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!

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