Imaginative Boys

July 30, 2011

I love the imagination that springs from this text. Two young boys. Two favorite toys. One ultimate challenge.

Shark vs. Train shares the imaginative play of two boys, challenging each other to a competition. Depending on the setting, either the shark dominates the train or visa-versa. Tom Lichtenheld begins with showing two boys playing with their toys that evolves into the full-page visualization of the imaginative play.  Chris Barton shows the importance of the story setting effect with conflict. You get a great sense of perspective too.

Tammy and I shared this book at the AllWrite!!! Summer Institute this past June. My friend, Tammy, explained that after reading this book to her first grade class, students began creating their own books with two objects challenging the other. The mentor text provides a springboard for students to practice perspective even at a young age. We first were introduced to this text by our friend, Ruth, on TwoWritingTeachers.

Savorings for reading in and writing for Shark vs. Train:

  • Onomatopoeia – lots of sounds that young boys use
  • Perspective
  • Compare/Contrast – who is tougher
  • Every day events – imagination with toys
  • Speech Bubbles

Author Tidbits: a Pleasing Bit of Information

July 28, 2011

Author Tidbits is something new I have decided to add to my blog. As I read children’s books, I like to gain some background knowledge about the author to share with the children. Making a connection to the author enriches their writing and boost their confidence.  It’s important to notice how the child is writing like an author and then state it to him/her.

As I have blogged about books, I try to link the author’s websites to the post. I am finding that several authors also have video clips linked on their websites or when I search Google. The interviews I’ve viewed are enriching as a writer, and I want my students to have that opportunity to feel connected. A new tab has been featured on my blog, listing the authors and a short summary of what you can find on their websites. I will also feature an author on my Thursday posts.

Today’s author:  Pamela Duncan Edwards

Pamela Duncan Edwards’s website features a for children tab that has puzzles, creative character building, and a number game as part of its features. Children will have fun exploring her website.  For teachers, Pamela has several lessons linked to her books. She has 9 Smart Board lesson links; I’m impressed. Two readers theaters scripts are listed as well. Pamela shares her biography in a conversational voice. She’s humorous, and I think children will connect with her.

Reading Rockets features an interview with Pamela. I enjoyed viewing the four short 2 minute video clips about how she began writing and her ideas behind the alliteration. She has collaborated with illustrator, Henry Cole, on 18 books. Have fun viewing!

I have posted about her books: Muldoon and The Worrywarts.

Dirty Joe the Pirate

July 27, 2011

Bill Harley creates a fun story in poetic rhyme (AABB) in Dirty Joe the Pirate: a True Story.  I love John Davis’s  illustrations; it seemed like I was reading a cartoon. Fun. Dirty Joe and his crew plunder ships seeking a special smelly treasure – dirty socks! The socks flew in the stern and bow as trophies of their dirty deeds.

One day, the crew happened upon another pirate ship. This pirate created fear the crew had never felt before, for this ship searched for another rare treasure – underwear! The illustration of the high-flying underroos cracked me up.

“It’s Stinky Annie,” someone said, “and her band of smelly varmits.”

When the two ships begin to raid one another, the men realized the girls were fighting barefoot. They are shocked and outwitted, stunned to weakness. As the two captains face each other, a familiar resemblance reveals a surprise – they are siblings! The ending will make you chuckle and surprise your students.

YouTube features Bill Harley performing the Ballad of Dirty Joe .  Enjoy!

Savorings for reading and in writing for Dirty Joe the Pirate: A True Story:

  • Alliteration – fluttered, flapped, flags
  • Word choice
  • Surprise ending
  • Conversation – humorous
  • Boy read that any girl will enjoy

Warsaw Community Public Library (2008)

SOL: Serving Increased Thankfulness

July 26, 2011

Today my children heard “Thank you” so many times they were humbled.

Today our family served an evening meal to a homeless shelter in our community. We cooked with fellow church friends and then delivered the meal to the home that serviced 25 people. We were created cheerfully and then set up the food line. My kids were not exactly excited about going. “What will the people be like? What are we to do?” They were nervous and felt uncomfortable. They changed.

Today my children learned homeless people are real, are normal, are like them. The clients interacted with us and asked the kids about school. They wanted to know if they were enjoying summer. The men and women shared about their work activities or family. They interacted.

Today we heard, “Oh thank you for the food.”  We responded kindly and shared we were glad to do it. “We really appreciate your kindness.” We responded with letting them know others had helped us in our time of need. “Thank you so much.”  My children smiled and offered more. They responded.

Today my children said “Thank you” to me as we headed home.

Ameila Earhart

July 25, 2011

Robert Burleigh chooses beautiful words dipped with richness in his book Night Flight: Amelia Earhart Crosses the Atlantic. His use of careful phrasing, short quipped sentences and interwoven personification,challenges your thinking. His biographical narrative allows the reader to feel Amelia’s anxiousness and hopefulness at the same time. I marvel at Burleigh’s molding of words. The emotion keeps you on the edge.

1:00 a.m. The friendly night becomes a graph of fear: a jagged line between where-I-am and not-quite-sure.

Your students will be engaged in thought. Each page turning brings forth a new possibility.

Wendell Minor‘s paintings illuminate the highlights of the scene. The reader has the sense he/she is flying with Amelia, viewing the Atlantic for the first time.

When you open the book, notice the end papers. They have a map of Amelia’s journey from Harbour Grace, Newfoundland to Derry, Northern Ireland. A sketch of her plane, Little Red Bus, depicts the Lockheed Vega she flew. An afterword in the back shares a short biography of Amelia’s ambitious personality and love for flying. In addition, other research websites are shared. I particularly love the “Things Amelia Said” section. She was a bold lady with zest!

Savorings for reading and in writing for Night Flight: Amelia Earhart Crosses:

  • 2 word sentences – lots of varying
  • Foreshadowing – the flight seems to be going smoothly when a storm erupts
  • Similes – lots
  • Personification – brings the reader into the midst of history
  • Colon – used numerous times

PES new book

Who Will Plant a Tree?

July 23, 2011

Twelve different animals are featured, from dolphins to monkeys, fish to ants.  Each animal is a carrier of seeds, transporting the seed to another area. Who Will Plant a Tree?  is a great example for a science connection dealing with plant growth with a simple text.  Students of all ages will be able to understand how a tiny seed can grow into a beautiful tree. Jerry Pallotta features a teacher sharing with her students how to plant trees. Tom Leonard uniquely illustrates the plant taking root and phases of growth on each two page layout.

Savorings for reading and in writing for Who Will Plant a Tree?:

  • Magic of 3 – each scene shares the carrier, how the seed is dispersed and the type of tree planted.
  • Interjections – What fun!
  • Compound sentences
  • Science connection
  • Repeated structure

Dog Loves Books

July 22, 2011

I fell in love with this book! Dog Loves Books is dear to my heart! My writing group met this past Tuesday, and I shared this book with them. “It is so me,” to which they agreed.

Dog loves everything about books and decides to open a book store. While he waits for customers, he stays busy reading. Louise Yates illustrates how the characters of his book come alive and is a fun introduction of visualizing during reading for children. Finally, a little girl comes to the bookstore for a book, and Dog knows just the right one for her. He knows his books and how to match his customers with a just-right book.

I feel such a connection to this book as I love reading children’s books and then sharing them with kids. I believe I’m going to begin the year sharing this book with classes, sparking a love of reading with them.The illustrations support the simple text and allow you to linger over the meaning.

Savorings for reading and in writing for Dog Loves Books:

  • Visualizing during reading
  • Every day happening
  • All About example – although this book is a narrative, the theme is centered around an interest and young children could use this book as a mentor text, sharing their interest in a similar way
  • Grammar – the simple text allows you to focus on sentence structure; several different types of sentences are used, simple to complex

PES new book 🙂

The Little Red Pen

July 20, 2011

Little Red Pen is worried about the huge stack of papers. They need to be graded. They must be graded. Who will help her?  Janet Stevens and Susan Stevens Crummel create a fun read that every teacher will love in The Little Red Pen. The voices of the characters are rich and funny. I could hear the passion of Little Red Pen as she works diligently through the papers. The work never seems to end and she implores the help of her fellow school supplies. They all seem to fear falling into the pit (the trash can) and tiring too much. Each character hides in the drawer until all of a sudden Little Red Pen stumbles and falls into the trash can.

The supplies realize they are needed and cannot take a backseat, letting just one do all the work. A sense of community abounds. Working together, they are able to motivate each other, save Little Red Pen, and accomplish the looming piles of papers.

Your kids will laugh hearing each character. I do love the way the conversations are color-coded, meaning the color of the spoke words match the color of the character.  This book will provide an opportunity for you to talk about team work and community in your classroom. You could also use this book as a read aloud as an introduction for procedures with using classroom supplies. Janet Stevens  has the characters present themselves with an air of respect that your students will connect with. The humor will keep them on the edge of their seats.  Love this book and want it for my collection!

A fun YouTube video about the book.

Savorings for reading and in writing for The Little Red Pen:

  • Character traits – Pushpin is Senorita Chincheta and speaks some Spanish.
  • Voice – kid’s will connect
  • Play on Words – Scissors “I’ve been cutting up all day. I’m getting dull. Not good for a sharp guy like me.”
  • Everyday happening – ideas for a story from ordinary school supplies
  • Font manipulation
  • Community – working together

Warsaw Community Public Library – new 2011 book

SOL: Taco Dip + Painted Toenails = Writing Group

July 19, 2011

Tonight I had so much fun at our writing group. We try to meet once a month and we hadn’t been together since AllWrite!!! Summer Institute. We share ideas, comment on our blogs, and provide feedback on our writing through email throughout the weeks. But a meeting – now that is accountability! I want to bring something to the table and so our meeting date provides a deadline for me. The others in our group share the same drive.

Tonight was slightly different since we met at our of our members homes (thanks to the other Ruth). We brought food (the dip was delicious) and shared about our families over laughter at the table. Interjected throughout, we would ask about how writing was going. We reassured that we were growing as writers, no matter if we had written thousands of words or only had gathered ideas in our notebooks.  We collect ideas.  We play with words. We are writers.

Tonight we had a special touch to our meeting. As we moved into the living room, Ruth’s daughter readily volunteered to paint our toenails. With notebooks out and conversation being shared, each of us received a pedicure we will not forget. M rubbed our feet and legs, relaxing us. We oohed and awwwed and loved the moment of pampering. Yes, and in between lovely massage, we reviewed our writing. It was the best. I think we were even more productive due to the delightful environment.

Tonight I remember. Tonight I smile. Tonight I write.


July 18, 2011

I love otters! They are so fun to watch at the zoo. They are full of energy – all the time – and have fun.  Jim Arnosky uses his picture sketches to share the meaning coupled with a simplistic text in Otters Under Water.  Most pages have one sentence or just a phrase. 

Jim is a naturalist, spending hours sketching and observing in their natural habitat. This informational text shows young children how to share facts in a meaningful and engaging format. Older students could use the simplistic text to create books for younger children about animals they have researched.

The text causes the reader to focus on the different sentence structures. It’s a great way to illustrate different parts of speech, especially clauses and prepositional phrases. The predicate is split into different parts, allowing you to focus on how a sentence can be built. The overall text creates the playful environment that they otters live in.

Savorings for reading and in writing for Otters Under Water:

  • Detail Illustrations
  • Informational
  • Parts of speech
  • Setting lead
  • Circular ending