Posts tagged ‘school’

73. David Goes to School by David Shannon

david goes to schoolRetell: David is a rambunctious boy who wreaks havoc at school.  After coloring on the desks he stays in after school to clean them up.

Topics: school, rules, behavior, bathroom, calling out

Units of Study: Personal Narrative

Tribes: mutual respect, attentive listening, personal best

Writing Skills: using memories to generate notebook entries

Thoughts: Here is a just-for-fun read aloud for the first day of school.  It’s a great read for beginning a discussion about rules, agreements and norms.  If you have access to Guys Read you may want to share David Shannon’s story about how he created the David books.  The anthology has cool original pictures of the young version of his other book No, David!

September 7, 2009 at 11:03 pm Leave a comment

67. Love That Dog by Sharon Creech

love that dogRetell: “I don’t want to because boys don’t write poetry.  Girls do.”  Jack reluctantly keeps a poetry journal.  With encouragement from his teacher he begins to write about his dog.  By using famous poems as mentor texts, Jack learns to be a prolific poet.

Topics: poetry, school, pets, loss, writer’s block

Units of Study: Independent Writing Projects, Poetry, Social Issues, Character

Tribes: personal best

Habits of Mind: striving for accuracy, thinking interdependently, thinking flexibly

Reading Skills: inference, interpretation, making connections

Writing Skills: using mentor texts to improve writing

My Thoughts: This is one of my favorite books by Sharon Creech.  She captures the voice of a young writer so well.  I consider this a read aloud though I often use it as a text for doing shared reading.  Since each entry is dated, one could conceivably read the pages on or close to the dates in the book–a read aloud that lasts all year long.  In the back of the book are poems by:  Walter Dean Meyers, William Carlos Williams, Robert Frost and Valerie Worth.  You could use the poems for shared reading at the same time you read the book aloud.

September 1, 2009 at 11:14 pm Leave a comment

66. Amazing Grace by Mary Hoffman

amazing graceRetell: Grace loves to act.  When her school puts on a production of Peter Pan she is eager to audition.  Her classmates tell her that she can’t be Peter Pan because she is a girl and she’s black.   After an inspiring visit to the ballet Grace finds confidence to audition.

Topics: reading, stories, acting, school, gender issues, racism, role models, theater, ballet

Units of Study: Social Issues, Realistic Fiction, Character

Tribes: Personal Best

Habits of Mind: persistence, striving for accuracy, thinking interdependently

Reading Skills: inference, interpretation

My Thoughts: Amazing Grace has been a favorite read aloud of mine for introducing the Social Issues unit.  However, I’m thinking of reading it earlier this year when introducing the Habit of Mind–‘persistence’.  Grace is a good example of how one persists when they have a dream.  Grace’s dream is to play Peter Pan.  Despite the discouragement she receives from a few of her classmates, Grace practices over the weekend and ends up getting the part.  However, it’s interesting to note that this persistence didn’t just come from herself–she had to be encouraged by her family.  I wonder if Grace would have succeeded if her Nana hadn’t taken her to the ballet.

August 31, 2009 at 9:20 am Leave a comment

64. What a Day it Was at School! by Jack Prelutsky

what a day it was at schoolRetell: A collection of silly school poems on topics such as:  homework, field trips and farting.

Topics: school, homework, field trips, libraries, food chain, history, poetry, partnerships

Units of Study: Fantasy, Authoring an Independent Reading Life

Tribes: mutual respect

Habits of Mind: responding with wonderment and awe

Writing Skills: incorporating rhythm and rhyme

My Thoughts: The poems in this collection are very, very silly–perfect for those ‘just for fun’ read alouds I mentioned yesterday.  I think I’ll read, “I Made a Noise This Morning” (a poem about a student farting in class) when my students need a quick laugh.  Though this collection is probably more suitable for younger grades, a few of the poems could be good hooks for mini-lessons or project launches.  I’m planning on sending home more independent project ideas in Science and Writing.  When I launch this project I may read Prelutsky’s “Homework” which describes a gooey experiment that didn’t go as planned.  There is a cute poem entitled, “A Classmate Named Tim,” that I think I’ll use when introducing partnerships.

August 29, 2009 at 9:00 am Leave a comment

63. Miss Malarkey Doesn’t Live in Room 10 by Judy Finchler

miss malarkey doesn't live in room 10Retell: A student is convinced that his teachers live at school.  His theory is challenged when Miss Malarkey moves into his apartment building.

Topics: teachers, school

My Thoughts: Several weeks ago Colleen Cruz conducted a workshop on interactive read aloud at our school.  In addition to doing interactive read aloud each day she suggests that we also tuck in moments when we read aloud books that are just plain fun.  Miss Malarkey Doesn’t Live in Room 10 is one of those ‘just for fun’ books.  I wonder how many of my students actually believe that I live in an apartment and not in my classroom?  I plan on reading this aloud sometime during the first week of school.  Perhaps I can use ‘just for fun’ read alouds as an incentive to get students to the rug faster.

August 28, 2009 at 9:10 am Leave a comment

56. What Joe Saw by Anna Grossnickle Hines

what joe sawRetell: Joe is always lagging behind the class.  His teacher and his classmates are always telling him to hurry up.  It’s not until a classmate stops to tie his shoes that he realizes why Joe keeps falling behind.

Topics: school, field trips, discovery, curiosity

Units of Study: Realistic Fiction, Talking and Writing about Texts

Tribes: appreciations/no put-downs, mutual respect

Habits of Mind: responding with wonderment and awe

Reading Skills: interpretation, inference

Writing Skills: using repetition, dialogue

My Thoughts: The main character in this book reminds me of my sweetheart.  When we’re on route somewhere he always stops to smell the flowers on butterfly bushes or picks fruit from trees.  If I’m in a hurry it can be frustrating at first, but most of the time it’s worth it to be a few minutes late.  I appreciate how he makes me slow down and notice the world around me.  What Joe Saw is a good book to read when you want your class to discuss the importance of paying attention to small details.  However, you may not want to read this book to your class just before going on a field trip.  It may be good to read during an interpretation unit.  I can imagine having interesting discussions about the  individual vs. the group.

August 22, 2009 at 2:57 am Leave a comment

49. Fireflies in the Dark: The Story of Friedl Dicker-Brandeis and the Children of Terezin by Susan Goldman Rubin

fireflies in the darkRetell: Learn about the amazing life of Friedl Dicker-Brandeis, who taught art to children in the Terezin Camp during the Holocaust.  The book includes several photos, drawings, paintings and writings from her students, many of whom did not survive.

Topics: art, holocaust, ghetto, Terezin, Nazis, school, poetry, drama, resiliency

Units of Study: Personal Narrative, Nonfiction, Content Area Reading and Writing, Social Issues

Tribes: personal best, mutual respect

Habits of Mind: persisting, thinking flexibly, creating-imagining-innovating, thinking interdependently, remaining open to continuous learning

Reading Skills: envisionment, determining importance, interpretation, inference

Writing Skills: launching writers notebook, zooming in on small moments

My Thoughts: One can learn many lessons from this book.  I am impressed by Dicker-Brandeis’ devotion to learning.  When she discovered that she would be sent to Terezin she chose not to bring items for herself, but art supplies for the children she knew would be in the camp.  Through art her students were able to both escape and record the horrors around them.  Though I don’t plan on teaching a unit about the Holocaust this year, I may choose to read a portion of this book when emphasizing how writers notebooks can be powerful places to record our memories, our thoughts and our struggles.  It is important for our students to realize that their experiences, just like those recorded at Terezin, are important and should be recorded.

August 14, 2009 at 9:20 am Leave a comment

46. Butterflies in My Stomach and Other School Hazards by Serge Bloch

butterflies in my stomach and other school hazardsRetell: It’s the first day of school and the narrator is nervous.  Each person he encounters speaks in confusing idioms.

Topics: first day of school, idioms, school

Units of Study: Personal Narrative, Realistic Fiction

Reading Skills: monitoring for sense, envisionment

My Thoughts: It’s well into August and that means that my mind is beginning to think more and more about the first weeks of school.  I’m on the hunt for engaging books to start the year out well.  I found this cute book a few days ago during a visit to Powell’s Books in Portland, Oregon.  Butterflies in My Stomach and Other School Hazards not only makes for a good read aloud on the first day of school, but it is also great for introducing idioms.  On each page the main character encounters a person who says an idiom.  Each idiom is illustrated literally.  For example, when his teacher said “he was all ears,” the illustration shows the teacher with giant ears.  If you didn’t want to read this book aloud in one sitting, you could read a page or two each day as a warm-up activity.  You could keep a chart of idioms that the class learns each day.

August 12, 2009 at 12:45 am 1 comment

43. A Fine, Fine School by Sharon Creech

a fine fine schoolRetell: Mr. Keene is a principal who loves his school.  He loves it so much that he gradually increases the amount of days students and teachers come to school.  He learns that it’s impossible to have a ‘fine, fine school’ without balance between studying and play.

Topics: school, siblings, principals, problem-solving, authority

Units of Study: Social Issues, Talking and Writing About Texts, Test Prep

Tribes: mutual respect

Habits of Mind: taking responsible risks

Reading Skills: interpretation, inference

Writing Skills: using repetition

My Thoughts: This may be a nice book to read aloud during test time.  It will remind everyone that school isn’t the only place where learning happens.  I think I may read this book when I want to discuss respectful and powerful ways to solve problems.  The main character, Tillie is patient when her school year keeps increasing.  However, when she’s had enough she doesn’t melt down.  She goes to the principal, calmly states her case, and ends up changing his mind.  A Fine, Fine School illustrates the importance of (respectfully) challenging authority.  I hope after reading this book, my students will have the courage to (respectfully) challenge me.

August 8, 2009 at 3:40 pm Leave a comment

33. The A+ Custodian by Louise Borden

the a+ custodianRetell: John Carillo is the custodian for Dublin Elementary School.  Everyone in the school thinks he is a great custodian.  A few students decide to find a way to appreciate all his hard work.

Topics: custodians, school, hard work,

Units of Study: personal essay, realistic fiction

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

Reading Skills: inference, envsionment

Writing Skills: incorporating tight lists, elaboration, including sensory details

My Thoughts: This is a fabulous book to take out when you feel the class needs to take more responsiblity picking up after themselves.  The A+ Custodian reminds me that I should take more time thoughout the year to appreciate the janitors and custodians at my school.  I love how the author emphasizes how much Mr. Carillo loves and is proud of the students of Dublin Elementary School.  I plan to use this book when collecting ideas for personal essays.  The text is a great example of the strategy, “Writers think of a person in their life and jot down ideas about him/her.”  In fact the author’s note at the beginning itself makes a good mentor text for personal essay.

July 29, 2009 at 4:06 pm Leave a comment

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