Posts tagged ‘transition words’

53. Dogzilla by Dav Pilkey

dogzillaRetell: Every year the mice in Mousopolis have an annual barbecue cook-off.  The festivities were interrupted one year when the aroma from the cook-off awoke Dogzilla.  The mice band together and eventually defeat Dogzilla by attacking him with a mighty weapon–a dog bath.

Topics: dogs, mice, teamwork

Units of Study: Fantasy

Tribes: personal best

Habits of Mind: persisting, thinking flexibly, thinking interdependently, applying past knowledge

Writing Skills: using dashes, using transitional phrases

My Thoughts: I’ve read this book about five times this summer and each time I read it I giggle to myself.  What makes this a fun and engaging read aloud are the illustrations.  Pilkey created characters out of his pet mice and pet Corgie.  I love how the ferocious monster in the story is a cute cuddly dog who looks so happy in each picture.  I think it will be a good read aloud for introducing Habits of Mind.  When finding a way to beat Dogzilla they ‘persist,’ ‘think flexibly and interdependently’ and ‘apply past knowledge.’  This may also be a good mentor text for students writing fantasy stories.  Students could try generating story ideas by doing what Dav Pilkey did and cast one’s pets as characters in a fantasy story.

August 19, 2009 at 2:46 am 1 comment

24. Owen and Mzee: The Language of Friendship by Isabella Hatkoff, Craig Hatkoff, and Dr. Paula Kahumbu

owen and mzeeRetell: This sequel continues the story of Owen and Mzee, the beloved baby hippo and the anti-social tortoise, who were brought together during the aftermath of the tsunami of 2004.

Topics: tsunami, hippos, tortoises, wildlife, preservation, Kenya, friendship, biology, animal habitats, narrative nonfiction, biography

Units of Study: Nonfiction, Personal Essay, Content-Area Reading and Writing

Tribes: mutual respect

Reading Skills: monitoring for sense, determining importance, inference

Writing Skills: using transitional phrases, using quotation marks that note unusual usage

My Thoughts: Be ready for a chorus of “ahhh”s if you choose to read this book aloud to your students.  Every photograph is absolutely adorable.  A lot can be learned from this pair.  I plan to use this book during my Content Area Reading and Writing units.  Owen and Mzee includes both narrative and expository text making it a good teaching text during the Nonfiction unit as well.  One could even use this during a biography unit since it’s telling a life story.

July 20, 2009 at 7:53 pm Leave a comment

19. Those Shoes by Maribeth Boelts

those shoesRetell: It seems like everyone in school has a pair of black high tops with white stripes–everyone but Jeremy.  Jeremy’s grandmother only has enough money for a pair of boots.  When they spot a pair of “those shoes” at a thrift shop, Jeremy buys them with his own money, only to find out that they’re too small.  He is then faced with a difficult decision–does he keep his blister-causing shoes or give them to a friend.

Topics: shoes, needs and wants, fads, money, grandparents, decisions, friendship, generosity

Units of Study: Character,  Talking and Writing About Texts, Literary Essay, Realistic Fiction, Social Issues

Tribes: mutual respect, personal best, community building

Reading Skills: inference, prediction, making connections

Writing Skills: using dashes, transitional phrases, incorporating a balance of dialogue and summary

My Thoughts: My fabulous student teacher introduced this book to me last year.  Every year it seems there is some sort of expensive fad:  Tech decks, sidekicks, iphones, sneakers, smencils.  My heart breaks when I think about the students who are being teased just because they don’t have the latest fad.  Those Shoes is a book to address this issue.  It is an ideal book to read aloud to discuss the differences between need and want.  I can see reading this book aloud during a Social Issues unit.  I could also see using this as a text to analyze during a literary essay unit.

July 15, 2009 at 9:00 am 1 comment

13. A Dandelion’s Life by John Himmelman (The Nature Upclose Series)

a dandelion's life Retell: John Himmelman tells the life story, from seed to bloom, of the unappreciated dandelion.

Topics: dandelions, flowers, life cycle, narrative nonfiction

Units of Study: Nonfiction, Content-Area Reading and Writing

Reading Skills: prediction, determining importance, monitoring for sense

Writing Skills: incorporating transitional phrases, including text features

My Thoughts: A Dandelion’s Life is but one of several narrative nonfiction books in the Nature Upclose Series.  After reading this book I had a new appreciation for the dandelion.  This is a decent, simple example of narrative nonfiction that could be used as a mentor text during the Content-Area Reading and Writing unit.  If you’re a fourth grade teacher in New York, you will be pleased with how well this book could align with the Science unit:  Food Chains and Life Cycles.  Our fourth grade team is considering aligning that Science unit with the Content-Area Reading and Writing units, making A Dandelion’s Life a perfect read aloud fit.  The illustrations don’t just exclusively feature the dandelion.  Throughout the narrative butterflies, snakes, fireflies, birds and crickets make appearances.  I can envision readers using the illustrations to envision the habitat of each creature.  I think I’m going to keep my eye out for more books in this series.

July 9, 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


Feeds

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.


%d bloggers like this: