Posts tagged ‘making connections’
Retell: Gritch the Witch wakes up one morning with an intense craving for ‘piggie pie’. When she discovers that she is missing the main ingredient she heads to Old MacDonald’s Farm where she meets some crafty pigs.
Topics: witches, pigs, nursery rhymes, cultural literacy, Old MacDonald, wolves, Wizard of Oz
Units of Study: Fairy Tales, Fantasy
Habits of Mind: Persisting, Thinking Flexibly
Reading Skills: Understanding humor, catching cultural references
Writing Skills: Writing commas in a list, Including alliteration, Using sentence variety
Thoughts: I can see reading this book during a study of fairy tales and folk tales. To thoroughly understand the story, students need to have a good understanding of the song “Old Macdonald”, the movie The Wizard of Oz as well as the role of the wolf in fairy tales. Though this book may be geared to children under 8, this could be a good book to read for older children when teaching readers to analyze cultural references. The “Spy vs. Spy” endings makes the story.
Topics: boys, brothers, growing up, catholic school, rough-housing, adventure, reading, family
Units of Study: Memoir, Personal Narrative, Nonfiction
Tribes: Mutual Respect, Appreciations/No Put-Downs
Habits of Mind: Finding Humor
Reading Skills: Understanding figurative language and humor
Writing Skills: Balancing dialogue with description and inner thinking, including prologues
Thoughts: This is a must-read for any teacher who plans on doing a Personal Narrative or Memoir unit. Most stories are short (1-3 pages), hilarious and at times disgusting. I personally love the story entitled, “Car Trip,” a story about brothers in the back of a car reacting to a cat puking. Many of the stories end with a reflection making them ideal mentor texts if you’re teaching Memoir. One story, “Random Reading” may be useful during a Nonfiction unit. In this story he talks about enjoying the diagrams found within the pages of the Golden Book Encyclopedia series. Jon Scieszka writes particularly with boy readers and writers in mind. If you haven’t already, check out his website called Guys Read.
Topics: heroes, spies, bravery, independence, war, revolution, Ethan Allen, Crispus Attucks, Lydia Darragh, Nathan Hale, Molly Pitcher, Thomas Jefferson, John Paul Jones, Thomas Paine, Paul Revere, Haym Salomon, Deborah Sampson, George Washington
Units: Content Area, Nonfiction
Habits of Mind: persisting, thinking flexibly
Reading Skills: interpretation, determining importance, synthesis
My Thoughts: What makes this a great read aloud is that the stories of each hero are quite short. They make both great read aloud and shared reading texts. Adler attempts to include stories from people other than just the white male heroes. Throughout the book you not only learn about what made each person important but each story tells the origin of famous quotes associated with the Revolution. You will hear the origin of such famous quotes as: “I only regret that I have but one life to lose for my country,” “Times that try men’s souls,” “I have not yet begun to fight!”
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.
Topics: voting, majority, mayors, elections, democracy, voting age, protests, marches, political parties, media, campaigns, taxes
Units of Study: Nonfiction, Content-Area
Reading Skills: monitoring for sense, determining importance, synthesis, making connections
My Thoughts: Tomorrow is election day. My students have the day off and they have no idea why. Unlike last year’s election day, the buzz around tomorrow’s election is quiet. Nevertheless, days off from school can be good teaching moments and a great time to tuck in a read aloud. Vote provides a nice, kid-friendly introduction to the world of voting. The text in the white space explains how voting works. Within the illustrations, speech and thought bubbles support a narrative thread: Chris Smith is running against Bill Brown for mayor and Smith’s family (including the family dog) all participate in the campaign. You may choose to read all of the non-narrative text and then pick and choose which speech bubbles are the most important to highlight.
If you choose to read this book (or others about voting) please add your comments in the space below.
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.
Topics: monsters, behavior, forgetfulness, laziness, vanity, clumsiness
Units of Study: Fantasy
Tribes: personal best
Habits of Mind: finding humor
Reading Skills: making connections, monitoring for sense
Writing Skills: using alliteration
My Thoughts: I thought I was feeling exhausted from the hectic day. It turns out I’m being followed by Doze-A-Log, the house monster of fatigue. One of the great things about doing this blog is that I’ve been receiving gifts of books. (Thanks Jess!) Just last week I had a reading celebration where students brought in artifacts that represent a positive reading moment. I’m so thankful to the people in my life who are sharing their favorite reading moments with me. Keep sending recommendations!
This book may be difficult to obtain, but I highly recommend getting your hands on a copy. It has many teaching purposes. It could be a great mentor text during the Fantasy unit for developing quirky characters. Each monster’s name is either a play-on-words or contains a Greek or Latin root that is connected to the monster’s behavior. What a wonderful addition to word work! With my more advanced students I plan on having them read a monster’s name and make a prediction about its behavior based on information from the word itself. We’ll then read the text together and discuss if there are other words that may be connected to the word. For example, I may show students the name, “Instantania”. I would expect that they could recognize “instant” and guess that the monster is impatient. We may then brainstorm other words with that base, (instantly, instantaneous, etc.)