Posts tagged ‘hard work’

114. The Gold Coin by Alma Flor Ada

the gold coinRetell: A thief discovers a woman who claims to be the “richest person in the world.”  He ransacks her hut but fails to find her gold.  He goes on a quest to find the woman and her gold. What he finds instead are people who teach him that being rich has little to do with gold.

Topics: gold, greed, thieves, kindness, hard work, acceptance

Units of Study: Character, Social Issues, Talking and Writing about Texts

Tribes: mutual respect

Reading Skills: prediction, interpretation, inference, empathy

Writing Skills: incorporating the rule of three

My Thoughts: I first discovered this story when I went to a Great Books training years ago.  I’ve since used it a few times during the Character unit.  It is a great text for examining how people can change because of their relationships with other people.  It’s a great text to use when you are launching whole class conversation during and after read alouds.

October 18, 2009 at 7:14 pm Leave a comment

33. The A+ Custodian by Louise Borden

the a+ custodianRetell: John Carillo is the custodian for Dublin Elementary School.  Everyone in the school thinks he is a great custodian.  A few students decide to find a way to appreciate all his hard work.

Topics: custodians, school, hard work,

Units of Study: personal essay, realistic fiction

Tribes: personal best, appreciations/no put-downs, mutual respect

Reading Skills: inference, envsionment

Writing Skills: incorporating tight lists, elaboration, including sensory details

My Thoughts: This is a fabulous book to take out when you feel the class needs to take more responsiblity picking up after themselves.  The A+ Custodian reminds me that I should take more time thoughout the year to appreciate the janitors and custodians at my school.  I love how the author emphasizes how much Mr. Carillo loves and is proud of the students of Dublin Elementary School.  I plan to use this book when collecting ideas for personal essays.  The text is a great example of the strategy, “Writers think of a person in their life and jot down ideas about him/her.”  In fact the author’s note at the beginning itself makes a good mentor text for personal essay.

July 29, 2009 at 4:06 pm 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


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