Posts tagged ‘personal narrative’

6. The Wall by Eve Bunting

The WallRetell: A father and son visit the Vietnam Memorial in Washington D.C.  The young son describes what he sees and hears on the day of his visit.

Topics: family, Memorial Day, Vietnam War

Units of Study: Personal Narrative, Social Issues

Tribes: Mutual Respect, Right to Pass

Reading Skills: inference, synthesis

Writing Skills: writing sensory details, writing small moments

My Thoughts: The Wall is one of those books that may be difficult to read aloud with a dry eye.  I can see reading this book duing the beginning of the year during the Personal Narrative unit and then rereading it during the Social Issues unit.  I could even reread it yet again right before Memorial Day.  The Wall provides a good example of how a writer can zoom in on a small moment.  The entire book takes place in one location and does not span more than a few hours.  Each line of the book encourages readers to question and infer:  “That couple seems like they’ve lost someone.  Who did they lose?”  You could also reread this book with a Tribes lens.  You could encourage your students to discuss how the boy solved a problem, not by yelling at the crowd of noisy school girls, but by standing next to his reverent father, supporting his moment of silence in a show of solidarity.

July 2, 2009 at 9:00 am Leave a comment

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

2. Three Days on a River In a Red Canoe by Vera B. Williams

three days on a river in a red canoe

Retell: After purchasing a red canoe at a yard sale, a family goes on a three-day canoe trip.

Topics: Family, adventure, camping

Units of Study: Personal Narratives, Launching the Writers Notebook

Tribes: Personal Best

Reading Skills: envisionment, making connections, inference

Writing Skills: incorporating details about setting, using transition words, including sensory details, writing endings that connect to the beginning

My thoughts: This book has great teaching potential.  As the marbled cover suggests it reads like someone’s writers notebook.  Each page describes a scene from the camping trip.  I can imagine using this book when I introduce writers notebooks to my students.  Each page is a small moment that could be stretched into a larger story.  The colorful, colored pencil drawings will be inspiring for young artists who like to draw pictures with each notebook entry.  I plan on using this as a mentor text for students who want to write endings that connect to an earlier scene.

June 28, 2009 at 6:36 pm Leave a comment

1. Thank You Mr. Falker by Patricia Polacco

Thank You Mr. FalkerRetell: Trisha has a difficulty with reading.  Though admired for her artistic ability, she gets teased at school for being dumb.  That is until her teacher, Mr. Falker, stands up for her and teaches her to read.

Topics: bullying, honoring the different ways we’re smart, family relationships, death of a grandparent, importance of small group instruction

Units of Study: Personal Narrative, Character, Social Issues

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

Reading Skills: envisionment, inference,

My Thoughts: This is a read aloud classic.  Since I start every school year off reading this book to my class, I thought it was only proper to start my blog year with one of my favorite read alouds.  Thank You Mr. Falker is one of those books that kids have heard a thousand times but never get tired of it.  I usually refer to this book and reread parts of it in several units throughout the year.

June 27, 2009 at 9:01 am 3 comments

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