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July 22, 2019

A Big List of ALL the Novels I Read

Switching grades is hard.  I mean, there are some perks to it when you already know some of the same kids going into the next year, but switching classrooms, standards, materials, activities, and all the novels - well, that was the tricky part.  

I had gotten attached to the novels that I would always read with my fourth graders.  Books have always been special to me and saying goodbye to some of them was really really hard.  But since we read so many of them as a grade level, it's not like I could just take them with me to do the next year...  

That just wouldn't work.  

So before I dive into my new fifth grade novels, let's take a moment of silence for the memory of my fourth grade favorites:
*Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing
*The One and Only Ivan
*Charlotte's Web (this has since moved to 3rd grade)
*Island of the Blue Dolphins (tied into our CA Native American unit)
*By the Great Horn Spoon (tied into our Gold rush unit)
*What Was the Gold Rush
*Percy Jackson (tied into out Mythology unit)
*Stone Fox 
*Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
*Who Was Milton Hershey
*Chocolate Touch
*Chocolate Fever
*Lemonade War (tied into our Business/Money unit)

Now, onto some NEW favorites in fifth grade.  I really really LOVE reading novels with my students.  We can have some great conversations about them, and they are (in my opinion) so much more engaged in them than using basals.  It's also a way to teach our history through novels, so that's what we do.  When I switched grades, I bugged my new teammates about the class sets they already read, and then tried to get another set for myself.  Thank you Scholastic books, Donors Choose, my colleagues for sharing, our school library, and definitely Mrs. H. for the stacks of books you left behind.  It has really helped.  

Here is what's in my cabinet:

*Frindle - great novel to start the year.  Our focus is on learning the meanings of unknown words
*Wonder - we read this just as a read aloud and to have class discussions - this is our beginning of the year, right after lunch book
*Indian in the Cupboard - ties into our Native American study
*Tuck Everlasting - all about that fantasy (after so much Realistic Fiction it's good to switch it up)
*BFG - great for figurative language
*Long Walk to Water - read aloud - great to compare characters
*Blood on the River - I start it as we are finishing up Explorers and heading into Colonial times
*Hatchet - all about survival, great for character development and growth
*Rules - great reminder about empathy - my January, right after break book
*Woods Runner - our start to the American Revolution, same author as Hatchet, we do an author study for comparison of the books.  We have two SS units that deal with the Revolution - the causes and the actual war itself, so lots of books during that time of the year that helps give students more context
*Holes - I read this during the American Revolution to compare the freedom America was fighting for with the characters in the story and their lack of freedom.  It has led to some big class discussions.  
*I Survived the American Revolution - they LOVE I Survived Books, they are so engaging and they can make connections PLUS there is a great Scholastic webcast. 
*George Washington Spy - short read aloud, gives insight to the spies of the Revolution
*What was the Boston Tea Party - we focus on non-fiction text features
*What was the Declaration of Independence - focus is on those non-fiction strategies - the beginnings of unity and government
*Chains - Book Club project - kid choice - great book to talk about slavery during that time period
*Sophia's War - Book Club project - kids choose this or above, they work together in groups to spiral review all the comprehension strategies and skills over 6 weeks - this book is great to talk more about women's roles as spies during the Revolution
*Ben and Me - short read aloud about inventions of Ben Franklin
*Electric Ben - kids work in partners to create newspapers based on the information they learn from this nonfiction 
*I am Malala - great to use with our government unit
*Westing Game - it's a murder mystery, fun way to end the year

Yep, lots of books.  Most novels we read 1-2 chapters a day and finish within 3 weeks.  That's with having a daily focus and doing different activities with the books.  Sometimes we have a second book going as a read aloud right after lunch (like Wonder, Long Walk to Water, Rules...)  If a book is really heavy, then I portion what we read, and balance it with a lighter book later on in the day.  Sometimes we have 3 books going at a time - like if we have a read aloud, novel study, and a non-fiction project happening during SS time.  The kids can handle it.  It's a wonderful way to tie the books together, to learn more about different characters, different character traits, different plot lines, etc...  

Hope this helps someone!

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