Tips, Titles and Tools for Teachers
Instructional Resources and Book Recommendations
In this month of gratitude, I am thankful for the chance to celebrate the incredible things I see in our classrooms and to have the opportunity to work in both buildings. Learning from all of you is a gift!
My Favorite Picture Books for November
In November is one of my all-time favorite mentor texts for writing. It's full of beautiful word choice and clear descriptions of November. I highly recommend this picture book for all classrooms! It's a great text to use as model for students to write a description of what makes November (or any other month) special!
Thank You, Sarah is a must read! Sarah Hale is the woman we should thank for the national holiday of Thanksgiving! She spent decades writing persuasive letters to presidents asking them to declare a national day of thanks. This is a wonderful text to read aloud for fun or as a mentor texts for persuasive writing!
Balloons Over Broadway is a beautiful, award-winning picture book by Maine author and illustrator, Melissa Sweet. This biography chronicles the story of Tony Sarg, who invented the first "upside down puppets" in the Macy's Parade. This picture book is a great mentor texts for sharing the history of the parade with students of all ages! You can also connect this text to many of the Habits of Mind!
Build a Story ~ A Vocabulary Instructional Strategy
Create a list of interesting and important vocabulary words from the text. (Avoid proper nouns.)
Here is a list of words for the picture book Princess Furball.
You will want to consider the age and background knowledge of your students when selecting your words. At the K-2 level, you will want to select a handful of words that will help your students' understanding, as well as words that students are likely to hear again.
Post the words on a piece of chart paper in the order that they appear in the text. Begin your lesson by reading through the words on the chart and having a brief discussion of the meaning of any unfamiliar words with your students.
As a class, create a story using the vocabulary words on the chart. The words should be used in the order you have listed them on the chart paper. As you write the story on chart paper for all students to see, underline the vocabulary words or write them in a different color so they stand out from the text.
Read the mentor text. As you read, stop and pause when you come to the vocabulary words from your chart. You will find your students highly engaged and interested in the use of the word in the actual text!
You can reread your modeled writing and discuss the similarities and differences between the story that your class created and the actual text. Build a Story is a fun way to interact with vocabulary in a way that connects reading and writing!
I am more than willing to teach a Build a Story lesson in your classroom. Let me know if you are interested in trying out this fun and powerful instructional approach!
Black Bear Book Program at WES
Jacob loves this book and would give it a 5 star rating. It's a hilarious story about two trouble makers who join forces to pull off the biggest prank ever! The second book in this series will be released on January 12, 2016!
I recently read and loved Handful of Stars! It would be a great read aloud, particularly in third or fourth grade. This beautiful book is set in Downeast Maine and explores the friendship between a small-town girl and a migrant worker. It's full of beautiful lines and life lessons that would encourage rich classroom discussions!
Our Children's Literature Book Study group enjoyed discussing Crenshaw at our November meeting. It's a beautiful story of friendship, family and resilience. Crenshaw is Jackson's imaginary friend who is always there to support him during difficult times. Although this book addresses the reality of poverty and hunger for our children, it is full of hope. I highly recommend this book as a read aloud in an upper elementary classroom.
Bumblebee Book Program at Atwood
I Don't Want to be a Frog is a silly story (told through hilarious dialogue) of a frog who wants to be anything but himself! This book has a great lesson for students of all ages!
Here are some activities that you could do in your classroom to extend the book after Amy's read aloud in library!
Click on the image below to check out the book trailer for I Don't Want to be a Frog!