All posts in 4) Grade 3-5

Art Competitions for Kids and Teens

Art Competitions for Kids and Teens

Part of the advice that I received from our art school private college counselor, Jeanette Nyberg of Tiny Rotten Peanuts blog, is to win art competitions as a way of building your art portfolio. Of course, the first step is finding art competitions to enter (and have enough notice so as not to miss the submission deadline).

Art Competitions for Kids and Teens

Scholastic Art and Writing Awards

Scholastic Art and Writing Read more…

Five Books to Get Your Young Gamer Reading

Five Books to Get Your Young Gamer Reading & GIVEAWAY!

My son and I LOVED the Max Finder by Liam O’Donnell graphic novel mystery series when he was in first and second grade. These short mysteries were HARD to figure out; sometimes the two of us would be right, sometimes we missed the mark entirely. But, Liam’s books worked beautifully to keep my son reading and wanting more.

Now, he has a new series that is honestly sheer genius! A chapter book series based on MINECRAFT! My son is a serious gamer — he actually went to Minecraft camp not once but twice! — and my husband and I work hard but futilely to keep his screen time down to two hours a day. Our policing job is going to get easier!

Please welcome my guest post author today, Liam O’Donnell! Read more…

My best post of 2014

Top 5 Posts of 2014 Countdown: #1

Thanks for your patience with our countdown! MaryAnne of MamaSmiles and I are counting down our Top 5 Posts of 2014 and we are down to our number one post!

My number one post for 2014 is …

10 Perfect Read Aloud Books for 3rd Grade with 36,212 views.

I met Colby Sharp, co-founder of The Nerdy Book Club, last year at an author dinner for Anne Ursu in Boston and then again at The Nerdy Book Club meet up. He’s a teacher in rural Michigan where kids don’t own any books and he had moved grades to teach 3rd grade. My son was in third grade at the time, and we bonded over our love of perfect chapter books for third grade. As we listed our favorites, we noticed with delight that they were the same. Hence, this post was born!

Read more…

Top 3 Post of 2014 MamaSmiles PragmaticMom

Top 5 Posts of 2014 Countdown: #3

MamaSmiles and I are counting down our Top 5 Posts of 2014!  We hope you are enjoying our countdown as we wind the year down! What are your plans for the New Year?

My #3 post is Newbery Winners by Grade Appropriateness! with 16,684 views for the year.

The impetus for this post is also the reason why I started blogging. Because my favorite chapter book in the whole world is Because of Winn Dixie by Kate DiCamillo, I handed my oldest, then in third grade, another award winning book, Tiger Rising without reading it first. Oops! It was way too depressing. Thus, I learned the hard way that even Newbery books need to be screened. I also update this post as I read the books.

Read more…

Top 4 Post of 2014

Top 5 Posts of 2014 Countdown: #4

MaryAnne of MamaSmiles and I are counting down our top 5 posts of 2014 together. Why? It’s fun to see what jives on different-yet-similar blogs. The year end is also a time of celebration and rejuvenation for another year of blogging. And I would argue that a blogging year should be counted like dog years!

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Top 5 Post of 2014 MamaSmiles and PragmaticMom

Top 5 Posts of 2014 Countdown: #5

I’m counting down my Top 5 Posts of 2014 with MaryAnne of MamaSmiles. I was fortunate to be able to meet with her a few times when she still lived in Massachusetts and I was able to see her once this past year in Calfornia at a blogging workshop for Multicultural Kids Blogs. I love her blog on joyful parenting and no one helps me to focus on gratitude more than she!

I hope you enjoy our countdown together! Read more…

10 perfect read alouds for 5th grade

10 Perfect Read Alouds for 5th Grade

Fifth grade was a busy year for Grasshopper and Sensei and PickyPidPix. The year focused on getting them ready for Middle School both academically, socially and emotionally. Some of the highlights that my kids remembered included a Sharon Creech author study which they unfortunately don’t do anymore due to increased demands from Common Core, Holocaust, and a lot of science. I remember the science of weather being particularly in-depth.

There were books that they loved and discovered that year too! PickyKidPix’s studied SeedFolks and when the teacher omitted two of the stories due to mature content, she searched it out at the public library to read the censored content. We met Sharon Draper that year too who was here on behalf of Understanding Our Differences.

Puberty and anxiety around changing also marked 5th grade and there was no way to win; it was either too slow or too fast or too annoying. Coming of age for girls is a difficult time so we used books as a way to tiptoe and explore the drama that is a part of growing up.

This list is a walk down memory lane for me, as books often are. It includes books I read with my kids, books my kid were read to at school, books they loved and wanted me to read to blog on, and even a book I loved as a fifth grader.

What are your memories of 5th grade either for your kids or yourself? Are there any favorite books you recall as you go down memory lane too? Please share! Read more…

Zoomer Dino Toy for Dino Obsessed Kids Like Mine

Zoomer Dino Toy for Dino Obsessed Kids Like Mine

My son and I were waiting at the hospital to get an MRI scan for a bump on his neck that has persisted for about a month. It turns out that he will need surgery to remove what the MRI revealed to be a kind of cyst that mysterious popped up.

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My son’s mysterious cyst that popped up on the left side of his neck.

While we were waiting for our turn to be called, my son snatched a National Geographic Magazine with a Spinosaurus on the cover and an intriguing headline that the Spinosaurus could beat a T-Rex. Read more…

10 Perfect Read Alouds for 4th Grade

10 Perfect Read Alouds for 4th Grade

Fourth grade at my elementary school marks a really interesting immigration unit that introduced my kids to their first group project experience. They learned, the hard way, about freeloaders but the end result was a “Wax Museum” where each child played a wax statue that, when prompted by dropping in a fake coin in a bucket, recited a speech about life as a new immigrant. Each group chose a different country to emigrate from that included Poland, Ireland, Italy, China, Japan and more.  They also created a Wax Museum display bulletin board that talked about the immigrant experience from their country. What was most noticeable was how every, single group talked about the racism and prejudice they faced upon coming to America.

It seems that in fourth grade, kids are starting to really develop empathy skills so historical fiction about immigration or the mistreatment of dogs moves them deeply. I’ve included the books that my kids remember reading as part of a classroom assignment or as a read aloud in 4th grade and added a few of my favorites. My son just started 4th grade this year, so I will keep track of his classroom read alouds and will add them to this list all year.

Please share your ideas for 4th grade read alouds. Thank you! Read more…