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.