Posts tagged ‘war’

142. Heroes of the Revolution by David A. Adler

Retell: Heroes of the Revolution presents the stories of 12 people who risked their lives for American independence.

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!”

Advertisements

January 18, 2010 at 1:05 pm Leave a comment

138. Jose! Born to Dance by Susanna Reich

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.

December 5, 2009 at 2:33 pm Leave a comment

127. The War Between the Vowels and the Consonants by Priscilla Turner

the war between the vowels and the consonantsRetell: The snooty vowels and the rough and tumble consonants have never gotten along with each other.  After a few letters begin to fight with each other, war breaks out between the vowels and the consonants.  When chaos, in the form of squiggly lines, rolls into town the vowels and consonants must work together to defeat it.

Topics: letters, vowels, consonants, war, cooperation, fighting, cliques, power

Units of Study: Talking and Writing About Texts

Tribes: appreciations/no put-downs

Habits of Mind: thinking interdependently

Reading Skills: interpretation

My Thoughts: When I previewed this text I assumed I was going to learn about how vowel sounds are really strong and influence other vowel sounds.  In reality this book is not really about letters at all–it’s about class and cooperation between the classes.  The vowels represent the upper class–there are few of them and they are snooty.  The consonants represent the lower-middle class– the undignified commoners.  They distrust each other, go to war and then eventually must learn how to work together.  I can see reading this in my class in order to have a discussion about cliques within the class and within the grade.  It could be read again when we study industrialization and analyze the struggles between the rich and the poor.

November 8, 2009 at 12:03 pm Leave a comment

104. Postcards from a War by Vanita Oelschlager

postcards from a warRetell: Brian’s mom is in the Air Force.  Brian is sad that she has gone away to war.  To console him, Brian’s grandfather talks about the time his own father fought in World War II.  While he was in Manila he would send letters and postcards to his family to make them feel better.  Brian soon receives digital letters from his mom and begins to feel more connected.

Topics: family, communication, war, World War II, letters, reconstruction, military

Units of Study: Realistic Fiction, Personal Narratives, Memoir

Reading Skills: envisionment, monitoring for sense

Writing Skills: writing from another person’s perspective, quoting written material, using photos to inspire notebook entries

My Thoughts: I highly recommend this text for any teacher who may have a student with a family member in the military.  This is a particularly powerful read aloud for Writing.  The text shows how important writing is and how writing can connect a family.  The author includes authentic photographs that were sent by her father during World War II.  It would be great to read this book to students who struggle with generating ideas.  I can imagine this book inspiring young writers to go home and look through family photos in order to generate ideas for personal narratives, memoirs or even realistic fiction.

October 11, 2009 at 8:40 pm Leave a comment

30. A Young People’s History of the United States by Howard Zinn

a young people's history of the united statesRetell: Like the title suggests, this is a young people’s version of his famous book, A People’s History of the United States. Together with Rebecca Stefoff, Zinn manages to tell a version of history that attempts to include the perspectives of groups that are usually left out (women, people of color, Native people, children, etc.)

Topics: United States, history, exploration, racism, slavery, colonialism, rights, justice, revolution, war, emancipation, industrialization, immigration, empire, protests, terrorism, resistance, freedom of speech

Units of Study: Content Area, Nonfiction, Social Issues, Personal Essay, Historical Fiction

Tribes: mutual respect, personal best

Reading Skills: questioning, synthesis, prediction, determining importance, inference, interpretation

Writing Skills: using evidence to support a thesis or main idea, inserting anecdotes and quotations

My Thoughts: I was so thrilled to find this book on the shelves.  I read A People’s History of the United States several years ago and often reread sections before embarking on Social Studies units.  Though I thought this book was going to present a child’s perspective of historical events, Zinn does manage to tuck in a few stories of young people working to make a difference.  For example, he includes the story about how children started the first milll strike in Paterson, New Jersey.  I intend to read aloud exerpts from this book to support and/or challenge what they may be reading in their own nonfiction texts.  This book is also available in two volumes.  Volume I covers Columbus to the Spanish-American War.  Volume II covers World War I to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

July 26, 2009 at 9:07 am 1 comment

28. The Librarian of Basra: A True Story from Iraq by Jeanette Winter

the librarian of basraRetell: This is the true story of Alia Muhammad Baker.  During U.S. air raids in 2003, Baker managed to hide and save over 30,000 books from destruction.

Topics: libraries, Iraq, heroism, action, war, books, community

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

Tribes: mutual respect, personal best

Reading Skills: prediction, questioning

Writing Skills: using dashes

My Thoughts: Stories like this one restores my faith in humanity.  Alia Muhammad Baker’s story is a great one to share with kids, many whom don’t even know that the U.S. is involved in two wars at the moment.  Her story was originally published back in 2003 in the The New York Times.  Reading The Librarian of Basra in conjunction with the The New York Times article could be a great way to emphasize the role of a journalist to bring to light stories that would otherwise go unnoticed.  I plan on reading this at the beginning of the year to reiterate the importance of reading. 

Click her to read Shaila K. Dewan’s 2003 New York Times article about Alia Muhammad Baker

July 24, 2009 at 9:12 am Leave a comment


Feeds

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


%d bloggers like this: