Storybook Stem Novels and a FREEBIE

So I really hope you follow me on instagram... because posting a picture is just so much easier than blogging :)

But hey! Did you look around at my new blog design from Megan?!  I love, love, love it! Eventhough my resources are intended for many other grade levels now, I just can't let go of my original blog name with "first grade" in it. It's been with me for about 6 1/2 years soooo it has stuck!

If you are someone who frequents my Facebook or Instagram, then you know that Brooke from Teach Outside the Box have been SO busy the last three weeks or so.  We had lots of interest from readers in expanding our Storybook Stem units to include older learners, specifically 3rd to 5th grade. So Brooke and I looked and gobs of chapter books for a wide range of ability levels. After doing so, we came up with this list of books!

Seriously have you ever seen such a pretty stack of chapter books in your life?!  Imagine all the life lessons contained!  We have now completed Charlotte's Web, Wonder, and Out of My Mind

Each unit contains three STEM challenges and all printable materials needed to dive in deep with your students. Brooke has done such a fantastic job of providing you with vocabulary, planning guides, and much more. 

She has also included Maker Mat options and research opportunities.  We have included a lot of digital options in these units as we know many of our older students have access to technology to demonstrate learning. 
In terms of literacy instruction each unit comes with a color (for digital use) and a bw version chapter guide for comprehension checks.  These questions can also be used to guide class discussions. 

Anchor charts, literacy printables, and writing opportunities are also included!

These novel units have given me the perfect excuse to stick my nose in a book and not emerge for several hours.  I also love being part of a project that combines science and math with  phenomenal literature.  Let Brooke and I know what y'all think! 

I have created a quick freebie to go along with Out of My Mind that you can snag right here! 


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Interactive Notebook Freebie

Hey hey there! I know that many of you are enjoying long and lazy summer days. I also know that many of you are still trucking away in your classrooms and my thoughts are with you! I wanted to give you some extra insight into Rooted in Reading and especially give you an idea of how I set up my interactive notebooks with my students.

If you have NO idea what I am talking about when I say "Rooted in Reading" read THIS POST here to see all about the 2nd grade version.  You can also look at the Bundle or the August unit by itself.  Amy did an amazing job on the previews so we hope that answers a lot of your questions!

If this is your first time using interactive notebooks, having them organized from the beginning can help you avoid a lot of headaches down the line.  Most 8 and 9 yr olds need the extra help with organization (goodness my 34 yr old husband needs a lot of help with organization), and I think these notebooks will be a great way to scaffold this skill!

Step 1: Clearly mark the covers of your notebooks.  We always had several notebooks for different subjects so this helped lessen confusions.  I have included a color and black and white cover that you can print on bright paper if you would like!

Step 2:  Print out tab dividers on Astrobright paper AND laminate.  I promise the laminating step is key to having these bad boys last!

Step 3:  After cutting dividers out use clear packing tape to put your dividers into your notebooks. The order I chose was Anchor Charts, Comprehension Activities, Vocabulary Words, Daily Deep Dive, and Grammar. Before doing this you will want to think about how long you want to use the notebooks.  I personally liked a notebook per semester so I would put enough pages between each divider to get me through the semester!  I also suggest lining up the tabs so only the bold words stick out the side- cover up the cursive word with the clear tape.  If you are using a standard size composition notebook AND all five tabs, you will also need to overlap them a little!

Step 4:  Glue in the book list to the inside of the notebook on the first page.  Either one or two copies depending on how many books you plan on covering using this book.  I LOVE this addition because I think students will love looking back over the list of books that they have so lovingly studied this year.  I also think the genre column is a key component for test-taking skills!

You can find all the materials I used in a freebie found in my store Here!  If you have other great ideas for setting up notebooks, we would love to hear them!  If you are on instagram use our hashtag "RootedinReading3rd" and Amy and I will definitely check you out!

Phew now that we have those kids all set up, we can talk about YOU- the teacher!  My personal favorite way to store my units is in binders.  I spent a couple hours one morning and printed all four weeks of August out.  I went a head and laminated my anchor charts and prepped the nonfiction mini-readers so the students can see an example.  Don't they look pretty?!?!

We even have binder spines for each books so you can feel extra organized!

You can find everything you need for organizing your teacher binders in the freebie below from Amy! 

Other Blog posts you may want to check out to learn more about Rooted in Reading:


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3rd Grade Rooted in Reading Book List

Guys.... it's time!  3rd Grade Rooted in Reading is coming your way.

Amy and I have read a gajillion picture books over the past few weeks in search of the VERY BEST literature for your 3rd graders.  Thanks to Amazon Prime we've had several books delivered to us daily {#booksuponbooksuponbooks}.

Some were great.  Some were NOT.  You see... we needed FORTY books... FORTY books that were wonderful, deep, and engaging.  FORTY books that would captivate your students.  FORTY books that would help your students find new authors, characters, and storylines to love.  FORTY books to make some of your readers fall in love with reading again.

And, y'all, I think we did it.  We've got a collection of books that are diverse, from different genres, and set in different time periods.  We've got FORTY of the most beautiful stories you ever will read!  Are you ready for it???

Are you in love yet???  Because we are already so attached to all of these great reads!

Without further adieu, here are the books for each month...











All of the books above are linked to Amazon.  We are in no way saying they have the best prices.  We are just obsessed with Amazon Prime because we like fast delivery, ha!  Here's what we suggest... Print out the 3rd Grade Book List that you can find {HERE}.  Take it with you when you go to Half Price Books, garage sales, your friend's house, etc.  Collect books as you find them, beg for books from neighbors, heck... take the list to your principal and see if they are willing to buy the collection!

Click Below to grab a printable list off of TpT.  We will be adding an overview of skills in a couple of months.  In the document you will also find unit release dates and the genres included!
Our August unit will be released in May so that you can have it waaaaaayyyy before back to school!
We hope that you enjoy all of these charming picture books as much as we do!

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ALL things Basketball with freebies!

Are you a basketball fan?  We definitely are in my house, but I also know that my students were all gaga about basketball too.  I am a huge advocate of tapping into what kids are into and taking advantage of that excitement.  My personal kids wanted to learn more about the schools that are in the Sweet Sixteen so I made this ABC order.   

Not too long after I started working on this ABC Order I received a request from Emmie's teacher for a few centers.  So voila!  Here they are!  Okay, really there was no voila.  More like 2 1/2 days of nonstop work! HA!

These centers are a combination of challenge/review to get those kids ready for end of the year assessments.  I also have to say that aesthetically they are some of my favorites yet!

For Math:
Money to Five Dollars
Multistep Word Problems
Time to Five Minutes
3D shapes

I am very aware that a couple of these centers are above what is expected of 2nd grade.  I marked 2nd/3rd on TPT for a reason.  These are definitely meant to stretch your on grade level to above grade level students.  You know your students best and you know what they are ready for!

For ELA:

Genre Sort 
Parts of Speech in the sentence
BBall Vocabulary
Ending Phonics Patterns (-ble, -dle, -tle)

The Basketball Centers are on sale for HALF off until Friday morning!

You know I can't write a blog post and NOT give you book recommendations.
Have you read Salt in His Shoes {affiliate Link}?  It is one of my favorite books about perseverance.  Kids love Michael Jordan (especially if you show them MJ's TOP 10 dunks on Youtube).

I also LOVE the book Basketball Belles.  It is a fantastic book on its own, but especially relevant during Women's History Month! You can find lesson plans for Basketball Belles HERE.

You can even see a SUPER fast snippet of Storybook STEM in action from Chloe's awesome class. So cute!

You can find a FULL week's worth of lesson plans for Salt in His Shoes HERE!  Amy also has this fantastic graphing freebie for a whole class lesson below.  You can can snag that by clicking on the picture!


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Happy Birthday Dr. Seuss!

If you follow me on instagram ( queenof1stjungle) then you know that I am currently mentoring two first graders.  One of my sweeties requested that I visit and have lunch with him this Friday.  I thought it would be a good idea to bring them a little treat for Dr. Seuss' birthday!  I know that the parents in his class do the very best that they can, but aren't able to come to the classroom much or bring treats. I'm always looking for a reason to scratch my creative side :) 

I saw these Vanilla Vanilla Fingers and thought they would be perfect little Loraxes!  I just added edible eyes and yellow frosting mustaches.  Super easy and so cute!

I am also going to take this little basket of goodies for them. I don't know that there is a better gift to give than a picture book (and dollar spot Seuss stickers and pencils to round off the basket!).

Speaking of which did you see this at Target?  It is a fantastic little book with a pretty simple text that would be great for 1st and 2nd graders!  I picked up two because of course I need one for my personal library!

I also volunteered to make a snack for Emmie's class and she requested Horton Hears a Who.  I think this is my first time attempting cake pops too!

They turned out really well but goodness they are time consuming!  I made the cakes and shaped the balls yesterday, but the Pinterest link I used suggested leaving them in the fridge over night.  So I dipped them in the candy coating this morning.  I added the little pearl before the coating dried.  This is the perfect little snack for Horton!

I am going to leave you with this gorgeous sight!  How many of you drooled over this sight in Target?  I think I already have EVERY.SINGLE.ONE of them, but I still had to walk quickly past so four or five didn't jump in my cart!

I'll leave you all with my favorite Dr. Seuss quote! 


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Teaching Kids Perseverance through Picture Books

I am not a parenting expert by any means, but I am a momma to three (Nash 9, Emmie 7, and Smith almost 2) and a LOVER of picture books.  I know that one of the hardest things to do as an adult is watch the children you love,  your offspring or your students, struggle.  We want them to succeed so badly that sometimes we are tempted to let them bypass the hard parts by too much extra help renegotiating, or letting them quit if they get frustrated.  Yes, there are kids who naturally do things easier, BUT there is no person in the history of forever who has never struggled to do something.  

Here is an image I found on Pinterest (with no link boo), but this really resonated with me.  Some of the most successful people in the world have been rejected or failed over and over again. 

I think the following quote is true for both educators and their students.  I constantly look back at my first year teaching and wonder how my kids learned anything :).  But that's the thing, I changed and I grew and I did better.  
(I think that would be a great example to use with your students by the way!)

If we are just teaching kids straight content, we are missing HUGE opportunities to prepare them for the future.  Picture books serve as amazing vessels to show kids success stories of characters and real-life people who faced challenges. Side Note- I do think it is important to show both regular day challenges AND huge, famous people challenges!  They need to be able to apply the lessons to themselves not just to the famous people!

As a mom to a perfectionist, I have had to address failure with my daughter over and over again.  She takes every little criticism to heart and so often only hears the negative.  I tell her again and again that no one is expected to be perfect- that her failures only better prepare her for the next challenge.

With all of this in mind, I have rounded up ten of my favorite books that teach students how to persevere.  This list does include affiliate links, but you can find these books in other stores as well.

1.  Mia Hamm: Winners Never Quit: Mia Hamm is one of the world's most well known female soccer players. Hamm tells us a story from her childhood when she attempted to quit the game every time she messed up.  Hamm also takes this opportunity to highlight the importance of teamwork over personal successes.  This story is extremely relatable to young readers as many of them dabble in recreational sports. 

2.  Rosie Revere Engineer: If you are a follower of mine then you know that Amy and I included this book in March Rooted in Reading because we were so impressed by it.  Rosie is a creative and ambitious young girl.  She eventually becomes discouraged when people laugh at her inventions.  Her spunky Aunt Rose helps her find the courage to keep pushing toward her dreams.  My favorite part of this book is this line here "Life might have its failures, but this was not it.  The only true failure can come if you quit."

3.  Salt in His Shoes: This story of Michael Jordan is a powerful one.  When I taught this book and unit with my second graders, I first showed them a highlight reel from Youtube so that they understood just how amazing Michael's Jordan's athletic ability was. The picture book tells us of a story from Michael's youth when he was picked on for his size and mistakes on the basketball court.  Michael continued to work hard and eventually scores the winning point for his team.  You can find resources for this book Here

4. Akiak: A Tale from the Iditarod:  Kids are immediately enthralled by this Iditarod Tale.  It is something so unknown to them (the travel without a car, the extreme cold, the length of time) that they can't help but drop their mouths wide open.  Akiak has the kids cheering her own throughout the whole book! Link to some engaging activities to use with this book.

5. Catching the Moon: Marcenia has big dreams of becoming a professional baseball player one day. There is only one problem.  As her parents state the girls from her neighborhood only grow up to be teachers, nurses, or maids. At first even her parents don't want Marcenia to pursue her ballplayer dreams, but then a manager from the St. Louis Cardinals gifts her with a pair of cleats so that she can attend his summer camp.  Keep reading through the Afterword so that you learn details of Marcenia Lyle's real life success. This book is also included in April Rooted in Reading

6.  Koala Lou:  Koala Lou starts her journey seeking attention from her overworked momma koala.  She practices day in and day out to win the tree climbing race in front of cheering crowds so that her mom will notice her again.  Koala Lou ultimately loses the race, but realizes that she doesn't need the trophy to have her mother's love.  

7. Leo the Late Bloomer:  I probably say this about fifty different books, but THIS is definitely one of my favorite books. I read it on the first day of school for ten years straight.  Text wise the book is very simple and the reader gains most of the information from the illustrations. Leo the lion starts out not being able to do anything very well and his parents are very worried.  By the end of the book, Leo BLOOMS, and he and his parents rejoice. This book provides the perfect opportunity to talk about learning at different rates and how excited Mrs. King would be to be a part of their journey towards blooming this year.  *If it is any clue as to how much I used to reference this book, I had a student write me the sweetest note at the end of one year telling me how excited he was that he finally "bloomed just like Leo."

8. Me...Jane: Jane Goodall, one of the world's leading scientists, always had dreams of the jungle!  This beautifully illustrated book focuses on those dreams and how one day they became a reality.  I love the way that this story is written because it just seems to have a way of telling kids that their goals are important.  I also love how the ending switches from illustrations to a photograph of Jane with a chimpanzee! Here are some activities that focus on the craft of the writing in addition to the lessons learned.

9.  Thank you, Mr. Falker:  This book also available on Storyline Online takes a peek at a struggling reader who is helped greatly by her teacher.  Get ready teachers, you will most likely shed a few tears on this one! The wonderful surprise ending lets students in on the fact that the "struggling reader" is actually the author, Patricia Polacco herself. 

10. Emmanuel's Dream:  And last but not least, a relatively new book to me, Emmanuel's Dream!  Emmanuel is born in Ghana with only one functioning leg.  He faces MANY hardships in life that would have caused any people to give up, but Emmanuel doesn't give up.  In fact, he sets out on a journey to show the world that disabled people are still capable of doing amazing things in life. 

A couple of weeks ago Amy and I finished a Special Edition: Rooted in Reading unit for Emmanuel's Dream!  There is so much goodness is this book that we thought significant time could be sent digging into it!

I hope you found at least one new book to use in your classroom!  I truly believe that the FUTURE of the world is in our classroom.  I know that teachers can handle that challenge!


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