Posts tagged ‘friendship’
Topics: pets, presidents, fun, friendship, dogs, Obama, Bo, family
Units of Study: Nonfiction, Content Area
Reading Skills: synthesis, making connections, interpretation
Writing Skills: developing voice in nonfiction
My Thoughts: I picked this book up a few days ago at our school’s book fair. I have a lot of animal lovers in my class who only read nonfiction about animals. This book combines an interest in animals with an interest in presidential history and current events. It’s a nice book for demonstrating how readers can often get distracted by seductive details but must work constantly to think about what the author is trying to say about the topic.
Retell: A mouse named Amos and a whale named Boris become friends after Boris saves Amos from drowning. When he is returned to land Amos vows to help Boris if he’s ever in need. Many years later Boris finds himself washed up on the very beach where Amos lives. Though he is but a tiny mouse, Amos makes good on his promise.
Topics: ocean, adventures, survival, help, mammals, friendship, goodbyes, relationships
Units of Study: Character, Talking and Writing About Texts
Tribes: mutual respect, personal best
Reading Skills: interpretation, prediction, monitoring for sense, envisionment
My Thoughts: This story is so heartwarming that you may have to have a box of tissues ready for the end of the read aloud. Steig’s illustrations are so simple, yet he has a great way of expressing emotion. Often there is a lot more going on in the text than in the illustrations. When reading this book aloud, it’s important to show how readers must envision even when illustrations are present.
Retell: Masako is a Japanese-American who moves to Japan after spending her childhood in America. Adjusting to life in Japan is rough for Masako. She must repeat high school in order to learn Japanese, her classmates call her gaijin (a derogatory word for ‘foreigner’), and she must learn how to be a proper Japanese lady. One day she boards a bus for Osaka and finds work, a companion and a cure for her homesickness.
Topics: English, Japanese-Americans, homesickness, culture shock, matchmaking, individuality
Units of Study: Character, Social Issues, Personal Narrative, Memoir
Tribes: right to pass
Habits of Mind: taking responsible risks, thinking flexibly
Reading Skills: inference, interpretation, prediction, empathy
My Thoughts: I especially enjoy Tea With Milk because I have a personal connection to this book. I taught English for three years in a rural village in Japan. I can relate to May and her struggle to get used to sitting on the floor (women are expected to sit on their knees–it’s considered rude to sit cross-legged) and missing comfort foods. When I read this book I thought of my students who often visit the countries where their parents are from and experience an identity crisis similar to the one that May faced. I hope that this book inspires them to write their stories. Though this is technically a personal narrative (the main character was the author’s mother) you could angle this to fit in many different units including the current Character unit. It’s particularly useful for modeling how readers notice subtle changes in a character.
Retell: Allie wants to be a star basketball player like her cousin Gwen. After receiving a brand-new basketball from her father, she gives it a test run at the neighborhood playground. She soon finds out that not everyone is willing to accept a girl on the court.
Topics: basketball, gender issues, friendship
Units of Study: Character, Social Issues, Talking and Writing About Texts, Realistic Fiction
Tribes: mutual respect, personal best, right to pass
Habits of Mind: persisting
Reading Skills: inference, interpretation, making connections
Writing Skills: planning a story across 2-3 scenes
My Thoughts: This book is a great read aloud for so many different units. It’s a particularly good text to read during the Social Issues unit. It’s nice to read this book before or after reading other books that deal with gender issues such as, William’s Doll, or Oliver Button is a Sissy. It’s a good mentor text for the Realistic Fiction unit because the story takes place across two scenes.
Retell: Sophia is an intelligent, hardworking girl from McAllen, Texas. When she receives a scholarship for a boarding school 400 miles, she must learn to live in two different worlds. She longs to explore and be accepted by the people at St. Lukes, but she also wishes to be a good comadre and participate in her family’s traditions.
Topics: overcrowding, barrios, family, traditions, Mexican-Americans, friendship, ambition, choices, siblings, Day of the Dead, boarding school, scholarships
Units of Study: Social Issues, Character, Talking and Writing About Texts, Realistic Fiction
Tribes: appreciations/no put-downs
Habits of Mind: thinking flexibly, thinking interdependently
Reading Skills: inference, synthesis, interpretation, envisionment
Writing Skills: bringing out the heart of a story
Thoughts: Though I believe this book is probably most appropriate for middle school students, I wouldn’t hesitate reading sections of this book to my fourth graders. There are great examples of how writers collect stories from their lives and how people become the change they want see in the world. I love Canales’ description of the various rituals and traditions of Sofia’s family. The relationship between Sofia and Berta is interesting. They made very different choices. Sofia chose to move far away and attend college. Berta married young, stayed in her hometown and had two children. Readers could have an interesting discussion about the pros and cons of both characters’ choices.
Retell: Amelia is a young girl who collects thoughts, souvenirs, photos and stories in her writer’s notebook. Through the pages of her notebook we learn about Amelia’s friend Leah, her sister Cleo, and the terrible arsonist who destroyed her school.
Topics: writing, birthdays, siblings, friendship, daydreaming, numbers, arson, symbols, partnerships, writer’s notebooks
Units of Study: Personal Narrative, Realistic Fiction, Social Issues, Personal Essay
Tribes: appreciations/no put-downs, right to pass, personal best
Habits of Mind: responding with wonderment and awe
Writing Skills: generating notebook entries, using pictures and objects to inspire writing, writing about ideas, spelling tricky words by writing it in different ways
Thoughts: This is volume 2 in a series of “Amelia” books. I use this each year when we relaunch our writer’s notebooks. The book resembles a composition notebook. There are many ways that it can be used to teach writing skills, but it also stands alone for discussing other issues. For example, Amelia writes about how she is reluctant to show her notebook to her friend Leah. This could be a great time to discuss taking the right to pass. During a Social Issues or Personal Essay unit you could use this book to analyze the issue of school vandalism.
If you have used any books from the “Amelia” series please post your ideas in the comments section.
Retell: Lily spends each Wednesday at the neighborhood pool. She has decided that Tamika will be her best friend. Tamika however does not seem interested in being Lily’s friend. Lily tries many things to win over Tamika. She tries to dress the same and she shares her popsicles with her but to no avail. Lily eventually becomes friends with Keesha who doesn’t need to be impressed.
Topics: summer, pools, friendship, popularity
Units: Character, Social Issues, Talking and Writing About Texts
Tribes: mutual respect, appreciations/no put-downs, right to pass
Reading Skills: prediction, interpretation
Writing Skills: balancing dialogue with reflection and description
My Thoughts: This book does a great job of addressing the issue of popularity. Every year I see students going out of their way to impress others who don’t give them the time of day. It could be an interesting book to use when discussing the ‘right to pass’. Though Tamika should have been nicer to Lily, she has the right to pass on her offer of friendship.
Thanks again Beth for another great read aloud.