If you Decide to Go to the Moon

We have been reading If you Decide to Go to the Moon, written by Faith McNulty and illustrated by Steven Kellogg. It begins: If you decide to go to the moon in your own rocket ship, read this book before you start.


We are taken on a journey (on a rocket ship ūüôā ) to the moon and back and learn all kinds of cool things about travelling in space and important facts about the moon along the way.

We represented our learning with large space pictures including stars, rockets and the sun.


Facts and questions about the moon were included as fact craters or question craters and glued onto our pictures (inside the moons).

Some key facts we learned today?

  • there is no water on the moon
  • there is no sound on the moon because there is no air to carry sound waves
  • the moon is scorching from the sun’s heat or freezing when out of the sun’s heat
  • the moon has no light
  • the moon is covered in dust
  • craters on the moon are holes made by meteors that have landed on the moon throughout time

art 2

We also learned some pretty neat things about what it is like for astronauts to travel to the moon. Did you know it takes two and a half days to get there (by rocket)? Many people think it would be fun to try and walk on the moon where there is such little gravity. We found it fascinating that astronauts’ footprints stay on the moon forever because there is no wind or rain to wear them away. Most of all though, everyone wanted to look back to Earth from the moon and see what it would look like. Maybe some of us are future astronauts and will get that opportunity . . . .?

A fantastic book as an introduction to the moon and space travel.

Courage to Fly

This week I read Troon Harrison’s picture book Courage to Fly to our Reading group. We continue to practice actively using the comprehension strategies we have been taught in Reading Power lessons: making connections, visualizing, asking questions and inferring while we listen to stories. Students loved this beautifully illustrated book (Zhong-Yang Huang is the illustrator) about Meg, an anxious and lonely little girl in a big city in a brand new country.


Meg finds a tiny swallow that was brought down in a snowstorm. She nurses it back to health and then begins to wonder if she should set it free. She is reluctant to do so Рbut is encouraged to give the bird its chance to fly. Who really finds the courage to fly?  By the end of the book, we were convinced that Meg had been transformed by her experience and that after taking a risk to let the bird go free, could find the courage to open up her heart to new friendships.

Some thoughts from the students:

I think New York is not a great place for Meg (Ricky)

Why is Meg so shy? Is she lonely? Is she scared of the snow? (Truman)

I think the old man is also trying to tell Meg to find courage. (Jena)

I think the message of the book is to let things be free (Jenny)

Meg gets the courage to be free! (Josiah)

Birds and children must have been on my mind this week when I took my children to the public library – I found two more books involving a child and a hurt bird that needed to be cared for. So much learning happens from these experiences. Lovely stories that touch on the themes of hope, courage, relationships, perseverance, transformation, freedom . . .


Martha is¬†Gennady Spirin’s story about his own son Ilya who discovered a crow with a broken wing. The veterinarian insisted the bird should be put to sleep as it would never fly. Ilya convinced his parents otherwise and the crow they named Martha made her home with the family. Eventually Martha surprised them all and flew again. Is she the bird that returns the next year and nests in their tree?

fly pigeon fly

Fly, Pigeon, Fly! is coauthored by John Henderson and Julia Donaldson and illustrated by Thomas Docherty. Set in Glasgow, this is the story of a young boy who discovers a half-starved pigeon in a run down warehouse and takes him home to care for him. The pigeon recovers but the boy cannot bear to set him free. The relationships between the boy and the bird and the boy and his Da are gently explored. In a lovely way, as the boy is able to let the pigeon go, his connection to his Da becomes stronger.

Exploring unique animal relationships

We have been reading this fantastic book by Steve Jenkins and Robin Page called How to Clean a Hippopotamus and are learning all about symbiotic relationships – today we read about the oxpecker, also known as a tickbird and how it hangs out with some pretty large animals doing a very important job.

We drew some pictures of what we learned today and tried to explain how all the animals in a symbiotic relationship benefit.

Gary explains: The giraffe lets the oxpecker on its back because the oxpecker eats the parasite ¬†and the oxpecker warns the giraffe when the giraffe predator is near! The oxpecker likes to go on to the giraffe’s back because it eats the parasites.

Ricky writes: The oxpecker is a really nice bird. ¬†It eats ticks from the giraffe. ¬†Ticks are small small parasites that use your body as a home. ¬†But ticks don’t go only on giraffes! They go on rhinos, buffalos, zebras, giraffes and deers. ¬†So the oxpecker can have lots of food. ¬†These animals can’t get the ticks out of their body because they’re not like us. ¬†So the oxpecker can help by eating. These are African animals.

Scott explains: The oxpecker helps the giraffe by eating the parasites.  Also they scream and flap their wings to warn the giraffe so the giraffe could run away or kick predators with their legs.  Because the oxpecker loves eating parasites, it spends time on large animals.   Scott also provided some definitions: A parasite lives on a host.  They are annoying.  A tick is a parasite.  A predator means that they hunt animals.  They hunt them so they could eat them.

We can’t wait to read about more unique animal relationships in this book!