Five Fabulous Book for Friday plus a Freebie



Today is Friday, and we know what that means.  It's Five for Friday day.  For my Five for Friday, I thought I'd share five favorite books and ideas related to writing.  My students worked very hard this week on writing, and it was made easier with the arrival of the laptop cart.  Yes, you read correctly, we now have a laptop cart with 35 laptops available to use for centers, writing, websites, and research. I feel like a kid in a candy store!  For children who struggle, using a computer will really help them break through some of the roadblocks.  One of the first things we worked on was right clicking to get the thesaurus! We're working on descriptive paragraphs with my unit, Snowflakes Fall, available as the fan freebie only through Sunday at Adventures in Literacy Land, the collaborative blog I'm contributing to.

Product DetailsCartoon Number OneThis Cynthia Rylant book is one every child can relate to.  It reminded me of the many times our dog, Shadow, would get a wild hair and take off into the woods only to come back filthy and wet.  My son's kindergarten Young Author's book was written about Shadow, and you guessed it... how he loved to chase squirrels.  As a writing prompt for this book, I plan to have my students write a narrative about "Dog on the Loose".  We will also compare this this book to Bad Dog Marley.  It should be lots of fun.

Product DetailsCartoon Number TwoWho doesn't love Kevin Henkes?  His mouse tales are just so cute, and Lilly's Purple Plastic Purse is one of the best.  I love the character development in this book, and I like using this book as a lead into determining importance.  I give each student a purple paper purse for them to pack for a trip. (I don't tell them where). We talk about what is *really* important to them. Of course, they fall right for it and list everything but the kitchen sink.  Then, I tell them they are going to a tropical island. (I still hold out on the fact that it's a remote island without electricity and running water).  Once the list is narrowed, we prepare to write about the trip, and the last part of the lesson is the analogy of how just like in packing for a trip, not everything is of equal importance.  We talk about and practice determining importance during the reading block afterward.  If you like this idea, here is the [link] to the purple paper purse you might use with your groups.

Cartoon Number ThreeThis quarter, our fifth grade students are learning about the ocean floor, waves, and ocean animals, and one of the writing prompts reads like this, "Imagine you are going on a field trip in a bus created especially for kids. Describe this bus and explain why kids will like it." As I share the Magic School Bus on the Ocean Floor, I have the students keep a web about the bus.  Afterwards, we talk about the special features the children think the bus should be equipped with, and the children add to the lists.  This is followed by a descriptive essay writing about their personally designed buses.  We reinforce science concepts while building ideas for writing. It's a win-win!


Product DetailsCartoon Number FourThe fourth writing mentor text is using my latest creation.  Bully by Patricia Polacco is a wonderful book for so many topics-cyberbullying, transition to middle school, internet safety, and friendship.  It also happens to work well for character analysis and writing.  Our group will be writing persuasive essays about why bullying is wrong.  If persuasive writing doesn't match your standards, you could write "how to" essays explaining what to do if/when someone bullies you.  No matter what you choose for writing or how you choose to use it, it is a must read for every fourth and fifth grade classroom.  I loved it, and I would say it's one of Patricia Polacco's best.

Cover art of A Season of Gifts. a novel for ages 9-13 by Richard PeckCartoon Number FiveAs you might be able to tell, most of the choices I've made are geared to older readers.  Well, I am teaching fourth and fifth grades, and because of this, we are focusing heavily on building writing skills.  This choice is the third book in Richard Peck's series starting with A Year Down Yonder and A Long Way from Chicago.  I got the pleasure of meeting Richard Peck at the State of Maryland Reading Conference a few years ago, and let me tell you, he is well spoken and quite amusing.  You could hear in his voice where his ideas came from.  Great storytellers are able to spin great stories.  I think this is a great read aloud to use in conjunction with writing about the special gifts we have.  I may be slightly late on the gift giving topic, but the prompt for my fifth graders is, "Imagine you received a package in the mail from a special person. Using details, write about what happened when you opened the package."  I can see students taking a different spin on the package after listening to or reading this book as it's about the special gift of a neighbor.

Speaking of gifts, I believe I said you'd get a freebie.  Well, since this is all about writing, how about a free writing set.



Have a wonderful weekend, and until next time, happy reading!

7 comments

  1. I loved using Richard Peck's books when I taught fourth grade! Now as a first grade teacher, I will have to look into Cynthia Rylant's book! Have a good weekend!

    Blessings,
    Sarah
    smbhankinson@gmail.com
    Learning is for Superstars
    follow on Facebook

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    Replies
    1. Hey Sarah! I am so glad you dropped by. Your firsties most definitely would love The Great Gracie Chase. It may not be a well-known book by Cynthia Rylant, but you can tell she loves dogs. Every child loves Henry and Mudge too. :-)

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  2. I loved using Richard Peck's books when I taught fourth grade! Now as a first grade teacher, I will have to look into Cynthia Rylant's book! Have a good weekend!

    Blessings,
    Sarah
    smbhankinson@gmail.com
    Learning is for Superstars
    follow on Facebook

    ReplyDelete
  3. Great post! I loved the determining importance lesson- that's a weakness for my class! I may be using that in the near future! Thanks for sharing!
    Kayla
    Stuff Students Say and Other Classroom Treasures

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    1. It worked so well with the prompt we had. I've also seen a variation of this where teachers pack their purses with all kinds of junk and talk about what items really are necessary. You may like that variation too.

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  4. Thank you. I have Lilly's Purple Plastic Purse and need to teach determine importance. My third graders are going to love this.

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    Replies
    1. I have a Determining Importance freebie that I used too. This was a lesson I used last year, so I forgot about it. It is a freebie in my store.

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