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Common Core/Informational Text – What Do You Do With a Tail Like This?

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Jenkins, S., & Page, R. (2003). What do you do with a tail like this? . Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company.

Genre: Children’s Literature – Common Core Informational Text Exemplar

Age Level: 4 – 8 years

Grade Level: Preschool – 3rd grade

Part II

Predictions: From the front cover of this book, one can guess that the book is going to be about a reptile that does lots of different activities with it’s tail. The color scheme and quality of the drawing looks engaging and the word placement around the tail is clever! If I were a child, I would want to read this book immediately. 

Crafts: One craft for this book be to have students write a book about what they do with their 5 senses. They could then illustrate each scenario. This activity could be modified very easily and it would be fun for students to write what they do with their 5 senses body parts (sing with their mouths, sneeze with their noses, etc.).

Part III

Critique: I love this book! I think the white backgrounds and the beautifully illustrated animals are really eye-catching and effective. The placement of the text is also very fun. When I was reading the book, I felt like I was being asked to describe how I would act as an animal; the wording put me in the shoes of the creature! I like that the book involves lots of different animals and their senses to provide variety. The portion at the back that gives more details on the different animals is very informative, as well.

Part IV

The lesson can start off by having students color and label black and white drawings of animals. Then after the discussion questions are presented, have the students write descriptive sentences about each animal. After that, guide students to write a “Who Am I?” poem that describes an animal. Provide students with a word bank to choose descriptive words from. Allow students to work together and then encourage them to try one alone. This type of exercise is great because students can guess each other’s animals and all learning levels can write a poem no matter how simple or complex. It also encourages them to find out more information about their assigned/chosen animal! See example below:

Who Am I?
I am the size of cat,
But I hop on two legs,
I can be brown or white,
And have a nose that twitches,
You’ll be able to recognize me by
My long, tall ears
I am a ____________________!

Questions:

1) What do animals use their eyes for? Can eyes be used for anything else? (Repeat this question for ears, nose, mouth, feet, and tail).

2) Why do you think some animals have bigger eyes/ears/noses/mouths/feet/tails than others?

3) What are the most unusual or craziest looking eyes/ears/nose/mouth/feet/tails that you can think of?

Standards:

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RI.1.1
Ask and answer questions about key details in a text.
 
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RI.1.3
Describe the connection between two individuals, events, ideas, or pieces of information in a text.
 
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RI.1.7
Use the illustrations and details in a text to describe its key ideas.
 
Websites:
(Tons of resources on just this book!)
 
(great lesson plan template!)
 
(Beautiful lesson plan with even more links attached!)

 

 

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Challenged/Banned – Crow Boy

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Yashima, T. (1983). Crow boy. Harmondsworth, England: Puffin Books.

Genre: Children’s Literature – Challenged

Age Level: 8-10 years

Grade Level: 3rd-5th grade

Part II

Issues Raised: 

A very important issue raised in this children’s book is the issue of bullying and ostracizing based on social class. The book comes off a little creepy at first; the art work is very minimalistic and rough, with the character’s faces shaded out so that they aren’t completely clear to see. It’s so important that the issue of bullying is brought out early on in education because so many students deal with it on a daily basis, even if it isn’t directed towards them. I love that this book takes on the view from the main character – it gives the reader an insight to what he’s thinking and experiencing as an outcast boy. Hope and strength is also a main theme of the book because the main character continues to work hard to attend school and help his family. 

Prompts:

Raising the idea of privileged and non-privileged would be a great way to start off discussion for 4th or 5th graders. We can discuss scenarios by asking each other how long it takes them to walk to school? Do they drive or walk? What distracts you during class? Where do you like to spend some time alone?

Part III

Critique:

I checked out this book from the La Verne Public Library. It’s a book that includes a listening CD. I listened to the CD while I read the book. At first, I was a little creeped out by the illustrations and tiny words (it’s an odd book!), but I loved the lesson it taught. I had never read a book that broke down the mindset and actions of a person who was outcast. I think it helps students see why some students might act the way they do. Also, I loved that the teacher helped him be more open and taught him to embrace his hidden talents. Crow Boy was challenged by one school board member in Queens, New York stating that the book “denigrates white American culture, promotes racial separation, and discourages assimilation.” He was the only one who voted to ban the book.

Part IV

Lesson Sketch:

This is a lesson plan for 5th grade. Students will evaluate the book with these discussion questions and more. Then they will research to find a book that has a similar theme. They will compare and contrast the two. Then students will write in a personal journal about a time where they experienced or witnessed bullying, how they reacted, and how they could react better in the future. They will write a haiku about their experience.

More:

Students can also review maps from Japan to study geography, study crows for science, and do all black and white drawings for art.

Discussion Questions:

1. What made Chibi different from his classmates?

2. “Chibi made his eyes cross-eyed so that he would not see certain things. What are some of the things he did not want to see?”

3. What clues were given in the story that told us more about Chibi’s lifestyle?

4. After Chibi performed at the talent show, why did the children and grown ups cry?

Vocabulary words:

attendance, grubs, admired, forlorn, trudging, imitate, amuse, amazed

 

Standards:

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RL.5.2
Determine a theme of a story, drama, or poem from details in the text, including how characters in a story or drama respond to challenges or how the speaker in a poem reflects upon a topic; summarize the text.

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RL.5.6
Describe how a narrator’s or speaker’s point of view influences how events are described.

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RI.5.6
Analyze multiple accounts of the same event or topic, noting important similarities and differences in the point of view they represent.

Websites:

http://www.liveoakmedia.com/client/guides/28013.pdf (AMAZING lesson plan sorted out!)

http://www.homeschoolshare.com/crowboy.php (another great lesson plan with handouts)

http://booksinthespotlight.blogspot.com/2012/11/challenged-picture-books-crow-boy-dirty.html (a blog on a review of the book)

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Graphic Novel – The Flying Beaver Brothers and The Evil Penguin Plan

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Eaton, M. (2012). The flying beaver brothers and the evil penguin plan. New York: Alfred A. Knopf.

Genre: Graphic Novel

Age Level: 6 – 9 years

Grade Level: 1st-4th grade

Part II

Prompts: 

1. What do you think will happen in the book based on the cover and title?

2. Is there something special about this type of book? (hinting at color choice and layout).

Craft: A great craft for this book would be to draw your own cartoon using one color scheme, but with varying shades of the color. This would help the students relate to the novel better because of their familiarity with graphic novels. 

Issues:

This book raises the issue of global warming and how it can affect animals. It shows both sides of the situation very subtly. The author did a great job of bringing it up during the book when the “evil” penguins are trying to make a frozen paradise with an advertisement that says “It’s like the ice never melted!”. It shows that although the penguins were originally “evil”, they were just trying to rebuild their home.

Part III

Critique:

This graphic novel was adorable. It’s engaging and keeps children’s interests very easily. The fast pace of the story line and the comedy used makes people want to keep reading! The illustrations had just enough detail without being overwhelming; I think the consistent color scheme helped with that, too! The comedy is intriguing and makes you think while you’re reading it. Fonts and special characters make the book more interesting to read. You can tell when the words are stressed and how the characters are saying them based on how they’re written. This book is also a part of a series that has books with a color scheme! It’s something I’ve never seen done before.

Part IV

Lesson Sketch:

Questions: Where does this story take place? Who are the main characters? Why are the penguins evil?

Activity: Create a comic using vocabulary regarding global warming by using 1 color scheme and personal stories. 

Standards:

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RL.3.3
Describe characters in a story (e.g., their traits, motivations, or feelings) and explain how their actions contribute to the sequence of events
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RL.3.4
Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in a text, distinguishing literal from nonliteral language.
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RL.3.7
Explain how specific aspects of a text’s illustrations contribute to what is conveyed by the words in a story (e.g., create mood, emphasize aspects of a character or setting)
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RL.3.9
Compare and contrast the themes, settings, and plots of stories written by the same author about the same or similar characters (e.g., in books from a series)
 
Resources:
http://www.classicalcomics.com/freedownloads – Free lessons on various graphic novels
http://www.teachingdegree.org/2009/07/05/comics-in-the-classroom-100-tips-tools-and-resources-for-teachers/ – TONS of lessons and links to various graphic novel sites (100 to be exact)!

 

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YA Literature – Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark

Part IImage

Schwartz, A., & Gammell, S. (1981). Scary stories to tell in the dark. New York: Lippincott.

Genre: YA Literature/Pre 1990

Age Level: 8-12 years

Grade Level: 4 and up

Part II

Prompts: 

1. What is American Folklore?

2. What are some elements that make a story scary?

Predictions:

Just by evaluating the cover of the book and by skimming through it, I can tell that this book is an illustrated scary story book. The title tells me that the stories come from American Folklore, which means that they have a history. I can assume that the chapters are broken up by their content. The drawings are pretty terrifying! I can tell that these stories are for an older audience (the lesson I researched is for 6th-12th grade). The picture on the front of the book tells me that the book is centered around traditional stories because of the old fashioned house, pipe, and tomb stones.

Part III

Critique:

I love the layout of this book. It makes it easy for young adults to read because of the short stories/chapters. It’s also a great reference for readers to use after they’re done with the book in case the book is needed for a sleepover or another fun activity. The theme for the book makes it super interesting for young readers because it’s something mysterious and creepy! Kids love to read stuff that’s interesting in that way. The stories are a great introduction to more in depth novel reading, too. The research behind the stories must be extensive because they’re based on history. The chapter division is great (by category) and I love that there’s an explanation of each chapter before it begins. The illustrations throughout the book are haunting and engaging.

Part IV

Grade Level: 6th – 12th 

Questions: What is a scary story? What are the elements of a scary story?

Lesson Sketch: Read the stories as a class (great for Halloween) using a flashlight. Pass the book of approved stories around and ask for people’s own stories. Generate class discussions. This lesson can go on for one day or one week depending on the time spent on the stories. 

Assessment:
1. Student participation (reading and sharing their own story)
2. Student behavior

Optional Activities:
1. Have students write their own scary story
2. Working in groups, have students write their own scary script and record on tape/CD

Standards:

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RL.6.1
Cite textual evidence to support analysis of what the text says explicitly as well as inferences drawn from the text.
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RL.6.2
Determine a theme or central idea of a text and how it is conveyed through particular details; provide a summary of the text distinct from personal opinions or judgments.
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RL.6.3
Describe how a particular story’s or drama’s plot unfolds in a series of episodes as well as how the characters respond or change as the plot moves toward a resolution.

Websites:

http://socorro.schooldesk.net/LinkClick.aspx?fileticket=vlJVr2j0A3g%3D&tabid=8007&mid=14178 – Document Download

http://www.scaryforkids.com/stories-to-tell/ – Website with the scary stories from the book on it!

http://lessonplanspage.com/lahalloweenscarystories612-htm/ – Lesson plan incorporating scary stories/elements.

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Batchelder Book – Soldier Bear by Bibi Dumon Tak

Part I

Soldier-Bear-by-Bibi-Dumon-Tak-illustrated-by-Philip-Hopman

Tak, B., & Hopman, P. (2011). Soldier bear. Grand Rapids, Mich.: Eerdmans Books for Young Readers.

Genre:  Historical Fiction

Age Level: 8 and up

Grade Level: 3rd and up

Part II

Prompts: 1. Based on only the title and book cover, what do you think the book is about?

2. What are some clubs, teams, organizations, or other communities you have been part of that have a mascot? What purpose do you think mascots serve? Why might they be important to a military unit?

Predictions: With the cover of the book and knowing that the book won the Batchelder award for translation, I can assume that the bear on the cover is in some sort of war. It is not clear as to whether or not the bear agrees with the war or is against it, but something in his eyes makes me think he’s against it or doesn’t know the severity of it. Based on the buildings and landscape in the back, I can tell that the setting takes place in a poor, desert community.

Overview: Based on a real series of events that happened during World War II, Soldier Bear tells the story of an orphaned bear cub adopted by a group of Polish soldiers in Iran. The soldiers raise the bear and eventually enlist him as a soldier to ensure that he stays with the company. He travels with them from Iran to Italy, and then on to Scotland. Voytek’s mischief gets him into trouble along the way, but he also provides some unexpected encouragement for the soldiers amidst the reality of war: Voytek learns to carry bombs for the company, saves the camp from a spy, and keeps them constantly entertained with his antics.

Part III:

Critique: This book was very well written and displayed. The setting, characters, and incidents throughout the book are enough to captivate young audiences as well as provide a few good laughs. Overall, this book has several emotions within it and is a great introduction to WWII and how it effected other countries. The drawings that fill the pages are beautiful, yet simple and not distracting. They provide a perfect sense of the book without giving away everything so that children can use their own imaginations.

Part IV:

Grade Level: Fourth Grade

Questions: Do you think animals can have personalities like people? What are some words you would use to describe Voytek’s personality? What bad habits does Voytek pick up from humans? Before leaving Scotland for Poland, the soldiers arrange for Voytek to be placed in the Edinburgh Zoo. Do you think leaving Voytek behind was the right thing to do? How do you think the soldiers felt about having to leave him behind?

Lesson Sketch: Choose a favorite chapter or scene in the story, and create a storyboard or comic that retells that part of the book. Using only drawings and minimal or no words, try to convey what happens in the story. (This is a great introduction to graphic novels!).

Standards: 

  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.4.7 Make connections between the text of a story or drama and a visual or oral presentation of the text, identifying where each version reflects specific descriptions and directions in the text.
  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.4.6 Compare and contrast the point of view from which different stories are narrated, including the difference between first- and third-person narrations.

Links:

https://www.eerdmans.com/Common/Redesign_PDF/9780802853752_discussionguide.pdf

Offers an overview and questions to ask students.

http://www.thesoldierbear.com/default.html

Gives more info on the REAL soldier bear!

http://paperzip.co.uk/category/literacy

Blank templates for cartoon strips and more.

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Global/Multicultural Book – Keep Your Ear on the Ball by Genevieve Petrillo; Illustrated by Lea Lyon

Part IImage

Petrillo, G., & Lyon, L. (2007). Keep your ear on the ball. Gardiner, Me.: Tilbury House.

Genre: Children/Character Education

Grade Level: 3rd – 6th

Age Level: 7 – 11 years old

Part II

This book is about a young boy who is blind. When he goes to school on the first day, all of his classmates offer to help him but he always responds with “Thanks, but no thanks”. For the entire day, he was able to do what everyone else could do (read and write with braille, etc.) but when they started to play kickball, Davey had trouble. The students help him and realize that he needs to hear in order to play; they tell him to keep his ear on the ball! Davey and his classmates finally learn about independence and interdependence. They let Davey do things on his own and Davey learns to take help when it’s offered. 

Part III

This book is illustrated and written beautifully. Every color and gender is represented in the book, too, so it’s very relatable to students. It takes place in the classroom and playground; it’s familiar to students. It also makes aware an important concept by bringing up disabilities to young students. 

Part IV

Lesson Sketch: Given a journal, the student will be able to recall their experience with anyone who has had a disability or a time when they were unable to perform a task without help. I would have my students perform tasks without having a sense (sight, touch, hearing, smell) and ask them to write a journal on their experience with the task and disability. I would also ask them to define some terms (dependence, interdependence, braille, etc.) in their journals. 

Grade Level: 3rd

Duration: 1 hour

Discussion Questions: Why does Davey not ask for help from his fellow classmates? How would you react to someone with a disability? Why did Davey’s classmates offer him help?

3rd Grade Standards:

  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.3.1 Ask and answer questions to demonstrate understanding of a text, referring explicitly to the text as the basis for the answers.
  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.3.2 Recount stories, including fables, folktales, and myths from diverse cultures; determine the central message, lesson, or moral and explain how it is conveyed through key details in the text.
  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.3.3 Describe characters in a story (e.g., their traits, motivations, or feelings) and explain how their actions contribute to the sequence of events.

http://www.tilburyhouse.com/childrens/keep-your-ear-on-the-ball.htm

Great source to get discussion questions!

http://kidshealth.org/

Site for Educators, Parents, and Kids! Perfect for an interactive site to teach children about disabilities. 

http://www.pbs.org/parents/inclusivecommunities/differences2.html

Methods to reduce stress and remain an inclusive community from PBS! Very extensive!

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Caldecott Book – Swimmy by Leo Lionni

Swimmy by Leo Lionni

Part I

Lionni, L. (1968). Swimmy. New York: Pantheon.

Image

Genre: Children’s Literature

Grade Level: Preschool – 2nd Grade

Age Range: 3-7 years 

Part II

Crafts: There are several craft ideas that can be used for this book. Some that come to mind are fish-making crafts using paper plates and water colors, underwater dioramas, and creating an actual fish tank with different colored/size fish (this could categorize under science, too). 

Connections/Summary: This book reminds me of the book The Rainbow Fish (1999) by Marcus Pfister. I used to read that book as a child so I was excited to read Swimmy. I thought the book was going to be about a little fish in the big ocean; I was correct for the most part. Swimmy, the black fish, was a part of a school of red fish. He was the only black fish and he swam faster than all of his brothers and sisters. A tuna fish comes in one day and eats all of his brothers and sisters. He’s left all alone to find his way throughout the ocean. The book goes on to describe all the amazing things he sees throughout his trip until he stumbles upon another school of red fish. They were afraid and hiding so he came up with the idea of forming a large fish out of all of the fishes (he would be the eye of the fish). Together, they scared away the big fish and weren’t afraid anymore. 

Part III

Critique: This book was written in the late 60s during the end of the Civil Rights Movement. The plot of this book can be evaluated as an empowering book for race because of the close detail to color (the only fish left alone was black). The little black fish swam through the ocean and empowered the other fish he found that were afraid. Many kids probably wouldn’t fully understand this theme, but it is so incredibly powerful to read as an adult and make that comparison. I think this book sends a positive message to children to not fear the unknown and to work together to conquer fears and live a full life! The style of this book has mainly paintings but several sentences on some of the pages. The book would probably have to be read to younger children (PreK-1st grade) and can be read silently by older children (2nd-3rd grade).

Part IV

Discussion Questions:

1. Why wasn’t Swimmy afraid when he was left alone after his brothers and sisters were eaten?

2. What other creatures might have Swimmy seen while exploring the ocean?

3. Why did the school of fish listen to Swimmy at the end of the book?

Lesson Plan for 4th graders:

Objective: Given information about several organizations that help save oceanic wildlife, students will write an essay to government officials discussing current problems in oceanic life, current solutions/ways to help said organizations, and a way that they can get involved in helping the cause. Students will be graded based on the Language Arts standards for this grade level.

Standards:

  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.L.4.1 Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English grammar and usage when writing or speaking.
  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.L.4.2 Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English capitalization, punctuation, and spelling when writing.
  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.L.4.3 Use knowledge of language and its conventions when writing, speaking, reading, or listening.
  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.L.4.4 Determine or clarify the meaning of unknown and multiple-meaning words and phrases based on grade 4 reading and content, choosing flexibly from a range of strategies.
  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.L.4.5 Demonstrate understanding of figurative language, word relationships, and nuances in word meanings.
  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.L.4.6 Acquire and use accurately grade-appropriate general academic and domain-specific words and phrases, including those that signal precise actions, emotions, or states of being (e.g., quizzed, whined, stammered) and that are basic to a particular topic (e.g., wildlife, conservation, and endangered when discussing animal preservation).

Sources:

http://www.theparamount.net/wp-content/uploads/2009/10/Leo-Lionni-a-resource-guide-for-teachers.pdf

This site has a guide for various lesson plans for many of Lionni’s books! AMAZING source!

http://www.savethewhales.org/   &      http://oceana.org/en

These sites have information on organizations that promote saving oceanic wildlife for the lesson provided!

http://www.readwritethink.org/classroom-resources/lesson-plans/wonder-lionni-increasing-comprehension-968.html?tab=4

This site has some more lesson plans using Swimmy and Lionni’s books in general. 

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