Sunday

Great books to teach empathy for fourth and fifth graders




Monday Linky from Teach Mentor Texts and Unleashing Readers and Kathryn from Book Date!

Great books to teach empathy for upper grades!

These are some great read alouds every fourth and fifth grade teacher should know about.  Empathy is such an important topic/skill to teach our kids. Social media sort of helps kids disconnect to reality and each other.  I find read alouds to be the most effective way to get the idea to kids.  The conversations brought about by these books is amazing!

My number one pick!

The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate


Kids love this book about Ivan the gorilla.  He's perfectly content until Ruby comes to live at the Big Top circus. He finds he needs to find his own inner strength to help her.  I cry every time I read it.

Ivan, The Remarkable Story of the Shopping Mall Gorilla by Katherine Applegate



This is the non fiction companion book for Ivan.  I really learned a lot more about the real Ivan.  My kids were mesmerized.






The Tequila Worm by Viola Canales


This book was honored by the Pura Belpre award, which is given to Latino writers that celebrate the Latino experience.  This book shares so many cultural experiences: Easter cascaronesDia de los Muertos, the Christmas nacimiento and, of course, the tequila worm.  My students are all Latino and every time we read this, it connects to them in ways that other books don't.  I love it.  Last time I read it, my kids were weeping (spoiler alert-Sophia's father dies) and it led to all kinds of conversations about cancer and unexpected deaths.  Really helped the kids connect to each other.

Wonder by R.J. Palacio

Classic about Auggie Pullman and his struggles in school.   If you haven't read this, read it now!  It's told from different points of view which make it great to teach perspective/ point of view.  How what may be true in your eyes, may look different in someone else's eyes.  Discussion points: empathy, friendship, family, so, so many things!


        

Saturday

IMWAYR: The Dragon of the Month Club


Monday Linky from Teach Mentor Texts and Unleashing Readers and Kathryn from Book Date!

The Dragon of the Month Club



I love magic.  Bring on the wizards and witches because I love them.  This book is about the magic of a book.  Not magic because it metaphorically takes you away but this book actually has instructions on how to conjure dragons:  water dragons, steam dragons and more.

One day, Tyler and Ayana, who have recently become friends, are at the library. Ayana is really upset because some bullies destroyed her poems.  When she kicks at a bookcase, a thin book falls down into their laps.  They try to check it out but it's too late in the day and they end up stealing it.

These two meet in the library.  Ayana is having difficulty at school.  She's just moved there and is getting bullied at school.  Tyler comes upon her crying in the stacks.  Tyler is a timid kid who develops strengths as the book goes on and has a crush on Ayana.  Ayana is strong and always seems to be the one taking the lead. 

They are happily conjuring dragons when one day they end up making a mistake and they find themselves in a whole other world.  Luckily, they still have their book and are able to conjure dragons which help them in their adventures. These are amazing dragons that provide friendship and love.

I really liked most of this book.  However, I found the ending somewhat underwhelming.  Even if a book is part of a series, I need some closure and I felt like this one left me hanging.  One thing I really liked was the integration of other story settings like Sherlock Holmes and Grimm's Fairy Tales.

If you're looking for a book about friendship, bravery and a little bit of magic, you've come to the right place.  Find it here on Amazon.  


        

Sunday

My Top Five Christmas Read Alouds


Monday Linky from Teach Mentor Texts and Unleashing Readers and Kathryn from Book Date!

My Top Five Christmas Read Alouds


The Smallest Gift of Christmas by Peter Reynolds
I admit it.  I love anything by Peter Reynolds.  This is tale about Roland.  He runs down the stairs on Christmas morning to find the smallest gift of all.  He can't believe it!  But what he learns is amazing.


I have students create christmas gift tags from the heart.  You can use my form here.  The art is from preffy grafik designs.  They make beautiful clip art.  


Christmas Tapestry by Patricia Polacco
Patricia Polacco always has the most beautiful art and messages.  The sacristy is leaking and Jonathan and his father the preacher need to find something to cover it.  They find a tapestry perfect for covering the wall.  Later they find out what makes this tapestry even more special.

For this one, I have students design a special tapestry that would have meaning for their family.


Home for Christmas by Jan Brett
Rollo, a little troll, runs away from home.  He finds many animals to take him in but he learns there is no place like home.


Here, I have students creat their own tale of living with a family of animals.  What animals would they choose to live with?  What makes it special or unique?


Olive, The Other Reindeer by Vivian Walsh
OK so Olive isn't another reindeer...she's a dog.  But she gets confused while singing Christmas songs and decides she needs to go up to the North Pole to help out Santa!


I save this one for a crazy day (Holiday performances and parties!).  
I have my kids watch the cgi version!

The Night Before Christmas by Clement C. Moore
This is a classic tale that sadly not every kid has heard all the way through!  It's a must read every holiday.


Here I buy some cheap plates and have kids design their own plate for Santa's cookies with puff paint!  It's fun.

I spend my last week reading a different tale every day and doing a different activity.  Hope some work for you!



Check out some December links for more ideas!!



        

My top wishlisted items for the TPT Cybersale

It's time for a sale at TPT!
And a chance to win $100!!



In case you haven't heard, TpT is having a SITEWIDE SALE on Monday and Tuesday!!! So much fun and lots of savings too. You can get up to 28% off!!
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This has been a best seller for a long time. It's a set of posters to help kids change their thinking from a fixed mindset to a growth mindset. And best of all it's $2!
It's so important to teach kids to train their inner voice. We want them to see the possibilities, not the limitations. I laminated these and put them up as a bulletin board to remind students to keep a growth mindset.



Do you need some help with close reading? Here a guide for close reading with the novel Wonder by R.J. Palacio.
It's a wonderful book chronicling Auggie's, a young boy born with facial damage, journey through school and the adjustments he, his family and his classmates have to make.
Close reading is an integral part of teaching with the Common Core. Students need to know how to be analytic when reading texts and poems. I have outlined the components of authentic literacy and what it looks like in the classroom. I formatted the unit as follows. It begins with an explanation of close reading and how to format a lesson. Then, there is a story summary, themes listed and character descriptions. After that, I created focus questions for each chapter. There are explicit gradual release formatted lessons sprinkled throughout. I included a close reading sheet for each of the explicit lessons. You could use the focus questions to create more close reading lessons using the blank templates or for class discussions. At the end, there is a blank sheet for planning and to use with close reading of different chapters. I hope your students enjoy it as much as my students did. This isn't a bunch of worksheets as I don't teach that way. This is for going deep with the literature!


Another close reading guide is for the novel, Inside Out and Back Again by Thanhha Lai.

This is a guide to a close reading of Inside Out and Back Again by Thanhha Lai. It's a wonderful book written in free verse chronicling Ha's, a ten year old girl, journey from war-torn Vietnam to Alabama and her problems as a second language learner and with bullying.

Visit the linky from Daisy Designs!
There are a ton of other bloggers you can check out too!

Head on over to my store, LisaTeachR's Classroom.
Remember to use the code CYBER2016 to get the full 28% off!

You can win $100!!


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