Posts tagged ‘prediction’

72. Love You Forever by Robert Munsch

love you foreverRetell: A mother starts a tradition of singing a song to her son:  “I’ll love you forever, I’ll like you for always, As long as I’m living my baby you’ll be.”  Through the terrible twos, adolescence and adulthood the mother sings this song to her child.  When the mother becomes old and sick, it is the son’s turn to sing the song.

Topics: family, childhood, parenting

Units of Study: Personal Narrative, Memoir

Tribes: mutual respect

Reading Skills: making connections, prediction

Writing Skills: using traditions and special moments in your life to create a story

Thoughts: I just got back from my friend’s baby shower.  I’m kicking myself for not adding this book to her other gifts.  This is a book that is sure to make the reader teary-eyed.  If you are strong enough to read it in front of your class, it could be a great mentor text for generating ideas for personal narratives or memoirs.  This book could inspire young authors to think and write about the traditions, the songs, or customs important to their own families.

September 6, 2009 at 5:27 pm Leave a comment

68. Old MacDonald Had an Apartment House by Judi Barrett

old macdonald had an apartment houseRetell: A super decides to turn the apartment building he manages into a vegetable garden.  When Mr. Wrental, the owner, finds out he’s furious.  But when he thinks about all the money he could make, the owner has a change of heart.

Topics: gardening, apartments, cities, indoor gardening

Units of Study: Social Issues, Realistic Fiction

Habits: thinking flexibly

Reading Skills: Prediction, making connections

Writing Skills: Using the ‘rule of three’ when listing examples

My Thoughts: This is a very cute book by the author of Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs.  Before reading this book aloud, you may want to find a copy of Grant Wood’s painting American Gothic so students will understand the joke behind the cover illustration.  I can certainly identify with the characters in this book.  Both my apartment and my classroom get little to no light.  My classroom doesn’t have any windows at all so I wrote a grant proposal for a GroLab on Donors Choose and it was funded in three days!  When it arrives I plan on reading this book to the class.  Perhaps after the read aloud we’ll try growing vegetables.

September 3, 2009 at 12:05 am Leave a comment

65. Mirette on the High Wire by Emily Arnold McCully

mirette on the high wireRetell: Mirette works at her mother’s boarding house.  When a mysterious stranger asks for a room and takes his meals alone, Mirette is intrigued.  One day she discovers the stranger walking across the clothesline.  The stranger turns out to be the great Bellini, a famous tightrope walker.  Mirette falls in love with the high wire and is determined to walk high above a crowd.

Topics: artists, dreams, Paris

Units of Study: Realistic Fiction, Historical Fiction

Tribes: personal best

Habits of Mind: persistence, striving for accuracy

Reading Skills: interpretation, prediction

Writing Skills: incorporating diaglogue

My Thoughts: Though this book is not a true story, the tightrope walker is based on a real person–a daredevil named Blondin who walked over Niagara Falls on a high wire.  I like it when authors describe their inspiration in the author’s note.  I plan on using this book when we focus on the Habits of Mind ‘persistence’ and ‘ striving for accuracy.’  The author shows the main character making a lot of mistakes and having someone fine tune her every movement.

August 30, 2009 at 8:39 am 1 comment

59. My Ol’ Man by Patricia Polacco

my ol' manRetell: When she was growing up, Patricia Polacco spent the summers with her father and her grandmother.  In this charming book, Polacco tells the story of the time they found a magical rock that helped them cope with hard times.

Topics: divorce, summer, dads, grandmothers, storytelling, layoffs, magic

Units of Study: Personal Narrative, Memoir

Tribes: attentive listening

Habits of Mind: responding with wonderment and awe

Reading Skills: prediction, monitoring for sense

Writing Skills: using commas in lists, crafting meaningful introductions

My Thoughts: Patricia Polacco is one of my favorite authors and I often read several of her books during the Personal Narrative unit.  Most of her books are inspired by moments, people, and places in her life.  In the beginning of My Ol’ Man, there are authentic photographs from Polacco’s childhood.  This book would be great to read as you are teaching how writers use artifacts to generate notebook entries.  When writing about people, my students often make lists of what they like about a person.  This book will be great to use as a mentor text to help students move from list writing (“My dad likes tacos.  My dad takes me places.) to narrative writing (“One time my dad brought out this book of stamps.  I’ll never forget the time when my dad took me for a ride in his 1947 GMC truck.”)

August 24, 2009 at 2:15 pm 2 comments

31. The Greatest Power by Demi

the greatest powerRetell: Emperor Ping, the boy emperor of China, appreciates honesty and harmony.  He wants to appoint an honest and wise prime minister so he decides to hold a contest.  The child who can think of the greatest power in the world will become the next prime minister.  Children far and wide prepare presentations for the emperor.  A young girl named Sing sits by a lotus pond and comes up with an answer that is quite different from the rest.

Topics: technology, beauty, military, power, money, life, life cycle, China

Units of Study: Talking and Writing About Texts, Content Area

Tribes: personal best, appreciations/no put downs

Reading Skills: interpretation, prediction

Writing Skills: repetition

My Thoughts: Fifth grade teachers at my school do this great unit on power.  They examine power structures at home, in the neighborhood, in the classroom, at school, and so on.  The Greatest Power could be a great companion to that unit.  It will spark discussions about what makes a powerful group or a powerful nation.  I could also see this book being used during a unit on the life cycle.  Sing after sitting by apond and contemplating a lotus flower is fascinated by its life cycle.  She determines that life is the greatest power on earth.

July 27, 2009 at 9:00 am Leave a comment

30. A Young People’s History of the United States by Howard Zinn

a young people's history of the united statesRetell: Like the title suggests, this is a young people’s version of his famous book, A People’s History of the United States. Together with Rebecca Stefoff, Zinn manages to tell a version of history that attempts to include the perspectives of groups that are usually left out (women, people of color, Native people, children, etc.)

Topics: United States, history, exploration, racism, slavery, colonialism, rights, justice, revolution, war, emancipation, industrialization, immigration, empire, protests, terrorism, resistance, freedom of speech

Units of Study: Content Area, Nonfiction, Social Issues, Personal Essay, Historical Fiction

Tribes: mutual respect, personal best

Reading Skills: questioning, synthesis, prediction, determining importance, inference, interpretation

Writing Skills: using evidence to support a thesis or main idea, inserting anecdotes and quotations

My Thoughts: I was so thrilled to find this book on the shelves.  I read A People’s History of the United States several years ago and often reread sections before embarking on Social Studies units.  Though I thought this book was going to present a child’s perspective of historical events, Zinn does manage to tuck in a few stories of young people working to make a difference.  For example, he includes the story about how children started the first milll strike in Paterson, New Jersey.  I intend to read aloud exerpts from this book to support and/or challenge what they may be reading in their own nonfiction texts.  This book is also available in two volumes.  Volume I covers Columbus to the Spanish-American War.  Volume II covers World War I to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

July 26, 2009 at 9:07 am 1 comment

28. The Librarian of Basra: A True Story from Iraq by Jeanette Winter

the librarian of basraRetell: This is the true story of Alia Muhammad Baker.  During U.S. air raids in 2003, Baker managed to hide and save over 30,000 books from destruction.

Topics: libraries, Iraq, heroism, action, war, books, community

Units of Study: Nonfiction, Content-Area Reading and Writing, Journalism

Tribes: mutual respect, personal best

Reading Skills: prediction, questioning

Writing Skills: using dashes

My Thoughts: Stories like this one restores my faith in humanity.  Alia Muhammad Baker’s story is a great one to share with kids, many whom don’t even know that the U.S. is involved in two wars at the moment.  Her story was originally published back in 2003 in the The New York Times.  Reading The Librarian of Basra in conjunction with the The New York Times article could be a great way to emphasize the role of a journalist to bring to light stories that would otherwise go unnoticed.  I plan on reading this at the beginning of the year to reiterate the importance of reading. 

Click her to read Shaila K. Dewan’s 2003 New York Times article about Alia Muhammad Baker

July 24, 2009 at 9:12 am Leave a comment

19. Those Shoes by Maribeth Boelts

those shoesRetell: It seems like everyone in school has a pair of black high tops with white stripes–everyone but Jeremy.  Jeremy’s grandmother only has enough money for a pair of boots.  When they spot a pair of “those shoes” at a thrift shop, Jeremy buys them with his own money, only to find out that they’re too small.  He is then faced with a difficult decision–does he keep his blister-causing shoes or give them to a friend.

Topics: shoes, needs and wants, fads, money, grandparents, decisions, friendship, generosity

Units of Study: Character,  Talking and Writing About Texts, Literary Essay, Realistic Fiction, Social Issues

Tribes: mutual respect, personal best, community building

Reading Skills: inference, prediction, making connections

Writing Skills: using dashes, transitional phrases, incorporating a balance of dialogue and summary

My Thoughts: My fabulous student teacher introduced this book to me last year.  Every year it seems there is some sort of expensive fad:  Tech decks, sidekicks, iphones, sneakers, smencils.  My heart breaks when I think about the students who are being teased just because they don’t have the latest fad.  Those Shoes is a book to address this issue.  It is an ideal book to read aloud to discuss the differences between need and want.  I can see reading this book aloud during a Social Issues unit.  I could also see using this as a text to analyze during a literary essay unit.

July 15, 2009 at 9:00 am 1 comment

18. Library Lion by Michelle Knudsen

library lionRetell: Miss Merriweather, the librarian, is obsessed with enforcing the rules.  One day a lion walks into her library and becomes a regular helper.  Later, he proves to be a lifesaver.

Topics: libraries, librarians, lions, rules, work, volunteering, books, storytime, breaking the rules

Units of Study: Fantasy, Character

Tribes: attentive listening, personal best, mutual respect, appreciations/no putdowns

Reading Skills: inference, prediction, making connections

Writing Skills: using interesting verbs (ex. padded instead of walked)

My Thoughts: This book is obviously a good book to read before a trip to the public library.  By focusing on the actions of the lion, the reader is also getting to know the features of a public library, such as storytime, new books, the circulation desk, etc.  The story highlights the importance and reciprocal benefits of volunteering.  Library Lion is also a good read aloud for reviewing agreements and rules in the classroom.  For example, to model attentive listening, you could ask students to notice what the students in the illustrations are doing during storytime.  Later in the book, you could discuss how the lion feels hearing all of the appreciations he is receiving. The lion in this story is so cute.  I love its facial expression when he is admonished by Miss Merriweather.

July 14, 2009 at 9:15 am Leave a comment

13. A Dandelion’s Life by John Himmelman (The Nature Upclose Series)

a dandelion's life Retell: John Himmelman tells the life story, from seed to bloom, of the unappreciated dandelion.

Topics: dandelions, flowers, life cycle, narrative nonfiction

Units of Study: Nonfiction, Content-Area Reading and Writing

Reading Skills: prediction, determining importance, monitoring for sense

Writing Skills: incorporating transitional phrases, including text features

My Thoughts: A Dandelion’s Life is but one of several narrative nonfiction books in the Nature Upclose Series.  After reading this book I had a new appreciation for the dandelion.  This is a decent, simple example of narrative nonfiction that could be used as a mentor text during the Content-Area Reading and Writing unit.  If you’re a fourth grade teacher in New York, you will be pleased with how well this book could align with the Science unit:  Food Chains and Life Cycles.  Our fourth grade team is considering aligning that Science unit with the Content-Area Reading and Writing units, making A Dandelion’s Life a perfect read aloud fit.  The illustrations don’t just exclusively feature the dandelion.  Throughout the narrative butterflies, snakes, fireflies, birds and crickets make appearances.  I can envision readers using the illustrations to envision the habitat of each creature.  I think I’m going to keep my eye out for more books in this series.

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

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