Posts tagged ‘community’

10. Come On, Rain! by Karen Hesse

come on rainRetell: A young girl anticipates the long awaited thunderstorms that will cool down the humid city she lives in.

Topics: heat, rain, family, summer, cities, thunderstorms

Units of Study: personal narrative, poetry

Reading Skills: envisionment, making connections

Writing Skills: including similes, using active verbs, personification, alliteration

My Thoughts: This book makes me wish it was more humid outside right now.  Every New Yorker without air conditioning will be able to relate to this book.  I love how Hesse uses poetic devices throughout this small moment story, making it a nice mentor text for personal narrative or poetry unit.  She includes personification:  “The smell of hot tar and garbage bullies the air…”  There is alliteration and assonance:  “The first drops plop down big, making dust dance all around us.”  Hesse teaches young writers to slow down and zoom in on ordinary moments.

July 6, 2009 at 9:22 am Leave a comment

5. The Girl Who Lost Her Smile by Karim Alrawi

the girl who lost her smileRetell: One day in Baghdad a girl named Jehan loses her smile.  Her father searches the world for someone who will help his daughter find her smile.

Topics: Baghdad, art, folk tales

Units of Study: Fantasy, Creating Community, Geography

Tribes: Personal Best, Mutual Respect

Reading Skills: envisionment, making connections, prediction

My Thoughts: This is a very quick read aloud which could be good for discussing the expectation of doing one’s personal best and the satisfaction it brings.  Throughout the book Jehan’s father brings her the most beautiful art in the world to cheer her up.  However, it is not until she participates in the arduous process of making a wall gleam that she finally finds her smile.  It woule be nice to use this as a community building mentor text.  We can discuss how Jehan’s family did their best to cheer her up and how we should try and give our friends encouragement and help them find their smiles when they are down.  Her father brings art from around the world to cheer her up.  I could see asking students to find those places on a world map to practice their geography skills.

July 1, 2009 at 9:14 am 2 comments

3. Uptown by Bryan Collier

uptownRetell: A young boy writes about his observations of Harlem.

Topics: neighborhoods, Harlem, community

Units of Study: Personal Narratives, Geography of New York

Reading Skills: envisionment

Writing Skills: writing small moments, including setting details, writing metaphors and similes

My Thoughts: This beautiful book shows that writers observe the world around them.  Each observation is something that can turn into powerful writing.  I plan on using this book as a mentor text for teaching about metaphors and similes.  Collier writes, “Uptown is a caterpillar.  Well, it’s really the Metro-North train as it eases over the Harlem River.”  Though my students don’t live in Harlem, I’m hoping that reading this book together will show them that they need to share their world with others through writing.  The world needs more books about Sunset Park, Brooklyn!  For 4th grade teachers in New York, I can see using this book during a Geography unit.  Perhaps after reading Uptown, students could locate the landmarks in the book on a subway map.

June 29, 2009 at 12:00 pm Leave a comment

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