Thursday, October 23, 2008

Henry's Freedom Box by Ellen Levine

A true story of Henry Brown, a run away slave on the Underground Railroad, who found an ingenious way to find freedom. . . he shipped himself in a box.
Asking Questions
This is a wonderful book to use to begin a unit on The Underground Railroad. You can use this book to activate your students' background knowledge about slavery and The Underground Railroad. Lesson Idea: Have students ask (and write down) questions about the topic of slavery and The Underground Railroad prior to reading the text. Next ask students to write down questions they have during reading. Read the text again and have students determine if answers to their questions can be found. Finally, have students write down any questions they still have after reading the text.

Friday, October 10, 2008

When I Was Young in the Mountains by Cynthia Rylant

Inspired by Cynthia Rylant's childhood spent with her grandparents in the mountains of West Virginia, Rylant lyrically describes the simplicity of living in the country using the phrase, "When I was young in the mountains. . .".

Writers Workshop

Brainstorming Topics
This book is useful for many writers workshop lessons. After introducing writers' notebooks to students, this book can be used to introduce a way to brainstorm topics for the notebook. After I model from my own life, I have students use the phrase, "When I was young. . . " to begin their own brainstorming of ideas they might use as seeds for writing pieces.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

How We Crossed the West: The Adventures of Lewis & Clark by Rosalyn Schanzer

Drawn from the actual letters and journals of Lewis and Clark, it begins with two letters from the men as they decide to embark on the expedition together. The rest of the text is written in journal format about the people and places that the two men encountered as they traveled west of the Mississippi.
Making Connections
This text can be used at the beginning of a unit on Lewis and Clark. Since it is written in journal format, it lends iself nicely to making connections. Use it as a read aloud and model for students how to make text-to-self, text-to-text, and text-to-world connections. Provide a graphic organizer and model for students how to display your connections on the organizer. Allow students to practice making connections to other texts using the organizer as a guide. Eventually, you want students to be able to make connections without the use of an organizer.