Thursday, July 2, 2015

Thunder Cake by Patricia Polacco ~ Lexile 630 ~ Grades 3 & 4




My youngest son and I are obsessed with Thunder Cake by Patricia Polacco.  If you have not yet read any of her books, this is the perfect starting place!  It is filled with a positive message about overcoming your fears with themes of bravery and perseverance.  This book contains oodles of strong figurative language and has easy to follow sequencing for story structure.  The story is just plain fun as well!  Buy this  book as it is a classic to keep forever.


I created a unit for my son and our third grade team to work on noticing author's message, character change and the strong figurative language in this book.  I also threw in commas in a series and close reading because both are skills we can always utilize, and they fit perfectly into the sequence of story structure as well as baking a cake.  Head on over to TPT if you are interested in this!

















Happy Reading!


Thursday, May 7, 2015

How Character's Change

I was looking for a neat, short video clip about character change to use with our fifth grade students and found this EXCELLENT video clip from You Tube.  It is 3 minutes long and just right for introducing and discussing how characters change.  Enjoy!







Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Punished by David Lubar ~ Fantastic Figurative Language!





This is my second post about Punished by David Lubar.  I have copied my previous post below.  What is NEW is that I have finally finished the most darling companion student booklet to use with this outstanding book!  *Clapping hands with glee!*

This complete unit has a companion booklet where students write a basic Somebody-Wanted-But-So-Then paragraph and record their favorite figurative language quotes from reading.  The book is divided into 5 parts so students will get great practice with these two skills, yet spend most of their time reading to be ENGAGED with the humor in this text.



Notes from previous  blog post:
I am always on the look-out to find amazing books for kids that hilight and integrate fabulous figurative language concepts.  David Lubar's book, Punished, is one of my all-time favorites!  This is an easy, great read that  seamlessly introduces kids to puns, oxymorons, palindromes and anagrams.  This book is loads of fun!        

Summary:
Logan and Benedict, best friends, raced through the library resulting in Logan crashing into an older man, Mr. Wordsworth.  Logan apologized.  Mr. Wordsworth replied, "Words aren't always enough."  Ominous sounding, he continues to tell Logan that he needed to be punished.

Page 15 gives us a wonderful tease to read on.                                      
"Yes. Punished.  I suspect it would do you some good."  He raise the book he was holding and blew on it.  A puff of dust swirled through the air.  I closed my eyes as the dust tickled my face.  "Hey, cut it out!" I wiped my face with my sleeve and then opened my eyes.  He was gone.
From that point forward, Logan speaks in puns, which are groan out-load "punny!"  Logan eventually  finds Mr. Wordsworth for an explanation.  Mr. Wordsworth tells Logan that he can remove the punishment himself by finding seven oxymorons, anagrams, and palindromes or he will speak in puns forever....

You will enjoy this delightful book!

Below is a preview of the remainder of this unit.  Hop on over to Teachers Pay Teachers to get this for your classroom.













I hope you will LOVE this unit as much as I do! {LINK}
Happy Reading!

Friday, May 1, 2015

Middle School Mystery Literature Circles


Our sixth grade team is ending this year with an amazing assortment of literature circle books that will surely keep students engaged until the school year ends.  Students just finished the universal text, Dead End in Norvelt by Jack Gantos, which is absolutely fabulous!  We practice the same skills through literature circle books that students choose from of the same genre with varying lexile ranges to accommodate instructional reading levels.  Below are nine selections that students will choose from.

Lexile levels are listed below. We are using these books for sixth grade, but their appeal ranges from grades 5-8.


Holes:  660
One Came Home:  690 (Historical fiction as well)
Down the Rabbit Hole:  680 (Lower lexile, but longer book)
So Yesterday:  770
Kiki Strike:  890 (Higher lexile and longer  book)
Chasing Vermeer: 770 
When You Reach Me:  750
Hoot:  760
Three Times Lucky:  560 (Lower lexile, but longer book)






Because we want  students to spend most of their time reading and focusing on main ideas, we made these cute detective notebooks where students will record their ideas to share during discussion time.
Focus areas include:
  1. Identify the mystery with page numbers.
  2. Identify the motive(s) for this crime.
  3. Investigate the characters and determine if each character is a sleuth, victim, witness or other.
  4. Record clues, evidence and red herrings.
  5. Write a book recommendation or not... explain. 
These notebooks truly could be used in your universal instruction with a "whole group" book OR through literature circles with differentiated titles.  



Happy Reading!

Sunday, April 26, 2015

The City of Ember Complete Literacy Unit




 I finally finished The City of Ember unit and I am so excited to share this print ready unit that incorporates best practices in literacy instruction.  This book engages ALL students and the unit is infused with metacognitive strategies and thinking marks.  It is sure to be a hit with your students!


Daily plans are based on 45 minute class periods.  This is a suggested progression that you should  adjust per your literacy block and the student needs in your classroom.


Our students were still having trouble writing a main idea sentence, so we added in a “big idea” anchor chart where, after reading a series of chapters, we followed the Somebody-Wanted-But-So-Then format and wrote one or two sentences.  This really helped firm up their understanding of this strategy.  We emphasized that as we write these key sentences, they relate to the “I can” statement of explaining how a series of events connect together.
Visualization, determining importance, asking questions and inferencing were taught through mini-lessons and applied through marking our thinking assignments.
Teacher modeling of all strategies has been built into lesson plans.

Think notes and rubrics are utilized through the gradual release of responsibility throughout this unit.

Here is the {LINK} to my unit at Teachers Pay Teacher.  I have added the preview slides below as well.  























Happy Reading!


 
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