Posts tagged ‘thinking and communicating with clarity and precision’

105. Twenty-Odd Ducks: Why, Every Punctuation Mark Counts! by Lynne Truss

twenty-odd ducksRetell: Lynne Truss presents illustrated examples of how the meaning of a sentence changes when a writer makes poor choices about punctuation.

Topics: punctuation

Units of Study: Any Writing  unit

Tribes: personal best

Habits of Mind: thinking and communicating with clarity and precision

My Thoughts: This is the companion to her book, Eats, Shoots and Leaves. This book, however doesn’t just focus on commas.  When students started to edit their personal narratives during our last Writing unit, I taught a lesson about how writers make important choices about end punctuation (for more fabulous lessons about teaching grammar and punctuation consult The Power of Grammar).  I plan on reading this book in a few weeks when I review this concept with students.  I hope this inspires students to experiment with punctuation.

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October 11, 2009 at 9:12 pm Leave a comment

100. Should There Be Zoos? A Persuasive Text by Tony Stead with Judy Ballester and her fourth grade class

should there be zoosRetell: A collection of persuasive, well-researched essays that explore whether or not we should have zoos.  The anthology includes a glossary and a description of the process they went through to write the book.

Topics: zoos, persuasive text, arguments, endangered species, reintroduction

Units of Study: Content-Area, Personal Essay

Tribes: mutual respect

Habits of Mind: thinking and communicating with clarity and precision

Writing Skills: defining a word within a sentence, incorporating precise vocabulary, developing a persuasive voice

My Thoughts: Though the unit is a month away, my school’s literacy coach and I are beginning to collect mentor texts for the personal essay unit.  Here is a text that you could use for either Personal Essay or Content-Area writing.  The essays not only make good mentor texts but the description of the writing process is important to share with students as they embark on an essay unit.  The authors included ten steps to writing a persuasive text.  I’m particularly found of number eight: “After doing lots of reading, observing, and note-taking, we put our new information into our arguments to make them stronger.  We constantly conferenced with our teachers.”

October 6, 2009 at 8:30 pm Leave a comment

77. Eats, Shoots & Leaves: Why, Commas Really DO Make a Difference! by Lynne Truss

eats, shoots and leavesRetell: Truss makes punctuation entertaining in this adaptation of her best-seller Eats, Shoots & Leaves.  Each page contains illustrations of seemingly identical sentences.  Take for example the following sentences:

  1. Eat here, and get gas.
  2. Eat here and get gas.

One implies that you get gasoline, the other implies that the food makes you (and others) uncomfortable.

Topics: punctuation, grammar, usage, commas

Units of Study: This book can be used during any Writing unit

Habits of Mind: thinking and communicating with clarity and precision, striving for accuracy

Reading Skills: monitoring for sense

Writing Skills: using commas

Thoughts: The illustrations in this book truly convey the importance of commas.  In the back of the book there are explanations for why the meaning of each sentence changes with an omission or insertion of a comma.  There are other books in the series that I haven’t checked out yet but I hear are equally delightful.  Essential mentor texts for any editing unit.

September 12, 2009 at 12:04 am 2 comments


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