Unicorn Thinks He’s Pretty Great

September 25, 2017

Bob Shea combines fun with a powerful theme of self-worth in his book, Unicorn Thinks He’s Pretty Great.

Goat reminds me of Eeyore, seeing life with a rain cloud. Perspective. Life is good and Goat is having an okay life … until Unicorn shows up. Unicorn has some special abilities – who wouldn’t love cupcakes with delicious frosting raining down on you? Exactly. Goat looks on and thinks, what do I have that’s so special?Related image

Our students come to school with their perspective zoomed in on not-so-great circumstances or maybe they are doing just fine but someone else is doing it better. Perspective. We as teachers can relate too. I may be “dropping my signature dance moves…” in teaching while someone else tweets a special, magical happening in their class. Both are worthy!  Bob Shea must relate. He realizes everyone has awesomeness and magic and together we make great teams. What we do together makes each day the best ever for our kids!

Pierceton Elementary School and South Whitley Elementary School have adopted a book each month that allows cross grade level discussions, highlighting social skills, endorsing the love of reading, and going deeper with a text. Mike McClain, principal at PES, is the featured reader for this YouTube video.  Nate Wessels, guidance counselor at SWES, is the featured reader for this YouTube video. The kids love this book! What a great start to our 2017-2018 school year.

Savorings for reading and writing for Unicorn Thinks He’s Pretty Great:

  • Onomatopoeia/ Close Echo – rattle, rattle; chomp, chomp
  • Adverbs – totally, heavenly,
  • Humor –
  • Character Change
  • Compare/Contrast – activities of both; strengths
  • Interjections – “Oh Man!” Whoa! Lucky!
  • Talks to the reader – “That’s not all! It gets much, much worse.
  • Voice
  • 1st Person Narrative
  • Font Manipulation – discuss why certain words are in large type or in color
  • Hyphenated words – Fan-tas-tic, show-off,
  • Transitions – until, then, at the big talent show,
  • Apostrophe Usage – contraction and possessive
  • How-to scene – Magic trick
  • Vocabulary – cloven hooves



Dog in Charge

July 13, 2017

Image result for Dog in Charge by KL GoingDog in Charge is a book full of mischievous fun. Do you have a dog? How about a cat? Does your dog obey? In this book by K. L. Going, Dog is put in charge of the five family cats while the family goes to the store. Yep! You guessed it! Disaster hits the house. Dan Santat‘s illustrations highlights the sneakiness of the cats.

The good dog, smart dog, the very best dog does his best to keep order as each cat disappears for fun. One topples milk. Another powders on the dresser. Flower pots break. The house is a disaster.

Have fun reading and thinking of adventures your dog or cat have while you are away. The book just might give you an idea to write about.

See the book read aloud by The Cozy Chair.

Savorings for reading and in writing for Dog in Charge:

  • Personification – you feel empathy for the dog
  • Comic frame structure
  • Repeating Structure and lines
  • Onomatopoeia – “Kerplooie! went the clothes
  • Everyday Happening – pets


The Giant Hug

July 11, 2017

Letter writing is an act of love, emotions and stories captured on paper to be read and Image result for the giant hugreread, touching hearts on several levels. Email, texts, snaps – these avenues also send love. My experience is a letter has character, the handwriting, the thought, the time.

Sandra Horning must believe the letter has power as she shapes Owen, a grandson, into sending his grandma a hug – via a letter. Owen hugs the post master, who hugs the mail sorter, who hugs the driver, who hugs the pilot until Granny finally receives her personal, special hug.

Throughout the story, The Giant Hug, the recipient of the hug has a positive reaction. Their days brighten. This story shares a bucket-filling philosophy: when you give cheer, cheer is emulated.

Savorings for reading and in writing for The Giant Hug:

  • Letter Writing
  • Vocabulary – grimaced, blushed
  • Repetitive Structure
  • Snapshot scenes
  • Community Building

That’s Not Funny!

July 10, 2017

Children, and pranksters of all ages, enjoy pulling tricks on each other. The reaction can be shocking or funny. Social media aides in displaying embarrassing acts. Sometimes Related imagewhat seems harmless to the culprit creates a catastrophe in the end.

In That’s Not Funny! by Jeanne Willis, Hyena triggers negative consequences to his simple and unassuming harmless prank – a slippery banana peel strategically placed within another character’s path. One animal gets injured which trips a chain reaction of accidents. All the while, Hyene laughs and laughs.

In the end, the domino effect circles back to him. The circular mishap provides a venue for discussion on kindness and respect.

Savorings for That’s Not Funny!:

  • Cause and Effect
  • Repeating Structure
  • Repeating Line – “But Hyena laughed and laughed because when….”
  • Vivid Verbs – skidded, torpedoed
  • Community building – another person’s perspective, harmful emotionally as well as physically

PES library book

Yip! Snap! Yap!

July 6, 2017

Charles Fuge brings fun as he focuses on each breed of dog. Yip! Snap! Yap! models precise, rich summarized descriptions, tagging a dog onomatopoeia: Scritch! Slurp! Aroo!

Image result for Yip! Snap! Yap!Yip! Snap! Yap! models precise, rich summarized descriptions.The book will encourage stories from your children. Each kid will connect with a featured dog, or the descriptions will spark a memory followed by a story. Monopolize this opportunity and create a class book featuring their dogs (real, borrowed, or wished for). You could expand it to cats or a pet book. This book would be a fun beginning of the year, get-to-know-you, community building idea.

For a cute peak into the book, view this video clip.

Savorings for reading and in writing for Yip! Snap! Yap!:

  • Choice Words – precise descriptions, verbs, adjectives
  • Class Book
  • Onomatopeia – entices the auditory senses
  • One line Summaries –
  • All About Book – mentor tex


The Thing About Spring

July 1, 2017

When the cold has lasted for several days, I am always ready for spring in Indiana. Sure,Image result for The thing about spring the ground gets muddy and rain comes. But, I am ready for warmer weather. I wonder if Daniel Kirk was thinking the same thing when he wrote the book, The Thing About Spring. 

Rabbit doesn’t take on the usual cheerfulness. He is lamenting the fact that winter is leaving. His snow is disappearing and he won’t be able to do throw snowballs. His three friends, Bird, Mouse, and Bear bring in a new opinion. They are persuading their friend to notice the good in spring.

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?

In the end, Rabbit is amazed at the surprise spring can give.

Savorings for reading and in writing for The Thing About Spring:

  • Opinionshow to persuade someone to see your viewpoint
  • Repeating PhraseThe thing about spring is …”
  • Magic of 3words in a series, sentences
  • Community Buildingfriendship; notice the positive
  • Character ChangeRabbit notices the surprises spring can bring
  • Science Connectiontalk about the changes in the seasons.
    • Pair it with another book about fall to winter; compare changes


June 30, 2017

FullSizeRender (1)National Geographic Kids: Explore my World series introduces children to nature in an up-close-and-personal style. The book invites you to be a part of the setting and imagine the science in action. Jill Esbaum created Nighttime.

The introductory pages set the scene of a beautiful dusk evening. The mini-chapters’ subtitles take action: Glow, Swoop!, Chase! Zoomed in pictures capture the smallest creatures in their natural settings. This book is an excellent mentor texts for young writers. They will nod their heads and say, “Yes, I can create a book like this.”

Savorings for reading and in writing for Nighttime:

  • Verbs- sneak, leap, snoop, scramble
  • Bookend Chapters – beginning sets the nighttime scene; ending bring the sunrise
  • Onomatopoeia – Y-a-w-w-w-n
  • Ellipse – added emphasis
  • Science connection – nocturnal, moon stages