Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Week 13: Wendel's Workshop

In Wendel's Workshop by Chris Riddell, Wendel is an inventor who enjoys making new robots to do his work around the house. Unfortunately, when his robots don't do their jobs very well, he throws them out on the scrap heap. In the end, the scrap robots are the ones who save the day.  This story would be a great to use when talking about being persistent. Wendel gives up so easily when his inventions don't go right; he really shouldn't give up so easy each time. It is also good for talking about the fact that not everyone is perfect and we all do things in our own way. 

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Week 12: Chalk

Chalk by Bill Thomson is a huge surprise. It is a great wordless picture book to use with students. Children go to the playground and find some sidewalk chalk. But when they draw things with it, they become real. This is fine until they draw a dinosaur. How will they get rid of it? By using the chalk of course! Great for predicting and even for having students create their own words to go with the story. The illustrations are fantastic and the story is very original.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Week 11: Sneezy the Snowman

Sneezy the Snowman by Maureen Wright is perfect for the snowy season. Sneezy gets cold and the neighborhood kids try to help him stay warm. They try many different ways to help him, but of course since snowmen shouldn't be exposed to heat, he melts each time. This is a great story for starting a conversation about building snowmen and different things to do in the snow.

Week 10: I Wanna Iguana (Late!)

Oops! I don't know how I missed a week! Time was flying by and I was not keeping up. Well, this book I Wanna Iguana by Karen Kaufman Orloff makes up for lost time. It is a series of notes written between a boy who wants to get an iguana and his mother. There is so much humor in this book and the illustrations are fabulous. The boy presents his many arguments and tries to convince his mother that he should be allowed to get the iguana. The mother's reasons are hilarious and exactly what a mother would say. 

Classroom Ideas
1. This is a great text to launch a letter writing unit. These are quick notes back and forth but would be great for comparing the different types of letter writing. Each note also has a interesting closing, rather than the standard 'love' or 'sincerely'. These could be great for showing other ways to use the closing of a letter.
2. This is a wonderful mentor text for persuasive writing. It can be taken to many different levels. If you are looking for a simple idea, just the idea of presenting reasons why something should happen is in the text. When using this in a fifth grade room, we had the students look for 'tactics' that the boy used to convince his mother. The kids found many ways including 'sweet talking', 'highlighting the positives', and 'guilt'.