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All posts for the month November, 2014

4th and 5th grade book club: Historical fiction

Published November 19, 2014 by Dagmar

One of my favorite times of the week is my time with the 4th and 5th grade book club at my school.  We meet on Wednesdays at 1:20 and have trouble getting them to leave the library before my preschool class comes for their library time at 2pm.  Today, instead of talking about our slate of books we’re reading this fall (more to come on that), we chose the books that we’ll read in January when we read historical fiction books.

HistoEliza's Freedomrical fiction is one of my favorite genres, because I love learning about other times and other cultures.  It wasn’t hard for me to create a great list of 10 books from my library.  I presented these books to my students and had them vote on their top six choices for the book club.  These books will be available to them during the month number the starsof January (and yes, some of them will read all six books).  The choices they were given were:

  • Under a War Torn Sky, by L.M. Elliot (World War II)
  • Number the Stars, by Lois Lowry (World War II)
  • My Name is Keoko, by Linda Sue Park (World War II)
  • Inside Out and Back Again, by Thanhha Lai (Vietnam War)
  • A Million Shades of Gray by Cynthia Kadohata (Vietnam War)
  • Sophia’s War, by Avi (Revolutionary War)
  • My Brother Sam is Dead, by James Lincoln Collier (Revolutionary War)
  • The Mighty Miss Malone, by Christopher Paul Curtis (Depression)
  • Eliza’s Freedom Road, by Jerdine Nolen (1850s)
  • Jefferson’s Sons, by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley (1780s-1790s)

jeffersons sonsmy brother samPlease click on the highlighted books to see books I’ve reviewed.

We talked about why authors often pick times of war or conflict as settings for historical fiction.  Then, the students had a chance to look at each of the books and discuss them before they voted on their top six choices to include in the book club “library”.

And the winners were – in order of preference: Eliza’s Freedom Road (winner), Inside Out and Back Again, Jefferson’s Sons, My Brother Sam is A MillionDead, Number the Stars, A Million Shades of Gray.  In my opinion, they really can’t go wrong with any of these titles.inside

Next month, when my students choose the books they’ll read, I’ll be excited to hear what attracted them to the books they selected and what they thought about the books.  Stay tuned!

My Teacher is a Monster!, by Peter Brown

Published November 1, 2014 by Dagmar

teacher monsterPeter Brown, author of You Will Be My Friend and Children Make Terrible Pets, has written a new book that was a big success with my kindergarten students.

Running into your teacher outside school can be fun.  Or, if you think your teacher hates you, it can be “a terrible surprise.”

Ms. Kirby is always yelling at Bobby, especially when Bobby flies paper airplanes in class.  Ms. Kirby stomps, and she roars.  Ms. Kirby even looks just like a monster.  Bobby runs into Ms. Kirby sitting on a bench reading a book.  Not knowing quite what to do, and feeling awkward, Bobby sits next to her on the bench.  Suddenly, a gust of wind blows Ms. Kirby’s favorite hat off her head.  Bobby runs to catch Ms. Kirby’s hat.    Ms. Kirby is so grateful to Bobby that she thanks him and then shows him how she likes to quack with the ducks at the park.  Bobby decides to show Ms. Kirby his favorite part of the park.  Sitting at the top of a hill in the park, Ms. Kirby has an idea.  She pulls out a piece of paper and gives it to Bobby.  Bobby quickly folds it into an airplane and launches it.  It’s the best paper airplane flight ever.   Bobby and Ms. Kirby each decide the other is not so terrible.  In fact, Ms. Kirby starts looking like an actual teacher, instead of a monster.  It’s a great resolution…until Bobby throws a paper airplane in class.

I love Peter Brown’s dedication, “To misunderstood teachers and their misunderstood students.”  Have fun with this one!