June 25, 2011

Lester Laminack spoke at the AllWrite!!! Summer Institute this past Tuesday. His sense of humor engages his audience. His session was on the importance of the right kinds of details in writing. I’ll share that later.

The important tip Lester shared was on laughter. He said laughter releases endorphins. Endorphins allow the brain to be flooded with energy and thus our students learn better. Lester then challenged us by having 4 to 5 one liners in our back pocket to use when our students seem to be dull and not awake. It will grab their attention and give them a boost.

I’m glad. Maybe that’s why I love to laugh. Laughter releases a lot of good feelings. I guess that’s why I was drawn to the book, Lincoln Tells a Joke: How Laughter Saved the President (and the country). Kathleen Krull & Paul Brewer  share how Abraham Lincoln used laughter to win people over and help lighten a serious moment.

Throughout the book, you will find quotes from Abraham Lincoln. I find them fascinating and I think your students will enjoy them as well. This book is a great way to introduce biography. The richness of the text is packed with information yet will not bore the reader. In fact, the voice of the authors make you want to read on.

Savorings for reading and writing for Lincoln Tells a Joke:

  • Biography
  • Transitions – scenes highlight the important parts of his life
  • Quotes –
  • Love of reading
  • Common theme of laughter interwoven throughout each stage of his life
  • Author’s note

Sloppy JOE

June 23, 2011

My friend, Tammy Shultz, and I present our top book picks at the AllWrite!!! Summer Institute. This year, we had a fantastic audience and shared our hearts out. I will be featuring some of the books for those who weren’t able to attend, as well as new books too for everyone. I was thrilled to find the book at our local Walgreens store today in the “two books for $10” table. Great new find!

Tammy shared a new book to me called Sloppy Joe by Dave Keane. The cover illustration makes me chuckle each time I see the sweet-faced boy with dirt everywhere. Tammy said that every teacher has a child like this; you know, the kind of kid that has his crayons on the floor, papers sticking out of every folder, or drags mud in from the playground. Denise Brunkus’s illustrations will grab your children’s attention as you hear laughter sprouting through the air. What a fun read!

Joe is sloppy. He tries to be neat, but he doesn’t seem to see the necessity… until one day. He’s had enough (or at least his mother has) and he cleans up his room. He wears something nice and too his surprise, nobody notices. Nobody notices because everyone has the flu. Joe comes to the rescue and the fun begins.

Savorings for reading and in writing for Sloppy Joe:

  • Exclamatory sentences – comb your hair!
  • Kid voice
  • Alliteration – slurp, spill, slouch
  • Cause/Effect – his sloppiness leads to issues
  • Character Description

SOL: AllWrite!!! Summer Institute

June 21, 2011

Inspiring! Uplifting! Encouraging! Three words to describe the past two days at AllWrite!!! Summer Institute.

Katie Wood Ray shared her passion for books and encouraged us to keep reading. Debbie Miller share her thinking in giving students choice in books. Terry Thompson shared how graphic novels can increase comprehension. Ruth Ayres shared her writing lessons from a special swim instructor, Nate, which touched my heart to tears. And, Gordon Korman shared how time to write allowed him to create his first novel – in seventh grade.  I am refreshed!

Secret Place

June 20, 2011

Secret Place

Among the concrete buildings, a young boy finds a small island of wildlife. As the river runs through the concrete embankments, a small marsh hides around a telephone pole. Ted Rand paints the beauty within the noisy city.  The boy and a few nature lovers observe with admiration. How did such wildlife of ducks and birds come to be? A flashback of the wilderness history is painted in their thoughts in the book, Secret Place

Eve Bunting uses her storytelling  gift to warm every nature-lover’s heart. The “secret place” allows for a spotlight of hope, life and peach within the bustle of the busy city. The book will open the reader’s eyes to the nature that surrounds him/her.

Savorings for reading and in writing for Secret Place:

  • Setting Lead
  • Repeating Line – “in the heart of the city where I live
  • Compare/Contrast – noise of the city versus the noise of the secret place
  • Figurative Language – similes, personification
  • Sensory Description

Stand Tall, Molly Lou Melon

June 17, 2011

One book every teacher should have is Stand Tall, Molly Lou Melon by Patty Lovell. The message Patty shares is believing in yourself, a topic many children struggle with. David Catrow illustrations highlight the perseverance and self-confidence of the young lady. Molly Lou’s grandma share the following advice:

Believe in yourself and the world will believe in you too.”

Molly Lou is not a perfect young girl. Despite her physical imperfections, Molly’s grandma encourages her to see the positive. As Molly acts in a proactive way, she makes friends at her new school. The ending will definitely make you smile.

Savorings for reading and in writing for Stand Tall, Molly Lou Melon:

  • Bullying – name calling; great way to introduce the topic of bullying and what to do when being bullied
  • Magic of 3 – each time Molly responds to the difficulties
  • Character Description – comparison
  • Repeating structure – the advice grandma gives Molly Lou
  • Perspective – positive approach





Library Mouse: A Friend’s Tale

June 13, 2011

Library Mouse: A Friend's TaleTo demonstrate how some authors and illustrators team together make several stories, Daniel Kirk illustrations show books in the background. For example, Laura Numeroff and Felicia Bond team together with the “If You Give a Mouse” books. Library Mouse: a Friend’s Tale begins with Tom, a boy who frequents the library, writing a book. He stumbles upon a notebook belonging to Sam, the library’s mystery writer (see Library Mouse also by Daniel Kirk).

Through deduction, Tom learns the identity of Sam, a mouse. Trying to befriend him, Tom discovers an idea for his story. Leaving his book, The Shy One, Sam secretly illustrates Tom’s tale. In return, Tom keeps his new-found friend’s identity a secret.

Savorings for reading and in writing for Library Mouse: A Friend’s Tale:

  • Illustrations – up close to show details in a scene for kindergarteners; excellent up close facial picture
  • Contractions – several varied
  • Problem/ Solution – a simple yet mystery-like plot for young children to understand; can use as a mentor text
  • Suddenly – grabs the reader’s attention
  • Colon – used 3 times