Posts tagged ‘rhythm’

145. The Lorax by Dr. Seuss

Retell: A boy visits the home of the Once-ler who, for a fee, tells him the story of how he destroyed the pristine Truffula Forest and its inhabitants.

Topics: trees, deforestation, environment, environmentalists, pollution, consumption, greed, factories, habitat, animals, Earth Day

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

Tribes: Mutual Respect

Reading Skills: inference, interpretation

Writing Skills: incorporating rhyme and rhythm, connecting the beginning with its ending

My Thoughts: I recently read this book to my class to celebrate Earth Day.  There were misty eyes when the last truffula tree was cut down; I have never heard the room so quiet.  Upon rereading I noticed how well the illustrations supported inferential thinking throughout the story.  Specifically, the color of the illustrations helps support the idea that without trees the world is a dark, miserable place.  In the beginning of the story, the pages are illustrated in dark tones:  navy, burgundy, and gray.  When the Once-ler flashes back to the first days of his Thneed venture, the illustrations are painted in bright, cheerful hues:  magenta, yellow, green and turquoise.  One student pointed out toward the beginning of the story, while the illustrations were still bright and cheery, the Once-ler’s materials were painted in dark tones, a premonition that the environment was going to change for the worse.

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May 3, 2010 at 8:50 pm Leave a comment

122. Welcome to the Green House by Jane Yolen

welcome to the green houseRetell: Jane Yolen poetically compares the rainforest to a green house.

Topics: rainforest, animals, birds, nonfiction poetry

Units of Study: Nonfiction, Content-Area, Personal Essay

Habits of Mind: gathering data through all senses

Reading Skills: envisionment, inference

Writing Skills: using repetition, incorporating rhythm and rhyme, using sparkling vocabulary, using alliteration

My Thoughts: A few months ago I received a GrowLab through a DonorsChoose grant.  We received support from an educator at the Brooklyn Botanic Gardens and created corsage box terrariums.  Students planted cuttings from three different plants that thrive in the rainforest.  I plan on reading this book soon to support our gardening experience.  The text in this book is so vivid that as I read it I can actually feel the humidity of the rainforest.  It’s a great text for teaching students how to interpret metaphors.  At the end of the book, the author writes a message to her readers encouraging us to find out more about saving the rapidly disappearing rainforest.  Though it’s not technically a personal essay, you could use sections of the message as a mentor text.

November 2, 2009 at 8:55 pm Leave a comment

38. Ling Cho and His Three Friends by V.J. Pacilio

ling cho and his three friendsRetell: Ling Cho is a successful farmer.  He feels sorry for his three friends who do not share his success.  He thinks of a way to help his friends without making them feel bad.  Unfortunately things do not go as planned.  His friends learn that it is more wise to ask for help than to take advantage of people.

Topics: harvest, farming, China, asking for help, honesty, friendship

Units of Study: Folk Tales, Talking and Writing About Texts, Social Issues, Poetry

Tribes: mutual respect, personal best

Reading Skills: inference, interpretation, envisionment

Writing Skills: using rhyme and rhythm,  incorporating alliteration

My Thoughts: This beautiful book teaches an interesting lesson on asking for help.  It also seems to caution against involving friends in business matters.  Ling Cho does a favor for his friends by asking them to sell his bumper crop of wheat at market.  They were supposed to split the profits.  However, each friend ended up keeping the profits or keeping the wheat.  The story is told in rhyming verse making it an engaging read.

August 3, 2009 at 9:00 am Leave a comment

36. You Can’t Go to School Naked! by Dianne Billstrom

you can't go to school nakedRetell: Parents try to convince their young son to put on clothes for his first day of school.  They manage to come to an interesting compromise.

Topics: clothes, consequences, individuality, decisions

Units of Study: Poetry

Tribes: right to pass

Writing Skills: using rhythm and rhyme

My Thoughts: This is a really cute ‘fun read.’  I can see using this during a discussion about rules and how they are usually implemented for a reason.  “If you went to school naked when the sun’s overhead, you would get a sunburn and turn very RED!”  It also addresses the idea of having the right to pass (even having the right to pass on wearing clothes) but that each decision we make has consequences.

August 1, 2009 at 9:01 am Leave a comment

20. Kindness is Cooler, Mrs. Ruler by Margery Cuyler

kindness is cooler mrs. rulerRetell: Mrs. Cooler’s class is getting antsy and cranky.  She asks a few misbehaving students to do 10 acts of kindness at home.  The next day during show and tell, others are inspired to do random acts of kindness.  Eventually the project includes acts of kindness at school and throughout the community.

Topics: kindness, school, community, helping, volunteering, 100th day of school

Units of Study: Character, Realistic Fiction

Tribes: appreciations/no putdowns, mutual respect, community building, personal best

Writing Skills: using rhyme and rhythm

My Thoughts: I think I just found my 100th day of school read aloud.  The 100th day of school always creeps up on me and I end up doing a last minute project.  This year, I think I’ll use Kindness is Cooler, Mrs. Ruler to launch a Random Acts of Kindness Campaign.  In the book Mrs. Ruler’s class tries to do 100 kind acts at home, school, or in the community.  She puts each act on a paper heart and they have a celebration when they reach 100.  Since the 100th day of school usually falls close to Valentine’s Day, a Kindness Campaign could be a good way to turn a commercialized holiday into one that promotes a good cause.  Thanks Ms. Cuyler.

July 16, 2009 at 9:00 am Leave a comment


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