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Classroom Picks . . . Language Arts

Engage your students in the Language Arts with these Classroom Picks!

This Month's Picks

Ms. Spell
by Ethan Long
Ethan Long, Illustrator

Grades: SECOND

L.2.1, 2, 2c, 2d, 3, 4, 4a, 4b, 4c, 4d, 5, 5a, 6
RF.2.3, 3a, 3b, 3c, 3d, 3e, 3f, 4, 4a, 4c
SL.2.1, 1a, 1b, 1c, 2-4, 6
W.2.3, 5, 8
RL.2.1, 3-7, 10

1. Why do you think author Ethan Long wrote MS. SPELL? What does he want to describe, answer or explain? RL.2-3.1 / SL.2-3.4

2. How do you feel about spelling? Compare and contrast your point of view with those of the characters in Ms. Spell's class. Describe spelling strategies you use when figuring out difficult words and phrases. See if you and a buddy can spell the words on Ms. Spell's list of frequently misspelled words. RL.2-3.6 / RF.2-3.3

3. How does Ethan Long create suspense and humor in the book? RL.2-3.4, 5, 7

4. Create a memory aid for your spelling list. Share with the group. RL.2-3.1, 4 / SL.2-3.4

An unorthodox teacher gives one of the most unforgettable spelling lessons ever in this zany adventure with eye-popping wonders as well as excellent spelling advice.

Poof! There is magic in the air, and readers will need to prepare themselves for some outlandish surprises—especially when Ms. Spell waves her wand to demonstrate the marvels of good grammar. The spelling review gets a bit out of control when a giant chocolate cake, zombie monkeys with laser-shooting eyes and the irate school principal get involved.

Filled with pointers on remembering commonly misspelled words, this rollicking picture book uses comic book format to make spelling less threating and more fun.

Thank You, Miss Doover
by Robin Pulver
Stephanie Roth Sisson, Illustrator

Grades: SECOND

1: RI.4, RI.7, W.5, W.7
2: RL.6, RI.6, W.5, L.2.b
3: RL.6, RL.7, W.5

Miss Doover is teaching Jack's class how to write thank-you notes in this companion to Punctuation Takes a Vacation, Nouns and Verbs Have a Field Day, and Silent Letters Loud and Clear.

Jack knows the perfect recipient for his thank-you note: Great-Aunt Gertie, who gave him boring stationery. But the stationery has other uses: it's come in very handy when housebreaking Puddly, Jack's new puppy! Miss Doover sure has a lot of rules for writing a letter. Jack revises over and over, adding details until Great-Aunt Gertie knows exactly how he's used her special gift. But for some reason his teacher doesn't look too happy. Will his do-over impress Miss Doover?

Need to write a thank you note? Download some stationary here!

400 Animal Sayings a Little Bird Told Me
by Loreen Leedy and Pat Street
Loreen Leedy, Illustrator

Grades: FOURTH

1: RI.4
3: RL.4, RL.7
4: L.5.b
5: RL.4, L.5.a, L.5.b

Hot dog! Pat Street and Loreen Leedy have gone hog-wild with this amusing collection of animal sayings. From lucky ducks to odd ducks to sitting ducks to just plain quacks, this book presents a wealth of sayings alongside fun-filled art bursting with color and energy. Each expression is clearly explained so no reader feels like a silly goose. Readers will go ape over this collection because it really is the cat's pajamas.

The book features six different sections for animals Around the House (dogs, cats, and other pets), On the Farm (domestic animals), In the Wild (animals from field, forest, jungle, and desert), On the Wing (birds and flying insects), Down by the Ground (worms, bugs, and other creeping creatures), and Under the Waves (fish and other aquatic animals), and also includes a letter from the authors, a table of contents, and an index.

The RAVE REVIEWS multiplied like rabbits!

★"Each boldface figure of speech or phase is accompanied by a succinct explanation, making the book useful for classroom enrichment as well as great fun for personal enjoyment. A volume to crow about."—Booklist, starred review

"An authors' note at the beginning explains the different types of sayings, from simile and metaphor to idiom and proverb. This perky little volume . . . will provide substantial browsing pleasure to both animal lovers and children curious about language. The cat's pajamas!"—Kirkus Reviews

"Each spread is as busy as a bee and a beaver, but always clear and inventive in segueing from one phrase to the next. An index of the animals metaphor-ized is appended for . . . curricular usefulness; while you're at it, bring the book down the hall to the adult ESL classes, too.—The Horn Book

"Lively and humorous. Readers . . . will find themselves captivated."—School Library Journal

"A very enlightening collection.—The New York Times Book Review

"Lovers of language will be in hog heaven with this book!—Language Arts

"Children will enjoy the literal illustrations as they learn the figurative meanings. The book is a perfect tool for expanding students' vocabulary and understanding of the English language.—Childhood Education

ALA Notable Children's Book
Bank Street Best Book of the Year
Booklist Editors' Choice
Book Links Lasting Connection
Cuyahoga County Public Library "Children's Books to Read and Own" Pick

Muddy as a Duck Puddle
And Other American Similes
by Laurie Lawlor
Ethan Long, Illustrator

Grades: THIRD

K: RF.1.d
1: RI.4
3: RL.4, RL.7
4: L.5.a, L.5.b
5: RL. 4, L.5.a, L.5.b

Real American similes are brought to life in this laugh-out-loud language arts picture book.
This collection of similes from A to Z is as zany as a chigger chased around a stump. It includes rib-tickling folk expressions from Americans of all walks of life and all parts of the country in a bodacious tribute to both our country's diversity and pioneer heritage. There is a funny simile and uproarious illustration for each letter of the alphabet.
Readers who are as curious as cats will enjoy the fascinating author's note that explores the origins of the expressions. A bibliography is included.