Sunday, January 23, 2011

Judy Moody Goes to College

Because elementary school is soooo old skool!

In typical Judy Moody fashion, this hilarious story by Megan McDonald (illustrated by Peter H. Reynolds) will keep you laughing and wondering, what's next? In Judy Moody Goes to College, Judy's Moody's mat-i-tude with her substitute teacher lands her with a college tutor. Judy thinks tutoring will mean baby things like flashcards and counting. Instead, Judy meets a college student named Chloe who is 'the bomb' and Judy starts to think that most of her 3rd grade life is 'old skool.' Judy doesn't only work on her math in college, but she works on her attitude as well and ends up with much more of a glad-i-tude. You will find yourself asking for more Judy Moody when you finish this book.

Teachers... here are some resources and activities to help you teach this book...

Web Resources:
  • Math Activities: Improve your class's math-i-tude with these math activities that connect directly to Judy Moody Goes to College.
  • More Judy!: If your students LOVE Judy, here is a teacher's guide to the Judy Moody series with ideas that go along with other Judy Moody books.
  • Even More Judy: Here are even more activities and information about the Judy Moody series.

Vocabulary: These words may need to be pretaught: tarentella, hogshead, tutor, crucial, sashay, maniac, attitude, latitude, peace, yoga, psycho, philosophy, navel, gratitude, honorable mention

Before Reading: Discussion Questions: Why do you think Judy Moody is going to college? What do you think college is like? If you were Judy Moody what would you expect your first time going to college?

During Reading: What are some slang words that you may use? Do you use any of the words Judy learns while she is at college with Chloe? Make a list of slang words you use as well as a list of words Judy uses and what they mean.

After Reading/Writing:
  • Make a list of pros and cons for college and elementary school.
  • Write a letter to Chloe asking any questions you might have about college that weren't answered in this book.
Across the Curriculum:
Check out the Math Link (also above) and let Judy Moody help improve the math-i-tude of your class!

    McDonald, M. (2008). Judy Moody goes to college . Cambridge, Mass.: Candlewick Press.

    Happy Reading (&Running) =)

    Tuesday, January 18, 2011


    A fight between your heart and your brain

    Roy Eberhardt is a new kid in Florida and immediately has to deal with the typical bullies that he has encountered everywhere else he lived. However, his dealings with Dana Matherson, a bully on his school bus, become very unusual. Dana is out to get Roy, but Roy is more concerned with the running boy he saw one day while sitting on the bus. The boy looked about his age but had no back pack, no books and no shoes. Roy sets out to find him and ends up encountering more than he bargained for. A few random encounters with a police officer and acts of vandalism on the lot of a future pancake house lead Roy to the involvement of saving the burrowing owls living on the lot. His heart tells him to help, but his brain is afraid he might get into trouble. What will Roy Eberhardt choose? Carl Hiaasen takes us through a journey of right and wrong and teaches us to ask questions about what people are allowed to do to the environment in Hoot.

    Teachers: here are some resources and ideas to help you teach this novel...

    Web Resources:
    • Burrowing Owls: A Burrowing Owl Biology.
    • Fun Facts: Facts about Burrowing Owls. 
    • Hoot Resources: Here you will find online quizzes, printable quizzes, activities and vocabulary (within the activities link) by chapter for Hoot.
    • Scholastic: Here are lesson ideas from

    Vocabulary: Here are some words that may need to be pretaught: vandalism, nark, reproachfully, leniency, sinewy, errant, wayward, tetanus, delinquents, cowls, truancy, reconnaissance, derelict, crusade, jurisdiction, standoff, protest, demonstration, impromptu

    Before Reading:  This story focuses on burrowing owls which are protected in Florida. Find a plant or animal that is protected in your state and learn a little bit about them. Share your findings with your classmates. Be sure to explain why this animal is protected.

    During Reading
    • Before Roy meets the running boy, write a character sketch of him predicting what you think he is like.
    • After Roy has met the running boy and Beatrice has told Roy about Mullet Boy's situation, write an actual character sketch and then compare the two. Were any of your predictions correct?
    After Reading: Think of an environmental concern either in your town or that you have heard about. Write a letter to a local government official explaining your concerns and what you think should be done to fix the issue. If it is an environmental concern that is still prominent in your area, you may want to consider sending the students' letters to government officials to help students feel involved in saving the environment.

    Across the Curriculum:
    Science: You can connect this book to learning about ecosystems, burrowing owls, cottonmouths, etc. You can also use Hoot to teach about endangered animals.
    Social Studies: Use this book to teach students that their voice is important too! Like Roy, if they have an environmental concern, they can voice it to a local governmental official (see after reading activity).

    Hiaasen, C. (2002). Hoot . New York: Alfred A. Knopf. 
    Newbery Honor Book

    Happy Reading (&Running) =)

    The BFG

    The Big Friendly Giant

    When Sophie is snatched out of her window by a giant she is lucky to find the giant who took her is not a killer giant but instead he is a big, friendly giant. If Sophie had been taken by Bloodbottler, Fleshlumpeater, Bonecruncher or any of the other giants, she would have been dinner. Instead she is taken by a fun loving, dream spreading giant who wants his fellow giants to stop eating children. With the help of Sophie and his bottled dreams, he is able to brew up a dream that might be able to help stop the giants from eating humans. Will they be able to do it? Roald Dahl takes us into an imaginary land in The BFG.

    Teachers... here are some resources and ideas to help you teach this novel.

    Web Resources:

    Vocabulary: Here are some words that may need to be pretaught: dormitory, desolate, brute, colossal, preposterous, transfigured, perambulator, winsome, reverberate, diabolical, contemptuous, absurd, petrified, beseechingly, fiasco, ravenous.

    Before Reading: If you have ever read any Roald Dahl books, what type of fantasy story do you predict will happen in this novel based on the cover of the book and what you know about other books written by Roald Dahl. Think/Pair/Share and discuss your predictions.

    During Reading:
    • Take a passage that you have read up to this point. Translate what the BFG says to Sophie so that it is in proper English.
    • After reading the Dreams chapter, have students create a dream recipe.

    After Reading: What do you think would have happened if the dream for the Queen did not work? Write a new ending to the novel.

    Dahl, R. (1982). The BFG . New York: Farrar, Straus, Giroux.

    Happy Reading (&Running) =)

    Monday, January 3, 2011

    When Zachary Beaver Came to Town

    A carnival sideshow or a new friend?

    In Toby's small Texas town, Antler, nothing exciting ever happens and summers usually consist of he and Cal on the roof of the bowling alley eating candy and talking. The most exciting thing that happens each summer is the ladybug waltz on Cal's family's farm. But this summer, his mom leaves to go to Tennessee to become a famous singer and Cal's older brother is in Vietnam. Just when it seems the summer couldn't get any worse, Zachary Beaver shows up in a trailer and tickets are being sold to see the fattest boy in the world. Toby and Cal try to see what is behind the front Zachary puts up to discover the real Zachary Beaver. Kimberly Willis Holt gives us a boy we aren't sure whether to love or hate in When Zachary Beaver Came to Town.

    Teachers... here are some resources and ideas to help you teach this novel.

    Web Resources:
    • Teacher's Guide: Awesome guide with activity ideas as well as journal prompts and other ideas to go along with this novel.
    • Literature Circle: This site offers discussion questions and enrichment activities to go along with this novel.

    Vocabulary: Some words that may need to be pretaught: biddy, revival, cotton gin, destiny, emphysema, loan shark, sideshow, minor, transistor radio, stingy, verdict, baptism, foster home, juvenille home, pathological liar, hermit, reverend, shriners, dinghy, concordance, ordinance

    Before Reading: Have you ever been to a carnival or seen a sideshow? What was it like? Did you see anything unusual? What do you think the sideshow in this story will be like?

    During Reading: Discuss after the first time Toby and Cal bring food to Zachary. Do you think Toby and Cal will become friends with Zachary? Predict what you think will happen. Think/Pair/Share.

    After Reading/Writing: Pretend you are either Toby and Cal and write a letter to Zachary telling him about their life after he left. How is school going? Did Toby's mom come home? etc. Or, pretend you are Zachary and write to Toby and Cal telling them how life was for him after he left. Is he still touring as the fattest boy in the world? Are there any other acts in the show? etc.

    There is a movie version of this book, I have not seen it (clearly I need to catch up on my movie viewing) but in case you want to check it out...

    Holt, K. W. (1999). When Zachary Beaver came to town . New York: Holt.
    National Book Award Winner

    Happy Reading (&Running) =)
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