Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Special Edition: Books by Tara

In this special edition post, I bring you Books by Tara. Though initially created by Tara to aid in the education of her son, who is on the autism spectrum, these books can be used by children of all ages and ability levels. I had the opportunity to review two of her fall themed books, Autumn Leaves and Jack-o-Lantern.
Autumn Leaves The first thing you notice about Autumn Leaves are the amazing photographs. The photos are bright and inviting. There are twenty-one photos of different types of leaves in various stages of the color process. This particular book is a wordless picture book, which I absolutely love. Wordless picture books allow children to develop their own ideas and draw their own conclusions.
Preschool to Primary Level
I think this book is perfect for preschool level children when they discuss autumn. The book provides an opportunity for plenty of discussion about colors, shapes, and sizes. It could be a perfect lead in to a nature walk activity. Teachers and students can take a nature walk and collect fall leaves. Leaves can then be sorted by color, shape, or size. Teachers can even graph the results of the sorts.
Personal Note: I looked at the photos in this book with my three year old, but did not read aloud the title. I asked her a few questions. Here is our conversation:
Me: Do you know what season this book is showing us?
Her: Fall!
Me: How do you know?
Her: Because the leaves are changing colors.
A simple conversation, but it told me that she is aware of seasons and what happens in Fall.
Elementary Level
I love wordless picture books for the child that is writing. They provide a perfect opportunity for children to create their own text based on the pictures. Teachers can use this book to pique children's curiosity about autumn. A more sophisticated discussion can occur regarding the science of leaves changing colors and the life cycle of a tree. After building up background knowledge for students, teachers can provide students with the opportunity to create their own text for the photos in the book.
Coming tomorrow: Jack-O-Lantern

Monday, September 21, 2009

Punctuation Celebration by Elsa Knight Bruno

A clever picture book that features fourteen poems about punctuation.
A great picture book to use as a model when teaching conventions. Read aloud this book with gusto and children are sure to find punctuation exciting!
Lesson Idea: After reading aloud this book, have children discuss the different forms of punctuation. Have each child choose one and write their own poem about it. Compile the poems into a class punctuation book to use as a resource when children are editing other students' work.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs by Judi Barrett

The weather in the town of Chewandswallow is tasty. Food falls from the sky, which is great, until one day the weather takes a turn for the worse. . . Ideas Read aloud Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs and discuss how the author developed the idea of using food in the place of weather. Brainstorm other ideas for a story in a chart titled, "Cloudy With a Chance of. . ." Some ideas may include: toys, candy, sports, or games. Lesson Idea: After students brainstorm a list of other ideas, have them choose one to develop into a writing piece. Text to World Connection: If students see the movie, ask them to compare the movie and the book. How did the movie stay true to the author's ideas? Or use the brief movie trailer below to make some comparisons:

Monday, September 7, 2009

Lincoln and Douglass: An American Friendship by Nikki Giovanni

Nikki Giovanni's lyrical text brings to life an unusual friendship between two great American leaders. Perhaps forbidden, it was a friendship that perservered nonetheless.
During a unit on the Civil War, or its aftermath, read aloud this book. This is a wonderful text to get students to think about the racial tensions that occurred during that time. Despite the end of the Civil War, there were still two distinct opposing "sides" when it came to race relations. Giovanni lyrically illustrates how two very different men were able to bond over shared ideals and work together for a common goal.
Lesson Idea After reading aloud this book, break students into groups of four. Present a question for discussion regarding the friendship between Lincoln and Douglass, the racial inequality of the time, or further research whether Mrs. Lincoln's sympathies really "did not lie with the men and women of color" (There has been some controversy as to whether this is true or not). Make sure the question has clear pros and cons. If necessary, have students further research the topic to give more background information. Have each group of students complete a discussion web to synthesize their thoughts on the matter. Students must come to a group consensus upon completion of the discussion. Have each group share their consensus with the whole class. After a class discussion, have individual students write a persuasive essay based on the topic.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Literacy Lava 2 Now Available at The Book Chook!

Hi all! Here is a special post about a special product!
Literacy Lava is a free pdf ezine for parents, offering tips on ways to incorporate reading, writing, and communicating into family life.
In the second edition of Literacy Lava, you'll find ideas: for motivating reluctant readers, for literacy on the go, for developing the imagination muscle, for linking math and literacy, for having a pirate party and a book picnic, for rhymes, games, activities and more!
Brought to you by bloggers and writers who are passionate about children's literature and literacy. Literacy Lava 2 is erupting with no- or low-cost activities parents can do with their kids.
So, if you think you'd like a little lava to read with your java. . .
If the price tag FREE appeals to you. . .
Grab Literacy Lava 2 today, via The Book Chook blog.