Week 3 Amazing Summer Reads

Book Suggestions from Mrs. Brown

I have a couple of books that I have read with my daughters so far this summer and both were excellent so I thought I would share.  The first book we read Rules was by Cynthia Lord.  Rules main character is twelve-year-old Catherine. The story tells of how she handles the ups and downs of being an older sister of a brother with special needs and the unexpected friendships she is able to find along the way.  This book pushes the reader to think about how others are feeling and thinking and helps start great discussions on the unique needs of everyone.

The second book we read was by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley, The War that Saved my Life.  This book was realistic fiction set in the 1940’s in England.  There was some tough vocabulary and some back ground historical information we had to discuss throughout the book to ensure my daughters were understanding but both loved the story.  The novel shares the story of two children Ada and Jamie that are evacuated from London during World War II.  My younger daughter was focused on the relationship Ada forms with a horse named Butter.  My older daughter was able to grasp the difficult relationship Ada had with her Mam, back in London and how that impacted her relationship with her new care giver Susan.  It is an inspiring story that I believe many families will enjoy.


Student Book Recommendations

Shannon V.

Title: Witches
Author: Roald Dahl

A boy’s parents have a tragedy . He has to move with his
grandma in Norway. She tells him about how witches can smell kids
from miles away. So he doesn’t take baths for a while so the
witches don’t smell him out because Norway is the main place for
witches to hide . Find out the rest when you read Witches . Thanks
for reading and have a great summer!
You would like this book if you like fantasies and magic!
I rate this book 5 stars!


By Kazu Kibushi

Review by Kiersten V

Amulet is a fantasy and is also a graphic novel. The two main
characters are a girl named Emily and her little brother Navin. One
night Emily, her mom, and her dad were going to pick up Navin. Then
it all started when the car fell down a mountain. Then the dad got
stuck in the car as it fell further down the mountain, he was gone. Two
years later they moved into a new house and as they were cleaning it
Emily found a necklace. Later that night they heard a noise coming from
the basement. So, they went down there to see what it was. Read to find
out what was in the basement and what crazy things happen next. This
book would be recommended for people who like fantasy and 
adventures. I would give this book 5 stars.


JCA Summer Art Exhibition!

Summer Exhibition Poster 2016-3 (1)Come check out the amazing student artwork we have hanging in the JCA!! On display from June-August, we have a wide variety of work from Kindergarten all the way to high school!

Congratulations to our amazing Pinewood artists who help make up this awesome exhibition! Shout-outs to….

Paige from Mrs. Vig’s 1st grade class!

Gabby from Mrs. Miles’ 2nd grade class!

Jocelyn from Mrs. Brower’s 4th grade class!

Sophia from Mrs. Richey’s Kindergarten class!

Make sure to see them while they’re there!

Brain Builders Summer Reading Week 2

Even though I’m working summer is in full swing at my house.  What does that mean; less of a schedule, staying up later, more time outside, and less motivation to do our summer learning.  Our first week of summer learning went great, this week I noticed a little bit less excitement.

Being creative with resources to support learning has helped continue to keep my kids reading, writing, and problem solving.  I know the forty five minutes each day seems like a long time but in reality when I’m looking at my daughter’s days it is only a small fraction and still allows them hours of time to play.  Will things come up and are there days it just doesn’t happen?  Yes that is reality, but making a learning a priority and preparing with resources will help your child maintain their academic skills and have fun trying things they haven’t tried before.

Resources for Upper Elementary Students

I shared many resources for lower elementary students last week, this week my focus will be on resources for upper elementary students.  I believe the best thing we can do for our older students is provide them with a variety of reading material they will be interested in.  The easiest way to do this is through the support of a community library.  Here are the libraries in our area along with their websites to review times they are open and programs they offer:

Local Library Programs:

Georgetown Library

Hudsonville Library

Kent District Library (multiple branches in Kent County)


Beyond the library I highly suggest teaming with neighbors, friends, and extended family members to do book swaps and shares.  Look around your home how many books do you have that your child has already read?  If you grabbed five books and contacted a handful of your child’s friends you could easily do a quick book trade and provide your child with five new reading books at no cost.

Online Resources

Another great resource is online educational websites.  The best site we have available to us is our district JPS elementary media weebly.  The weebly if full of great links that have been researched by elementary staff and have been found safe and educationally valuable.  One of the links is Tumble Books, this is a great online library full of digital books.  Tween Tribune is an online news magazine for kids full of current event articles.  MEL is also linked which is the Michigan eLibrary.  In addition to these great links the website also has links to typing programs and lots more under the extras tab.


-Tumble Books

-Tween Tribune




A few other excellent online resources are listed below.

Discovery Education


National Geographic Kids

Student Book Reviews

This weeks student book reviews are from four third grade students.  They worked in pairs to create these great iMovie trailers.
Joey and Camden made this great video about the book series Wings of Fire.

Wings of Fire





Riley and Addison created this great video about Dork Diaries

Dork Diaries



Brain Builders Summer Reading Week 1

Summer Learning

Happy first week of summer!  If you are like my family and I the whole idea of summer is just starting to sink in.  I have found starting my children in on a summer routine has been a bit of a transition.  Some things that have made it easier has been working to build some structure and consistency into parts of our day.  We choose to have some house hold chores, outside play, and limited television time as part of our normal family summer routine.  Those things work for our family, you and your family probably have areas you prioritize as well.

Another area that is a non-negotiable for us is summer learning.  As an educator I see how hard the students work all year and the progress that they make.  I also see the ones that come back in the fall and have lost so much growth and struggle to get back on track.  The summer slide is a documented issue that affects many students.  Here is a great blog post that gives more information on what the summer slide is and how to help it.

Here is what summer learning looks like for my girls.  We do 15 minutes of reading, math, and writing most week days before any playtime.  This is enough to maintain skills, engage my girls, and not take away much needed free play time.  This isn’t a beautiful crafty poster but here is what my girls and I created together to help organize their days.



This week I will focus on some great easy resources to use for lower elementary summer learning, next week I will focus on upper elementary and web resources.

For reading we searched around the house and found some of the books and papers that had been sent home from school.  We sorted through and made a folder full of resources that can be used during the summer.IMG_5969

We then looked through our games and pulled the ones out that can work on any of our reading or math skills.  If you do not have these games I would take a few minutes to walk through Goodwill or reach out to neighbors or family members with older kids that might have games, flash cards, and activities that they haven’t used in years.


We got a little creative for math grabbing coins from Dad’s coin jar, finding a play clock, and creating our own counting collection of “cool” rocks and random puzzle pieces.  With writing we found some notebooks with blank pages and a dry erase board.  My daughter was very excited to organize all of her materials and set up her summer learning area.  Giving her control over this area and making collecting the materials a fun activity has helped make the battle of summer learning so much easier on both of us.

Student Book Review

Ellie’s Story

By W. Bruce Cameron

Ellie’s story is a heart warming novel that tells the story about a rescue dog and, how they’re trained. Ellie’s trainer Jacob loves Ellie but he is always very sad. Jacob and Ellie find lost kids and, catch criminals. I love this book because it comes from the dog’s point of view. I think people who love dogs  would like this book.


Book review by Kyler W.Screen Shot 2016-06-15 at 12.43.59 PM

Brain Builder Summer Reading 2016

Pinewood students please work on building your brain this summer by participating in our summer reading program.  Take time each day this summer to read from a “just right” book, or news paper, or an online educational resource.  You can read about sports, fantasy, or what is happening in the world, whatever you like as long as you are reading.  Each week this summer I will add a new post to the Pinewoodblog and each will be full of helpful resources, and also feature student book recommendations.

I will start with two book reviews from 3rd grade.  Meredith is sharing about PrankList by Anna Staniszweski.  Here is a brief summary of the book

Rachel Lee never thought she’d fight for the right to clean toilets. But when a rival cleaning business starts stealing her mom’s clients, Rachel will do whatever it takes to save herself the horror of moving to Connecticut—which would mean giving up her almost, sort of boyfriend, her fantastic new pastry classes, and her best friend Marisol.

Selena has recommended Judy Moody by Megan McDonald.  This is a great book series whose main character Judy Moody always makes every situation memorable.

Come back each week to read more book suggestions from Pinewood students.