Over and Under the Pond

February 18, 2019

View my blog post at The Lead Learners Blog of Over and Under the Pond by Kate Messner; illustrated by Christopher Silas Neal.

Savorings for reading and writing for Over and Under the Pond:

  • metaphors – “water’s a mirror, reflecting the sky!”
  • Sensory Description
  • Compare/ Contrast structure
  • Environmental – ecosystem, wetlands
  • Author’s Note – a glimpse into how a writer gathers ideas and then creates a book

Kate’s paired text is called Over and Under the Snow.

 


Solving the Puzzle Under the Sea

February 4, 2019

The ocean in its vast beauty has a world of its own. Mountains and crevices invite creatures to reside, maneuver, and blend. Snorkelers gain a glimpse of the beauty hidden from the wavy surface. Stories and movies have the ocean as its setting. Robert Burleigh brilliant biography introduces you to the beginning of oceanography in his book, Solving the Puzzle Under the Sea: Marie Tharp Maps the Ocean Floor, illustrated by Raul Colon.

Science didn’t know much about the ocean floor. It was once thought to be unmoving. Marie Tharp changed that thinking – but not without opposition. Her ideas were different, challenged, and not accepted quickly. Marie loved maps. Her father drew maps of our American landscapes from state to state. She used this passion in her job.

View the book trailer here.

Marie spent twenty years gathering data brought back from deep ocean adventures, of which she was excluded from because she was a female. (I was surprised at this.)  Marie was determined and persisted. The data proved the possible theory of the continental drift. She turned her data into a picture – a map, a map featuring changes in the oceans floor. Although many still didn’t agree, eventually, Marie’s maps, the ocean floor picture, are the foundation for the knowledge people have today.

To see actual photos of Marie Tharp and an overview of her scientific life, view this 2 min. video clip.

Dr. Nicky Howe portrays herself as Marie Tharp in 2015 Reading Slam. What a fun way for kids to get to know the character and be introduced to the ocean world.

Savorings for reading and writing for Solving the Puzzle Under the Sea:

  • Rich language
  • Biography
  • Persistence – not giving up, working against odds
  • Believing in herself
  • Asking Questions
  • Pursuing Dreams

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

The Water Princess

April 2, 2018

Water is a basic necessity for every child to grow, for every person to live. The Water Princess is a beautiful book to bring awareness of the water crisis in other countries. The book is based on the childhood experience of Georgie Badiel, an international model. Georgie Badiel shared her story with Susan Verde and Peter H. Reynolds, who were inspired to write and illustrate the book to support the effort of bringing clean water to the people.

 

 

Meet Georgie Badiel and hear her passion to get bring a basic need of water to people who walk miles daily to get this precious commodity.

Savorings for The Water Princess:

  • Power of 3
  • Visualizing
  • One moment in time
  • Sensory Description
  • Varied Sentences (including a semi-colon)
  • Advocacy
  • Last two pages show actual photos of the the people getting and carrying water.
  • Social Studies link: climate, culture

Spike: the Ugliest Dog in the Universe

March 23, 2018

A dog shares his story of being branded with a label, left abandoned and then rescued by a boy, who needs someone too. The boy tries to persuade his mom to let the dog stay.

Debra Frasier shares her story behind, Spike: the Ugliest Dog in the Universe, as the author and illustrator. She then invites you to write a story alongside you. (Teachers: scroll down and find several activities linked to this book.)

Savorings for Spike: the Ugliest Dog in the Universe:

  • Point of View – dog tells the story
  • Synonyms
  • Imperative Sentences
  • Persuasion – the boy and the dog both try to persuade Mom to let him stay
  • End of the Book – Instructional Essay
  • Acceptance – looking beyond the outward appearance
  • Illustrations – created with 129 parts of jeans as the outline frame

Coral Reefs

March 13, 2018

Jason Chin is interweaves the reader into his narrative nonfiction, Coral Reefs. As the characters move into the setting of the coral reefs, so do you.

  • Building Background KnowledgeScience: Food chains, vocabulary
    • Builds curiosity to research and learn more
  • Settingthe young girl is whisked away from the library into a magical place
    • Even the ending leads you into another story
  • Illustrations captures the mind of the reader
    • Teaches visualization
    • Connecting to the science text of facts through a narrative-like feel
  • Close Readingweb
    • Read and reread to understand how nature works together, predator and prey, environment and adaptations, partnerships
  • Author’s Notewhere he gathered his ideas
    • Importance of research
    • Persuading the reader to take action to help coral reefs

Big Bug/ Super Bugs/ Some Bugs

March 10, 2018

27431983Children often have a favorite topic to write about. They return to the topic and use the same genre in sharing their information. For example, if a child loves his dog, he often will write a story, a narrative. This writing practice is a great start.

One way to broaden children’s understanding of genres is to present books on the same topic with different formats. You can compare and contrast different books on the same topic. Dinosaurs. Trucks. Bears. Show them how this information can be shared out through a narrative, informational text, poetic nonfiction, poetry, all about, etc.

Three books I found recently lend themselves to this kind of study.

Savorings for Big Bug:

  • Opposites – big versus little
  • Perspetive
  • Comparison of size
  • Circular/ Bookends – begins with a bug that looks small on a big leaf  but is a small leaf to a big tree, and continues (begins with the topic of bugs but is only one part of the book versus the other books are all about bugs)

Savorings for Super Bugs:

  • Rhyming
  • Setting – each two page spread illustrates a scene (you could write about each scene)
  • Teamwork
  • Repeating Lines
  • Heroes
  • Author’s Note – writes about what fascinates her

Savorings for Some Bugs:

  • Illustrations are a fascinating collage
  • Repeating structure
  • Vivid Verbs
  • Personifies the bugs – communicating, playing
  • Last 2 pages is a culmination of all the illustrated pages
  • Invites the reader to action – explore their ordinary backyard

Savorings for National Geographic Everything Insects:

  • Nonfiction text features
  • Photographs in natural setting
  • Scientific explanations
  • Link to further research

The Quickest Kid in Clarksville

February 15, 2018

Kids connect with history through story. Historical narrative invites the reader into the time period, the setting, the dialect. Our students can relate to characters and feel the emotions of the events. Picture books give readers a weighted historical highlight to peak their interest. For a moment, we can be transported back in time and watch the movie unfold before our eyes.

The Quickest Kid in Clarksville ,by Pat Zietlow Miller, begins as an ordinary happening – a girl playing outside with her friends, racing to see who is the fastest. More than anything, the character emulates her hero, Wilma Rudolph, the fastest woman in 1960 and the first woman to win 3 gold medals in the same Olympic Games. Along comes Charmaine, with her “brand-new, only-been-worn-by-her shoes” challenging Alta’s stand as the fastest kid in Clarksville, TN. They race. She trips. Words fly.

In story, the girls have a conflict. Because of their hero’s example and forgiveness, their differences are put aside and a friendship begins. Not only did they want to imitate Wilma’s running abilities, they also wanted to imitate the peace she was inviting.

The author’s note highlights Wilma Rudolph, from a family of twenty-two children , ill as a child and wore a leg brace, and had the first major integrated event in her home town of Clarksville, TN.

Companion book: Wilma Unlimited .  Click on this link to view the book read to you.

Savorings for The Quickest Kid in Clarksville:

  • Dialect – “Boy – howdy, does she ever.
  • Varied sentences (two word sentences for emphasis)
  • Hyphenated words as craft – “shoe-buying daddy”
  • Character emotions
  • Possessive nouns – several examples of using the apostrophe s (Charmaine’s strutting)
  • Conflict Resolution
  • Author’s Note