Saturday, November 1, 2014

November is Picture Book Month

I recently joined Twitter. I have to say, I have no idea what I'm doing yet. I only have four followers, I only follow a few people and I still haven't quite figured out what a hashtag is. I think I have made one 'tweet' and that was because a 5th grade student took pity on me and helped me do it. But, I'm trying. 
As teachers, parents, and colleagues we are often so stymied by the idea that we may not do something well, that we don't do anything at all. It's scary to jump in and admit that we don't have all the answers and we might not know what will happen. But, without that one small step, that one little leap, we don't know how far we (and the students) can go.
Therefore, I'm leaping a bit and revisiting the idea of great picture books. November is Picture Book Month and I want to take a bit of time to pull out some of the great picture books I have and think about them in a new way.
I don't know for sure where this thinking will take me, but I'm willing to jump in and give it a try to see just how far it can go.

Clarence Goes Out West and Meets a Purple Horse by Jean Ekman Adams

I'm sure there are better books out there, but this book is one of my favorites. There are several others in the series, but the first one is still the best, I think. I love the illustrations, Clarence and Smoky are both so cute and the colors are very vibrant.
I love to use this book to show different sentence length. There are very long, flowing sentences. And there are very short, choppy sentences. Each serves its own purpose and this book is great for showing how authors make those decisions.
I also love to use this for studying the use of commas and punctuation. There are commas in a series, clauses, introductory phrases, all sorts of interesting uses for a comma. Using an authentic text to point out how an author makes this text more readable with punctuation helps make the learning real and authentic.

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