Halloween Howls

October 31, 2011

Holiday celebrations invite poetry creations and shares. Lee Bennett Hopkins selected several poems around the Halloween theme in Halloween Howls Holiday Poetry. During the fall season, it is fun to read short poems to catch your students’ attention.

A table of contents is featured at the beginning of the book with correlating page numbers. What a fun way to introduce this concept used in chapter and reference books.

Rebecca Kai Dotlich pens the poem Costume Hour. Children will relate to dressing up and imagining themselves as a fantasy character.

Sweet Tooth by Candace Pearson describes candy corn. After reading this poem, you could ask your students to write about their favorite candy, a snapshot of eating or making something delicious.

Use your imagination and have fun with poetry.

Savorings for reading and in writing for Halloween Howls:

  • Questions
  • Sensory Description
  • Visualizing
  • Memories
  • Making Connections

Season: a New Blog Tab

October 26, 2011

The organizer in me created a new tab on my blog. I’ve titled it Season. My literacy room holds books in baskets and boxes. Each are labeled to help me find the book I need. I have two file cabinets filled with books and writing lessons organized by theme. My top two drawers have the months of the year with encompassing holiday events neatly filed behind it. Organization helps me teach better.

So, I was trying to remember what books I had already posted within the theme of fall, Halloween, and Thanksgiving. After reviewing past October posts, I decided I needed to create a place to hold the categorized list. Thus, the Season tab. I hope you find the categories helpful as well.

What’s your favorite autumn book?

SOL: The Power of a Vowel

October 25, 2011

Children say the funniest things. It’s priceless catching the moment. Everyone needs some type of comic relief, and I love sharing these little bits of nothing with my colleagues.

Vowels are so important in our language. The smallest sound changes the meaning of a word.

One young first grader was writing diligently in his book during writer’s workshop. When I conferred with him, Ernie looked up with excitement in his eyes.  “Mrs. Gensch, I’m writing about bulls. When I was like two years old, I went to a RADIO and saw a bull-fight. Those bulls are mean. Their horns can hurt people!”

I smiled and applauded his enthusiasm. Radio. Rodeo. Close enough.

Punctuation Celebration

October 24, 2011

Punctuation skills are a necessity. the marks create voice and emotion. Punctuation Celebration brings some fun into your teaching. Twelve marks are introduced with a poetic definition and a frolic poem. Examples of the punctuation usage are shared. Each one can be a mentor text for your kids. Jenny Whitehead integrates the punctuation mark throughout her illustrations.

A class book idea: Using Magazines, have your students find examples of the punctuation in advertisements and articles. Create charts or books with the cut-out strips. What a great way for children to learn how punctuation is used.

A brief one minute YouTube video highlights the author and her working area.

Savoring for reading and in writing for Punctuation Celebration:

  • Poetry
  • Personification
  • Creating visuals of the conventions
  • Punctuation usage

Pumpkin Patch

October 22, 2011

Patty’s Pumpkin Patch by Teri Sloat is a hybrid text full of fun for the autumn season. I happened upon an early childhood website with class activity possibilities.

The text is written in a two-lined rhyme, describing the beauty of the fall season. Along the bottom of the pages, the alphabet is featured with upper and lower case letters. Between the letters is a zoomed in illustration featuring an animal or insect found in nature. A Junco, Pheasant, and a Vixen are a few examples. Your students could create an alphabet book about Autumn. The text lends itself to connecting with a natural science lesson.

Savorings for reading and in writing for Patty’s Pumpkin Patch:

  • Class Book – alphabet structure
  • Poetry
  • Science connection – insects, birds, animals
  • Agricultural setting – every day happenings for those living in a rural setting
  • Timeline – spring to fall


Have I got a book for You!

October 19, 2011

Have I got a Book for You! – Really, I do. The voice of Mr. Al Foxword is superb. In all of his flattering-salesman pitch, Al works his magic. He begins by showing his customers are satisfied. He is the #1 seller of products that satisfy. Melanie Watt has created another attention-grabbing, fun-loving book.

I love how he engages me, the reader, into wanting his book called “Have I got a Book for You!” (Yes, it is the exact replica of the book you are reading.) The book mimics the commercial ads on everyday TV. This book would make a great mentor text for persuasive writing.

Delightfully, some fourth grade students narrate the book in the following YouTube video. It gives you a glimpse into the writerly voice Melanie Watt uses.

Savorings for reading and in writing for Have I Got a Book for You!:

  • Persuasive
  • Second person narrative
  • Voice
  • Speech bubbles
  • Interjections

SOL: Football Rain

October 18, 2011

52 degrees outside, rain…


steadily falling, umbrella

overhead, socks

warming, hoodie, long-sleeved

shirt, rain coat

towel drying the bleacher, blankets

protecting our legs, rain…rain…rain…

football player drenched, energized

on the field, play by play by

play, defense holding, offense

scoring, fans

cheering, cheering, cheering through

to a sweet underdog


Rain…rain…rain… did

NOT dampen us to


Go Wildcats! Score!


October 16, 2011

Bill Thomson dedicates his book to his three sons. I wonder if one of his boys told a story about a dinosaur that sparked the idea for the book. Click on the author’s name and you will read about how Bill began illustrating and the start of Chalk.

Children create imaginative stories from their surrounds. Bill Thomson captures a child’s play in his wordless book, Chalk.  On a rainy day , three children find a bag of chalk. Wishing for sunshine, the girl sketches the sun on the sidewalk and like magic, the sun appears. Each child drawing comes to life. With a mischievous look, the boy draws a dinosaur. The adventure begins. To view a video clip of Chalk and see Bill Thomson’s brilliant illustrations, click here.

Savorings for reading and in writing for Chalk:

  • Inlay, zoomed-in picture
  • Wondering – the story will leave the child wondering what may happen next
  • Perspective
  • Tension – this book will allow children to feel the tension within a story
  • Prediction


PES new book

October Favorites

October 15, 2011

The Hallo-Wiener by Dav Pilkey

Autumn:  An Alphabet Acrostic by Steven Schur:  autumn activities

         Peepers by Eve Bunting:  fall description

       Henry and Mudge:  Under the Yellow Moon by Cynthia Rylant

In November by Cynthia Rylant:  autumn season

Leaves by David Ezra Stein:  autumn; hibernation

              Old Bear by Kevin Henkes:  hibernation; seasons

The Fierce Yellow Pumpkin by Margaret Wise Brown: autumn; changing of the season; Halloween

Author: Kevin Henkes

October 13, 2011

Author Tidbits: a Pleasing Bit of Information

Kevin Henkes’s books create a springboard to build classroom community. Your students will think of several self-to-text connections that will invite class discussions. These connections will also lead to stories they relate with and can write about. One book focuses on accepting others in Chrysanthemum. View the below trailer (45 seconds) to introduce the book and spark predictions.

Greenwillow interviewed Kevin Henkes about his new book, Little White Rabbit. They produced a 2 minute video focusing on the writing process. Kevin shares how he rereads his text several times to make sure the words sounds exactly the way he wants it to. Kids need to hear authors revise by rereading, a simple yet necessary way to help their writing.

The fall season reminds me of the book, Old Bear. Click on the link to read an older post and the savorings you can use with this book.

Lilly’s Purple Plastic Purse is one of my favorite books. Kevin Henkes molds an everyday event into a story of forgiveness and restoration. Lilly is a young student who embraces school. She loves the activities and adores her teacher. Mr. Slinger creates an environment of fun and creativity. I love how Kevin Henkes highlights writing and drawing by have a learning station in the classroom.