Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Mock Caldecott Voting Results

The American Library Association awards the Caldecott Medal to the artist of "the most distinguished American picture book for children." This year, first- and second-graders chose a title for the Oak Lawn Mock Caldecott by the same illustrator that actually won the official ALA honor: Matthew Cordell. 

 Our book? Bob, Not Bob!, written by Liz Garton Scanlon and Audrey Vernick. The ALA book is Wolf in the Snow, written AND illustrated by Matthew Cordell. So we didn't have the same title, but we had the same person! Here are some reasons the kids voted for it:

  • I like it when he says "No! I wan by Bob, not Bob. Bob! Bob! Bob!"
  • He wanted Mom but had a stuffed nose and said Bob.
  • Because he said "Bob, not Bob!" so many times.
  • I like that it says "ah choo!"
  • They have no idea what he is saying.

A couple other finalists got lots of votes. They include:

Creepy Pair of Underwear, written by Aaron Reynolds and illustrated by Peter Brown
  • He kept trying to get rid of the underwear and it kept coming back each time.
  • The underwear glows!
  • Because he does not like the underwear, but then he does.
  • I like the creepy underwear.
  • The underwear kept coming to life.
  • When the bunny randomly is in his underwear.
  • The creepy underwear is cute.

Her Right Foot, written by David Eggers and illustrated by Shawn Harris

  • I like the Statue of Liberty.
  • I like green.
  • She goes in the water to go on the stand.
  • It says she's on the move and shows her in different places.
  • It has real history.
  • I did not know that the Statue of Liberty's right foot was up and it looks like she is walking.

Saturday, March 3, 2018

What Ms. Moore Read in February

Here are some of the most recent books I've read and recommend for my students. They're all available from the public library, but any donations towards getting them into our collection are most welcome! Cover images and descriptions are from Goodreads. 

Picture Books

Rot is a mutant potato. Like most mutant potatoes, Rot loves all sorts of games and contests. So when he sees a sign for the “Cutest in the World Contest,” he can’t wait to enter.But when Rot realizes who he’s up against—an itty-bitty baby bunny, a little-wittle cuddly kitten, and an eenie-weenie jolly jellyfish—he loses confidence. Will the judges find room in their hearts for an adorable mutant potato?  

Dear Girl, is a remarkable love letter written for the special girl in your life; a gentle reminder that she’s powerful, strong, and holds a valuable place in the world.

Through Amy and Paris’s charming text and Holly Hatam’s stunning illustrations, any girl reading this book will feel that she's great just the way she is—whether she enjoys jumping in a muddy puddle, has a face full of freckles, or dances on table tops.

Dear Girl, encourages girls to always be themselves and to love who they are—inside and out.

Middle Grade

Olivia Bean knows trivia. She watches Jeopardy! every night and usually beats at least one of the contestants. If she were better at geography, she would try out for the show’s kids’ week. ... One day Olivia’s friend-turned-nemesis, Tucker, offers to help her bulk up her geography knowledge. Before Olivia knows it, she’s getting help from all sorts of unexpected sources: her almost-stepdad, superannoying Neil; her genius little brother, Charlie; even her stressed-out mom. Soon she has breezed through the audition rounds and is headed for Hollywood! But will the one person she wants to impress more than anyone else show up to support her?

Mason Buttle is the biggest, sweatiest kid in his grade, and everyone knows he can barely read or write. Mason’s learning disabilities are compounded by grief. Fifteen months ago, Mason’s best friend, Benny Kilmartin, turned up dead in the Buttle family’s orchard. An investigation drags on, and Mason, honest as the day is long, can’t understand why Lieutenant Baird won’t believe the story Mason has told about that day.

Both Mason and his new friend, tiny Calvin Chumsky, are relentlessly bullied by the other boys in their neighborhood, so they create an underground club space for themselves. When Calvin goes missing, Mason finds himself in trouble again. He’s desperate to figure out what happened to Calvin, and eventually, Benny.

A funny and poignant debut middle-grade novel about a foster-care girl who is placed with a family in the witness protection program, and finds that hiding in plain sight is complicated and dangerous. ... 

Nicki swears she can keep the Trevor family safe, but to do so she’ll have to dodge hitmen, cyberbullies, and the specter of standardized testing, all while maintaining her marshal-mandated B-minus average. As she barely balances the responsibilities of her new identity, Nicki learns that the biggest threats to her family’s security might not lurk on the road from New York to North Carolina, but rather in her own past.

No one likes or wants to take the statewide assessment tests. Not the students in Mrs. Woods's sixth-grade class, not even their teacher. It's not like the kids don't already have things to worry about. . . .

Under pressure to be the top gymnast her mother expects her to be, RANDI starts to wonder what her destiny truly holds. Football-crazy GAVIN has always struggled with reading and feels as dumb as his high school-dropout father. TREVOR acts tough and mean, but as much as he hates school, he hates being home even more. SCOTT's got a big brain and an even bigger heart, especially when it comes to his grandfather, but his good intentions always backfire in spectacular ways. NATALIE, know-it-all and aspiring lawyer, loves to follow the rules--only this year, she's about to break them all.

The whole school is in a frenzy with test time approaching--kids, teachers, the administration. Everyone is anxious. When one of the kids has a big idea for acing the tests, they're all in. But things get ugly before they get better, and in the end, the real meaning of the perfect score surprises them all.


By the 1930s Elsa Schiaparelli had captivated the fashion world in Paris, but before that, she was a little girl in Rome who didn’t feel pretty at all. Bloom: A Story of Fashion Designer Elsa Schiaparelliis the enchanting story for young readers of how a young girl used her imagination and emerged from plain to extraordinary.

Monday, February 26, 2018

Password Protection with Grade 4

We're discussing "Rings of Responsibility" in Grade 4: ways to be responsible to yourself, to your friends and family, and to the community (both in person and online). Common Sense Media has a great lesson on building strong passwords, which connects to digital citizenship at the self level.

The number one rule is ... don't share your passwords with anyone but the grownups you live with!

After that, try and make sure nobody can guess said passwords. We talked about avoiding dictionary words, substituting symbols for letters, using phone keypad numbers instead of letters ... one student suggested using Morse code, and another converting letters to binary code!

Using a Common Sense handout, the kids came up with "weak" and "strong" passwords for famous people. The next week, the students worked in groups to devise replacements for some of the weak passwords. For example:

Person: Isaac Newton
Weak password: gravity
Ideas for stronger passwords:
  • gr@v!ty4411
  • @55ytivarg!
  • @plscilw 

Person: Michael Jackson
Weak password: moonwalk
Ideas for stronger passwords:
  • w00n52wA!k
  • m0nw1!k1368
  • mjma1b2c3

Person: Ms. Moore
Weak password: ollibrary
Ideas for stronger passwords:
  • 0!lidr@ry
  • b00ks$shelf60
  • oak@libry.!
  • 0!!LbeRry!

How strong are YOUR passwords? 

Thursday, February 15, 2018

In Other Words ... with Grade 5

Fifth graders are practicing their paraphrasing skills. First we worked together to come up with synonyms and ways to recast a sentence.

ORIGINAL: The automobile that went by very quickly was maroon. It went through a big puddle and splashed us.

NEW: The big puddle got us really good when the dark red car flew through it.

ORIGINAL: The educator removed the unruly student from the learning environment because of the sounds he was making

NEW: Because the student was making a ruckus, the teacher made him go away.

ORIGINAL: In the metropolis, the recreation area was dilapidated. Youngsters received injuries when they attempted to utilize the equipment.

NEW: People in the city got hurt because they tried to use the playground equipment that was dangerous.

Then they worked on an individual assignment, putting the following sentences into their own words:
During my earlier years, I experienced much conflict with my male and female siblings who were born before me. Now that we are more mature, we have overcome some of our differences and have the ability to interact pleasantly.

Here are some of the new sentences the students came up with:

When I was a youngster, I experienced a lot of bad things with my older brother and sister. Now we solved our problems and have fun. - T.R.

When I was younger, I fought with my sister, but now we are older, so we don't fight. - M.J.

When I was younger, I got into a lot of fights with my brother and sister. But since we have grown up, we stopped fighting. - A.Z. 

When I was younger, I didn't always get along with my older siblings. Now that we are older, we can play and talk together without fighting. - S.D. 

A few years back, I was bullied by my older relatives, but now we're grown up, the problems fade away. - T.K.

When I was younger I argued with my older brothers and sisters. Now we are older, we have stopped arguing and we have fun. - A.J.

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

What Ms. Moore Read in January

Here are some of the most recent books I've read and recommend for my students. They're all available from the public library, but any donations towards getting them into our collection are most welcome! Cover images and descriptions are from Goodreads. 

Early Reader

On slug days Lauren feels slow and slimy. She feels like everyone yells at her, and that she has no friends. ... On butterfly days Lauren makes her classmates laugh, or goes to get ice cream, or works on a special project with Mom.

Lauren has Autism Spectrum Disorder, and she sees the world differently from many people. Sometimes this can be frustrating and makes Lauren want to flip her lid, especially at school where she learns differently from her classmates. But with support and stubbornness and a flair that's all her own, Lauren masters tricks to stay calm, to understand others' feelings, and to let her personality shine. 

Middle Grade

Chase doesn't remember falling off the roof. He doesn't remember hitting his head. He doesn't, in fact, remember anything. He wakes up in a hospital room and suddenly has to learn his whole life all over again . . . starting with his own name. He knows he's Chase. But who is Chase? When he gets back to school, he sees that different kids have very different reactions to his return.

Some kids treat him like a hero. Some kids are clearly afraid of him. ... Pretty soon, it's not only a question of who Chase is--it's a question of who he was . . . and who he's going to be.

Sam knows she wants to be a drummer. But she doesn’t know how to afford a drum kit, or why budget cuts end her school’s music program, or why her parents argue so much, or even how to explain her dream to other people. But drums sound all the time in Sam’s head, and she’d do just about anything to play them out loud—even lie to her family if she has to. Will the cost of chasing her dream be too high?

Bold, opinionated, and haplessly self-confident, the world's greatest fourth-grade detective faces her biggest challenge! When someone kidnaps beloved school mascot Eddie the Owl, Moxie is on the case--but she's forced to fly solo now that her best friend (and crime-solving partner) has moved away.

Moxie must interview her classmates--both as potential new best friends and as possible suspects. She finds clues and points fingers but can't save the owl on her own. Enter Moxie's little brother, Milton. Quiet, cautious, and boring as a butter knife, he's a good listener. Can the Real McCoys form an unlikely alliance and solve the crime of the century?

It was 1798 when the Morningstarr twins arrived in New York with a vision for a magnificent city: towering skyscrapers, dazzling machines, and winding train lines, all running on technology no one had ever seen before. Fifty-seven years later, the enigmatic architects disappeared, leaving behind for the people of New York the Old York Cipher—a puzzle laid into the shining city they constructed, at the end of which was promised a treasure beyond all imagining. By the present day, however, the puzzle has never been solved, and the greatest mystery of the modern world is little more than a tourist attraction.

Tess and Theo Biedermann and their friend Jaime Cruz live in a Morningstarr apartment house—until a real estate developer announces that the city has agreed to sell him the five remaining Morningstarr buildings. Their likely destruction means the end of a dream long-held by the people of New York. And if Tess, Theo and Jaime want to save their home, they have to prove that the Old York Cipher is real. Which means they have to solve it.

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Grade 3 FICtion covers

Third graders are learning how to use the online catalog and convert call number listings into shelf locations. Right now we're working on the fiction section. Every fiction call number has "FIC" as the first line, and then the first three letters of the author's last name as the second line.

For example, if I wrote a book, the call number would be


What would YOUR call number be?

Students figured out the call numbers for a list of books and and then created their very own for a fiction book they "wrote." Here are some of their book covers: 

Monday, January 15, 2018

Grade 4 Dewey Detectives

The Dewey Decimal system is a way of sorting nonfiction books. I don't expect my students to memorize specific numbers; that's what the online catalog is for. I do, however, want them to understand how certain topics go together. At least according to how Mr. Dewey thought they did.

Each table of fourth graders got a stack of books from a "hundreds." They had to work together to figure out how the subjects could be classified under one major label. If you are not a fourth grader and think you have cracked the code, put your answers in the comments!

  • 500s: planets, electricity, magnets, weather, dinosaurs, bugs, ecosystems, animals
  • 700s: movies, art, photography, music, sports, jokes, crafts
  • 900s: maps, ancient civilizations, countries, states, wars, explorers

Here are Grade 4 students working to identify their 100s' categories:

The next week, using what they knew about the categories, each group had to assign a stack of topic cards to the correct "hundreds." The students in both classes did a great job; even if they had something in the wrong place (like dinosaurs in the 900s), they were able to explain their reasoning (dinosaurs lived a long time ago, in ancient history). I love that they were using their brains!