Wednesday, April 21, 2021

Student Poem: Positivity, Not Negativity

One of my student wrote the following poem, inspired by recent events as well as some of the book we've been reading and discussing in class (fifth grade). I asked, and said she'd be willing to let me share it. 


Positivity, Not Negativity

By: Dhyana

Let's not talk about the origin of a virus just to vilify a community.  
Let's talk about I.M Pei and Maya Lin's beautiful architectural creations,
Yo-Yo-Ma's mesmerizing contributions to music,
And the unsung heroes that protect and help us every day. 

Let's not talk about the negativity of communities.
Let's talk about Louie Armstrong and his influence on Jazz,
Katherine Johnson and how she changed the future of space exploration,
Simone Biles making us proud to be American,
And the unsung heroes that protect and help us every day. 

Let's not talk about communities having false pride of perceived superiority.
Let's talk about the influence of Stephen Hawking and Albert Einstein on science,
Steve Job's contributions to the modern world,
J.K Rowling's magical world at her pen,
And the unsung heroes that protect and help us every day. 

Let's not brand communities on a few people's wrongdoings.
Let's talk about Malala's courage to stand up for what she believed,
Zahara Lari breaking boundaries, Sal Khan spreading education for everyone,
And the unsung heroes that protect and help us every day. 

Let's not talk about the social standards and issues of other countries.
Let's talk about the contributions of Ramanujan and Shakunthala Devi to mathematics,
Gandhi's impact on our world,
And the unsung heroes that protect and help us every day. 

Let's not talk or read about negative stereotypes,
And instill fear and hatred among us.
Let's talk and read about the goodness that surrounds us everywhere,
And spread love and understanding.
Share cultures with positivity,
Not negativity.

Tuesday, March 2, 2021

The Girl who Stole an Elephant Book Recommendation & Book Birthday!

Welcome to #iLoveMG where I share middle grade books that my fifth graders recommend. (Please note that my fifth graders read a wide variety of books across a wide variety of genres, levels, and topics. Do not think that these books are "only" for fifth graders.) Or check out #3rdfor3rd for recommendations from when I taught third grade.

The Girl Who Stole an Elephant

Recommended by Dhyana


The Girl who Stole an Elephant by Nirzana Farook set in rural Sri Lanka, tells the story of Chaya, a nobleman’s witty rebellious daughter, who steals to help the poor. But when she attempts to steal the Queen’s Jewels to help a family in need, she botches up the getaway, and her friend gets thrown in jail for a crime he didn’t commit. Chaya plans a jailbreak, she escapes with her friends into the humid, treacherous jungle…riding on the back of the king’s treasured elephant! The King’s anger grows, and rebellion stirs. This beautifully woven tale, about friendship, courage, and telling heroes from villains will captivate readers. With thieves, bandits, revolution, and royalty, this book has something for everyone!

The Girl who Stole an Elephant publishes today! (I received an advanced copy from the publisher, which I shared with Dhyana, but all thoughts are her own.)

Click here for all of our #iLoveMG posts. What are your favorite middle grade books?

Saturday, January 23, 2021

Mock Caldecott results are in!

We just wrapped up our Mock Caldecott unit in fifth grade, and our results are in ... ! 

We shared 12 different 2020 books over the course of the school year, and students were asked to rank their Top 3 choices. 

These were their choices: 



All Because You Matter by Tami Charles and Brian Collier
Hike by Pete Oswald
Honeybee: the busy life of Apis Mellifera by Candace Fleming and Eric Rohmann
I Am Every Good Thing by Derrick Barnes and Gordon James
If You Come to Earth by Sophie Blackall
My Best Friend by Julie Fogliano and Jillian Tamaki
Outside In by Deborah Underwood and Cindy Derby
R-E-S-P-E-C-T by Carole Boston Weatherford and Frank Morrison
The Old Truck by Jarrett Pumphrey and Jerome Pumphrey
We are Water Protectors by Carole Lindstrom and Michaela Goade
Your Name is a Song by Jamilah Thompkins-Bigelow and Linda Uribe

I had two classes of fifth graders who voted, and the winner is ...


Honeybee: the busy life of Apis Mellifera by Candace Fleming and Eric Rohmann! This one was the run-away winner in both classes. The kids fell in love with the story and were overwhelmed by the care, detail, and emotion expressed in the illustrations. If you haven't seen this one yet, you need to.

Honor Books






Want to see our previous winners? Click the Caldecott tag. Nearly every year we've picked at least one of the winners or honor books. 

What are your favorite books for this year's Caldecott?
 



Saturday, January 16, 2021

From the Desk of Zoe Washington: Book Recommendation #iLoveMG

Welcome to #iLoveMG where I share middle grade books that my fifth graders recommend. (Please note that my fifth graders read a wide variety of books across a wide variety of genres, levels, and topics. Do not think that these books are "only" for fifth graders.) Or check out #3rdfor3rd for recommendations from when I taught third grade.

From the Desk of Zoe Washington

Recommended by Sadie


I read From the Desk of Zoe Washington by Janae Marks. This is a realistic fiction book, so it is not a real event but it could happen. 

This book is about a girl named Zoe who has a love for baking. But she has never met her father because he’s in jail because of murder. He claimed he was innocent, but the judge didn’t listen. On her birthday, she got a letter from her father which had not happened before. Zoe had also gotten into a fight with her neighbor who she usually spends the summer with, which makes her pretty bored, but then she is allowed to work at her mom’s friend’s bakery for the summer. Zoe writes back to her dad and starts trying to figure out how to get him out of jail. 

I liked this book because the characters are adventurous and daring. There were many times where I couldn’t stop reading. Zoe was very determined to get her father out of jail and did many things that maybe did or could’ve gone wrong. If you like fiction or realistic fiction, you might like this book. Also, I finished it in 3 days, so if you like a longer read, this isn’t quite for you. 

My overall rating for this book is ⅘ stars. Janae Marks did a good job writing this book, and I hope someday there is a sequel. 
 
I'm sorry this is so long!

Click here for all of our #iLoveMG posts. What are your favorite middle grade books?

Saturday, January 9, 2021

The Jumbies Book Recommendation #iLoveMG

Welcome to #iLoveMG where I share middle grade books that my fifth graders recommend. (Please note that my fifth graders read a wide variety of books across a wide variety of genres, levels, and topics. Do not think that these books are "only" for fifth graders.) Or check out #3rdfor3rd for recommendations from when I taught third grade.

The Jumbies Series

Recommended by Dashiell



The Jumbies by Tracey Baptiste is a great book about the main character Corrine. Corrine has to go on an adventure... Corrine gets her friends and convinces them to help her out. 

Along the way, Corrine finds herself with a new adopted mother... Corrine is not so sure who this person is though, because she had just seen a strange lady in the streets of the market. Corrine is known on the island for selling the best oranges on the island! She grows her oranges at the small orange tree near her mother's headstone. 

Corrine's papa, Pierre, is not so sure either about this lady but none the less Pierre goes along with her.   

Overall, its a great story about a girl and her friends and their adventure to defeat the jumbies!!

The Jumbies is the first book of a trilogy, followed by Rise of the Jumbies and The Jumbie God's Revenge

Click here for all of our #iLoveMG posts. What are your favorite middle grade books?

Saturday, January 2, 2021

Thieves of Weirdwood Book Recommendation #iLoveMG

Welcome to #iLoveMG where I share middle grade books that my fifth graders recommend. (Please note that my fifth graders read a wide variety of books across a wide variety of genres, levels, and topics. Do not think that these books are "only" for fifth graders.) Or check out #3rdfor3rd for recommendations from when I taught third grade.

The Thieves of Weirdwood

Recommended by RC




Ooooohhh I not sure how to start these things. Spoiler-free reviews are going to be tough to make.

 
Thieves of Weirdwood: if you like fantasy but also like clever fantasy because some things in this book come together in interesting ways, and by that I mean it tells you something, and according to everything else, it makes sense and it doesn't just appear without explanation. They usually explain things. which is good. 4.75 out of 5 stars. It isn't the absolute best book experience that I have ever read in my entire life, but it is definitely up there.

This is the first book in a series. Book two, The Ghosts of Weirdwood, comes out in April 2021.

Click here for all of our #iLoveMG posts. What are your favorite middle grade books?

Saturday, December 26, 2020

Vanderbeekers Book Recommendation #iLoveMG

Welcome to #iLoveMG where I share middle grade books that my fifth graders recommend. (Please note that my fifth graders read a wide variety of books across a wide variety of genres, levels, and topics. Do not think that these books are "only" for fifth graders.) Or check out #3rdfor3rd for recommendations from when I taught third grade.

The Vanderbeekers of 141st Street

Recommended by Yasmin



The Vanderbeekers of 141st Street is a fiction book written by Karina Yan Glaser. This book was about a family of 5 Vanderbeeker kids, Isa and Jessie (they are twins,12), Laney (4), Hyacinth(6), and Oliver (the only boy, 9). They also had a dog named Franz, a cat named George Washington, and a house rabbit named Paganini. The book takes place 5 days before Christmas which was a big deal for this family but this year it wasn't how they expected. The Vanderbeeker family lives in a brownstone in Harlem, New York City. The Vanderbeekers lived on the 1st floor, Mrs. Josie and Mr. Jeet live on the 2nd floor, and Mr. Beiderman (their landlord) lived on the 3rd floor. 5 days before Christmas day Mr. Beiderman refuses to renew their lease making them move right after Christmas. The Vanderbeeker kids come up with different ways to convince Mr. Beiderman.

I would rate this book an 8.7 out of 10 because I like the way it is written.

Click here for all of our #iLoveMG posts. What are your favorite middle grade books?