Monday, October 26, 2015

Monkey Business and Idioms- Must Read Mentor Text

Happy Monday!

Today's Must Read Mentor Text is all about IDIOMS! This is always one of my favorite lessons to do with my students because idioms are so much fun!

The book I use to introduce idioms is called Monkey Business by Wallace Edwards. It's fabulous! The illustrations are absolutely amazing in this hilarious text!
I start my lesson by discussing what idioms are with my students- I try to find out what they already know about idioms, idioms they have heard before, etc. We make an anchor chart defining idioms and examples we know. We also talk about WHY authors use idioms in their writing and how they can use idioms in their own writing. 

Because the illustrations are so detailed, this is a book that takes a little longer to read aloud. I stop on each page to discuss the idiom and analyze the illustrations. We talk about what the idiom is saying and what it actually means. I like to place the book under my document camera so it can be projected up on my whiteboard for all the students to see. If you don't have access to a document camera, you can have your students sit up at the floor with you so they can see the illustrations clearly or have the book available for the students to look at later after you finish the lesson (this is one my kids always ask to borrow and read again!) 

In our notebooks, we make a list of the idioms discussed in the book and what they actually mean. We don't list all of them- there are so many! But, I like for the kids to have a reference so that they can look back at these idioms when they are doing their own writing.
After we finish the book, we make idiom posters! The students love this! They get to choose an idiom (could be from the text or not) and they create a poster with an illustration of an idiom and what the idiom actually means. The illustrations are usually quite funny!
If you are looking for a fun way to teach idioms, this book is a must! I found it a few years ago, and it has remained a go to text for my figurative language unit. I hope you and your students enjoy it!
Have a great week and thanks so much for stopping by to hear about this week's Must Read Mentor Text!

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Sharing Sunday: November Lesson Ideas with lots of Freebies!

We're so excited to be participating in Sharing Sunday at the Primary Peach Blog! There are TONS of awesome resources here to help you plan for November!  :)

Here are some great resources to get your November planning started! Click on the images below to download the PDF. Then, click around on all of the images to visit those resources- clicking on the pictures will take you straight to them!

Make sure to visit The Primary Peach to see other posts sharing amazing resources!

We hope you find some helpful ideas!  :)

Monday, October 19, 2015

Nightsong- A Batty Must Read Mentor Text

Happy Monday!

This week's Must Read Mentor Text is Nightsong by Ari Berk. This adorable bat story is great to share with your students this time of year!

Check out this summary from
"Chiro's mother sends him off into the night for the first time alone. It's an adventure, but how will he find his way? And how will he find his way home? As the young bat discovers, navigating the world around him is easy as long as he uses his good sense. This beautiful and touching coming-of-age story, with mesmerizing artwork from New York Timesbestselling illustrator Loren Long and lyrical text from Ari Berk, conveys a heartwarming and universal message: No matter how far away you go, you can always find your way home."

You can teach so many important skills using this book! 

1. Vocabulary- this book is full of rich vocabulary! Here are some examples: twitching, admitted, girths, gleefully. Make an anchor chart of important vocabulary- you can have students use context clues and the illustrations to help them determine the meaning of the words. Or, have students work in groups to look up words in the dictionary (always great to get some dictionary practice!)

2. Inference- there are tons of inference opportunities! Stop at various points in the story to make inferences about how Chiro is feeling. Have students use text evidence to support their inferences. Also, let students make inferences about where Chiro is as he is exploring the world- what are the long arms he refers to?

3. Dialogue and Quotation Marks- great conversation between Chiro and his mom! Students love to use dialogue in their writing, but they often struggle with using it effectively. The author provides excellent examples of dialogue. Create a dialogue anchor chart and analyze how the author used dialogue- there are great dialogue tags! Review proper punctuation with quotation marks too!

4. Illustrations- I also love love love the illustrations by Loren Long! They are breathtaking! Talk to your students about how the illustrations affect the story- How do the illustrations help you understand the story from Chiro's point of view? Discuss with your students how reading a picture can be just as important as reading the words.

I hope you and your students get to check out this amazing text!
Thank you for stopping by to browse our Must Read Mentor Text for the week!

Have a great week!

Monday, October 12, 2015

Measuring Penny- A Math Must Read Mentor Text

Happy Monday!

It's time for another Must Read Mentor Text! Today's text is a Must Read for Math! I love incorporating literature into Math whenever I can. It's a great way to hook your students at the beginning of a new unit or to show them real world examples of Math all around them!  :)

Our Must Read Mentor Text is Measuring Penny by Loreen Leedy. It's an adorable book (it has all these cute dogs and I LOVE dogs!), but it's also so comprehensive. It covers all different types of measurement from length to time to capacity. It would be great to introduce your study of measurement or to review at the end!

Here's a summary from "Lisa has an important homework assignment--to measure something in several different ways. She has to use standard units like inches and nonstandard units like paper clips to find out height, width, length, weight, volume, temperature, and time. Lisa decides to measure her dog, Penny, and finds out ...
Penny's nose = 1 inch long
Penny's tail = 1 dog biscuit long
Penny's paw print = 3 centimeters wide
... and that's only the beginning! 
Lisa learns a lot about her dog and about measuring, and even has fun doing it. This clear and engaging concept book, delivered with a sense of humor, is certain to win over the most reluctant mathematician."
There are so many ways that you can use this mentor text, but here are a few of our ideas!
1. Have students measure the lengths and heights of objects around the school using standard and nonstandard units of measurement. Since Lisa measured dogs, she used dog biscuits. Since your students are measuring classroom objects, let them use paperclips or sticky notes or something else you have handy. I like to buy the fun seasonal erasers from the dollar store and let students measure with those- it's very engaging to measure with tiny bats or spiders!  :)  And, if you teach upper elementary students, you can even have them convert units like inches to feet or yards or millimeters to centimeters or meters.  

2. Let students bring in a stuffed animal to measure. They can measure with standard and nonstandard units, and then you can compile all of the data onto a class measurement chart or graph. You can review or introduce graphing when you make a class bar graph, and then create math problems using the graph. It would be a great way to compare measurements using greater than, less than, or equal to signs. Or, throw in addition and subtraction while asking questions like, "How many more students have a stuffed animal with a height of 10 inches than a height of 8 inches?"

3. Use the page showing Penny's Time Schedule to review elapsed time. You can ask students questions like, "How much time passes from the time Penny nibbles on dog biscuits to the time she gnaws on a bone?" You can also let students create a class time schedule of the school day or a time schedule of their Saturday. Then, students can ask each other (or you can ask) elapsed time questions using the schedules they created. 

We hope that you enjoy this book and can use some of these ideas with your students! 
Thanks for stopping by! Please check back each Monday for a new Must Read Mentor Text!  :)

Have a GREAT week! 

Monday, October 5, 2015

The Runaway Pumpkin- Must Read Mentor Texts are BACK!!!

Happy Monday!

I am so excited to announce that Amanda and I are bringing back our Must Read Mentor Texts! We took a break from sharing our Must Read Mentor Texts last year (click HERE to see the list with links to all the Must Read Mentor Texts we already shared), but now we are excited to share lots of new books and ideas with y'all!

We have changed things a little bit- instead of a Linky, we will just be sharing mentor texts, ideas, and activities on our blog. We might bring the Linky back if people are interested in linking up  :)

Also, we will be sharing our Must Read Mentor Text each MONDAY instead of Sunday. So, please stop by each Monday to check out the post with a new book and lots of ideas of how you can use it in your classroom!

When we shared Must Read Mentor Texts before, we alternated between sharing a Language Arts book one week and then a Math book, a Science book, and then a Social Studies book. Now, we won't have a set schedule- we will just share all kinds of texts each Monday, including some seasonal favorites!  :)

So, today's Must Read Mentor Text is a perfect Fall book- The Runaway Pumpkin by Kevin Lewis.

This is such a fun book for Fall and Halloween! 
Here is the summary from Amazon- "When Buck, Billy, and their little sister Lil spy the biggest pumpkin they've ever seen, they can't resist. Buck and Billy try to roll the pumpkin down the hill to show everyone, but it's too big! Before they know it, it's bumping and thumping and rolling down the hillside out of control. This read aloud Halloween treat is perfect for kids and families."

As you can see in the Mentor Text Memo image above, there are tons of skills that you can teach with this adorable text! 

This book is great for teaching cause and effect. As you read, stop at different points and have students identify cause and effect examples. You can also have students sequence events of the story. They can write out sentences or have them create a story board with illustrations to sequence the story- my students always enjoy that! Check out the examples below, and if you would like to use them, just click here to download them for FREE in our Teachers Pay Teachers Store.

I like to have students search for alliteration, amazing adjectives, and vivacious verbs as I read the story aloud. The author's language is such a great model for students to use in their own writing. I created a graphic organizer that they can use to do this. 

The illustrations are also a great teaching tool. I like to have students make predictions and inferences just by looking at the pictures while I'm reading the book aloud. Have them look at a particular character's face to make an inference about how that character is feeling at that point in the story. Or, have students predict what that character is going to do. Ask them why and how they know. The look on the little girl's face as the pumpkin is about to topple down the hill is priceless! It's amazing how much you can infer and predict just by reading the pictures!

I hope that you and your students enjoy this book! Thanks so much for stopping by, and please visit us each Monday for a new Must Read Mentor Text!  :)   

We also are a part of two awesome Fall giveaways! Yay!!!! We love giveaways! 

The first one is a Spooktacular Giveaway with 1stgradefireworks! Please click the pictures below to go to the websites to enter!  :) 

The second giveaway is over at The Primary Peach, the collaborative Georgia Teachers blog we are a part of! You can win a $50 Amazon or TPT gift card! (AND we will be offering this giveaway 3 times in October!!! So if you don't win this week, you can try again 2 more times!) Please click the picture below to go to The Primary Peach blog to enter!  :)

Have a great week!!!

Friday, October 2, 2015

Freebie Mentor Sentence Lesson- Diary of a Spider

Happy Friday and Happy October!

This is a quick post to share a new FREEBIE with you that's just in time for Fall and Halloween!
I created a Mentor Sentence 5 Day Lesson Plan to use with the book Diary of a Spider by Doreen Cronin. It's one of my favorites!!!

Included in this FREEBIE:

* 1 Mentor Sentence taken from the text Diary of a Spider by Doreen Cronin
* 5 Day Mentor Sentence Lesson Plan with suggested responses
* 1 Assessment with Answer Key

This mentor sentence addresses the following skills-
nouns, verbs, pronouns, adjectives, adverbs, homophones, contractions, subject and predicate

I love using Mentor Sentences in my classroom because it's such a fun and engaging way to teach grammar and writing skills! If you would like to know more about how you can use mentor sentences in your classroom, click here.

We also have a Reading and Language Arts unit to accompany Diary of a Spider and Spiders by Gail Gibbons if you want to check it out! It compares fiction and nonfiction using Common Core skills.

I hope you enjoy this freebie! Have a wonderful weekend!

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