Saturday, November 7, 2015

Diving in Deeper this November - What We're Reading

Ah... November! Here, in the South, our leaves are finally changing in earnest. Fall happens quickly here. Some years we go from green to gone in a matter of a week or ten days. This year, not so much, what with all the rain. And more rain. And rain after that. The TV anchorguy announced the start of the 6AM news yesterday morning with, "Well, it's another crummy day."

On the upside, it's November. We've all survived the September-October push, gotten to know our classes better, and are ready to start tossing the kids a little meat.

With my fifth grade, I'm wrapping up The View from Saturday, with its twining plotlines and oddball connections, which my kids love exploring, and get into:

This is one of my favorite books to teach. It's got a lot to work with, just with the parallel plots and a couple of wicked plot twists. There's a line of dialogue,  spoken by a heartbroken grandpa at the end, that makes me - widely known as the toughest teacher in school - teary eyed every. single. time. Somehow, the kids think that's awesome.

It's also useful to me, as a fifth grade teacher, because we'll work with the universal theme of rejection and acceptance, one that's good for going-to-middle-school kids to explore. My essential question will be, "How can the fear of rejection create unhealthy patterns of behavior?"

I'm going to be pairing this text with a few close-reads, two fiction and one non-fiction:
All Summer in a Day by Ray Bradbury
Chanclas by Sandra  Cisneros
Brown v. BOE by Walter Dean Myers

Here are my book club choices to pair with it:

Well, that's what's up for fifth grade in room 301 this month. I'm still waffling on my fourth grade. I wanted to do The Tiger Rising, but I'm having a hard time putting a finger on a universal theme for it.. I might hit A Wrinkle in  Time in the meantime, and focus on order and chaos as a theme, though sacrificial love's a good one, too. I'm hunting for close reading work for both of them.

So what are the other fab Focused on Fifth collaborators up to?
Find out here!

Have an amazing month! The next three go by in just a blink...take time to enjoy them and your kiddos!


  1. Thanks for the pairing suggestions. Being new to fifth grade, pairing books is one of the hardest things for me. I feel like I am reading like crazy trying to figure out what to use. Such a helpful post.
    The Research Based Classroom

  2. I love how you have paired the novel with your book club offerings. I am guessing that you don't have an anthology you are required to teach from. I so wish I had the time in my schedule to dig as deep as you are with your class. It certainly would be much more meaningful. I struggle to squeeze in a novel between our other required teachings.

    1. I'm lucky! Our district is very anti-textbook for reading and science, because they believe it dumbs down the curriculum and puts focus in the wrong places. At first, it's tough for teachers to figure out how to fill a block, but once you get the hang of it, it's awesome!

  3. Ahh this was such an informative post, Lizzie. Like the others, I am really loving that you included paired reading suggestions. Although these are a bit of a challenge for many of my kids, I have two in mind that might be able to handle these more complex texts. I am adding these to my list of books to check out. Thanks!

    The Organized Plan Book