The Web Files

May 3, 2018

Margie Palatini is one of my favorite authors. Words are fun. She brings a delightful humor to her texts that hook her readers. On her website, she has an index of literacy skills linked to her books.

The Web Files is a book full of idioms and alliteration that challenges her readers to think, to connect, to visualize. This text would be a fun readers theater to challenge the rolling tongue. Enjoy a fun activity from her website.

So you’re saying that you were robbed, is that right ma’am? What exactly is missing from the nest, ma’am? Eggs, Ma’am? Chicks, ma’am?”

“P-p-peppers,” she said with a flap.

“Peppers?” I asked.

“My perfect purple peppers that were just about ready to be pickled.”

“About how many perfect purple almost-pickled peppers would you say were pilfered, pinched, and picked? A bushel?”

“P’awk! Pawk!” she squawked. “No—a peck! A peck, I tell you! A whole purple- pepper-pickin’ peck!”  pg. 10-11

Savorings for The Web Files:

  • Humor – idioms and play on words (interweaves fairy tales and Dragnet TV series)
  • Alliteration
  • Higher level of punctuation – apostrophe with slang (horsin’ around)
  • Inference
  • Magic of 3
  • Word Choice
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Life on Mars

May 1, 2018

Kids often wonder about life on the moon or other galaxies. Movies bring outer-space beings into a seemingly possible reality. Is there life on other planets? Jon Agee allows a child to explore the possibilities in his book, Life on Mars.

The astronaut believes there is life. He begins to explore. Time passes. Doubt begins to set in. The reader hears the character’s internal dialogue. Alongside the meandering astronaut, a silent story parallels his feelings.

This text lends itself to teaching kids life lessons of perseverance, confidence, affect, trial/error, discovery, celebration.

View the book trailer here.

View the book read aloud at this link. I think your kids will enjoy the sound effects.

Savorings for Life on Mars:

  • Internal Thinking
  • Silent parallel story
  • Two characters
  • Wonderings
  • Life lessons
  • Surprise Ending

Old Elm Speaks: Tree Poems

April 12, 2018

Observing nature quiets a soul and calms our fast-paced lives. Children need time to process their learning, time to explore and think.

Old Elm Speaks, by Kristine O’Connell George, invites you to interact with the world around you. Trees have personalities and beckon us to tell a story. Can you hear the stories the stories they can write? Climbing. Tree houses. Mushroom hunting. On her website, Kristine O’Connell George shares some writing and science activities that go along with this book. Other poetry ideas are on her website as well.  Celebrate Poetry Month by including these poems that will connect with children’s hearts. Take a nature walk around the school and notice nature. What tree speaks to you?

Trees.

Ordinary yet unique.

Inaudible yet whispering.

Life.

by MHGensch

Savorings for Old Elm Speaks Tree Poems:

  • Personification
  • Everyday life – gathering stories/ poetry from around us
  • Figurative Language – “a tiny velveteen satchel
  • Description – using comparisons, figurative language, rich language
  • Science Link
  • Class book idea – create a photo book of trees with the students’ poems, memories

 

 


Come With Me

April 9, 2018

Pay it forward. Smile. Say “Hello”. Draw a picture.

Make a change.

Be brave. Ask others to join you adding sunshine to the world.

Holly M. McGhee and Pascal Lemaitre bring hope through the example of one family, one child. Learning begins in the home, but in our classrooms, we have opportunities to model and show how to bring happiness in this world. Listen to the story told through children’s voices

Colby Sharp gives a book talk about Come With Me and the discussion he had with his students.

View an interview of author Holly M. McGhee. She shares about writing her middle grade novel, Matylda, Bright and Tender. I think it’s important for kids to see the author in “real life”, to hear how she works through hard parts. I also pushing kids to see that they can write anything – a picture book or a novel. The ending question is powerful.

Savorings for Come With Me:

  • Pay It Forward – make the world a better place
  • Show kindness; care for others
  • Be Brave
  • Repeating structure
  • Show not Tell
  • Community Building

Is There a Dog In This Book?

April 7, 2018

Fun. Creative. Interactive. Viviane Schwarz engages her readers by interacting with the characters in Is There a Dog in This Book? I just love how the characters chit-chat with you: “Oh, hello! You opened our book!” Andre’ sniffs and wonders if someone else is in their book. The hide-and-seek game begins between the cats and the dog. The reader engages in the hunt by lifting flaps in the book, seeking and adding to the story.

Author/ illustrator, Viviane Schwarz, shares her story about writing books in this 8-minute video. I love how she wants to inspire children to draw and write, creating their own books.

On this YouTube clip, the author reads her story to you. I think the kids will enjoy hearing her read this delightful tale. View her blog for more behind the scenes tidbits of her work. You will be introduced to other books by Viviane Schwarz.

Savorings for Is There a Dog in This Book?

  • Voice
  • Second Person Narrative – interaction with the characters
  • Power of 3
  • Speech bubbles
  • Character Description / change
  • Everyday Happening – children can relate to the topic; create stories using their pets
  • Setting – helps young children see the importance of the setting

Everywhere, Wonder

April 5, 2018

Writer, Matthew Swanson, and illustrator, Robbi Behr, collaborate to create books. Read their story here or Google their YouTube video of what it’s like to collaborate together.

In Everywhere, Wonder, emphasis is placed on children noticing the world around them. Reading books brings new lands and climates alive. The information we gather can then be used to create our own stories to share. Matthew and Robbi created a printable book for kids to share their stories. I would love for each classroom to read and discuss this book. It’s a wonderful mentor text for sharing at the beginning of collecting ideas in notebooks for narratives and nonfiction possibilities.

Savorings for Everywhere, Wonder:

  • Story to share
  • Noticing. Observing the world around you.
  • Sensory detail
  • Geography. Climates
  • Visualizing
  • Wondering – how to ask questions about what you notice

Hogwash

April 3, 2018

Don’t judge a book by its cover. I was surprised with the number of craft moves in this book, Hogwash by Karma Wilson, illustrated by Jim McMullan. Filled with rhyme and a humorous story line, your students will laugh at the banter between the farmer and the hogs. Specific vocabulary is used such as Suey, Suey spic ‘n’ span, cleaning duds.

In regards to a mentor text, I noted several words were contractions: here’s, let’s, weren’t, that’s, etc. Most pages have four lines, so my eyes caught the past tense verbs. I began to write a few down and my list grew to over 30. When teaching the -ed sound, this book would aide. Let the kids find and categorize the ending sounds. It will make for a fun lesson and one that will most likely connect with them.

Savorings for Hogwash:

  • One day
  • Turning Point – “Everything went dandy … until”
  • Rhyme
  • Character change
  • Specific Vocabulary
  • Contractions
  • Past Tense Verbs
  • Compare this text with Click, Clack, Moo by Doreen Cronin.