It’s Monday – here are some books to read

I’m starting to feel a touch of blue in and around getting ready for next year.  Next week I’ll get my class list.  I’ll send out letters to 3E 2017-2018.  You’ll be getting your letters too.  It’s exciting to think of a new school year, but … I still read with you in mind.  All summer long I’ve been finding books that made me think of all of you.  Some great new series and some stand alone books that I think you’d all be interested in.  This week I’ve read the new Stick Dog and I wonder if Gavin and Zack have read that.  I found a new-to-me series called Misty Inn and I think Samantha will really like that.  Charise Mericle Harper (author of the Just Grace books) has a new series about a cooking show competition.  I think Gabby, Julie and Mackenzie will like that.  I think Max and Sully will like Jack and the Geniuses at the Bottom of the World.  I know you’ll all find your own way to terrific for you books – but if you ever need a suggestion or want to borrow something, please stop by.  I’d love to keep sharing books with you from our classroom or on the blog!  Let me know what you’re reading too!  I love new suggestions. ♥

Here’s some of what I’ve been reading this week.  I discovered the Misty Inn series this week.  I found it through a review of the 7th book in the series, Teacher’s Pet.  I thought it sounded interesting, so I purchased books 5, 6 and 7 at the bookstore.  I read them in backwards order and think they’re great – so needless to say, I’ll be getting books 1-4 soon.  In book 7 school has just started again, and Willa’s first assignment is to  make a how-to presentation to her class.  It is supposed to share something important to Willa so the class will get to know her better.  There are lots of things Willa could teach people how to do, but it’s challenging to come up with a topic that shares something important too.  As you read, you discover that Willa’s family has recently moved from Chicago to Chincoteague.  Her family has a new inn and her dad, a chef, runs a restaurant there.  The inn is called Misty Inn in honor of Marguerite Henry’s book, Misty of Chincoteague .  Family, horses, food and the inn are all important to Willa – finally she creating and cooking with her dad for her how-to topic.  Cooking only happens when you can get all the right ingredients… You’ll have to read Teacher’s Pet to find out how Willa’s presentation goes.  If you have an interest in horses or just like to read about family and friends similar to you, make sure to check this series out.  Willa, her brother Sam and friends, Sarah, Lena and Chipper are fun to spend time with.

It’s October and Stick Dog and his pals are hungry again.  I bet you can imagine some of the things the friends do in Stick Dog Craves Candy.  At first they’re frightened of the witches, but on closer observation they discover that this might be a pretty amazing night.  Of course Karen get’s distracted, PooPoo offers to slam into a tree, Stripes comes up with an outrageous plan and Mutt shakes out all the tools he can.  In the end, there are several ways that Stick Dog helps his friends to an incredible stash.  Nothing new, but fun all the same.  If you’re a Stick Dog fan, make sure to check this new addition out.

Light, Camera, COOK is the first book in the Next Junior Chef series.  In it four kids meet for the first elimination round of the competition.  There’s Rea, who’s learned to cook with her grandmother, Oliver, who’ taken lessons with some to the best chefs in the world, Tate, who’s an inventor who love to mix tastes and cuisines and Caroline, who’s been around great food all her life in her family’s bistro.  At the end of the week, one of the kids will be asked to leave.  It’s pretty interesting to read about the story behind the tv drama and to read about how these very different chefs can root for and support each other even when they know they may be left behind.  I can’t wait to read the next (I’m guessing) three books in the series to find out who wins the competition, but also to discover what the four kids do with all they learn along the way.

What have you been reading this summer?  Do you have any suggestions for me?  Please share them in a comment.  Happy reading – so many books…

It’s Friday – what if…

…you just found a treasure map!  What will you do next?  Will you look for the treasure on your own?  Will you find someone to help you on your adventure?  What supplies with you need?

And then, once you’ve found the treasure, now what?

Have fun creating and imagining – your life is full of treasures already!  What will you do in this story?

It’s Wednesday – here are some problems to solve

Rachael went to a garage sale.  Each stuffed animal cost 5 dollars.  How much money did Rachael spend on the 13 stuffed animals that she bought?

Max went to the zoo.  He spent a lot of time at the sloth exhibit.  Three-toed sloths have four legs.  There were 25 sloths in the exhibit.  How many toes did Max figure the sloths had altogether?

Zack went to the reptile show.  There was a ball python that was 13 inches long.  The boa constrictor was ten times longer than the ball python.  How long did Zack figure the boa constrictor was?

Julie can ride her bike 12 miles an hour.  How many miles can she ride her bike in 31 hours?

It’s Monday – here are some books to read

For a while I’ve noticed The Magic Shop series in the library, but I’d never read any until last week.  They are great stories AND they share great magic tricks too.  I think you’ll enjoy the characters – they are just beginning 4th grade – and you’ll relate to their challenges and friendship dilemmas.  I made a ChatterPix review for the first book in the series:

Check out all four titles in the series.  If you learn how to do one of the magic tricks, please make sure to come and show me..

You’ll also enjoy The Silver Jaguar Society mysteries by Kate Messner.  In the first, Capture the Flag,  Anna, Jose and Henry come together save The Star Spangled Banner (yes, the real one that flew over Fort McHenry in the War of 1812) before it is lost forever.  It’s an exciting adventure that happens in the Washington DC airport when all flights are canceled in a spring snow storm.  The good guys and the bad guys are all trapped together which makes for some pretty tense moments and some very creative thinking.

Check out the other series and books I’ve been reading this week in the Library sidebar.  I’d love to know what you’re reading this summer too!  Leave a comment.

It’s Friday – what if…

… you wanted to create your own geode?  You could use an egg, some alum and some dye to do it.  With adult help, you can grow some beautiful crystals in just three days.

Materials –

  • a blown-out eggshell
  • alum powder (you can get this in the grocery store in the spice area)
  • white glue and a small paintbrush
  • dye, hot water and a plastic or glass container
  • a spoon for mixing, latex gloves (to keep your hands from getting dyed) and a place to dry your “geodes” the next day.

Steps –

  1.  Blow out a large egg.  Split it in half the long way by cracking and breaking it gently.  Wash and dry both pieces completely.  You can only grow one geode at a time but you can prepare both pieces with glue and alum powder at the same time.
  2. With the small paint brush cover the inside and cracked edges with white glue.  Sprinkle the glue with alum powder so it is completely covered.  Let it dry overnight.  (The crystals are going to grow on the alum, so coat the egg halves well.)
  3. The next day, prepare your growing solution.  You’ll need the container.  Put 2 cups of almost boiling water, 40 drops of food coloring and 3/4 cup of powered alum.  Mix the solution to be sure all the alum dissolves.  If there is any left in the bottom, place the solution in the microwave for a few minutes to dissolve them.
  4. Once the alum is completely dissolved, let the solution cool slightly (for about 30 minutes) and then submerge one of the dried, alum-coated eggshells in the growing solution.  allow it to rest on the bottom of the container with the inside of the shell facing up.

  5. Set the container in a safe place overnight to allow the crystals to grow undisturbed. The longer the eggshell is in the solution, the larger the crystals in the geode will be. 12 to 15 hours is just about right.

  6. When you’re ready, put the gloves on and remove the geode from the solution.  Be gentle, wet crystals are fragile.  Place your geode on newspaper to dry.  Let it dry completely before you handle it.
  7. If you’d like to make another geode, re-dissolve the crystals remaining at the bottom in the microwave and follow the directions again.  Have fun!


It’s Wednesday – here are some problems to solve

There are two pair of Loons nesting on Northwood Lake.  We’ve been watching them and keeping an eye out for their chicks.  They’ve recently hatched.  They are beautiful birds to see and to listen to.

The Loons arrived in mid-May.  They built a nest and laid their eggs on May 21.  It takes 26 days for the eggs to hatch.  What was the date in June when the eggs hatched?

Chicks begin to dive for their own food with they are 12 weeks old.  How many days old would they be when they began to fish for themselves?

If each loon has 10 rows of 14 white spots on each wing.  How many spots are there altogether on the Loons at Northwood Lake?

Once in the air, Loons are fast fliers.  They can fly up to 70 miles per hour.  In winter they migrate to the Gulf of Mexico, 1,675 miles away.  If the loons fly 10 hours a day.  How many days will it take them to get to the Gulf of Mexico?

It’s Monday – here are some books to enjoy!

If you like realistic fiction, Claudia Mills is the author for you.  Her characters are true – just like kids in our classroom and school!  Nora is from a family of scientists. She observes, questions and notes things around her.  She’s about to become an aunt, and so her notebook is full of things about babies at home.  She’s also looking forward to (and planning on winning) the upcoming science fair at school.  But changes in the rules partners her with pink-loving Emma. Ugh!  Nora’s world is thrown even more off kilter by the role and fate of the character she been given for the Oregon Trail project.  Science experiments with variables and constants meets pinkness and baby visitations.  Just when you think Nora can’t stand another thing… turn the page to see what happens.  Nora is strong and opinionated – so is Emma.  Read The Nora NotebooksThe Trouble With Babies to find out how they work through their issues.  You’ll be glad you did.

Last summer I discovered books by Suzi Eszterhas.  She is a wildlife photographer and conservationist. She uses some of the money she raises through books sales to support wildlife organizations and rescue operations throughout the world.  This summer I’ve added two books to that collection.  Sea Otter Rescue takes readers to the Alaska SeaLife Center in Seward, Alaska.  We learn about efforts there to save orphaned sea otter pups found stranded and alone on the shore.  It takes many people, each doing a  special job, to rescue the otter pups and prepare them for the places they will live for the rest of their lives.  Did you know adult sea otters are the size of German shepherds?  Did you know that otters are born with a coat of super-thick fur called a “float coat” so they won’t drown?  You’ll learn lots about both otters and the rescue mission conducted by the wildlife team found on the shores of Resurrection Bay.

The second book is Moto and Me – my year as a wildcat’s foster mom.  While on the Masai Mara in Kenya to photograph and write about animal life there, Suzi became the foster mother to serval kitten.  Moto (fire in Swahili) was separated from his family by a fire racing across the savanna.  At two weeks old Moto needed specific care.  First he needed to feel safe and cared for as part of a family.  Then he needed to learn how to survive by being able to come and go as all serval kittens do.  Over the course of eight months Moto learned how to survive in the wild.  One night Moto went out on his nocturnal hunt and did not return to Suzi’s tent.  He was later seen by other rangers who knew him.  Moto, now an adult cat, was on his own in the savanna.  I learned so much about servals and more about how humans impact the environment – sometimes help, isn’t.

This week I read a lot of fun picture books.  You’ll have fun reading them too.  Check them out in the library side bar.  Share 7 Ate 9 – the Untold Story with your family.  There are so many hidden math puns in the words and illustrations it takes a while to catch them all.  World Pizza is also a fun twist on a wish gone awry by a sneeze – peace…, pizza…  It may not be that bad.

Friday Fun – what if…

What if…

… a ship loaded with animals got blown off course in a storm.  Off the coast of Argentina the ship was swamped and the animals had to swim to safety.  After what seemed like forever, a giraffe and a lemur found themselves together on the shore of Antartica.  Write the story of how their friendship formed  and how some penguins helped them survive until their rescue came.

We’d love to read your story.  If you have a chance, leave it in a comment below.

It’s Wednesday – here are some problems to solve

Mackenzie walked through the gardens at Prescott Park.  There were five different gardens.  Each garden had 14 daisies, 22 lilies, 17 begonias and 36 marigolds.

  • How many daisies were there altogether? 
  • How many lilies were there altogether?
  • How many begonias were there altogether?
  • How many marigolds were there altogether?
  • How many flowers were there altogether in the five gardens Mackenzie walked through?

Liam was building a Lego city.  He began building places he’d like to go on the first day.  Using 3,584 bricks, he built the skate park.  Using another 2,067 Lego bricks, he built an arcade.  And using 1,803 Lego bricks he built 3 different houses.

  • How many Lego bricks did he use in each house? They were all the same?
  • How many Lego bricks had Liam used altogether so far?

When Liam was finished with his entire Lego city, he had used 14,528 Lego bricks.

  • How many Lego bricks did Liam use to finish his city?  
  • What buildings do you think he built the second day? 

It’s Monday – here are some books you might like

Remember our celebration of kindness during the Global Kindness Project, when we read a variety of refugee stories?  Well last week I discovered this picture book. I hope you’ll all read it and then share it too.  Where Will I Live by Rosemary McCarney, one of Canada’s ambassadors to the United Nations, shows how children are asking that question in so many places in our world today.  It is a beautiful call for help and action.  Share it with your families and see what you can do.

Super Turbo is by Lee Kirby, the author of Captain Awesome.  It’s a new series about super hero school pets.  It will be a quick read that will make you smile.  Can you imagine our fish saving the school from a rodent take-over while we were away because of a snow day?

I’ve been in an Elise Gravel phase.  You might like a view into her sketchbook where she captures ideas for writing in If Found…Please Return to Elise Gravel.  You might like nonfiction Disgusting Critters series.  You can learn about head lice, flies, slugs, and more in a way that will make you shiver and giggle at the same time.  Or you might want to explore the picture book, The Cranky Ballerina.  It will make the dancers in our class smile.  And finally you might enjoy Olga, a graphic novel/chapter book hybrid.  Olga looks at things in a scientific way.  She observes “stuff” to learn about it.  Her passion is animals.  She loves everything about them (they may even be better than people).  While looking, she discovers an animal unlike any other.  He seem to be from nowhere – maybe outer space.  He’s smelly and makes the sound she names him after, “Meh.”  And so begins Olga’s adventure to discover all she can about Meh, keep him safe and find a way to make him happy.  You’ll enjoy the adventure – it doesn’t go as smoothly as planned.

These books are on the lighter side of things.  If you’re interested in  something more serious, check out the library in the sidebar.  I’m curious to know what you’re reading.  Leave a comment to let me know.