After reading Laura's post over at Camp Read-a-Lot, I decided to postpone my planned post on possibility (whew, say THAT 3 times fast!) and join the fun over at Teach Mentor Texts for their weekly "It's Monday! What are you reading?" meme.
As I've done since reading Donalyn Miller's The Book Whisperer a couple of years ago, I challenged my kids to join me for a #bookaday goal over Spring Break. Some jumped at the chance, while others set a somewhat smaller goal. Today we checked in, and I was super excited to find that most of my kiddos met or exceeded their goals!
Here's what I read:
- Lemonade by Bob Raczka
- Wonderstruck by Brian Selznick
- Ladybug Girl by David Soman
- Goodnight World by Willa Perlman
- Stars by Mary Lyn Ray
- Ruth and the Green Book by Calvin Alexander Ramsey
- I Can Hear the Sun by Patricia Polacco
- When I Was Young and in the Mountains by Cynthia Rylant
- Tulip Sees America by Cynthia Rylant
- Write Like This by Kelly Gallagher (started, not finished)
- Encyclopedia of an Ordinary Life (started, not finished)
Several of my books were narrative style picture books, since I was amping up to share some great mentor texts with my kids this week. We'll be taking our STAAR writing test next week, so it feels like a good time to munch on some scrumptious words. And I'm just loving Gallagher's Write Like This. His thoughts match my own feelings on what writing should look like in the classroom, and as I was already planning to spend the week revisiting how narrative and expository writing can be written about the same topic but in different ways, much of what I read in his book helped me decide on a new way of presenting the information. Win!
Today I shared Ruth and the Green Book with my students. Before I read the book, we made a list of our purposes for writing, using Gallagher's model. After they had a list of styles such as expressing and reflecting, informing and explaining, and taking a stand and proposing a solution, I passed out sticky notes and asked them to write words and phrases in the story that helped them to determine the author's purpose for writing.
Ruth and the Green Book is an excellent resource as a mentor text! Although the style is narrative, all the students noticed that Ramsey also informs and explains, as we learned many facts about life as an African American in the 1950's and how the Green Book came into existence. Some of my students also felt that the story had elements of the take a stand model as well, since Ruth definitely takes a stand of her own in the story. Wonderful mentor text, and a Bluebonnet choice for 2012-2013, as well! Double win!
After we read, I asked my students to come up with possible prompts for writing that would result in a story like Ruth and the Green Book. They came up with several prompt ideas, including:
- Write about a time you were left out
- A time you felt afraid
- A time someone was mean to you
And more! We made a list and they each chose the one that spoke to them and began writing their own narrative that matched their chosen prompt. An excellent writing day, to say the least.
I'm eager to continue reading Write Like This and start working on my writing plan for next year! It never ceases to amaze me how much a good book can change a life, a day, or even a moment in one person's life.