Thursday, November 13, 2014
This is a chronological list of events in The Steadfast Tin Soldier by Hans Christian Andersen. Print, cut into strips, mix up the strips, and have students reorder the trips after you've read the story. Laminate each individual strip, and you can use it again and again.
Wednesday, June 25, 2014
Mr. Putter and Tabby Walk the Dog: My second-grader had a simple homework sheet attached to his packet that became more complicated because it lacked any context whatsoever. There was a simple chart showing that sentences have two parts, a naming part and an action part. Following that, there was an 8 or so sentence paragraph discussing a new puppy that came home. After the first sentence, most of the remaining sentences were missing the "naming part." Directions asked students to include a subject ---- or naming part. Without context, my son had no idea what he was being asked to do.
So this is what I came up with as an alternative.
I asked my son to complete the worksheet and witnessed first hand how a beloved story essentially taught the grammar.
It's a freebie for now, but after I get through my long list of books, I hope to compile something special for Cynthia Rylant's early chapter books.
Thursday, April 3, 2014
My "ah-ha---I could do this with book" moment came when I realized what an authentic opportunity fractured fairy tales present for comparison and contrast. It is also appealing that the actual read isn't challenging in and of itself for a third or fourth-grade student, yet the sentence structure work which could be practiced within the context of the story IS relevant and challenging for those grades. Many schools do book buddies with younger grades, so these stories can be "recycled" (practiced in a book buddy setting with first or second graders) and then practiced at grade level in a more applicable "common core" context.
One of my new ideas for designing student practice is to present compound sentences using the coordinating conjunction but, which students then revise using the subordinating conjunction although. This is an idea in progress so stay tuned.
Thursday, February 27, 2014
Yesterday I read this book to the boys. It was quite long for Matthew, but he listened to most of it before being lured away by handball on our back porch :)
This story is about a boy named George Allen who was born on February 22nd, George Washignton's birthday. He is obsessed with all things "George." He likes to count things, just like George Washington. He goes to great lengths to find out the answer to his question: "What does George Washington eat for breakfast?" He reads several books from his school library to find the answer to his question. My favorite part of last night's Read Aloud was when my eight year old ask, "Mommy, what's a card catalog?" He's not satisfied by what people ate around the time of George Washington. He goes to the Smithsonian and sees an actual uniform worn by George Washington and counts all the buttons. He's secretly pleased that he and George are probably the only two people who ever counted all those brass buttons. He travels to Mount Vernon and talks to a docent who can only tell him what the rest of the household ate. Read the book to find out if he finds the answer to his question.
Not only did I enjoy the story, the boy's persistence, the flashback to the card catalog at Lincoln School's library from when I was in elementary school, but this is the line that struck me.
"Don't look at me," his grandmother said. "I said I'd cook but I wouldn't look."
Matthew's words this week are look, book, cook, etc. What is that . . . short "o" vowel sounds, right? Remember, I'm not an elementary school teacher, but how perfect is this that his class is comparing Abraham Lincoln and George Washington and this line comes up again and again in the book. George's grandmother isn't a big help with all this research George is doing. She's busy doing the spring cleaning. She tells George that she'll make George Washington's favorite breakfast for him once he finds out what it is. And a few times throughout the book she says to George, "Don't look at me," his grandmother said. "I said I'd cook but I wouldn't look."
Yes, I know. Interrupted dialogue. That got my creative juices flowing too!
Monday, January 6, 2014
Wednesday, November 13, 2013
This Andrew Clements' favorite is featured in this month's Scholastic flyer! Nothing like a discounted good read, a great author, and the upcoming holidays to inspire me to create a worksheet. I devised a 10-item freebie. This particular worksheet focuses on AND, BUT and SO, instructs students to identify subjects and verbs in both independent clauses, and reminds students to use a comma. The worksheet begins by bringing students back to the text and providing four examples from Clements' writing which show how he uses coordinating conjunctions. If you are wondering why other conjunctions such as FOR, OR, and YET are not included, it's because this is more of an introductory worksheet. FOR and YET are a bit more advanced (for has a formality to it) and OR wasn't a conjunction that worked in context.
And a shout out to PoppyDreamZArt for the border clip art and help creating thumbnails!