in reminding ourselves what it’s like to be a kid, to gain a different perspective on the world, and to expand our understanding of different experiences… Continue reading Coming Soon: September 2021 Releases!
Every June, I am curious to learn each reader's favorite book enjoyed in fourth grade. After watching and listening and recommending all year long, I am left wondering what the #1 title in their stacks of 30-40 independent reading books is. Last week, I invited my crew to take out their stack of monthly "Shelfies"… Continue reading An Unexpected Heart Flutter
My eyes that kiss in the corners and glow like warm tea are a revolution.--Joanna Ho https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VFz0wktGr2k Author Joanna Ho reads her new picture book, Eyes That Kiss in the Corners. Lines We Love "I have eyes that kiss in the corners and glow like warm tea.""Her eyes are filled with so many stories; I… Continue reading Eyes That Kiss in the Corners by Joanna Ho
Check out #MeetSomeoneNewMonday on social media. Join us! Jump At The Sun: The True Life Tale of Unstoppable Storycatcher Zora Neale Hurston is a captivating picture book biography that you'll want on your shelf. The lyrical text paired with the vibrant illustrations brought joy to our fourth grade classroom. I'll let the young readers say… Continue reading Jump At The Sun: The True Life Tale of Unstoppable Storycatcher Zora Neale Hurston
Last week, I listened to an episode of the Choice Literacy Podcast: Empowering Readers with Sara Kajder. I was struck by Sara's honesty as she shared, "Over the past few months, there are times when I've been alive as a reader and there are times when I can't give a book ten pages before I… Continue reading Miss Quimby’s Springtime Stack
Truth be told, I have not read many graphic novels, and I am making an effort to expand my reading life in that way. The graphic novel collection in my classroom library has dwindled over time. I have lost many beloved titles to former students. The bin that we do have always seems to be… Continue reading Graphic Novel Detectives
A month ago today, I enjoyed a virtual flower arrangement workshop from the comfort of my kitchen. I chose to use this experience as a topic for an information book--one that mirrored what writers were creating in the classroom. I showed up to our community meeting for Talk About It Tuesday with the headings planned… Continue reading Dear Young Writers, Your Audience Matters.
Amongst all that feels lost, I am holding onto the magical read aloud moments that still exist. In our quick-paced hybrid model, I am trying to find space where reveling in stories is a possibility. One of those places is our community meetings. Meet Someone New Monday allowed us to introduce ourselves to Ashima Shiraishi,… Continue reading Rock-Climbing Champion, Ashima Shiraishi, Teaches Kids About Problem Solving!
In our hybrid teaching world, the elementary school day kicks off with a twenty-minute community meeting. Half of the class sits in their plexi glass stations, and the other half arrives smiling via Google Meet. At first, it felt strange and overwhelming. How will we spend this time? What might we do to simultaneously engage… Continue reading Equality’s Call: The Story of Voting Rights in America
Halfway through the school year, I conferred with a reader who had reached a hurdle in his reading life. During independent reading time, I noticed that engagement was drifting away. His eyes were wandering, his head was down, or a conversation unrelated to reading had been sparked. After a few days of observations and redirection,… Continue reading Representation Matters
The 2019-2020 school year was filled with a vision for our participation in #KidsNeedMentors -- virtual writing coaching from Jennifer Blecher, a school visit, and snuggling Out of Place into our ambitious read aloud stack. What we did accomplish: Touring Jen's writing space & meeting her dog on FaceTime.Mailing her our finished narrative writing pieces.Drafting… Continue reading #KidsNeedMentors Leads 4th Graders to Out of Place by Jennifer Blecher
When I learned that Ways to Make Sunshine by Renée Watson would be released on April 28th, I tried convincing myself that I could wait until the summer months to indulge. At the end of April, it arrived on my doorstep unexpectedly - a birthday surprise! In other words, it was readily available for virtual… Continue reading Through The Eyes of a Fourth Grader: Ways to Make Sunshine by Renée Watson
2019 - Summer Stack Shelfies Around this time last year, we created a productive mess all over Room 104. Our summer reading anchor charts were pinned to the naked bulletin board, a sea of monthly "Shelfies" stretched across the floor, and readers were buzzing about books. Fourth graders were hard at work crafting Best Books… Continue reading Then & Now: Crafting Summer Reading Plans
The month of May began with lots of book mail. As always, my TBR list seems to be never ending. Though temporary, gone are the days of roaming bookstores to soak in that new book smell. Libraries are closed until further notice. Kindle reading is not my jam, and I struggle to make it through… Continue reading Virtual Indie Bookstore Crawl Leads to Summer Reading Stack!
Our world looks and feels different right now. Teaching and learning structures look and feel different right now. In this time of extreme uncertainty and countless cancellations, I can say the following with confidence: Reading is not cancelled!" Teachers and authors have banded together, all over the internet, to make sure students are reading, writing… Continue reading #ReadingIsNotCancelled
What makes this book lovable? You'll be tickled pink by the author's descriptive language. You certainly won't feel blue as you enjoy the vibrant illustrations. You may be macaroni & cheesin' about the "How To" writing that highlights how modern-day crayons are made. Exactly one year ago today (March 19, 2019) The Crayon Man: The… Continue reading Happy Birthday to The Crayon Man by Natascha Biebow!
Susan Tan sat among the #ownvoices panel at #nErDcampLI on November 2, 2019. I walked away knowing that I needed to dive into the Cilla Lee-Jenkins series. What I knew was that I would be introduced to a character inspired by Dr. Tan's own childhood: a young girl navigating her Chinese American family while exploring… Continue reading Meet Cilla Lee-Jenkins!