Baseball Scrapbook

October 28, 2013

B is for Baseball: Running the Bases from A to Z by Chronicle Books  is filled with historical photos found in the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, NY. Two or three words are featured and defined for each letter, teaching the reader the terms of baseball.  Some words are familiar like a position name yet other vocabulary is very unique. Even I hadn’t heard some of these terms.

The book layout reminds me of a scrapbook with its background colored paper, die-cut letters, and photo cut-outs. I love the historical pictures inlaid throughout the book. This feature could allow students to compare and contrast the game of baseball in the past versus the present. I think you could have fun creating a class book on a theme using the structure of the book. Students could create a summary of a topic using this format as well. Who wouldn’t have fun creating a scrapbook page?

The National Hall of Fame video tour:

Savorings for reading and in writing for B is for Baseball: Running the Bases from A to Z:

  • A to Z book – class book
  • summarizing – specific word choice
  • Picture Captions
  • Punctuation – variety used
  • Compare and Contrast

WCPL book

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

Library Mouse: A Friend’s Tale

June 13, 2011

Library Mouse: A Friend's TaleTo demonstrate how some authors and illustrators team together make several stories, Daniel Kirk illustrations show books in the background. For example, Laura Numeroff and Felicia Bond team together with the “If You Give a Mouse” books. Library Mouse: a Friend’s Tale begins with Tom, a boy who frequents the library, writing a book. He stumbles upon a notebook belonging to Sam, the library’s mystery writer (see Library Mouse also by Daniel Kirk).

Through deduction, Tom learns the identity of Sam, a mouse. Trying to befriend him, Tom discovers an idea for his story. Leaving his book, The Shy One, Sam secretly illustrates Tom’s tale. In return, Tom keeps his new-found friend’s identity a secret.

Savorings for reading and in writing for Library Mouse: A Friend’s Tale:

  • Illustrations – up close to show details in a scene for kindergarteners; excellent up close facial picture
  • Contractions – several varied
  • Problem/ Solution – a simple yet mystery-like plot for young children to understand; can use as a mentor text
  • Suddenly – grabs the reader’s attention
  • Colon – used 3 times

Art & Max

April 30, 2011

David Wiesner has created an extraordinary book in Art & Max. I love the many ways the simple, yet deep text can be used. I immediately noticed the colors were earth tones: greens, browns, and blues. From the book Bright Beginnings for Boys, boys tend to like the earth tone colors. Plus, the idea of two lizard-type looking creatures working with paint intrigued me. David Wiesner is a superb visual story-teller.

The illustrations are crafted in different sized frames, creating action. The characters are a cast of different types of lizards. Arthur is an excellent artist. The story begins with him painting a portrait of a model client. From the scenes and tone of conversation, Arthur is quite dignified.

Max, a rather hyper, energetic young lizard, appears on the scene. He wants to learn to paint. Through miscommunication, Max literally paints Art and then tries to wipe away his mistake. As he repaints Art, the art turns into a collage of a new medium. You will chuckle through the intricate recreations.

I find the text is upbeat and cheery, yet it makes me linger and ponder. I have read the text 3 times and continue to see how the words are interwoven. The title for example is Art & Max. Since Max calls Arthur, Art, I assumed the story is about two friends. Then I think it’s possibly about two opposite people learning to collaborate. As I am reading the book again, now I think the title is about how Max has influence on the traditional art Arthur is producing. It’s David Wiesner. He makes you think and go deeper with the meaning behind the story.

Savorings for reading and in writing for Art & Max:

  • Literal vs. Inferred – “You could paint me.”
  • Action in frames
  • Compare/Contrast characters
  • Comma with clauses – simple text but used lots; excellent for introduction prior to long paragraphs
  • Vocabulary – preposterous

Baseball Hour

April 17, 2011

Yesterday, I spent nearly five hours outside watching my oldest play a double-header baseball game. It was rainy. It was cold. It was a motherly moment. Wrapped in blankets and eventually a sleeping bag, I was determined to survive the weather to cheer on my son. My husband had to work and one of us likes to be there. I pulled out my little notebook and kept score. I know how many pitches he threw and whether the throws were strikes, balls, or a hit.

While watching the games, I take in the setting, the comments, the action. Baseball Hour is a great book focusing on the action of the game. Bill Thomson’s illustrations are up close and personal. On one page, the bat seems the swing out through the page, almost 3D like.

Carol Nevius (rhymes with devious) writes in rhyme, two lines per two page spread. Her specific word choice adds the pop to the illustrated scenes. Your students will be drawn into this fantastic book.

Savorings for reading and in writing for Baseball Hour:

  • Two Word Phrases – “catchers catch and batters switch
  • Comma in a series
  • Simile
  • Varied punctuation – ellipse, possessive apostrophe, quotation marks
  • Illustrations – zooming in on the important part

Presidents’ Day

February 21, 2011

Anne Rockwell along with Lizzy Rockwell created the book Presidents’ Day that explains the holiday through a child’s point of view.  The six-year-old girl in the text is speaking to the reader, explaining the four presidents found on Mount Rushmore.  This book would be good to read in the primary grades.

In the book, students in the class perform a play about Presidents’ Day, explaining each of the four presidents.  The text they quote for their part is concise and an excellent mentor text for students writing a biography.  It reminded me of students who act in a wax museum presentation in school, highlighting the important characteristics.

Savoring for reading and in writing for Presidents’ Day:

To commemorate the holiday, Presidents’ Day shares the background of the presidents celebrated through the eyes of   six year-olds.  The children perform a class play about the four presidents honored on Mt. RushmoreAnne Rockwell along with Lizzy Rockwell share information in a delightful way that will capture your children’s interest.

This book is a great example for teaching summarizing.  It reminded me of students’ wax museum performances.  Each child studies his/her famous person and then shares an important finding.  The children in the book share the highlights through a school program.  In the end, the class has a vote for class president, linking their learning through practice.

Savorings for reading and in writing for Presidents’ Day:

  • Summarizing
  • Singular vs. Plural possessive – Pablo’s name versus Presidents’ Day
  • Wax Museum for history and biographies
  • Proper nouns – several examples are given to demonstrate the capitalization rule: names, places, holiday
  • Hyphenated numbers – twenty-two


Chicken Chasing

November 15, 2009

The Chicken Chasing Queen of Lamar County by Janice Harrington is a first person narrative, told through a young girl’s viewpoint.  The young girl is not named in the story.  For reference sake, I’m naming her Queenie.  Queenie loves to chase chickens.  She shares her chicken chasing techniques with you.  As the reader, I’m amused at her detailed plans from cornbread sprinkling to hiding behind the wheelbarrow.  Your students will laugh at the chicken-chasing banter between Queenie and her favorite prize chicken.

The illustrations are a unique combination of cloth cutout shapes placed on a painted scene.  Shelley Jackson weaves the tan, golden, and brown hues into a patchwork of scenes.

I was amazed at the craft that has been used throughout the text.  I also love the voice shared through Queenie.  Listen.

I stand so still even my shadow gets bored and starts to walk off.”

Savorings for reading and in writing for The Chicken Chasing Queen of Lamar County:

  • Similes – “I make myself as still as sunlight.”
  • Punctuation Combination – bold words with exclamation point; comma in a series, two m dashes, a colon, quotation marks around onomatopoeia, and ellipse
  • Hyphen versus the M Dash
  • Close Echo – peckity-scratch-peck
  • Alliteration – feather-flapping
  • Inference – PAH- Quawkkkkk!  Chickens go feather-flapping in every direction.
  • Personification


Pumpkin Town

November 6, 2009

Harvest time is in full swing here in IN.  Corn and beans are the main crops.  But the family in the story grow a different produce:  pumpkins. Katie McKy creates a fun read aloud in Pumpkin Town.  Katie is a storyteller and has been an educator.  Pablo Bernasconi’s illustrations are definitely interesting.  He’s applied real pictures within the paintings.  With our diverse population, I found it interesting that he’s from Argentina and his website is written in Spanish and English.

Jose’ and his family always saved the best seeds for the next year’s crop.  The rest of the seeds were thrown away, well – tossed and caught by a blustery wind.  Each scene seems to end its little story when in fact the events create a domino effect.  The story takes you from the boys’ farm to the town below, where the pumpkin seeds have sprouted in everything – roofs, trees, gardens.  As they grown, the wonderful pumpkins turn the town into chaos.

Jose’ realizes that they created the problem, so the boys decide to help.  They silently harvest the pumpkins at night.  Because the towns people are so grateful, they send the boys home with watermelons.  The pumpkins are sold, and the towns people use the money to make a statue in honor of the brothers.  Of course they eat the watermelons, keeping the seeds…until a caught the seeds again.

Savorings for reading and in writing for Pumpkin Town:

  • Alliteration – The seeds slipped into straw roofs and settled
  • Colon – The Big Moons were bigger still:  too large for five boys to roll.
  • Cause and Effect – one event causes the next, creating more difficulties
  • Problem/ Solution – “It is our fault,” whispered Jose’.
  • Dependent Clauses – Katie McKy starts most of her paragraphs with a dependent clause
  • Bookend – the seeds from the watermelons are tossed and a wind catches them; students could write their own ending to the story.
  • Prediction – the clues from the story lead you to the next scene


September 15, 2009

From the heritage of Danny the Dinosaur, Edwina is the dinosaur who everyone loves having around.  She plays, helps, and bakes chocolate chip cookies for everyone (who could resist?).  Mo Willems captures the fun tale of believing in someone in his book, Edwina The Dinosaur who Didn’t Know She was ExtinctEdwina, The Dinosaur Who Didn't Know She Was Extinct

Reginald Von Hoobie-Doobie (say that three times in a row) did not like Edwina.  He was an expert on many things and enjoyed sharing his knowledge with others.  He was deteremined to prove that dinosaurs were extinct.  But no one listend.  Being the kind friend, Edwina was willing to listen to Reginald.  Reginald felt like a champion.  Surprisingly, Edwina realized that she was to be extinct, but didn’t care.  Interesting twist at the end. 🙂

Savorings for reading and in writing for Edwina:

  • Setting – school and neighborhood
  • Transitions – today; but as soon as; then; before he knew it; the next morning; finally
  • Inferring – Notice the dedication page.  You’ll see a little boy’s upset face watching Edwina
  • Character Change – Reginald
  • Surprise Ending – “She just didn’t care.
  • Colon – “There was no doubt about it in Edwina’s mind:  She knew she was extinct.”
  • Magic of 3 – He tried flyers, protesting, and everything he could think of…

“I’m Bad” Dinosaur

August 30, 2009

Kateand Jim McMullan have collaborated in their new book, I’m Bad.  They share an informational narrative through the voice of a dinosaur.  Oh, no any dinosaur – a “I’m REALLY bad” dinosaur, “scare-the-tails-off-all-the-other-dinosaurs BAD.”  I love the voice that comes through this book; so will your kids!  I'm Bad!The dinosaur explains his physical features and appetite desires.  The large illustrations give you a feel like you are watching a movie. 

I was totally surprised when the dino isn’t able to capture his food.  The design of the page is a lift up, to which you discover Mom.  The dino who has been talking to you, the reader, is just a toddler dinosaur who is learning to hunt.

I cracked up at the scene of mom’s kill being dropped for her offspring.  “Awright–  takeout!!”   Can’t you hear a kid say that?

Savorings for reading and in writing for I’m Bad:

  • Persuasive – sharing all the ways the dino is bad
  • Hyphenated words – “triple-digit, kick-a-whomper STOMPERS
  • Surprise ending – the dino is just a toddler
  • Voice – speaks to the reader

Did you just call me BABY ARMS?  Long as yours, pal–

20 times stronger.

Think about it….  Are you BIG?”

(Warsaw Public Library)