Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Everything on a Waffle

Complete with recipes for all the different dishes she mentions as she tells her story, Everything on a Waffle by Polly Horvath is the story of Primrose Squarp, an insightful and sensitive young girl living in a small whaling town in British Columbia. Convinced that her parents are marooned and awaiting rescue after a storm, she bounces around a series of different homes. When the Squarps first disappear, she is living with Miss Perfidy, an old lady whose memory begins to fail. Next, she moves in with her uncle Jack, who works in real estate and is trying to develop the wharf and bring tourism to this tiny Canadian town. Though the townspeople, including the school's guidance counselor, try to convince her that her parents are dead, she holds fast to her belief that they are alive and awaiting rescue. Her friendship with the owner of a restaurant in town is sweet; Primrose learns more than just some new recipes from Miss Bowzer, who is determined to keep The Girl on the Red Swing from being bought by Uncle Jack. Primrose Squarp is a self-confident eleven-year-old wise beyond her years who tells us that the only interesting thing about a person is what's inside his heart.

At the moment I'm working on Run-Ons vs. Fragments, Possessive Noun Forms (see below), and Homophones.

Primrose found the memo pad of her mother along with her recipe for carrots in an apricot glaze.

People usually lost interest quickly in the anecdotes of Miss Honeycut.

The house of Uncle Jack, which was on the old naval base, had a gym attached to it.

The taunts of the girls did not dissuade Primrose from believing her parents were alive.

The dishes of Miss Bowzer were always served on top of a waffle.

Miss Bowzer felt that nobody in town could forgive the parents of Primrose for having been truly in love.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

The Canary Caper

This is what I am working on for the third book in Ron Roy's series about three young friends who solve mysteries in the town of Green Lawn, Connecticut. This type of exercise provides not only a great opportunity for students to focus on a verb tense but also to synthesize and demonstrate their understanding of the CVC pattern (jot, rob, clap, flap) and irregular verb forms.

Regular and Irregular Verbs Forms in the Simple Past Tense

Ruth Rose (to bring) _________________ her brother over to Dink's backyard and (to pitch) ________________ her tent.

Ruth Rose (to stick) ____________ her head inside the tent and (to wake) _____________ up Dink and Josh.

The three friends (to walk) _______________ (to walk) over to the police station and (to report) _______________ Tiger missing.

Dink, Josh, and Ruth Rose (to look) _________________ (to look) for Mrs. Davis's canary and then (to go) _______________ to the circus in town.

The junior detectives (to disguise) _________________ themselves and (to hide) _______________ in the bushes outside Mrs. Davis's house.

Fred Little and his girlfriend (to rob) ___________________ houses in other towns before hitting Green Lawn.

Update 10/3/2013: This exercise is now complete and has been added to my store on TpT: A-Z Mysteries: A Contextualized Common Core Grammar Review.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

A-Z Mysteries

A-Z Mysteries is a series of chapter books by Ron Roy. They are popular with first or second graders and with parents who can buy them grouped at a reasonable price through Scholastic. My oldest son read through all 26 mysteries and then went on to read Roy's Calendar Mysteries and Super Editions. My middle son, who is going into third grade, is now easily reading through them. 

I have created worksheets to practice Proper and Common Nouns within the context of the first book in this series: The Absent Author. The first exercise contains twelve original sentences which together summarize the story. Students are asked to underline the proper nouns and categorize them into persons/animals, places, or things. They also circle the common nouns and then alphabetize them. Students are using multiple skills which makes the exercise challenging. Teachers may prefer to assign the reading as homework and have students work in pairs on these exercises in class. Alternatively, teachers can use these exercises as "bonus" work for students who've demonstrated they are ready to move on when the majority of the class is not.

A download preview is available on TpT.

There is a Possessive Noun worksheet for The Bald Bandit and a Simple Past Tense worksheet for The Canary Caper. Additionally, following The Canary Caper worksheets is an "error analysis" exercise which reviews the previous grammar using the context of the "new" story.

This item is currently priced at $2.00. When I add The Deadly Dungeon (I'm aiming for November) anyone who has purchased the product at $2.00 will receive a new link to upload the product for free. This means that those who buy now will pay $2.00 and will eventually receive all 26 mysteries for that low price. As I work through the series and add additional worksheets, naturally, I will raise the price. So get it now while it's cheap! As always, feedback is welcome and appreciated.


Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Word Maps

My fourth grader learned to use word maps this year. Having worked with students in Literature Circles, I was well aware of their struggle to understand parts of speech and to write original sentences. There is a lot of practice needed in this area. I created the following as a sample to be included in students' writing folders. 

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Think Clouds

"Think Clouds" are my way of introducing relevant and interesting information about either the story or the author(s) and providing the teacher with an example to practice in class together. This is my alternative to "the first one has been done for you." I feel if you are going to put something on a page, make it worthwhile; learning more about the author is useful and just might entice a reader to look up some of his or her other novels. 

Most of my Contextualized Grammar Reviews contain these "think clouds." Less cloudlike, there are speech bubbles or callouts. Once I figure out how to download some internet freebies, I'll change it up a bit.

Here are a few examples from Bunnicula

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

New Books to Explore

My son's kindergarten teacher mentioned Jim Trelease in a memo he sent home with the children. I googled his website and learned a bit about his read-aloud theories. There were links to websites with book lists and author interviews. I found when doing Literature Circles this year that many students didn't know much about the authors of the books they were reading. I like to add "think clouds" to my worksheets that highlight a grammar point using information about the author. The site below is something that I will be exploring over the next few weeks.