103. Steam, Smoke, and Steel: Back in Time with Trains by Patrick O’Brien
Topics: trains, generations, generators, steam engines, family
Units of Study: Nonfiction, Content-Area
Reading Skills: envisionment, monitoring for sense, determining importance, reading diagrams
My Thoughts: Though I probably won’t have time to teach a unit on industrialization this year, I think I will just have to insert this book into my read aloud plans anyway. Though my class isn’t studying trains at the moment, we are doing a unit in Math called, “Ages and Timelines”. During the introduction to the unit, students had a difficult time understanding the concept of a ‘great-great grandparent’. Steam, Smoke and Steel could be a book to help them understand this concept. The main character comes from a family of train engineers. As he looks back on his family’s history, the reader learns about trains from the past. His father drives a modern locomotive. His grandfather drove a diesel-electric locomotive. His great-grandmother drove a steam locomotive…you get the point.
Yesterday I attended a Social Studies workshop at Teacher’s College, and I’ve become very excited about time lines (I should probably get out more). In their workshop, Shana Frazin and Kathleen Tolan suggested that teachers should have moveable time lines in their classrooms. Students and teachers can add important events and visuals to the time line. After reading Steam, Smoke and Steel I think I may post pictures of the trains and the characters (the boy, the father, the grandfather, the great-grandmother, the great-great grandfather, etc.) in the book on the timeline. Doing this I think will help enrich students’ understanding of generations and time periods.
Now I just have to find space in my classroom…
Entry filed under: Male authors, nonfiction, Picture Books. Tags: content-area, determining importance, diagrams, engineers, envisionment, family, generations, generators, monitoring for sense, nonfiction, steam engines, time lines, trains.