Posts tagged ‘synthesis’
Topics: earthworms, diaries, composting, differences, predators, soil
Units of Study: Content Area, Nonfiction
Habits of Mind: Finding Humor
Reading Skills: monitoring for sense, synthesis
My Thoughts: My class has just started a study on earthworms. Before read aloud each day we check on our worms working hard in our new worm compost bin. Students are bringing food scraps from their lunches (one student even brought coffee grounds from home). A colleague of mine referred me to this adorable book that allows readers to look at the world through the humorous perspective of a young earthworm. I think this book will make an excellent mentor text for students who are deciding to write narrative nonfiction pieces. It’s a great text for teaching readers to be on the look out for jokes and for teaching writers how to incorporate humor into their writing.
Topics: heroes, spies, bravery, independence, war, revolution, Ethan Allen, Crispus Attucks, Lydia Darragh, Nathan Hale, Molly Pitcher, Thomas Jefferson, John Paul Jones, Thomas Paine, Paul Revere, Haym Salomon, Deborah Sampson, George Washington
Units: Content Area, Nonfiction
Habits of Mind: persisting, thinking flexibly
Reading Skills: interpretation, determining importance, synthesis
My Thoughts: What makes this a great read aloud is that the stories of each hero are quite short. They make both great read aloud and shared reading texts. Adler attempts to include stories from people other than just the white male heroes. Throughout the book you not only learn about what made each person important but each story tells the origin of famous quotes associated with the Revolution. You will hear the origin of such famous quotes as: “I only regret that I have but one life to lose for my country,” “Times that try men’s souls,” “I have not yet begun to fight!”
Topics: Lenni Lenape, generations, past, present, cycles, family, seasons, farming, nature
Units of Study: Nonfiction, Content Area, Memoir
Tribes: mutual respect
Reading Skills: monitoring for sense, interpretation, synthesis
My Thoughts: This is a great text to support a Social Studies unit on the Lenni Lenape. In this book, the illustrations really tell the story and support interpretation work. The narration is illustrated on the right hand pages: A modern Lenape family farms, weatherizes their house to prepare for winter, fishes for shad, and plays games in the snow. On the left hand pages, a Lenape family from the past do the same activities.
Retell: This is the story of Jose Limon, who left his family to move to New York. Frustrated by his poor artistic talent he fell in love with dance and worked to become a famous dancer and choreographer.
Topics: dance, war, family, Mexico, immigration, art, music, English, Spanish, death, New York, California
Units of Study: Nonfiction, Social Issues
Tribes: personal best, appreciations/no put-downs, mutual respect
Habits of Mind: persisting
Reading Skills: synthesis, monitoring for sense, envisionment
Writing Skills: using sound effects, zooming in on a small moment
My Thoughts: This text has multiple teaching purposes. It’s a great text for introducing or reinforcing the habit of mind–persistence. There are many moments in the story when Jose persists. He struggles to learn English but persists despite his cruel classmates. He is determined to become a dancer and shows persistence each day during rehearsal despite sore, aching muscles. During the read aloud we can hope that students understand that successful people, no matter what their focus, work hard and persist, even when they face adversity.
Retell: This is the biography of Cesar Chavez, the leader of the National Farm Workers Association who worked to organize farm workers to rally together and fight for better pay and working conditions.
Topics: family, Cesar Chavez, conflict, drought, California, farming, Spanish, migrant workers, unions, La Causa, strikes, protests, boycotts, farm workers
Units of Study: Nonfiction, Social Issues
Tribes: personal best, mutual respect, appreciations/no put-downs
Habits of Mind: persisting
Reading Skills: inference, interpretation, determining importance, synthesis, empathy
My Thoughts: Back when I taught in California this was required reading–in the Bay Area Cesar Chavez’s birthday is a school holiday. This book could fit into different types of text sets. For example, you could include this book when teaching a unit on the labor unit. You could also choose to read this book as a companion text to Esperanza Rising.
Topics: pets, presidents, fun, friendship, dogs, Obama, Bo, family
Units of Study: Nonfiction, Content Area
Reading Skills: synthesis, making connections, interpretation
Writing Skills: developing voice in nonfiction
My Thoughts: I picked this book up a few days ago at our school’s book fair. I have a lot of animal lovers in my class who only read nonfiction about animals. This book combines an interest in animals with an interest in presidential history and current events. It’s a nice book for demonstrating how readers can often get distracted by seductive details but must work constantly to think about what the author is trying to say about the topic.
Retell: During a drought, the Logan family shares water from their well with anyone who needs it, be they white or black. Hammer, the narrator’s brother, finds it difficult to share with the Simms family who have tormented the Logans for being black. After Hammer defends his brother David and beats up Charlie Simms, he and David are forced to work on the Simms’ farm to avoid jail. Hammer, however, never quite manages to swallow his pride and gets involved in another altercation that causes Charlie to take revenge.
Topics: drought, racism, segregation, bullying, fighting, family
Units of Study: Historical Fiction, Talking and Writing About Texts, Social Issues
Tribes: mutual respect, right to pass, appreciations/no put-downs
Habits of Mind: managing impulsivity
Reading Strategies: inference, synthesis, interpretation, envisionment
My Thoughts: I’ve been trying to locate shorter chapter books to read aloud. I’m finding that some of my favorite chapter books are too long to complete before the end of a unit. The Well is short, only 92 pages and can be completed within a month-long unit. I think this could be a great book to read if a class is struggling with the issue of revenge. In this story, Hammer cannot control his temper. The situation is extremely unfair, and you empathize with Hammer for fighting with Charlie. But on the other hand, his decision to take revenge led to his family’s well getting poisoned. It raises the question whether or not it’s better to fight back with violence or fight back in other ways.