Friday Quick Write Ideas

Steamy weather is on the way… these prompts are to help you remember all the things you love about summer – even when it’s HOT!

Read through the prompts, think about them for a bit and when you’re ready, find ten quiet minutes to begin…  It’s okay if you finish one idea and  begin another.  Just try to keep writing for the whole ten minutes.  It’s also okay if you don’t finish when the time is up… you decide:  stop, or keep writing.   You may want to post your quick write as a comment, or on your own blog. Have fun writing!

Where is your favorite place to go in the summer?  Tell a story about being there.  Can you include all five senses?

What is your favorite family summer tradition?

Write about poem about the first day of summer.

Write a poem about the last day of summer.

What is your favorite summer memory?

Happy Writing!

Wednesday Math

Sorry about missing last Friday’s Quick Writes and Monday’s book reviews.  We went on a family vacation.  We camped on Students Island on Mooselookmeguntic Lake in Oquossoc, Maine. We had fun swimming, fishing, canoeing, hiking, playing and relaxing together.  Here’s the view from our tent door.  I hope you’re having a wonderful summer too.

Here are some problems to solve.  Have fun!

Eddie had three huge bins of Legos.  One had 14,567 long bricks in it. Another had 21,934 medium bricks in it and the last had 20,385 small bricks in it.

How many Lego bricks did Eddie have altogether?

He used 32,987 of the bricks to build a house.

How many Lego bricks were left for other projects?

Ella collected shells.  She had 2,423 white shells, 2,056 yellow shells and 1,308 speckled shells.

She used 2,388 of her shells to decorate one box and 839 to decorate another. 

How many shells did Ella have left for other projects?

There were 7 teams playing in the soccer tournament. Each team had 15 players.  How many players were in the soccer tournament altogether?

There were 6 teams in the football playoff. Each team had 14 players.  How many players were in the football play off altogether?

Were there more soccer players or football players?     How many more?

Wednesday Math

Here are some problems you might have fun solving.

Sophia made three huge piles of books.  One had 1,567 short books, another had 2,934 picture books and the last had 3,085 chapter books.

How many books did Sophia have altogether?

She read 2,034 of the books in when she was in  third grade.

How many books were left for her to read in fourth grade?

Liam collected Mighty Beanz.  He had 1,423 Disney character Mighty Beans, 2,057 Marvel Superhero Mighty Beans and 286 Animal Mighty Beanz.

How many Mighty Beanz does Liam have altogether?

Liam got some new Fortnite Mighty Beanz for his birthday.  Now he has 4000 Mighty Beanz altogether. 

How many new mighty beanz did Liam get for his birthday?

Mrs. McComb had 1,750 books on the library cart to put back on the shelves.  She put 639 books on the fiction shelves and 867 books on the nonfiction shelves.

How many books did she still have left on the cart to put away?

Monday Reading

Here are some book suggestions you might want to explore.

Hummingbirds by Nicola Davies begins: ” Ruby-throated hummingbirds are tiny- they weigh less than a nickel – but every spring they fly up to 2,000 miles from Mexico and Central America to spend the summer in the United States and Canada, where they build their nests and have their babies.  In the fall, they fly all the way back again to spend the winter where it’s warm.”  A story begins in a granny’s garden in Central America where she and her visiting granddaughter are enjoying the beauty and wonder of the hummingbirds all around.  The girl flies home to New York and the hummingbirds follow – though they take much longer.  Readers learn all about the hummingbird migration until the reach the girl New York city where they raise their young and are ready to travel back again to granny’s garden.  There are lots of interesting facts tucked into the story.  Did you know hummingbird nests are made with thistledown, lichen and spider silk so they are stretchy enough to expand as the fledging grow?  Did you know scientist have been able to band some hummingbirds and have learned they can live nine years?  There’s lots to discover in the gorgeous book.  Enjoy!

Who Built That? Bridges by Didier Cornille introduces ten important bridges and their designers. Starting in 1779 with the first cast iron bridge built by Thomas Farnolls Pritchard in the United Kingdom  and ending with the Mucen Footbridge built in 2013 by Rudy Ricciotti in France readers learn about the design challenges architects and tackled to create stronger, longer lasting and more beautiful structures through time.  It is interesting to learn about the structural, design factors designers and builders need to consider and how much present bridge makers rely on the work of those before them to guide their choices and help them consider options when issues arise.  It’s fun to imagine what the future will bring.

It’s still early in Frankie Sparks’ 3rd grade year, but it seems as though it’s going to be a good one. She likes her teacher, Ms. Cupid and her best friend is in her class this year too.  Frankie is looking forward to sharing her weekend trip to visit her aunt who is a rodentologist at a nearby university.  The story of her visit connects perfectly with the next thing the teacher has to share with the class.  Ms. Cupid unveils an empty aquarium and says they have a week to research  and create a convincing presentation about what their class pet should be.  Frankie knows immediately that the class should get a rat and she begins to convince others, knowing her best friend will certainly agree – except she doesn’t.  Frankie has some decisions to make – and they’re not easy.  I think you’ll like reading all about it in, Frankie Sparks and the Class Pet by Megan Frazer Blakemore.  

Eric Harper misses his grandmother – misses knowing she’s right down the path in her farm house. She’s in a nursing home and her farm has been sold to a veterinarian with a daughter who is bossy and rude. Eric figured this out when they met – she was posting a “No Trespassing – No Hunting” sign in his treehouse tree on his family’s property, Harper Woods. That same day Eric discovered that the famed white deer of the woods did exist, but it was not a deer. Eric knew that no deer shimmered like that and that no deer had an ivory colored horn on its forehead. Eric discovered the “deer” was a unicorn and that it was hurt and needed care.  After following the unicorn to the barn, Eric is hired to help. One of his jobs is to care for the unicorn and that’s just the beginning of the adventure. Eric has much more to learn about his family history, his destiny and the secrets of Harper Woods.  Read The Unicorn in the Barn by Jacqueline K. Ogburn.  You’ll be glad you did.

If you’ve got some books to recommend, please leave a comment.  What have you been reading this summer?

Friday Quick Write Ideas

This week’s quick write are about gratitude.  We’ve written about things we are thankful for in the past, but it’s always good to take time to appreciate our blessings.  Read through the prompts, think about them for a bit and when you’re ready, find ten quiet minutes to begin…  It’s okay if you finish one idea and  begin another.  Just try to keep writing for the whole ten minutes.  It’s also okay if you don’t finish when the time is up… you decide:  stop, or keep writing.   Post your Quick Write as a comment, or on your own blog. Have fun writing!

Count Your Blessings – In what ways are you fortunate?  Make a list of at least 10 things you are grateful for.  Include people and things, events and experiences, past or present.

What do you like about North Hampton?  Why are you grateful to live there?

Write about something good that happened to you this week.   What’s the story?

What talent do you have that you are grateful for?  How do you use your talent?  How do you share it?

Invent a holiday to celebrate a person you care about – “Aunt Ann Day” or “Dad Appreciation Day” for example.  Write a paragraph expressing three reasons why you’re thankful for having this special person in your life.  Give them your paragraph.

Of course you can write about anything … enjoy creating!

Wednesday Math

Here are some problems to solve.  Have fun!

When Logan started building with Legos, he had 12,035 bricks in a bin.

When he was finished there were 2,368 bricks left.

He had used 7,206 for a ship.  He used others to build a robot.

How many Legos did Logan use building his robot?

Ella collected shells.  She had 2,423 white shells, 2,056 yellow shells and 1,308 speckled shells.

She used 2,388 of her shells to decorate one box and 839 to decorate another. 

How many shells did Ella have left for other projects?

Ryan has 12,850 crayons.  Eddie has 10,739 crayons.

How many more crayons does Ryan have than Eddie?

Charlie has 1,258 more crayons than Eddie has. How many crayons does Charlie have?

If Ryan, Eddie and Charlie put all their crayons together, how many crayons will that be?


Monday Reading

Happy July!

I thought I’d share some picture books this week.  I hope you’ll check them out.  They are funny, interesting and make great mentors to model your writing on.

The first is The Panda Problem (Ella, this is one for you to read for sure) by Deborah Underwood.  It begins, “Once upon a time, there was a panda who lived in a beautiful bamboo grove.  But the panda had a BIG problem.”  The panda disagrees – “Nope.” The narrator replies, “Excuse me?”  Panda and the narrator continue to have a conversation.  Panda says, “I don’t have any problems.  Lovely view, lots of bamboo to eat, sunny day – what could be better?”

“Psssst … this is a story!  I’m the narrator.  And YOU are the main character.”

“The main character?  That sounds important!”

“It is!  But you need a problem.”


“So you can solve the problem.  That’s how the stories work.”

That is how stories work so the narrator and Panda have their work cut out for them.  They work through issues with  jellybeans, burping, aliens and some penguins, and finally find a problem, and then a solution, that satisfies everyone by the time the book is over.

Bethany Barton has written two other books using a similar format that I really like, I’m Trying to Love Spiders and Give Bees a Chance.  When I read about I’m Trying to Love Math, I thought I should get it right away.  Here’s the OFFICIAL Math Test from the flap of the book.  “What do you do when your teacher gives you a pop quiz with a problem like this?



  • a.  Whip out your pencil and shout, “Alakazam!”
  • b. Say you need to use the bathroom… for the rest of the class.
  • c. Run over to your teacher and give them a big ol’ hug.
  • d. Cross your eyes, fall to the floor and played dead.

If you chose a or c, you will LOVE this book.  It’s full of fascinating ways that math is used from gold records in space to golden ratios in nature.

If you chose b or d, you NEED this book.  It shows you that math is much more lovable when you understand that it’s in lots o things you already love – like cookies and pizza and music!”

Math really is about exploring and creating and understanding. I bet we can all agree we can’t live without it.  I don’t know if reading this book will totally change your mind when it comes to answering the opening question… but maybe?! Who knows.

Our Flag Was Still There – the True Story of Mary Pickersgill and The Star Spangled Banner tells the story of the flag that inspired our national anthem.  Thirty years after the Revolutionary War, the United States went to war with Britain again.  Major George Armistead, ready to lead the troops to defend Baltimore’s Fort McHenry wanted to send a message to the British.  He wanted them to know that this land was America.  He asked Mary Pickersgill, the owner of a flag making shop, if she could do the job, and fast.  She said yes, and so in just a few weeks six women (sewing all by hand) created a flag that was 42 feet long and 30 feet tall to fly over the fort. The Battle of Fort McHenry happened on a stormy night.  It was difficult to tell who was winning until the sun came up to show the American flag. Francis Scott Key, was on a ship in the harbor while the battle raged.  He wrote a poem about what he saw.  That poem was put to music and in 1931 became our national anthem.  And the Star Spangled Banner… you can see it in the Smithsonian Museum – the flag is still there.

Quick Write Friday

I thinking about NOTEBOOKS – Reader Response Notebooks, Writers’ Notebooks, Science Notebooks, notebooks to capture thinking in…  If we keep them, over time can we see our learning?  If we take time to capture our thinking, will we learn more from it?  If we don’t write it down or draw it out, how will we know what we know?  What do you think about notebooks?

This week’s quick write suggestions combine science and imagination.  I wonder what you’ll choose and what you’ll write. Read through the prompts, think about them for a bit and when you’re ready, find ten quiet minutes to begin…  It’s okay if you finish one idea and  begin another.  Just try to keep writing for the whole ten minutes.  It’s also okay if you don’t finish when the time is up… you decide:  stop, or keep writing.   Post your Quick Write as a comment, or on your own blog. Have fun writing!

If trees could talk, what sorts of things would they have to say?  What might they say to people?  What might they say to each other?

What would you do if you suddenly found yourself able to communicate with animals?

Go outside and watch the clouds.  Thank write about the shapes and they things you saw.  What do you think is going on up there?

You and your friend time travel to a place in the distant future…what is your mission there?  Write a story describing what happens.  (Maybe you’ll meet Roz.)

Wednesday Math

Here are some problems to solve.  Have fun!

There were five bowls of popcorn.  Each bowl had 186 pieces of popcorn in it.

How many pieces of popcorn were there altogether?

There were six bowls of pretzels.  Each bowl had 135 pretzels in it.  How many pretzels were there altogether?

Was there more popcorn or more pretzels? ________ How much more?


Liam, Sutton and Sophia each wrote stories that were 316 words long.

Michael and Charlie each wrote stories that were 327 words long.

How many words did these five students write altogether?

How many more words would they have to write to reach 5,000 words in total?


Hayley, Ellia, Ella, Cooper and Eddie went to Water Country at 10:56. They each slid down the slides 34 times.

How many times did they go down the slides  altogether?

They got home at 2:28.

How long did they stay at Water Country that day?


Monday Reading

I am Sonia Sotomayor is the newest book in the Ordinary People Change the World series by Brad Meltzer.  You won’t be disappointed as you read about this Supreme Court Justice’s life.  I think you’ll be inspired.  I was.  The truth that “with opportunity comes justice” is clearly demonstrated through this biography.  I hope we all learn to take advantage of every opportunity we have.  I appreciate the two questions Justice Sotomayor asks at the end of each day.  They seem to be good ones to keep track of.  I’m going to give it a try.  “What did I learn today?”  and “What act of giving did I do today?”  If she can’t answer the first question, she reads.  If she can’t answer the second, she sends a message of appreciation to someone she cares about.  Read I am Sonia Sotomayor to find out the rest of her story.

The Important Thing About Margaret Wise Brown is a new picture book biography about the author of The Important Book.  The order came on Sunday and I read it right away.  The book is 42 pages long; one page for every year of her life.  In it MacBarnett has tried to capture the important things about the author of over 100 books for children.  When I finished reading, I wanted to know more about this unusual author and I wondered what you would think.  Would you like this book, or not.  I hope you’ll find it and read it and tell me what you think.  I’m not sure what I think.  I’ll have to read it again and again…

A few years ago Elias gave me a book written by his second cousin, Esta Spalding, Look Out for the Fitzgerald-Trouts.  I read it over that summer and completely enjoyed the ingenuity of children who are left to fend for themselves because they have the absolute worst parents in the world.  I got the second book right away, but it sat in the TBR pile for over a year.  Mrs. Wyman wrote about reading the Fitzgerald-Trout books aloud to her 5th graders, so I pulled Knock About with the Fitzgerald-Trouts to the top.  I wish I’d done that sooner, but I’ll recommend it to you now.  There are five Fitzgerald-Trouts:  Kim, Kimo (both 11), Pippa, Toby and baby, Penny.  They’ve been left to live on the island in a small green car.  Really they’re better off that way because their parents are self-centered, greedy brutes involved in unsavory and shallow pursuits.  The children are far more responsible than the adults.  The children are searching for a home – someplace larger than a car – so they can live more comfortably.  They need space and security, but something strange is going on.  The brizzill bugs are worse then ever, the rumble and shake of periodic “knock-abouts” are becoming alarmingly frequent and dormant Mount Muldoon – is not anymore.  Combine those concerns with a carnival and a boat, Johnny Trout and his pig, carnivorous plants, floods, lava flows and appearance of the island goddess, Maha, and you’ve got a great mystery adventure that you won’t put down until you reach the end. The best thing is, there’s a third Fitzgerald-Trout adventure to read as soon as you’re ready.