Science Fiction - Grade 5-7
Criminal Destiny, the first sequel to Masterminds, by Gordon Korman, continues the riveting unique story of five kids from the "perfect" but sinister town of Serenity, New Mexico. While in the first book, Eli, Malik, Amber, Tori and Hector discover the awful truth about the town and themselves, and execute a daring escape, in this second book, four of them are completely alone and on the run. The "purples" or the special Serenity security force are on their tail and the kids desperately want to find a way to expose what has gone on in Serenity. Using great teamwork, brains, brawn and wit, Eli, Malik, Amber and Tori manage to elude many close calls. All the while they are learning to navigate the immense, fascinating and messy "real" world around them, so different from the neat and protected but lives they led in Serenity. But who will believe their story and can the four 12 year old's survive much longer?
Science Fiction - Grade 5-7
In The Only Girl in School by Natalie Standiford, we meet Claire, a fifth grader growing up on tiny Foyes Island, Maryland. She loves her family, sailing, riding her horse, playing soccer and her best friend Bess. But as the story begins, Bess has moved to California, and not only does Claire miss her terribly, Bess' absence means that Claire is now the only girl in the very small school that serves the island until 6th grade, when they will go to a larger school on the mainland. Although she had been close friends with Henry as well as Bess, the boys including Henry have decided to bond together and ignore Claire. It is a tough beginning to the school year for sure. Read to find out if Claire's hard work, in school, on the soccer field and the sailing regatta plus strong support of her family will help her to create a better "only girl in the school" year. Realistic Fiction - Grade 4-5.
House Arrest by K.A. Holt is the extraordinary story of Timothy, 13 years old and on "house arrest" for a year. That means he can only go to school, check in weekly with his court appointed therapist and his probation officer and keep a journal. Why? Timothy stole a wallet in order to help his mother pay for his baby brother's needed medicine. Timothy's brother Levi was born unable to breathe normally and must use a complicated "trach" to help him stay alive. Although the family desperately needs extra nursing care for Levi, they often cannot afford enough or quality help. Through Timothy's heartfelt emotional journal entries we follow his yearlong journey, helping his mother take care of Levi, watching Levi grow and then recede into illness, and learning to manage the anger that threatens his ability to help them and himself. But all around him is a community of people willing to support him and his family once he is able to let them. Realistic Fiction - Grade 5-7.
Friday Barnes, Girl Detective by R.A. Spratt introduces the reader to Friday, a 12 year old extraordinary detective. After helping her favorite Uncle solve an insurance case involving a stolen diamond, Friday is paid enough money to fund a year at a prestigious boarding school that she has always wanted to experience. At Highcrest Academy Friday initially feels like she does not fit in and although she usually tries to blend in, a few "bullies" insist on trying to embarrass her because she is different. Instead, Friday discovers that many students have problems and her ability to detect and solve problems, from missing homework to the legendary swamp yeti that haunts the school, makes her a special asset to the student body. Enjoy the fun as you help Friday, girl detective, as you read along! Mystery - Grade 3-5.
In PAX by Sara Pennypacker, the reader meets Peter, a young, lonely 13 year old boy, just as he is forced by his father to release his pet fox, Pax. Peter has raised Pax from a young kit when its mother died and since Peter's own mother's death, Pax and Peter have shared a special bond. But now Peter's father is going to war and leaving Peter with his grandfather, where he cannot take Pax. From this point the reader follows two separate stories - one of the young tame fox, trying to survive in the wild, with few skills, and the second, the story of Peter who runs away from his grandfather's home in order to try to find Pax. though he knows that the place he let Pax go is miles from where Peter will start his journey. Two incredible journeys - read to find out if they lead to a reunion. Realistic Fiction - Grade 4-5.
Sweet Home Alaska by Carole Estby Dagg, takes us back to a fascinating chapter in American history when during the Great Depression President Franklin Roosevelt helps struggling families by offering them a "New Deal" chance to settle a new colony in Alaska. Terpsichore's family is barely surviving in a failed mill town in Wisconsin so her father decides they should take the leap to Palmer, Alaska. Though Terpsichore, and her baby brother are thrilled and excited at the chance to be pioneers in a new town in the wilderness, her mother and twin sisters are equally sure they will miss "civilization", good schools and their music lessons. Life in Palmer is not easy, especially as much of what the government promises, like houses and streets, are not ready when the families arrive, but they work hard together and with the other pioneers, and begin to love Palmer. At least Terpsichore, who starts a library and meets great new friends, and her sisters and brothers as well, are all entrenched, but their mother is not as sure. And she is the one who has the power to move the family back to Wisconsin. Read to find out how they settle Palmer and if they stay! Historical Fiction - Grade 4-6.
For their first independent research, kindergarten students used the resource PebbleGo, choosing one polar animal to learn about and take notes on using an "animal checklist" graphic organizer. Students listened to discover if the animal was a mammal, bird, or fish, what it eats, where it lives and one special fact about its body. Next we found a photo of their animal and students used the iPad app Chatterpix, to share one fact. Enjoy Ms. Donovan's pm class videos below, and see the other Kindergarten classes videos on the Kindergarten Student Projects page.
To highlight the engineering design process, now part of our Science Standards, we used a picture book A Snowy Day by Keats, with 5th grade classes, to demonstrate identifying a problem, brainstorming potential solutions, and choosing one problem to solve by planning, creating, testing and modifying. Students worked in groups, choosing from a selection of picture books, and a variety of materials, following the engineering design process through to an inventive solution. Enjoy their creativity!
Take a look at the inventive minds at work:
My Reading List!
I am the Library Media Center director at Patton School in Arlington Heights where I help students from kindergarten through 5th grade find terrific independent reading for enjoyment and information, and teach students the skills to use information and technology safely and productively and to connect, communicate and share with others. I have four grown children, a large black dog, (flat coat retriever) and a small striped cat. I am an obessive Chicago Cubs fan and I love to run.