Posts tagged ‘sensory details’

8. The Lucky Star by Judy Young

the lucky starRetell: Ruth, a young girl growing up during The Great Depression, discovers that her school will be closed down before she enters her 5th grade year.  Ruth learns a lesson of perseverance and counting one’s lucky stars.

Topics: The Great Depression, perseverance, family,

Unit of Study: Historical Fiction, Character

Tribes: Personal best

Reading Skills: inference, making connections, prediction

Writing Skills: incorporating setting details, using sensory details

My Thoughts: This book would be a great mentor text during a unit on reading and writing historical fiction.  However, I’m tempted to use this at the beginning of the year when I introduce partner work and independence.  The Lucky Star teaches that smart people persevere through difficult situations.  A closure of a school, or similarly an absence of a teacher or a change in schedule, does not mean that learning stops completely.


July 4, 2009 at 6:47 pm Leave a comment

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

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

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