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!

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Top 17 Titles of 2017

The top checkouts of 2017; these books were all checked out at least 1.5 times per month. Basically, the first and last day of school are the only times they're all in the same room together! Lots of graphic novels, which is not surprising. I'm just hoping all the kids who read "The Wild Robot" vote for it as their RICBA favorite! (And I have to say that I'm glad that 4 books on the list are nominees ... get ready for an Oak Lawn Rooster Games team!)

  1. Sisters by Raina Telgemeier (RICBA 2017 winner) - also the top read of my other school, Garden City
  2. Minecraft: Essential Handbook - #11 at Garden City
  3. Eerie Elementary: Recess is a Jungle! by Jack Chabert
  4. The Adventures of Captain Underpants by Dav Pilkey
  5. Brave Like My Brother by Marc Tyler Nobelman (2018 RICBA nominee)
  6. Dog Man Unleashed by Dav Pilkey - #14 at Garden City
  7. Backyard Witch: Sadie's Story by Christine Heppermann (2018 RICBA nominee)
  8. Unicorn Thinks He's Pretty Great by Bob Shea
  9. The Wild Robot by Peter Brown (2018 RICBA nominee) - #17 at Garden City
  10. Captain Underpants and the Revolting Revenge of the Radioactive Robo-Boxers by Dav Pilkey
  11. National Geographic Little Kids
  12. Save Me a Seat by Sarah Weeks (2017 KRARI book)
  13. Ghosts by Raina Telgemeier - #9 at Garden City
  14. Dog Man by Dav Pilkey
  15. Fortune Falls by Jenny Goebel (2018 RICBA nominee)
  16. Smile by Raina Telgemeier
  17. They All Saw a Cat by Brendan Wenzel

Monday, January 1, 2018

What Ms. Moore Read in December

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

Andrew Root’s debut is a sweet, funny tale for the youngest readers, who know that being little can be the biggest advantage of all. With fun-filled illustrations from Jessica Olien, Hugo proves once and for all that great things come in small packages.

For Hugo isn’t just a hamster. He’s also a great cook, a fast runner, a slow eater, and a fantastic dancer. However, what Hugo wants most of all is to be a firefighter. And even though Hugo worries that he’s too small to fight fires, he learns that just because something is difficult, it doesn’t mean he won’t try his hardest to achieve his dream.

In this enthusiastic celebration of all things BIRTHDAY, acclaimed author Julie Fogliano and award-winning illustrator Christian Robinson bring you the perfect birthday book! Join our excited narrator as she lists all the things that will make her birthday the BEST birthday.

The barbershop is where the magic happens. A fresh cut makes boys fly. This rhythmic, read-aloud title is an unbridled celebration of the self-esteem, confidence, and swagger boys feel when they leave the barber's chair--a tradition that places on their heads a figurative crown, beaming with jewels, that confirms their brilliance and worth and helps them not only love and accept themselves but also take a giant step toward caring how they present themselves to the world. The fresh cuts. That's where it all begins.

Discover the magic—and the science—behind fall leaves with this companion to the celebrated Raindrops Roll and Best in Snow.

With gorgeous photo illustrations, award-winning author April Pulley Sayre explores the transformation trees undergo in fall. The book takes readers through the leaves’ initial change from green to red, yellow, and orange, the shedding of the leaves, and the leaves crumbling as winter approaches. Extensive back matter explains the science behind this process to the youngest of budding scientists.

Middle Grade Novels

It's Christmas Eve in Harlem, but twelve-year-old Lolly Rachpaul and his mom aren't celebrating. They're still reeling from his older brother's death in a gang-related shooting just a few months earlier. Then Lolly's mother's girlfriend brings him a gift that will change everything: two enormous bags filled with Legos. Lolly's always loved Legos, and he prides himself on following the kit instructions exactly. Now,  faced with a pile of building blocks and no instructions, Lolly must find his own way forward. His path isn't clear--and the pressure to join a "crew," as his brother did, is always there. 


This nonfiction picture book explores art, desperation, and one man's incredible idea for saving ships from German torpedoes in World War I. Dazzle camouflage transformed ordinary British and American ships into eye-popping masterpieces.

If you had to name a statue, any statue, odds are good you'd mention the Statue of Liberty. Have you seen her?
She's in New York. 
She's holding a torch. 
And she's in mid-stride, moving forward. 
But why?
In this fascinating, fun take on nonfiction, Dave Eggers and Shawn Harris investigate a seemingly small trait of America's most emblematic statue. 

To become the first female Jewish Supreme Court Justice, the unsinkable Ruth Bader Ginsburg had to overcome countless injustices. ... Despite discrimination against Jews, females, and working mothers, Ginsburg went on to become Columbia Law School’s first tenured female professor, a judge for the US Court of Appeals, and finally, a Supreme Court Justice.

Structured as a court case in which the reader is presented with evidence of the injustice that Ginsburg faced, Ruth Bader Ginsburg is the true story of how one of America’s most “notorious” women br
avely persevered to become the remarkable symbol of justice she is today. 

An infant elephant has precious little time to learn the incredible array of skills that are necessary to keep up, from projecting her voice across a 10-octave range to using the 100,000 muscles in her trunk to stay hydrated. But this giant-to-be has the perfect classroom--a family herd made up of her mother, sisters, cousins, and aunts. With their help and protection, she'll learn how to survive, how to thrive, and how to be an elephant. 

Award-winning author-illustrator Katherine Roy's How to Be an Elephant delves into the intricate family dynamics at play in a typical African herd. Drawing upon the latest scientific research and Roy's own expedition to Kenya, this book vividly portrays the life and development of an elephant from an uncertain newborn into a majestic adult. 

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Coding with Cups

It's Computer Science Education Week! We're doing many of the unplugged activities at to learn some programming basics, including writing algorithms and debugging problems. I took pictures of several classes at work doing the My Robotic Friends activity.

Room 12

Room 13

Room 14

Room 15

Wednesday, December 13, 2017


The annual Rhode Island Children’s Book Award (RICBA) goes to the book selected by students in grades 3-5 as their favorite from a list of 20 nominees.

Students who read 3 or more nominated books may vote in February, and students who read 5 or more qualify to participate in the Rooster Games (more info on that to come). To give everyone a head start, I'll be reading a few of the shorter nominees to each class. 

One of these shorter books is Whoosh! Lonnie Johnson's Super-Soaking Stream of Inventions. Most kids enjoyed the story; here are some reasons they gave: 

  • It had facts and true things.
  • You can use your imagination to make lots of stuff.
  • I want to invent one day.
  • In the summer I can play in the pool with my siblings and we soak each other.
  • It had good pictures.
  • I like engineering and water guns.
  • It tells you should never give up.
  • The main character was a really smart kid.
  • It was about inventing and I love making stuff and coming up with cool ideas like Lonnie Johnson.
  • It taught me about another human's life.
  • In summer I use the SuperSoaker all the time.
  • I love science and want to be a scientist, so it was so cool!
  • I like real stories.
  • I enjoyed Lonnie's creativity.

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Now Playing: Ada's Violin

The annual Rhode Island Children’s Book Award (RICBA) goes to the book selected by students in grades 3-5 as their favorite from a list of 20 nominees.

Students who read 3 or more nominated books may vote in February, and students who read 5 or more qualify to participate in the Rooster Games (more info on that to come). To give everyone a head start, I'll be reading a few of the shorter nominees to each class. 

We started with Ada's Violin, since it was on the November discussion list for the RICBA book club at the Cranston Public Library. It's a true story that was actually featured in a documentary; here's the trailer: 


Most kids enjoyed the story; here are some reasons they gave:
  • It shows that you can do whatever you put your mind to. 
  • It teaches you what you can do with recycling.
  • It shows how someone came from being small to big.
  • We have a different life than them ... it was interesting.
  • She started out not good but then she got amazing at it.
  • I liked it because I play the violin.
  • It shows how we can make a life of trash become a life of music!
  • It was inspiring.
  • It had a lot of creativity.

Thursday, November 30, 2017

What Ms. Moore Read in November

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

There are so many wonderful things about life, both in good times and in times of struggle. Through the eyes of the world’s animals—including elephants, monkeys, whales, and more—Cynthia Rylant offers a moving meditation on finding beauty around us every day and finding strength in adversity. Brendan Wenzel’s stunning landscapes and engaging creatures make this an inspiring and intriguing gift for readers of all ages

Turtle has looked everywhere for his favorite book, but it's nowhere to be found! Maybe his book was borrowed by Zebra, Owl, Giraffe, Elephant, or Lion. As Turtle searches, his friends offer to share their own favorite stories, but other books just won't do. Or is it time for Turtle to try something different? A tribute to books, reading, and the joy of sharing stories with others.
Rodney is that kid who just can't sit still. He's inside, but he wants to be outside. Outside is where Rodney always wants to be. Between school and home, there is a park. He knows all about that park. It's that triangle-shaped place with the yellow grass and two benches where grown-ups sit around all day. Besides, his momma said to stay away from that park. When Rodney finally gets a chance to go to a real park, with plenty of room to run and climb and shout, and to just be, he will never be the same. 

See what happens when flipping the page of this gleeful picture book gets you--SPLAT!--a pie in the face, followed by--SQUISH!--an insect sandwich, and--SPLASH!--a deluge of water balloons. Bright colors and appealing visual gags add up to a perfect mess--no cleanup necessary.  

Nerdy Birdy and his best friend, Vulture, are very different. Nerdy Birdy loves video games, but Vulture finds them BORING. Vulture loves snacking on dead things, but Nerdy Birdy finds that GROSS. Luckily, you don't have to agree on everything to still be friends.

One day, Nerdy Birdy joins Tweetster, and the friend requests start flying in. Vulture watches as Nerdy Birdy gets swept up in his new friendships, but when she finally gets angry, Nerdy Birdy knows just what to do to make things right.

Middle Grade Novels

JOSEF is a Jewish boy living in 1930s Nazi Germany. With the threat of concentration camps looming, he and his family board a ship bound for the other side of the world . . .

ISABEL is a Cuban girl in 1994. With riots and unrest plaguing her country, she and her family set out on a raft, hoping to find safety in America . . .

MAHMOUD is a Syrian boy in 2015. With his homeland torn apart by violence and destruction, he and his family begin a long trek toward Europe . . .

All three kids go on harrowing journeys in search of refuge. All will face unimaginable dangers -- from drownings to bombings to betrayals. But there is always the hope of tomorrow. And although Josef, Isabel, and Mahmoud are separated by continents and decades, their stories will tie together in the end.

When unlucky teacher Ms. Linda LaCrosse wins the lottery, she shares her winnings with her class--giving each student over a BILLION DOLLARS!

You might think this was nice, but it was not. It was a terrible idea! With great money comes horrible allergies, steep taxes, exploding volcanoes, and other problems. As the students of Classroom 13 are about to learn, winning the lottery is not always lucky. 

Sequel to "The War That Saved My Life:" World War II continues, and Ada and her brother, Jamie, are living with their loving legal guardian, Susan, in a borrowed cottage on the estate of the formidable Lady Thorton—along with Lady Thorton herself and her daughter, Maggie. Life in the crowded cottage is tense enough, and then, quite suddenly, Ruth, a Jewish girl from Germany, moves in. A German? The occupants of the house are horrified. But other impacts of the war become far more frightening. As death creeps closer to their door, life and morality during wartime grow more complex. Who is Ada now? How can she keep fighting? And who will she struggle to save? 


It's never too early to learn computer coding. With interactive paper engineering, My First Coding Book is a playful, hands-on introduction to offline coding and programming that will give young children a head start. Filled with puzzles, mazes, and games to teach the basic concepts of sequences, algorithms, and debugging, this book will help children develop critical thinking, logic, and other skills to cement lifelong computer literacy, which is extremely valuable and sought-after in today's world.

With its unique approach and colorful and creative imagery, My First Coding Book makes learning and fun one and the same and will have children playing their way to programming proficiency.