I Want My Hat Back!

We read I Want My Hat Back today, and here were our initial thoughts:


  •  “Bear! Cause I like being tall and strong!” ~Ivy
  • “Bear because I would be mad too. And if I were a bear, I would eat him.” ~Anthea
  • “I vote for the bear because he got mad because the rabbit took his hat.” ~Alejandra
  • “Team bear because bear wants his hat back and maybe the rabbit knew about the hat but he didn’t want to give it back to the bear.” ~Juan
  • “Team bear because they’re awesome!!! And they’re stronger and faster.” ~Vy
  • “I pick team bear because I would be mad if someone took my hat too and I would want it back.” ~Kyle
  • “I go for team bear. Why? Because they all swim to catch fish.” ~Carlos
  • “I pick team bear because the bear just wanted his hat back and because bears have claws.” ~Frankie
  • “I pick team bear because bears are funny and I like bears so much. But in the book it was funny and the rabbit was too.” ~Vashti
  • I vote for bear because he remembered about his red hat that he knew it was his, he said to the rabbit. That’s why I go for bear because he is smart.” ~Kevin
  • “I want to be on team bunny because it was so funny ’cause bunny had a cool hat. He was just standing there.” ~Jeffrey
  • “Team bear because bears are bigger and better.” ~Antonio (here he included a picture of a bear with his toothy mouth open, saying “BEARS ARE BIGGER AND BETTER”)
  • “I vote for rabbit since he could get revenge in his stomach. Also maybe since rabbits have fur, maybe bear is going to get a hairball. Or rabbit could jump out of bear’s mouth when he put him in his mouth to eat him. Also, rabbit could jump out of bear’s claws or paws. I think bear is a big old jerk because he ate the rabbit just because the rabbit took his hat. If I was bear, I would just say, ‘Can I get my hat back?’ So I’m just saying bear is a big jerk.” ~Eduard
  • Team bear because after the bear ate the rabbit the rabbit was not seen on the book.” ~Vincent


  • “I am team rabbit because he can get revenge in the bear’s stomach. Also he is like me in a way because he is sarcastic like me and funny. He was like, ‘What hat, I haven’t seen a hat, what are you talking about’ and bear is not that bright because he just noticed that the rabbit has his hat.” ~Thessalonia
  • Team rabbit because if the bear ate him he would go to heaven with God.” ~Xochitl
  • Team rabbit because he had the hat but he didn’t know it was bear’s — probably he found it in the floor. I don’t know why bear ate him.” ~Leonel
  • “I vote for team rabbit because he probably did not know whose hat it was and also he was trying not to let the bear know. It was like he was hiding it. I really liked the way he did that.” ~Arianna
  • I pick team rabbit because he did not even know that he was wearing the hat. Well, he did, but he tried to get away with it!” ~Savanah

You can watch the book trailer here:

Ben Franklin myths

We talked today about the idea that Ben Franklin’s famous key and kite experiment was not actually struck by lightning. Instead, he felt a small zap of static electricity that was not enough to harm him, but was enough to prove that lightning was related to electricity.

We talked about the fact that nonfiction means not fake, but you still sometimes need to double check information, especially if the book is old. We then saw the Mythbusters video showing that Ben Franklin’s kite experiment was not quite what it seemed.


Using Reference Material: Poppy

One of the CAFE strategies we learned this week was the comprehension strategy of using reference material. As we were reading Avi’s Poppy, we came across a section where Poppy puts lady slipper petals on her feet and pretends like she’s Ginger Rogers dancing with Fred Astaire.

First we tried the strategy of Back Up and Reread. We reread the section. But no matter how many time we reread the word “lady slippers” or “Ginger Rogers,” we weren’t going to somehow spontaneously understand what those phrases meant by using the clues in the text.

We could have turned to the dictionary or a thesaurus, but in this case, photos and videos from the Internet seemed to fit the bill.

Poppy wears petals from lady slippers to pretend she's a dancer.

Poppy talks about dancing as though she were floating on air. After watching a few videos of Ginger Rogers and Fred Astaire, I think you know what she means.

For more information on our literacy program, visit The Daily Cafe.


The Funny Little Woman

This week, we’ll be studying The Funny Little Woman by Arlene Mosel and Blair Lent. This is another Caldecott winner, although I personally prefer Mosel’s Tikki-Tikki-Tembo.

In the book, the funny little woman makes rice dumplings. If you’re not familiar with rice dumplings, they usually come wrapped in banana leaves and look like this:

Rice Dumplings

Click here to find out how they’re made.

I love getting food from Mee Sum Pastry at Pike Place Market, but I’ve never tried their rice dumplings. I’ll let you know what I think next time I’m downtown!


Our Chapter Read-Aloud

Hi there!

We are continuing to welcome new students to our classroom, and we are getting so much done!

Today, we discussed the many ways to count when we are skip counting. Families, ask your students any multiplication problem involving zero. They are experts at them. :)

We reread Drummer Hoff today, and we practiced reading it chorally as a class as well.

AND!!! We had a chance to read the first chapter of Poppy by Avi. Avi is one of my all-time favorite children’s authors, and he’s extremely versatile. He’s written everything from The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle to Crispin: The Cross of Lead to the Dimwood Forest series, which started with Poppy.

In the first chapter, we meet Poppy and Ragweed, two mice. We also meet Mr. Ocax, who is a horned owl. I mentioned that I’d post a picture of a horned owl here.

Could this be Mr. Ocax's cousin?

I’m still trying to track down a good photo to compare the size of an owl to the size of a mouse. When I find one, I’ll share it with you.

Enjoy your long weekend! See you on Tuesday!


First day!

Oh wow! There are so many thoughts racing through my head today, the first day of school! I have some incredible kids, and I’m so glad we got so much done on our first day together!

This morning, we read Barbara and Ed Emberley’s Caldecott-award winning book Drummer Hoff. One of our goals this year is to read at least half of the Caldecott books. This summer, I finally finished reading all of them myself and discovered books I never knew existed, so I want our class to have a similar goal!

One of my students mentioned the violence of shooting off a cannon. I explained that at the time this book was written (it won the 1968 Caldecott), cannons were really usually used as giant noisemakers rather than weapons of war. I told my class I’d post a clip of the 1812 overture featuring cannons, so here it is:

I love the Boston Pops. Every year, they perform this song with cannons in Washington, D.C. I hope to see it performed in person some day!

Tomorrow, we’ll read Drummer Hoff out loud together — I’ve copied it onto chart paper. Off to visit Mrs. Chan and her new baby!


Lessons from Hatchet

We finished reading Hatchet last week, and although I’m usually more of a My Side of the Mountain kind of girl, my students’ enthusiasm made me enjoy it a ton more this time around. (Also, the student who checked out My Side of the Mountain this week in library — AND is actually reading it — is my current hero)

A few days ago, my partner Toby found this link for us. When Toby was in 5th grade, he wrote a song about Hatchet with his friend Lena. He says he can’t remember all the lyrics, but when he does, I’ll pass them along to you. :) Parents, I screened this article to make sure it was 4th-grade-appropriate! Please enjoy 10 Wilderness Survival Lessons from Hatchet.

You can also read Gary Paulsen‘s introduction to Hatchet and chunks from the story here, at Google Books.

If you’d like to write to Gary Paulsen, his address can be found by clicking on his picture below!

(He looks so serious, doesn’t he? I bet he’d be able to give Man vs. Wild a run for his money!)