Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Books in the Classroom with Yvonne



The Olive Tree
By:  Elsa Marston

An amazing culturally responsive interactive read aloud. From the moment you open the cover you will be drawn in by the stunning illustrations. The Olive Tree is a story about two Lebanese children and how they find friendship through the destruction of an olive tree. This book is perfect for the classroom:
·         Problem/solution and how they are connected. Both the problem and solution are easy for young readers to understand.
·         Lesson/moral – friendship
·         Symbolism – olive tree, brick wall, transferring of wood to neighbor’s yard, olives in the basket, headscarves, etc.
·         Predicting with evidence to support thinking
·         Using context clues for new vocabulary
·         Retelling – this book is written with distinct events that makes teaching retelling easy for emergent readers
·         Types of print (bold/italics) Why does the author do that?
Elsa Marston eloquently captures the understanding of friendship but she also sparks my interest to learn and understand more. The Olive Tree is a beautiful multi-cultural book that should be shared with all school age children. 5 beautiful stars.


The Fruits We Eat
By: Gail Gibbons

Gail Gibbons never disappoints!  The Fruits We Eat begins with a topic so important to young children…healthy eating and fruits are part of that. The book walks readers through the life cycle of fruit from pollination to harvesting and shipping.
This book has endless ways to be used the classroom:
·         Introducing students to fruits, trying them and then writing a persuasive review on which fruit is best and why.
·         Classify – how fruits are classified based on how they are grown (plants, bushes, vines or trees)
·         Comparing and contrasting
o   cultivated vs. wild
o   annual vs. perennial
o   sweet vs. tart
o   fresh vs. canned/frozen
·         Using a flow chart or timeline from pollination to harvest
·         Understanding circle graphs and measurement
·         Using diagrams and labels to teach
·         Adding a facts page at the end of All About Books
I love how Gail Gibbons can write an informational text and use illustrations verses photographs to teach the reader.  Young writers mostly draw their illustrations before they learn to use photographs. This helps students truly understand text features when they can use them correctly in their own writing and Gail Gibbons models this so effortlessly. This book teaches the reader about fruits/plants/growing cycle but can be used also as a mentor text to teach reading and writing skills. 5 stars

It’s Raining!
By: Gail Gibbons

If you teach weather or have a budding meteorologist in your home this book is a must have! It is appropriate for elementary and middle school students. The text is easy to read and the captions are busting with facts and additional information. This book is my mentor text for our weather unit. It’s Raining!
·         covers the water cycle, cloud types, rainfall amounts, types of rain, weather tools, types of power from nature, acid rain and weather safety.
·         is packed with weather vocabulary that is explained in easy to understand terminology.
·         uses multiple text features…headings, diagrams, captions, and a map.
·         understanding how to read a map/chart and a cycle diagram.
Although this is easily a content based mentor text, it can also be a reading and writing mentor text.
·         Reading pages of informational text in any order.
·         Using a “teacher” voice when reading informational text.
·         How to use text features when writing an All About Book.
·         Using illustrations to teach the reader and writer.
I am so excited to have a content based book that can be a true mentor text…being used over and over.  5 stars!!


Plants Feed Me
By: Lizzy Rockwell

Plants Feed Me is a quality informational text about plants. The book teaches readers how plants grow, parts of a plant and the different part of a plant we eat. In the classroom:
  • ·         A read aloud to introduce a plant unit in early elementary classrooms.
  • ·         Colorful pictures and simple text for emergent readers.
  • ·         Diagrams with labels, cut-a-ways (inside and underground), captions and detailed illustrations guide readers to read the illustration and introduce text features.
  • ·        Use the information in the book to create categories for the plants we eat.
Adding appropriate reading level informational text to a primary classroom can be difficult. This book is perfect. I can’t wait to share it with our kindergarten and first grade teachers. 5 stars


Simple Machines: Wheels, Levers, and Pulleys
By: David A. Adler

If you teach physical science and the concepts of work/motion, this book will compliment your teaching. Simple Machines: Wheels, Levers, and Pulleys would make for an informative read aloud for grades K-2 but is best used in an upper elementary classroom or middle school science class. The illustrations tell their own story of two boys, a parent and cat that go about their daily life and the encounters they have with wheels, levers and pulleys. The text however is a sound teaching tool.
  • ·         The vocabulary: wedge, incline plane/ramp, lever, friction, wheel and axle, gears and pulleys are explained in practical ways.
  • ·         Examples that are used come from encounters most students would have in their everyday lives. Leading these examples to ones students could try in the classroom.
  • ·         The labels added to the illustrations explain how force can change directions. Giving students a concrete visual to understand each concept.
I can’t wait to share this book with the third and eighth grade teams of teachers and in our district that teach these concepts. Using this book is another way to combine literacy and the content areas.  5 stars!


By: David A. Adler

David Adler has a talent for writing content based picture books. Triangles is packed with math vocabulary that relates to triangles and angles. The use of a robot figure to teach geometry appeals to students. This book teaches:
  • ·         how angles are named.
  • ·         telling time using angles.
  • ·         measuring angles.
  • ·         naming triangles (based on angles and length of sides).
  • ·         similar and congruent shapes.
Students would benefit from hearing this book multiple times. The first reading would be to familiarize them with the vocabulary; and then multiple readings to answer the many questions and trying the mini experiments. I can’t wait to read this to my second graders to introduce triangles and angles and to share it with our Talented and Gifted teacher for her to expand on. 5 stars!!


Jack and the Hungry Giant: Eat Right with My Plate
By: Loreen Leedy

A twist on a familiar tale. The tale starts out like the traditional fairy tale but soon we are surprised to learn that the giant doesn’t want to eat Jack but instead together create a healthy meal. This book is perfect for K-2 classrooms when teaching healthy eating, but don’t stop there. It can also be used:
  • ·         at a health fair.
  • ·         by a gym teacher when teaching anytime vs. some time foods.
  • ·         to compare/contract two texts (multiple versions of the fairy tale).
  • ·         to expand students’ fluency through ellipses and word size.
  • ·         in writing to model how authors play with word size and location on the page.
  • ·         to set up a class debate on it corn is a vegetable (as stated in the book) or a grain.
Loreen Leedy also includes additional activity pages on her website as well as a view of sample pages. There is also supplementary information on the USDA MyPlate program that compliments this book. 5 stars!


Mr. Happy & Miss Grimm
By: Antonie Schneider

Mr. Happy is always happy and his neighbor Miss Grimm never is. Mr. Happy greets everything with a smile while Miss Grimm simply avoids everything. As time goes by Mr. Happy’s joy begins to spread into Miss Grimm’s yard and eventually her life causing her to change her name. This book works well with:
  • ·         comparing/contracting two characters
  • ·         charting character changes
  • ·         partner reading
I think the overall message is wonderful…greet each day with smile. I love how happiness prevails in the end. 3.5 stars!

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