November 18, 2018
Delightful story, The Bear and The Piano by David Litchfield! I am drawn to the beauty of the setting, the internal conflict, the story. I have been savoring this book over several days. The words linger. The dream lingers. The question of acceptance, friendship, and love lingers with me. You just need to read it and fall in love with the bear, his music, and the family waiting for him.
The Power of 3 is used often as a craft in this text.
“He missed the forrest. He missed his old friends. He missed his home.”
“No piano, no bears, no anything.”
View the reading of The Bear and the Piano (5.5 minutes).
Savorings for reading and writing for The Bear and The Piano:
- One day
- Adverbs – shyly, eventually
- Onomatopoeia – Plonk!
- Power of 3 – several forms
- Teaching ideas – click on this link
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?
- 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
March 31, 2018
Writing territories are topics each of us knows well. These topics we know well or enjoy learning more about. One writing territory I enjoy is baseball. I have read many picture books on the topic: narrative- first person, second person, third person, informational, historical fiction, biographies, ABC book, 101 Reasons, specific professional team. One topic; many forms of writing.
Kids need to see they can use their same topic in many writing forms. Comparing books is a great way to show children how they can explore writing techniques.
Bear and Duck by Katy Hudson is a fictional story about a bear who tries being a duck. An unlikely friendship forms.
Savorings for Bear and Duck:
- Power of 3
- Sequential steps
- How To
- Hyphenated words
Bear Has a Story to Tell by Philip C. Stead is about a bear who wants to share his story but helps his friends get ready for winter. Spring comes. Bear does random acts of kindness for his friends.
Savorings for Bear Has a Story to Tell:
- Story elements – great as a mentor text
- Sesnory description
- Love of Story
- Fast-forward Time
- Acts of Kindness
A Beginner’s Guide to Bear Spotting by Michelle Robinson presents a different approach to bears. A little boy is on adventure to find bears with the reader speaking to him in second-person narrative. Love the voice in this book! Enjoy!
Savorings for A Beginner’s Guide to Bear Spotting:
- Field Notes/ Writer’s notebook
- Reader talks to the character
- Second Person Narrative
- Compare/ Contrast
March 24, 2018
Everyday we have opportunities to brighten the lives of others.
On my first reading of Ellie by Mike Wu, the story line seemed to be a simple story. The setting and characters are set with a zoomed-in lens with white background. Ellie’s eyes capture your heart and you are drawn in to her emotion. It was the scene of Ellie first trying her painting, giving it her first try after Walt had modeled the basics, that I made a connection. Ellie explored her talent and surprised her “teacher” with the unexpected. Ellie’s talent shined because Walt: 1) celebrated her accomplishment; 2) brought her the needed tools to thrive; and 3) honored her contribution.
We are like Walt. At the moment Ellie had self-doubt, he encouraged and supported. And like Walt, we equip our students with tools to create, explore, and flourish. We have the power to propel our students forward to paint their masterpieces while we celebrate alongside.
Show this book trailer to your students to introduce the book.
Click this link to hear the video online. The story pace allows the children time to admire the illustrations. This link would be a wonderful eLearning book to share with your students. You could have them write a response to the book sharing about what they are good at, a time they helped someone, or maybe a special trip to the zoo. You can then discuss the deeper meaning of the book with your class.
Savorings for Ellie:
- Introduction to Story Elements
- Internal Conflict
- Repeating phrase -“If only…”
- Making a Difference
March 22, 2018
Fox is ready to build a tree house with her friends: Skunk, Bear, Frog, and Porcupine. All of a sudden, Moose arrives on the scene and he begins to shout orders. Teamwork seems to go by the wayside as Moose disrupts the groups’ plans.
“But what about you, Moose?” Fox asked with a glare. “You’re tromping about but not doing your share.”
View the book trailer with the class and predict what may happen. As a class talk about how this story compares with group work in class. You could possibly create guidelines for teamwork on projects.
View the book being read online. On Corey Rosen Schwartz‘s website, you will find a curriculum guide for activities in all content areas and STEM activity too. For language arts, this book has numerous words ending in -ed (28 different ones).
Savorings for What About Moose?
- Problem Solving
- Being in charge
- Conflict Resolution
March 11, 2018
Rabbit is worried he will miss snow and winter activities with spring coming. His friends present several different perspectives to persuade Rabbit that spring will be great too. Daniel Kirk shares his passion for writing on his website at this link. See a preview of The Thing About Spring and some teaching ideas at this link.
“What are you doing, Rabbit?” Mouse called.
“Saving snow, while I still can,” Rabbit grumbled. “We won’t see any more of this until next year!”
“But spring is coming,” Bird chirped. “Aren’t you excited?”
Savorings for The Thing About Spring:
- Repeating Phrase – “The thing about spring is …”
- Persuasion – seeing a different perspective
- Magic of 3 – words in a series, sentences
- “There are buds on the trees and new colors in the sky, and I feel warm and happy.”
- Community Building – friendship; notice the positive
- Character Change – Rabbit notices the surprises spring can bring
- Science Connection – talk about the changes in the seasons.
- Pair it with another book about fall to winter; compare changes