Posts tagged ‘monsters’

120. Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak

where the wild things areRetell: After Max is sent to bed without supper he imagines traveling to a world where he becomes king of the wild things.  Being a wild things is fun for awhile but he learns that it cannot compare to the comforts of home.

Topics: monsters, mischief, disobedience, imagination, travel, dreams, home

Units of Study: Fantasy, Talking and Writing About texts

Habits of Mind: creating-innovating-imagining

Reading Skills: envisionment, inference

Writing Skills: using repetition, crafting endings that connect to the beginning

My Thoughts: I dressed up as a wild thing for our recent school Halloween parade.  I looked more like a hairy viking than a wild thing, but I get points for trying.  To introduce my costume I read this book aloud.  Many of them had heard it before.  I’m glad I was able to tuck in this classic read aloud before the majority of my students head to the cinema to see the movie.  Upon rereading it, I realized that one has to do a huge amount of envisionment as they read the text.  The illustrations are wonderful, but they don’t reveal all.  When reading this book aloud I recommend using the pages where there is no text to have your students (or your own children) role play and act like Max or the wild things.  You can encourage them to make noise like them, talk like them, move like them and think like them.

November 1, 2009 at 9:55 pm Leave a comment

97. A Family Guide to House Monsters by Stanislov Marijanovic

a family guide to house monstersRetell: This book explains many things including:  why we look in the mirror, why we spill things and why we are afraid of the dark.  It turns out we can blame everything on house monsters.

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.)

October 1, 2009 at 7:41 pm Leave a comment

85. Kat Kong by Dav Pilkey

kat kongRetell: Explorers from Mousopolis land on an uncharted island where they meet the terrifying “beast” Kat Kong.  They bring him back to Mousopolis in order to seek fame and fortune.  When Kat Kong escapes his shackles, citizens are terrified.

Topics: cats, mice, greed, exploration, monsters, humor, puns

Units of Study: Fantasy

Tribes: mutual respect

Habits of Mind: finding humor

Reading Skills: monitoring for sense

My Thoughts: This is the adorable sequel to Pilkey’s book, Dogzilla. Similar to the style of Dogzilla, Kat Kong includes ‘cheesy’ puns and idioms, all related to cats.  For example, when Kat Kong ravages the city the butcher cries, “The cat’s got my tongue!”  I plan to read this book aloud when I want to focus on the reading skill monitoring for sense.  I find that many books written for upper elementary students are highly engaging, but can also be really confusing.  Many of my students are English Language Learners and often don’t understand when an author slips in a joke.  Using Kat Kong as an a model could remind students to seek out humor throughout their reading.

September 20, 2009 at 8:18 pm 1 comment

44. Shrek! by William Steig

shrekRetell: Shrek is proud to be an ugly ogre.  He loves everything disgusting and enjoys scaring people around him.  One day he visits a fortune teller who tells him that he is destined to meet a princess even uglier than he.  With the help of a donkey he travels to the castle, defeats a knight and meets the princess of his dreams.

Topics: ogres, nightmares, monsters, fortune tellers

Units of Study: Fantasy

Reading Skills: monitoring for sense, envisionment

Writing Skills: using rhyme, including interesting vocabulary

My Thoughts: I never realized how different the original story was from the movie.  The movie version has a much stronger moral more lesson but that doesn’t mean Steig’s classic does not have value as a read aloud.  I think this book lends itself quite well to modeling how readers monitor for sense.  Steig writes with rich vocabulary.  His characters never walk, speak, or work.  Rather they, stalk, hiss, and scythe.  Giggle alert:  the story includes the word jackass, which refers of course to the donkey in the story.  Read aloud with discretion.

August 9, 2009 at 9:05 am Leave a comment


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