Monday, October 28, 2013

More on Gooseberry Park

I'm doing my second read this week taking detailed notes. 

This is hands-down the best book I've read to review how to punctuate items in a series. There are numerous examples of separating nouns, predicates, and even prepositional phrases. When predicates are separated, it provides practice with parallelism. There is a special rule, not noted in my current punctuation chart, about using semi-colons to separate items in a series when they have internal commas. Cynthia Rylant's writing provides some stellar examples.

Kona looked back at his good friend staring anxiously through the glass, at Professor Albert snoring peacefully on the sofa, at his own warm bed in the corner, and at the inviting flames of the fireplace. pg 50

When Professor Albert finally woke up, it was four o’clock in the morning. Gwendolyn was waving her antennae like an inspired conductor; Kona could be heard rattling around down in the basement; some bits of . . . egg roll? . . . lay on the carpet; and the world outside was nothing but solid, unyielding ice. pg 62

Friday, October 25, 2013

Halloween Read Aloud Freebie

The lack of even a thank you for all of the freebies I have up is honestly, very discouraging. Despite that, I uploaded a 4-page grammar freebie on Ramona the Pest. Chapter 6 is titled The Baddest Witch in the World. Since I was working on the book in its entirety to add to several different packets, I decided to put one more freebie out there. 

It's encouraging to me to see that my work is being downloaded because that means that students out there somewhere are practicing grammar in context. When is this idea going to catch on? I did a portion of this worksheet with my third-grader, and I could clearly see how much more fun it is to do a language arts worksheet when it ties into a story you enjoyed. And he enjoyed the Ramona books all summer long!

Sunday, October 20, 2013

The Best Halloween Ever

To be honest, I'm not sure what I think of this book. Maybe I'm thinking too deeply about it, but I felt sorry for the Herdmans! My 3rd grader is enjoying this Read Aloud right now though.

The story centers around six siblings, the Herdmans, who cause chaos wherever they go. All year long, their capers frustrate the people in this town until eventually, the mayor cancels Halloween. Here are a few dependent adverbial clauses which can be structured into a worksheet to help students practice writing complex sentences and identifying subjects and verbs. They all belong to the Time and Sequence category.

Whenever the Herdmans were around,

After the Herdmans switched the sardines for guppies,

While the bank guard kept watch over the fish tank,

When Imogene overheard about “Herdman-free” Halloween,

While the lights were out at the school,

As soon as Alice plugged herself into the socket,

After the lights went out at Woodrow Wilson on Halloween night,

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

The Sign of the Beaver

My fifth-grader is currently participating in the Read-A-Thon for his school, and his teacher has assigned a Battle of the Books challenge for the month of October. Students will read 4 out of 6 books, write questions and answers about the books, and compete in teams at the end of the month. This was one of the books assigned for the battle. Elizabeth George Speare also authored The Witch of Blackbird Pond which I must have read when I was in school.

For this sensational tale of the friendship that develops between a white boy and an Indian boy in Maine in the 1700s, the author won a Newbery Honor. 

Matt's father purchased land in Maine and travels up north with his son. Together, they build a log cabin and plant a corn field. By mid-summer, Matt's father leaves him alone in the cabin to return to Quincy, Massachusetts to collect his mom, sister, and the new baby.

Matt has never met an Indian, but he soon does. His experiences challenge what he has been told about the Indians and force him to think about what it means for the Indian when the white men begin to settle in "unsettled" areas of the country. Although he perceives of the Indians as savages, he quickly learns that they know more about how to survive on the land than he does.

I am going to add this novel to my collection of possessive noun worksheets; it will be included as well in some error analysis exercises.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler

I'm certain I read this back in elementary school, but I didn't remember many of the details. I ordered it from Scholastic about two years ago and began reading it to my now-fifth grader. He showed ZERO interest. But this morning over breakfast I caught his attention with the part about the Hershey bar that Jamie found in its wrapper. I've asked his teacher to promise me that she will make it one of his Literature Circle books this year.

First I reread the book to see if I enjoy it, and then I do a careful reading/notetaking so that I can decide which grammar to include and how to present it. Below are a few examples which stood out as I read From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler

She decided that she would go to the ladies’ room, and Jamie would go to the men’s room just before the museum closed. pg 35

Mrs. Frankweiler’s residence on East 63rd Street was long a Manhattan showplace for what many considered the finest private collections of art in the Western Hemisphere. pg. 59

Students need "real" examples of the grammar in use. They often rush through the reading and would hardly take the time to notice the grammar.

I am currently putting together a packet of Possessive Noun Worksheets for several 4th and 5th grade novels. This award-winning book about a brother and sister's week-long adventure in the Metropolitan Museum of Art will be included in that packet.