Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Book Review Tuesday: If... by David J Smith

If...A Mind-Bending New Way of Looking at Big Ideas and Numbers

Illustrated by Steve Adams

From the publisher:

If the Solar System's planets were shrunk down to the size of sports balls, and Earth were the size of a baseball, what size would the other planets be? If your lifespan was represented by a pizza divided into twelve slices, how many slices would represent your time spent in school? These questions and more are explored in this innovative and visually appealing book about very big concepts made accessible when scaled down to kid-friendly size.

My Review:

This is definitely a book I want in my teacher library. It covers many topics including:  Our Galaxy, The Planets, Inventions through Time, Species of Living Things, Energy and many more.

Children have such a hard time understanding large numbers.  The page about the Planets is something I will definitely be using when I teach our Earth and Space Science unit.  The author used everyday items that my students (and yours) can relate to when describing the size of the planets in relationship to each other.

The illustrations by Steve Adams are amazing and very kid-friendly.

This book definitely belongs in your classroom!!

You can purchase it at Amazon.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Book Review Tuesday: Sequoyah and His Talking Leaves by Wim Coleman and Pat Perrin

Sequoyah and His Talking Leaves:  A play about the Cherokee Syllabary

Illustrations by Siri Weber Feeney

From the publisher:

In the early 1800s, white settlers and missionaries were intent on bringing the English language to the illiterate Native Americans. Sequoyah was intrigued by these leaves of paper with strange marks that talked. Doing what no one had ever done before, Sequoyah set about creating a written Cherokee language - helping preserve the tribe's history and culture even today.

My review:

I think this is definitely something that I would use in my classroom during our Native American unit.  My students love reading plays and this would make a great story for readers theatre.

I liked how the story let the reader know when they are reading fact and when they are making conjecture. I would definitely consider this a fiction title based on real events.

The publishers suggest this for grades 3-5 and I agree with that. I can definitely see using it with my 5th graders.

You can get this book at Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Book Review Tuesday: We're the Center of the Universe by Christine Zuchora-Walske


We're the Center of the Universe by Christine Zuchora-Walske.

From the publisher:

The universe circles around Earth. Creatures live on the sun. You can tell the future by looking at the stars. At one time, science supported wild notions like these! But later studies proved these ideas were nonsense. Discover science's biggest mistakes and oddest assumptions about physics and astronomy, and see how scientific thought changed over time.

My review:

While most of the information in the book is accurate, there are some things that are not. The author also describes some events in incorrect terms.

When she describes the apparent motion of the planets, the author says that they move in ovals.  As a science teacher, I'm not happy about her using that term. She could have said that the planets move in an elliptical orbit and then described what that meant. I don't want to students to say the planets move in an oval shaped pattern...

When talking about the mission to Mars, the author states that the first pictures of Mars were taken by an orbiter. It was in fact a flyby, the Mariner 4 (US), that returned with 21 images according to the NASA website.

Having said all that, the book does contain a lot of good information. If you use it in your class, just point out the inaccuracies and make it a teaching moment. 

You can purchase the book at Amazon and Barnes & Noble

Friday, August 29, 2014

Foldable Friday: Sons of Liberty

These interactive foldable graphic organizers and many more can be found in my People of the American Revolutions poster and graphic organizer set. Just click on the picture below to find it in my TpT store.

American Revolution Linky

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Book Review Tuesday: Superstars of History

Superstars of History:  The Good, the Bad and the Brainy
by Jacob Field
Illustrated by Simon Basher
From the publisher:
History doesn't just happen; it was created by a crazy crew of characters from way back when. Find out why Archimedes said "Eureka!" in the bathtub, how Henry Ford changed the world, and whether or not Einstein's brain was bigger than an ordinary guy's. Discover what Abraham Lincoln, Gandhi, and Nelson Mandela did that made them famous for being so good, and what Attila the Hun, Hitler, and Stalin did that made them infamous for being so bad. Learn about great leaders like Charlemagne and George Washington and bold ones like Caesar and William the Conqueror. Superstars of History will feature fun text, loads of facts, and Basher's cool illustrations to bring history's greatest characters to life for 8 to 12 year olds.

My Review:

OMG, I LOVE this book!!!  This pictures on the cover are what originally brought my attention to the book.  Come to find out they are drawn by the same person who did all those cute square Basher Books (which I own almost all of them!!)

The book is broken down into four sections:  The Ancient World, The Middle Ages and the Renaissance, Revolution and the Enlightenment and the Modern Era.  These are definitely topics that I cover in my 6th grade social studies class.  

Some of the more notable people covered in the book are Aristotle, Julius Caesar,  Charlemagne, William the Conqueror, Christopher Columbus, Leonardo Da Vinci, William Shakespeare, Catherine the Great, Napoleon, George Washington, Karl Marx, Abraham Lincoln,  Thomas Edison, Gandhi, and many more.

Information of each of the individuals includes a narration in first person as well as other facts that might include a timeline, legacies, inventions, friends, record breaker, etc.

If you teach history, this is definitely a book for your keeper shelf!!

You can get the book at Amazon or Barnes and Noble.
Thanks go out to Scholastic via NetGalley for a copy of the book in exchange of an honest review.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Classroom Organization: Informational Text Chapter Books

As you probably know by now, I don't teaching reading or ELA so I don't really have an organized library. I just have chapter books that the students can check out on a shelves.
I do have quite a collection of non-fiction books and I finally took the time to get them organized. I wanted the students to be able to find the books they were looking for a bit easier so I made labels. I was going to put the labels on the front of the shelf that the book were on, but I soon realized that they wouldn't stay on very well because the edge was rounded.
I then had the brilliant idea to actually put it flat on the shelf.  This way the kids (and me too!!) could find the topic they were looking for while standing up.

I moved some other things around in my room and it freed up some shelf space.  Now I have room for more books!!

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For more Bright Ideas, be sure to check out the linky below!

Friday, August 15, 2014

Foldable Friday: Founding Fathers

These interactive foldable graphic organizers and many more can be found in my People of the American Revolutions poster and graphic organizer set. Just click on the picture below to find it in my TpT store.

American Revolution Linky