I Am (Not) Scared
Author: Anna Kang
Illustrator: Christopher Weyant
Published March 21, 2017 by Two Lions

Goodreads Summary: Two fuzzy friends go to an amusement park. They try to convince each other that there are much scarier things than the roller coaster. Hairy spiders! Aliens! Fried ants! They soon discover that sometimes being scared isn’t as “scary” as they thought. With expressive illustrations and simple text, this giggle-inducing tale about (not) being scared features the endearing characters from the Theodor Seuss Geisel Award winner You Are (Not) Small.

Ricki’s Review: These books crack me up. I have loved every book in this series, and they all make me giggle and giggle. Each book teaches an important lesson to kids. In this book, readers learn what it’s like to be scared, and why being scared can be transformed into something quite fun! I can’t decide which I like more—the writing or the illustrations. The characterization is beautifully done, and this wife and husband (author and illustrator) team is brilliant. I recommend this series highly to kids, and I also recommend it for use in creative writing classrooms.

Kellee’s Review: We are huge fans of Kang and Weyant books here at the Moye house. Our wall growth chart is from You Are (Not) Small, and I cannot wait to buy the plush fuzzies for Trent! I think that each of their books take on a pretty serious childhood issue (sharing, comparing, now fear) and talk about it in a fun way that still has a pretty clear lesson intertwined with it. This one is going to especially be one I read with Trent because as a three year old, he is just starting to really be scared of things, so it will be a really good discussion to have with him. If you haven’t read any of these books, I highly recommend getting all three–you will not be disappointed. 

Teachers’ Tools for Navigation: Teachers will appreciate these books because they are great for use as beginning readers. Unlike some of the dry, boring beginning readers in classrooms, the books in this series use just the right number of words that will allow kids to read without getting incredibly frustrated. I’d recommend this series to both teachers and parents! I am happy to have all of the books in this series for when my own son begins to learn to read!

For more information, and to download a free activity kit, visit annakang.com, or download at: http://bit.ly/2mKbFWi

Discussion Questions: What are the two fuzzy creatures scared of? How does the writing work together with the illustrations to share the story?; How are the characters feeling on the last page? How do you know?

We Flagged: “I am not scared… Are you?

Read This If You Loved: You Are (Not) Small by Anna Kang, That’s (Not) Mine by Anna KangScaredy Squirrel  by Mélanie Watts, The Pigeon Needs a Bath by Mo Willems, Elephant and Piggie books by Mo Willems

Recommended For:

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Giveaway!:

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About the Authors:

Anna Kang and Christopher Weyant are the creators of two other books featuring these characters: Theodor Seuss Geisel Award winner You Are (Not) Small and That’s (Not) Mine. Christopher’s work can be seen regularly in The New Yorker magazine and his cartoons are syndicated worldwide. This husband-and-wife team lives in New Jersey with their two daughters and their Bich-Poo. Visit them at www.annakang.com and www.christopherweyant.com.
Twitter: @annakang27 @chrisweyant05
Instagram: annakangbooks; christopherweyant
Facebook: Anna Kang – Author; Christopher Weyant

 

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**Thank you to Barbara at Blue Slip Media for providing copies for review!**

 

Brobarians
Author & Illustrator: Lindsay Ward
Published March 28th, 2017 by Two Lions

Summary: This is the tale of the mighty Brobarians. Two warriors, once at peace…now at odds.

Iggy the Brobarian has taken over the land. Can Otto the Big Brobarian win it back? Or maybe, with a little help, the two brothers can find peace again…

This is an epic—and adorable—story of sibling rivalry and resolution.

About the Author: Lindsay Ward would never have written this book if she hadn’t stayed up late one night watching Conan the Barbarian. She finds the idea of baby barbarians to be very funny . . . and hopes you do too. Lindsay’s recent books include Rosco vs. the Baby and The Importance of Being 3. Most days you can find her writing and sketching at home in Ohio with her family. Learn more about her at www.lindsaymward.com or on Twitter: @lindsaymward.

Praise for Brobarians

“Highly cinematic, both in imagery and narrative soundtrack…Good and campy and a fine opportunity for vocabulary building.”—Kirkus Reviews

“As readalouds go, it’s pretty epic.” – Publishers Weekly

“Ward’s plot cleverly celebrates the spirit of imaginative toddlers, and her cartoonlike cut-paper collage, pencil and crayon illustrations playfully match the humor of the tale. A boisterous, silly picture book that would work well for story-time.” —School Library Journal

Kellee’s Review: This extended metaphor really embodies what it feels like to be a sibling. As the oldest, I can definitely remember times when I was younger and felt like I was in a battle with my sister for attention or cookies or anything that she had that I wanted. And through this metaphor of siblings as brobarians fighting over territory and bah bahs, hilarity ensues! Once best of friends, they are now at odds–who will win?!

Ricki’s Review: Ah, this book is the best! As a mama of two boys, I feel so lucky to have it in my collection. I read this one with both of my boys on my lap. My older son thought it was fabulous. He did a demonstration of some of the moves after we finished. My younger son pawed at the pages and was clearly enamored, too. I can’t wait until they are both a bit older. We are going to create paper outfits to match the outfits of the characters in the book. I highly recommend this book. I promise that you will get swept into the adventurous spirit of these two boys. 

Teachers’ Tools for Navigation: Publisher’s Weekly says, “As readalouds go,  it’s pretty epic,” and we would have to agree. In addition to the read aloud opportunity, there are opportunities for discussions about siblings to go along with a family unit. Brobarians brings to light the rivalry that siblings may feel against each other which is something that any child with a sibling may feel and may feel is not normal. Using this story, teachers can discuss what it may feel like to have a sibling and ways to deal with sibling rivalry.

You can also check out a coloring sheet and a map of Brobaria here!

Discussion Questions: Why are Iggy and Otto fighting at first?; What does Otto do to make it worse?; Who wins in the end?; Did you see the end coming? Who did you think was going to win?; How does the map on the end sheets help you navigate the story better?

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Read This If You Loved: Pug Meets Pig by Sue Lowell Gallion, Mr. Fuzzbuster Knows He’s the Best by Stacy McAnultyWe Found a Hat by Jon KlassenHoot and Peep by Lita JudgeThat’s (Not) Mine by Anna Kang

Recommended For:

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**Thank you to Barbara at Blue Slip Media for copies for review!**

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top ten tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created at The Broke and the Bookish. The feature was created because The Broke and Bookish are particularly fond of lists (as are we!). Each week a new Top Ten list topic is given and bloggers can participate.

 Today’s Topic: Ten Short Novels That Packed a Punch

Ricki

I prepped my list before I saw Kellee’s list and A Long Walk to Water and Stuck in Neutral were on my list! DANG!

1. Once by Morris Gleitzman

Felix’s parents left him in an orphanage in Poland. Three years and eight months later, it is 1942, and he still waits for them to come back. He is Jewish, but he knows he is supposed to keep this a secret–although he is not sure why. When he sees Nazis burning books in the orphanage yard, he worries about his parents, who are booksellers. Felix’s naive voice is heartbreaking, as he doesn’t understand what is going on in the world around him. This is a powerful book that I would recommend to middle school or upper-elementary school teachers. All in 149 pages.

2. The Stranger by Albert Camus

This book is one part bizarre and two parts incredible. It tells the story of a senseless murder and the unemotional man who tells the story of how it happened. I loved teaching this book because we had awesome conversations about absurdity and the meaning of life. All in 123 pages.

3. Night by Elie Wiesel

I suspect that most of the people reading this have experienced the power of this book. This Holocaust story will stick with me for the rest of my life. I’ve reading it at least fifty times, and I still get incredibly emotional when I read it. All in 120 pages.

4. The Giver by Lois Lowry

In Jonas’ community, every person’s spouse is chosen for them. They are assigned one boy and one girl as children, and they don’t feel any strong emotions, like love. At age 12, they are each assigned a job. When anyone deviates from the norm, they are sent “elsewhere.” This is a fantastic book that can be appreciated by people of all ages. Dystopian-lovers will enjoy it immensely. As I listened to it, I couldn’t help but ponder all of the themes that emerged. All in 180 pages.

5. Readicide by Kelly Gallagher

Gallagher does a phenomenal job balancing statistics to support his theory for why American schools are killing reading.The statistics and explanations are quite powerful. I read this book several years ago, and I still talk about it often. All in 160 pages.

Kellee

1. A Long Walk to Water by Linda Sue Park

Linda Sue Park took a true story of a lost boy’s survival after being chased from his village because of war and transformed it into a novel that will leave the reader with a feeling of awe. Awe of the bravery and pure fearlessness of Salva and the other Lost boys of Sudan and awe of the world of riches and blindness we live in while a horrendous war wages on the other side of the world. All in 128 pages.

2. Stuck in Neutral by Terry Trueman

This book is terrifying and eye-opening. It helps the reader look past what they already know and realize they have to learn about people before making assumptions. It is terrifying because you don’t know what is going to happen and death awaits around every corner. Oh and it is a Printz Finalist. All in 114 pages.

3. Orbiting Jupiter by Gary D. Schmidt

In this perfect book about fostering, life, and family. Within these pages, you will fall in love with Joseph and Jack and hope for their success in life. But then tears. Lots of tears. All in 160 pages.

4. Some Writer!: The Story of E.B. White by Melissa Sweet

E.B. White is fascinating! Who would have know?! But Melissa Sweet tells us his life story, mixed with primary sources like White’s letters and photos, that will definitely make you want to pick up Charlotte’s Web and Stuart Little as well as pick up a pencil to write your own story. All in 176 pages.

5. Tales of Beedle the Bard by J.K. Rowling
(And the rest of the Hogwarts Library books)

J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter texts are quite intense and long, but her books that make up the Hogwards Library set are quite small and add such depth to the mythology of Harry Potter’s world. My favorite is Tales of Beedle the Bard because it gives us more insight into the history of their world as well as Dumbledore. All in 109 pages.

Which small novels do you enjoy the most?

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IMWAYR 2015 logo

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? From Picture Books to YA!

It’s Monday! What are you Reading? is a meme started by Sheila at Book Journeys and now hosted by Kathryn at The Book Date. It is a great way to recap what you read and/or reviewed the previous week and to plan out your reading and reviews for the upcoming week. It’s also a great chance to see what others are reading right now…you just might discover the next “must-read” book!

Kellee and Jen, of Teach Mentor Texts, decided to give It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? a kidlit focus. If you read and review books in children’s literature – picture books, chapter books, middle grade novels, young adult novels, anything in the world of kidlit – join us! We love this meme and think you will, too.

We encourage everyone who participates to support the blogging community by visiting at least three of the other book bloggers that link up and leave comments for them.

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CONGRATULATIONS
Nicole L.
for winning a copy of A Boy Called Bat!

&

CONGRATULATIONS
Regan
for winning a copy of Mapping My Day!

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Last Week’s Posts

**Click on any picture/link to view the post**

top ten tuesday   

Tuesday: Ten Reason Kellee Loves Teaching Middle School

Wednesday: Stand Up and Sing!: Pete Seeger, Folk Music, and the Path to Justice by Susanna Reich

Thursday: Guest Review: Five Little Ducks by Denise Fleming

Friday: In the Middle School Classroom: Who Wins? 100 Historical Figures Go Head-to-Head And You Decide the Winner! 

Sunday: Author Guest Post  and Giveaway: “A Recipe for Storytelling: Take One Real Life, Add a Spoonful of Fantasy, and Stir”  by Carter Roy, Author of The Blazing Bridge, the third book in the The Blood Guard series *Giveaway!*

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 Last Week’s Journeys

Kellee

 

These upcoming picture books are all must buys!
The Fog by Kyo Maclear is about beating something by putting your mind to it and collaborating and also about the environment. It is a beautifully illustrated picture book that will definitely start thoughtful and much-needed discussions.
A Squiggly Story by Andrew Larsen is a perfect read aloud for an early elementary school before starting creative writing because it shows that writing is something anyone can do and is just a form of expression with no boundaries. I cannot wait to read this to Trent and write a story together afterwards, and I know many of you will feel that way with your kids/students.
Ashley Spire has a way of writing stories that makes you have even more faith in kids that you did before reading them.  The Thing Lou Couldn’t Do is not exception. Lou loves to do so many things, but when she is faced with something she doesn’t think she can do, she hesitates. Until she realizes that she can do whatever she puts her mind to!
Hair-pocalypse by Geoff Herbach has much of the same humor that his YA books have! It starts out as a silly book about Aidan’s crazy hair and ends up being a book about thinking of others and compromise. This’ll definitely be a favorite read aloud!
Gennifer Choldenko and Dan Santat are a winning combination! This story shows that fear is something that anyone can face and parents are there to support you when you need them. I worry a bit about some of the “boys can’t be scared” and “don’t tell mom” parts, but the message in the end is positive.

Tinyville Town, just in this week, has become a favorite of mine and Trent’s. I love how it highlights all the different kind of jobs there are in a town, how each is special, and what the jobs entail. Gets to Work talks a bit about how city planning works then each of the other books focuses on a different profession. Trent LOVES the firefighter one, and he reads it to himself before bed almost every night!

Every time I read graphic novels, it reminds me why I love them so much! The visuals just a whole new element to the story for me! 
Super Narwhal and Jelly Jolt
is the second Narwhal book and is just as good as the first book! I just have a soft spot for these two who just perfectly fit together as friends. Narwhal and Jelly are the perfect ladder up from Elephant & Piggy, Bird & Squirrel, or other fun duos.
Star Scouts is a fun sci-fi story about finding your place even if that place at first feels like it is in the middle of misfits. Avani ends up being accidentally abducted by a Star Scout, an alien equivalent of our Scouts, and finds a place in their troop. I loved that Avani is so relatable! She speaks Hindi, loves rodeo, and is a bit testy–a perfect mix to make an authentic middle schooler. All of her Star Scouts friends are different also, so even though they are aliens, many readers will relate to one of them. One of my students already checked it out for Spring Break, and I know he will love it!
Real Friends is Shannon Hale’s graphic novel memoir about her time in elementary school and the drama of finding true friends while trying to find her own identity and family drama also. Like Sunny Side Up and Smile Sisters, many readers will find Shannon’s story interesting and relatable, and Pham’s illustrations make it even more appealing.

Lastly, I finished two wonderful yet very different novels. However, the are more alike than they seem. Glory Be is about Freedom Summer and Glory learning about the prejudice in the world while realizing that she need to stand up for what she believes. Bot Wars takes place in the future after robots have been segregated because of the fear of them taking over, but Trout, the protagonist, soon learns that the government have spread negative propaganda to meet their needs.

 Ricki

As Kellee said, the Tinyville Town books are awesome! Henry fell in love with them. He points to all of the characters in the book and reminds me which board books we have and which board books we don’t have. This book has inspired a lot of conversations about jobs. It would be fun to have kids create their own books based on their town!

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This Week’s Expeditions
Kellee

Spring Break Reading Goal:

It’s a pretty hefty goal, but I have had some really good reading weeks later, so I thought it might be doable. Jim and I are going on a mini anniversary vacation though, so we’ll see!

The Books: I loved Bot Wars, so I knew I wanted to read #2. Same with Loot, so I have Sting on my Kindle. Infinity (Chronicles of Nick) and Legend are books that students really want me to read. March is on my #mustreadin2017 list, and Frenzy is our March book club book. I also hope to read some picture books and graphic novels that I’ve been lucky enough to get from publishers. *fingers crossed!*

 Ricki

My dissertation is due in NINE days to my advisor. I have about 70 pages left to write. I am so sorry I have been off the grid. I can’t apologize enough. 🙁 Writing a dissertation with a three-year-old and five-month-old means very, very little sleep, so I haven’t been a great blogger.

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Upcoming Week’s Posts

top ten tuesday 

Tuesday: Ten Short Novels that Pack a Punch

Wednesday: Review and Giveaway!: Brobarians by Lindsay Ward

Thursday: Review, Giveaway, and Author Guest Post!: I Am (Not) Scared by Anna Kang

Friday: Paint Me a Picture & Tell Me a Story by Emily Bannister

Sunday: Author Guest Post

 So, what are you reading?

Link up below and go check out what everyone else is reading. Please support other bloggers by viewing and commenting on at least 3 other blogs. If you tweet about your Monday post, tag the tweet with #IMWAYR!

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“A Recipe for Storytelling: Take One Real Life, Add a Spoonful of Fantasy, and Stir”

 

Late last summer, after I’d turned in the manuscript for the third Blood Guard book, The Blazing Bridge, I mentioned to a longtime friend that I’d finished the trilogy. “That’s great!” she chirped; “now you can write a real book.”

Excuse me?” I replied and made a face like this

She explained. To her mind, fantasy adventure for middle-grade graders is mere “escapist literature,” and it doesn’t count as real—not like stories about normal people. “You had a rough childhood,” she said. “Why not write about that?”

But as far as I was concerned, I was already writing about my childhood. Only in disguise. Because even though fantasy literature on its surface is about another world, at root it is always about this one—the world we live in. Otherwise the stories would have no hold on us at all.

Not to get maudlin, but when I was growing up, my family—like many families—fell apart. There was never enough money; my older brothers were always getting into trouble; my dad turned out to be a not-so-good guy; and my parents divorced—which forced my mom to move us kids around from one home to another to another as she tried to find us an affordable and safe place in the world.

In a very different form, that material made its way into the Blood Guard books. A feud between two parents. A discovery that a father is someone other than who his children thought him to be. A constant need to uproot one’s life and relocate. All of these things were drawn from actual life, but transformed into backstory for an action adventure tale. Why? Because these novels were for the twelve-year-old me as much as anyone, and that kid liked his stories to move. The magic, the action, the jokes—those are the spoonfuls of sugar that make the medicine go down. (The “medicine” in this case being the ugly truth that my dad was, in fact, a very bad guy.)

Twelve-year-old me wouldn’t face the truth about my dad for years. But I might have done so a lot sooner … if only I’d been able to if I’d been able to read about it in a fantasy novel.

 

About the Book: Ronan Truelove’s best friend, scrappy smart aleck Greta Sustermann, has no idea that she is one of the thirty-six Pure souls crucial to the safety of the world. But Ronan’s evil father has figured it out—and he’s leading the Bend Sinister straight to Greta. If they capture her, she’ll suffer a fate far worse than mere death. But to get to Greta, they’re going to have to go through Ronan first.

Standing with Ronan are plucky hacker Sammy; witty, unkillable Jack Dawkins; and a sharp-tongued woman named Diz, who drives a dangerously souped-up taxi. One breathless close call after another leads to an ugly showdown: Ronan alone against his father, with the fate of Greta, his friends, and the entire world hanging in the balance. Will Ronan be able to rise up and prove once and for all that he has what it takes to join the Blood Guard?

By turns heart-stopping and hilarious, The Blazing Bridge brings the Blood Guard trilogy to a surprising, clever, and altogether thrilling conclusion.


About the Author: Carter Roy has painted houses and worked on construction sites, waited tables and driven delivery trucks, been a stagehand for rock bands and a videographer on a cruise ship, and worked as a line cook in a kitchen, a projectionist in a movie theater, and a rhetoric teacher at a university. He has been a reference librarian and a bookseller, edited hundreds of books for major publishers, and written award-winning short stories that have appeared in a half-dozen journals and anthologies. His first two books were The Blood Guard and The Glass Gauntlet. He lives with his wife and daughter in New York City and can be found at www.carterroybooks.com or on Twitter @CarterRoyBooks.

 

Giveaway!

Thank you, Carter for this inspirational post! And thank you, Barbara from Blue Slip Media, for connecting us with Carter!

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Who Wins? 100 Historical Figures Go Head-to-Head and You Decide the Winner!
Created by Clay Swartz
Illustrated by Tom Booth
Published July 12th, 2016 by Workman Publishing Company

Summary: Who would rock the mic at karaoke night? Abraham “The Great Emancipator” Lincoln or Jane “Lady Persuasion” Austen? How about a hot dog eating contest between Harry “Mr. Magic” Houdini and Mary “Mother of Frankenstein” Shelley? What about a pie contest? A staring contest? And who has a better chance of sneaking into Area 51, Isaac “Gravity Guy” Newton or Sacagawea aka “The Pathfinder”?

In Who Wins?: History, you decide the winner in over 50 head-to-head challenges between 100 of history’s most illustrious characters. But choosing the victor isn’t arbitrary. Readers must justify their answers using each of the historical figures’ six 0-10 category rankings in bravery, leadership, artistry, wealth, wisdom, and fitness; as well as facts from short biographies.

As funny as it is informative, the book is uniquely formatted so readers can match up each and every character in any of the head-to-head battles. History has never been so much fun!

Review (from 10/26/16): Who Wins? is informative, funny, and so cleverly formatted that it is going to be a star in homes and classrooms. I love how the book gives each historical figure a nickname (either one they already were given, like Satchmo, or made up, like Gravity Guru for Isaac Newton) to add a bit of humor to the book; however, still makes sure to include a plethora of information about each figure including a bio then 3 little-known facts. Each head-to-head situation also helps guide your decision by giving some example questions to think about. Let’s look at a head-to-head, so you can really see how clever it is!

In My Classroom: Whenever I begin a debate unit, I always start with a mini-debate, and I wanted this year’s to include Who Wins? because I thought it was such an awesome class resource (and my students were slightly obsessed with the book). To start, I randomly picked a male and a female historical figure from each side of the Who Wins? book for each class. I didn’t choose the middle activity yet because I wanted my students to get to know their historical figures before I gave them the rest of the topic for the debate. For two days, the students researched their figures and tried to learn as much about them as possible. We talked about making sure to not just list dates but to get to know them as a person: their strengths, their weaknesses, their personality, their education, etc. Finally, on day three, I randomly revealed the rest of the debate topic and randomly put each class into two groups. We ended up with:

Who wins WRESTLEMANIA? Queen Elizabeth I or Genghis Khan?
Who wins LIVING IN 10,000 BC? Harriet Tubman or Ramses II?
Who wins CELEBRITY JEOPARDY? Nelson Mandela or Marie Curie?

Each group then made a Google Doc that they could collaborate on, and they focuses on preparing their argument, possible counterarguments, and rebuttals to the counter argument. They could research more now that they knew the topic, and I shared Who Wins? information with them as well (see photo above).

Then, after a couple of days of collaboration, we had our mini-debate. The most successful was the Queen Elizabeth I vs. Genghis Khan because they not only researched their historical figure, but they also researched Wrestlemania which allowed the debate go to a whole different level than my other two periods. The Nelson Mandela vs. Marie Curie debate had the opposite problem: they didn’t research Jeopardy at all which made for the debate never really having a clear winner because they were just debating who was smarter. The Ramses II vs. Harriet Tubman went well though the Harriet Tubman side never pulled out their best argument: she primarily lived on the run in the wilderness! In the end, Wrestlemania was a tie; Ramses II would survive better in 10,000 BC; and Marie Curie would win Jeopardy.

Some Students’ Collaborative Notes: Here are some examples of the collaborative notes some groups put together when preparing for the mini-debate. These are not examples of the initial research notes they took on their historical figures.

Genghis Khan

Harriet Tubman: 

Marie Curie:

Second Debate Using Who Wins?For our second debate, I did things a little bit differently. Instead of giving them the historical person first, for each class, I randomly chose the center tile (the topic) and we ended up with: Rap Battle, Ironman World Championship, and Summiting Everest. I then let the students, within their groups, go through their side of the book to find the person they wanted for their side of the debate.

They used their prior knowledge, the bios, and the stats for each person to try to pick the best for the debate. Our people ended up being:

Who Wins a Rap Battle: Muhammad Ali vs. Sojourner Truth?
Who Wins the Ironman World Championship: Jim Thorpe vs. Mildred Ella Didrikson?
Who Wins at Summiting Everest: Ernest Shackleton vs. Alexander the Great?

This time around, students were much more invested in their historical figure and with the topic already chosen, they could narrow down their research. Also, they realized how important it was to research the topic. Students also were given 2 extra days to research this time though given the same amount of time (2 days) to collaborate.

Once we got to the debates, I made a decision I was so happy about: Students were not allowed to have their iPads with them. They could have 1 Post-it note (front only) with any specifics that were tough to remember (years, prices, times, etc.), but that was it. And the debates went so much better! Students knew their stuff, and the debates were so intense, detailed, and close!

In the end, we’re still not sure who would be most successful at summiting Everest, Shackelton or Alexander the Great; Jim Thorpe is more likely to win the Ironman World Championship; and Muhammad Ali would win a rap battle vs. Sojourner Truth.

Final Assessment: As a final cumulative assessment, I asked my students to write me an argumentative paragraph stating why they felt their historical figure would be more successful than the other. Students were asked to have multiple reasons why with evidence to support their claim.

Reflection: Using Who Wins?, I was able to create a standards-based unit that allowed students to not only debate, research, and read informational texts, but work collaboratively, think outside the box, and cite evidence to support their claims. I know the students learned from it as well, and they asked to do another, so I know they enjoyed it. They also now realize that learning just dates or facts about a person isn’t thorough research, it is important to know both sides of an argument so you can have a rebuttal, and that you need to research all aspects of a debate to ensure you are arguing for the right reasons. Overall, I call this a win!

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5 Little Ducks
Author: Denise Fleming
Published November 8, 2016 by Beach Lane Books

A Guest Review by Kathryn O’Connor

Summary: Papa Duck and his ducklings go on adventures through the woods and over the hills everyday. Each time Papa Duck yells out “Quack quack quack” to gather his ducklings, but not all of them come back. In fact, with each adventure, one fewer duck returns. Finally on Saturday, Papa Duck went out alone and yelled “Quack, quack, quack”. It was then that all of his ducks came back! When the family woke up together on Sunday, Mama Duck decided it would be best for the family to stay in and rest.

Review: Denise Fleming takes a modern spin on a classic nursery rhyme. It is fun to find out what new adventure the ducklings are taking on throughout the week. Because the ducks meet new people and explore new places each day, the reader is kept engaged. The repetition of the story makes it easy for young readers to follow along with and make predictions. In combination with this, the large text format and bolded numbers allow for easy comprehension.

The lively illustrations bring life to the text, and I love how perspective is used in all of them. Some of the pictures you’ll find to be zoomed out, while some are zoomed in. My favorite part of this picture book is at the end where Fleming has two non-fiction pages based on the animals of the story. This encourages the readers thinking and allows them to explore further.

Although this book is a helpful, entertaining tool for teaching days of the week and numbers 1-5, my only concern is that readers might become worried or anxious thinking about the well-being of the ducks. At some points while reading, I was concentrated on where the ducks were, if they were still alive, and when they were going to return to their family, rather than enjoying the text.

Teachers’ Tools for Navigation: This story can be used at first as a whole class read aloud, and perhaps even in a singing voice. Students will quickly pick up on the pattern of the story due to the repetition. By keeping the book in a classroom library, readers will then be willing to pick up the text and read independently or to a friend for they have already familiarized themselves with it. For beginning readers, this will spark motivation and love of reading. This story is also a helpful aid in teaching and counting numbers 1-5, days of the week, and sequencing text.

Discussion Questions: How many ducks do you think will come back?; What day comes next?; Why does Papa Duck yell “quack, quack, quack” everyday?; Where do you think the ducks are going?; Why do you think the ducks want to explore?; Why is Papa Duck feeling sad?; How do you think Papa Duck felt when his ducks returned?; Why does Mama Duck want all of the ducks to rest on Sunday?

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Read This If You Loved: 10 Little Rubber Ducks by Eric Carle, Make Way for Ducklings by Robert McCloskey, or The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle

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Thank you, Kathryn!

RickiSig

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