Monday, July 27, 2009

The Journey That Saved Curious George by Louise Borden

A fantastic primary source about the efforts the Reys took to escape Paris on bicycle just before the Nazis marched into the city. . . with their Curious George manuscript.
Determine Importance
While this isn't exactly a picture book, it is a great primary source about the series of picture books, Curious George. If the Reys had not escaped the city with their manuscript in hand, we would never have learned about that curious little monkey always looking for an adventure. Primary sources give readers a sense of history and through this book, readers learn the background of the authors, Margret and H.A. Rey. This book pops with original primary sources such as original manuscript pages, telegrams, diary entries, photographs and letters among others. Lesson Idea: Introduce primary sources to your students via this text. Read aloud pieces of the text. Discuss how the primary sources enhance the narrative. Then provide a topic of study for your students and see if they can locate primary sources in the classroom or library (you may want to do your own research ahead of time to determine if there are primary sources available) pertaining to that topic. Discuss and interpret the primary sources found. Determine the importance of a primary source and whether comprehension can be clarified through one.
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Wednesday, July 22, 2009

What REALLY Happened to Humpty? by Joe Dumpty as told to Jeanie Franz Ransom

A great read aloud of a familiar nursery rhyme told by a different point of view.
Written from the point of view of Humpty's brother, Joe, the author creates a bit of a mystery surrounding Humpty's infamous fall. Joe is convinced that Humpty was pushed and as the resident detective in Mother Gooseland, he is determined to find the culprit. So did Humpty fall off the wall. . . or was he pushed? Lesson Idea: Reading aloud great model texts seems to be the best way to teach voice to students. Another model text is The True Story of the Three Little Pigs by Jon Scieszka. Both texts are written from a different view point of a traditional children's tale. Read aloud these texts as models for students and then have them choose a different popular tale (Three Billy Goats Gruff, Little Miss Muffet, Little Red Riding Hood, etc. )to write from a different view point.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Into the Sea by Brenda Z. Guiberson

An informational book, with beautiful pictures of sea life, describing the life cycle of the sea turtle.
Sensory Details
This book is a well written piece of nonfiction. The author eloquently explains the life cycle of the sea turtle with wonderful descriptions: "Tap,tap. Scritch." Can you hear the sea turtle as she breaks out of her egg? Lesson Idea: This book would work perfectly with a unit on ocean life or living things. Divide the class into five small groups: taste, touch, hear, see, smell. Provide each group with a sensory chart (five columns, one for each sense). As you read aloud, ask student groups, to mark the correct column with the sensory details from the text. For example, the hearing group would write "Tap, tap. Scritch." in the hearing column. After reading aloud, discuss the sensory details from the text. Create a class sensory chart, combining each group's contributions. As an extension, students can use this text as a mentor text when researching and writing about an animal's life cycle or other informative piece about an animal. Encourage the use of sensory details in the writing piece.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

A Couple of Boys Have the Best Week Ever by Marla Frazee

A very cute story based loosely on the author's son's adventures during a week at a friend's grandparent's house.
James and Eamon spend a week at Jame's grandparent's house enjoying nature camp, and a few other adventures along the way. This time together allows them to enjoy the best week ever. Lesson Idea: Since this book is based loosely on true adventures of James and Eamon, it is a great book to use as an introduction to memoir writing. Read this book as part of a unit of study on memoirs. Have students determine characteristics of a memoir. Ask students to brainstorm a list of events that occurred in their lives and then pick one event to elaborate on in a memoir.