Thursday, December 29, 2016

Labeling Book Parts with Room 4

Room 4 students showed that they knew how to assign E call numbers as well as label parts of a book (and a Pigeon).

Grade 3 FICtion Covers - Room 18

Third graders now get to take out books from anywhere in the library ... but they're not sure how to find what they want. So we're 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: 

Summarizing Rumpelstiltskin with Grade 5

In fifth grade, we practiced the Somebody / Wanted / But / So / Then method of summarizing a story. Here is what the students came up with for Rumplestiltskin after I read them Paul O. Zelinsky's retelling:

The miller
wanted to impress the king and show him that his daughter could spin straw into gold.
But she had to do it before dawn.
So she saw a little man who she traded valuables [with] for him to spin the gold.
Then he wanted her baby for it, and she had to know his name to keep the baby. - K.D.

The king
wanted the girl to make straw into gold,
but the girl didn't know how.
So the little man did it for her.
Then the king married the girl. - N.L.

The miller's daughter
wanted to live.
But if she didn't spin gold, she would die.
So a little man did it for her.
Then she had to do it again. - C.R.

The miller's daughter
wanted to survive.
But to survive, she had to make gold.
So she traded everything she had to R.
Then she had to find out his hame, or R. would take the baby. - E.C.

wanted to help the miller's daughter,
but he wanted something in return.
So he asked the girl, when she became queen, to give him her first child.
Then he didn't get what he wanted. - L.J.

wanted the queen's child,
but she could keep her child if she could guess his name.
So she had one of her servants go to his house and find out his name.
Then the servant found out his name, so she got to keep the baby. - A.B.

The queen
wanted to keep her child.
But she promised the little man to give him her child in turn to make gold.
So the little man told her if she found out his name, then she could keep the child.
Then the queen's servant discovered his name, and the queen kept her son. - J.H.

wanted to have the first-born baby,
but the queen pleaded, and he said, "If you guess my name, you may keep him."
So she tried every name and failed.
The she sent her servant to find out his name. - L.G.

The little man
wanted the girl's child,
but she wouldn't give her child to him.
So he said to guess his name, or he would take her son away.
The she guessed it right, and they never saw the little man again. - V.A.

wanted the baby,
but the queen guessed his name correctly.
So he got really really mad,
then flew away on his cooking spoon. - J.K.

Retelling Cinderella with Room 12

In 5th grade, we are reviewing the difference between retelling and summarizing a story. Retelling has lots more details and may contain dialogue, like Room 12's retelling of "Cinderella." The kids took turns adding sentences to the story below:

Ms. Moore's favorite retelling is "Ever After," starring Drew Barrymore.
Photo from


Once upon a time, there was a young lady named Cinderella. She had been bullied by her older stepsisters, who had treated her terribly. She wanted to go to a ball, but her stepsisters told her that she had to stay home and do the chores like scrub the floor. But C. wanted to go to the ball anyways. So she made herself a dress, and the stepsisters ripped it up. 

Her fairy godmother appeared. She granted C. wishes and gave her a new dress. She also turned a pumpkin in to a carriage. She gave her glass slippers all in a single wave of her wand. She told her, "Don't stay at the ball until 12 because your dress and everything that I gave you will disappear."

C. snuck out to the ball and Prince Charming fell in love with her. She forgot the warning until midnight, and realized that she was still there at midnight, and ran away. But she dropped her glass slipper, and PC picked it up. 

Later in the morning, the prince was trying to see who lost the glass slipper. When he got to C's house, her stepsisters locked her in a closet so she could not try on the slipper. But C.'s singing attracted the prince, and freed her and gave her the slipper to try on. When PC realized it C's slipper, they lived happily ever after.


After we retold Cinderella in four paragraphs, it was time to summarize it in a couple of sentences. The method I taught the 5th graders is Somebody Wanted But So Then. Here are some of the summaries they came up with: 

Wanted to go to the ball, 
But her stepsisters told her she couldn't.
So her fairy godmother came and gave her what she wanted.
Then she met Prince Charming and lived happily ever after.

The stepsisters
Wanted to not let Cinderella go to the ball.
But the fairy godmother showed up.
So Cinderella went to the ball.
Then the stepsisters got mad at her.

Prince Charming
Wanted to find the person who fit the shoe.
But he couldn't find her.
So Cinderella sang in the closet.
Then Prince Charming found her and freed her.

The Fairy Godmother
Wanted Cinderella to have a good time. 
But she was only allowed to stay until midnight.
So when it reached midnight, Cinderella came home.
Then Prince Charming came and found her.

Friday, December 9, 2016

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 RM 12: The big puddle got us really good when the dark red car flew through it.

NEW RM 13: We got soaked because the dark red car sped through a ginormous puddle.

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

NEW RM 12: Because the disobedient student was making loud noises, he got kicked out of the classroom by the teacher.
NEW RM 13: The student was disrupting the class, so he got sent out.

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

NEW RM 12: The young'uns who lived in the city were trying to play with deteriorated playground equipment, and they got booboos.
NEW RM 13: In the city, the children were wounded by using the worn-out playground equipment.

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 younger, I would have problems with my older siblings, but now that we are older we can get along much easier. - J.L. 

When I was little, me and my older siblings would fight, but now that we are adults we don't fight anymore. - A.R
In the past, I faced a lot of problems with my older siblings. Now we are older, and have outgrown our differences, and have less conflict. - E.L. 

When I was younger, I went through a problem with my older siblings. We are older now and can get over our issues and get along well. - A.S. 

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.

Sunday, November 27, 2016

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 Room 15 students in action:

The second part of the assignment was to use what they learned about the categories to fill in the missing words of a story with the Dewey tens numbers for those topics. For example, "I went outside last night, and the  __________ was so bright, I didn't need to turn on the porch lights." The missing word is "moon." If you wanted to research the moon, you would look under the Science category, and then find the number 520 corresponds to space. (Thanks to Castle Rock High School Library for this idea.)

Here are Room 14 students working together on this activity, which I was happy to hear they thought was fun, like solving a puzzle:

What Ms. Moore is Reading - November 2016

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

Picture Books

Welcome to the Super Happy Magic Forest, a super happy, super magical place filled with picnics, dancing, and fun. That is until the source of all things joyous, the Mystical Crystals of Life, are stolen! Five heroes -- a fairy, a unicorn, a faun, a gnome, and a talking mushroom -- have been summoned by wise Old Oak to retrieve the Crystals, but the epic quest won't be easy. They must first battle through frozen lands, navigate past scary dungeons, and encounter terrifying creatures along the way. Will these heroes save the day? 

Tina isn't like the other cows. She believes that the sky is the limit and that everything is possible. But her sisters aren't convinced and when Tina tells them she has climbed a tree and met a dragon, they decide that her nonsense has gone too far. Off they go into the woods to find her and soon discover a world of surprises!"

Little Elliot, the polka-dotted elephant, and his friend Mouse go to the amusement park to see the sights and ride the rides—water chutes, roller coasters, carousels, and more. But Elliot isn't having much fun—the rides are too wet, too fast, too dizzy, and just plain too scary—until Mouse figures out a way to help him overcome his fears. Together, Mouse and Little Elliot can do anything!

Miles does not come when he is called. He does not like going for walks, his food, other dogs, or the rain. What Miles does like is going for drives in the car. So when Mr. Huddy makes Miles a car of his own, Miles becomes a much happier dog. And now he and his friend Norman can go on all sorts of adventures! Inspired by his own dog, Miles, renowned children’s book author and illustrator John Burningham (who celebrated his eightieth birthday this year) creates a new picture book offering all the charm and exuberance of his best work.

A little girl proudly walks the reader through her handmade dollhouse, pointing out the bricks she painted on the outside, the wallpaper she drew on the inside, the fancy clothes she made for her dolls, and the little elevator she made out of a paper cup. She’s proud of her house and has lots of fun using her imagination to play with it—until she discovers her friend Sophie’s “perfect” storebought house. Sophie thinks her house, with everything matching and even a toilet seat that goes up and down, is pretty perfect too, until both girls discover that the narrator’s handmade dollhouse is really a lot more fun.

Middle Grades

Every year, the people of the Protectorate leave a baby as an offering to the witch who lives in the forest. They hope this sacrifice will keep her from terrorizing their town. But the witch in the forest, Xan, is kind and gentle. She ... rescues the abandoned children and deliver them to welcoming families on the other side of the forest, nourishing the babies with starlight on the journey. One year, Xan accidentally feeds a baby moonlight instead, filling the ordinary child with extraordinary magic. Xan decides she must raise this enmagicked girl, whom she calls Luna, as her own. To keep young Luna safe from her own unwieldy power, Xan locks her magic deep inside her. When Luna approaches her 13th birthday, her magic begins to emerge on schedule--but Xan is far away. 


"Wherever you go, tiny hitchhikers tag along for the ride," this intriguing illustrated nonfiction book begins. Six of the most common "critters" that live in and on our bodies are introduced here: bacteria, archaea, viruses, fungi, protists and mites. Each one has its own preferred environment, and readers will be startled (and likely a little grossed out!) by the many places they live. Just as surprising, only some of them are "bad guys" that cause disease, and many of them are actually "good guys" that keep us healthy. There's even research currently being done on ways to improve or fix our collection of microbes as a way to make us healthier. 

On November 19, 1916, at 8:25 a.m., Ruth Law took off on a flight that aviation experts thought was doomed. She set off to fly nonstop from Chicago to New York City. Sitting at the controls of her small bi-plane, exposed to the elements, Law battled fierce winds and numbing cold. In this well-researched, action-packed picture book, Heather Lang and Raúl Colón recreate a thrilling moment in aviation history. 

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Okay or No Way? with 5th Grade

Commonsense Media has lots of great lessons for teaching kids about digital citizenship. As the 5th graders are working on a research project for Social Studies, Mrs. Manera asked me to cover citations with them. In addition to talking about formatting, we discussed WHY we need to give credit to our sources.

The kids worked in groups to discuss the scenarios in the "Okay or No Way?" lesson.  ​

Scenario #1: David had basketball practice last night and didn’t have time to do his homework. Justin offers to let him copy his, and sends it to David in an email. OK or No Way?

Responses - NO WAY: It's cheating; He is copying someone else's paper; He is copying someone else's hard work

Scenario #2: Manny has to write a paragraph about water resources for science. He finds a paragraph on a website that is just right. Manny copies it in his own handwriting. OK or No Way?

Responses - NO WAY: He is copying a web site and gave no credit; He doesn't have permission from the person who put it up, and he is not putting effort into it; That is plagiarism, and plagiarism is illegal; It is called copying and you get credit for someone else's writing

Scenario #3: Samantha copies a webpage into her book report and adds her own first sentence. OK or No Way?

Responses - NO WAY: Even though she adds her first sentence, there is still plagiarized content in the writing piece; She copied someone else's work and did not change any words; The page that she copied is still the same

Scenario #4: Ming spends a lot of time searching the Web. She finds a great drawing on a site. She prints it for the cover of her social studies report and gives credit to the illustrator in her report. OK or No Way?

Responses - OK: She gave credit to the actual illustrator​; She said that she didn't do the illustration; She is copying but she gives credit to the person who made it

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Sorting Books with Grade 1

Part of our grade 1 focus in library is sorting and categories. As an introduction to how the library is arranged, I gave groups of first graders a pile of books and asked them to sort them into two categories. They came up with so many different ways to arrange the piles, I was impressed, including:

  • softcover and hardcover
  • big and little
  • chapter books and picture books
  • people on the cover v. animals

Friday, November 4, 2016

Grade 2 Covers Inspired by The Z Was Zapped

Second graders are reviewing how call numbers help us find books in the library.

We read The Z Was Zapped by Chris Van Allsburg, which features the letters of the alphabet meeting sad fates. The students had to guess the action happening to them, which started with the same letter; for example, the F was flattened by a foot and the Q was quartered.

Then the kids created their own version of the book, as well as their personal call number. Here are some of my favorites, in alphabetical order:

The next week, the kids lined up in alphabetical order: first by the letters featured on their covers, and then by their call numbers.