Seven Wonders - Mentor Text for Social Studies

Last week I loved reading about the Science texts other teachers use to enhance science lessons. I had forgotten about a couple of the books mentioned so the linky was a great reminder! So, this week we are tackling Social Studies Texts!

First, let's give credit to Collaboration Cuties for the linky:

Thanks again, for this great idea. Here's more info about my text for this week: 

This book, by Betty G. Birney, is a great read-aloud chapter book! It's the story of Eben McAllister, who lives on a farm with his Pa and Aunt Pretty. It is 1923 and instead of watching TV every evening (because there is no TV) Eben looks at a geography book his teacher has given him. He dreams about seeing the Great Sphinx or the Pyramids or any other Wonder of the World. Finally, his Pa challenges him to find seven wonders right in the very small community of Sassafras Springs,Missouri. If he can find seven wonders in seven days Pa will send him on a train trip to Denver, Colorado! (Eben has never been far from home and a train ride is a grand adventure for him!)
    Eben sets out with his dog, Sal, a friend, Jeb, and a very nosy not-friend Rae Ellen Hubble (which rhymes with trouble) to try to find seven amazing, awe-inspiring things in his community. He encounters tornadoes, outhouses, and weird neighbors, and he might just find some pretty spectacular things along the way.

I use this book while we are researching and studying about land forms, rocks, and minerals. We also do a little research about structures in the world made from rocks or large rock formations. This book ties in really well with this unit!

By the way, the book has some really sweet moments, it has some hilarious moments, and no dogs die (don't you just hate to read aloud those dying dog stories?!)



Science Mentor Texts

After linking for the past two weeks with Collaboration Cuties and learning so much, I decided to try again this week. The mentor text subject area this week is SCIENCE! I really had to think hard to produce a text that I use that I felt would have value or usefulness with most any state's curriculum. Here in Alabama our third grade Course of Study has objectives in Science and Social Studies that address natural disasters, storm safety, and relief/recovery efforts following a disaster. So, I settled on a chapter book I use every year when we are studying about natural disasters.

But, first let me give credit to the blog that began this great linky event: 
Thanks to the two teachers that collaborate on this blog for the mentor text link up!

My Book!

Night of the Twisters is a chapter book about Dan Hatch, a 12 year old with a small baby brother. As a storm system moves across their community Dan must help his little brother and his friend Arthur into the basement of his home hoping to find shelter from a tornado that passes right over their house. When they emerge from the storm they find the neighborhood completely destroyed.  They team with Arthur's sisters to look for Dan's parents and an elderly neighbor, Mrs. Smiley. The book describes their efforts to stay safe, the actual tornado event (as it passes over them), and the scenes of destruction after the storm. It is quite dramatic!

This book is particularly difficult in my community as all of the students remember the tornado events of April 27, 2011. The storm system that day damaged and destroyed many of our surrounding Alabama counties and left us all without electricity for about 5 days. This year, as I read this book aloud, I had to stop periodically and assure the children that everything in the book would be alright.  They really were sitting on the edge of their seats as I read.

I use this book when we study natural disasters in my classroom. Our focus of the study is on relief and recovery efforts and we research the many ways people can help out after a disaster. This is especially poignant here because so many of our boys and girls did go to our neighboring counties and help with clean up and delivery of food and water.

The book is based on a real life event! The tornado in the book happened in Grand Island, Nebraska in 1980. Click on the tornado below to find a link to photos of the real damage done by that storm. 

Mentor Text for Math!

I'm linking with Collaboration Cuties  again, with a mentor text idea for math. This was a spectacular event last week as I read about so many books and ideas of how to use them. I can't wait to see all the math ideas (hoping someone has a great one for division or area and perimeter).

Here's the link to the original blog:

Here's my book:
This is a great little Chinese folktale by Lily Toy Hong. It's the story of Mr. Haktak and his wife. They are very old and very poor. One day Mr. Haktak returns from the garden with a brass pot he has dug up. Soon, the couple discover that anything they place in the pot duplicates itself exactly! So, if you put in a purse with ten gold coins, then you pull out two purses, each with ten gold coins. Of course, the couple gets busy duplicating coins! Also, of course, they have an accident and Mrs. Haktak falls into the pot-- making two Mrs. Haktaks! You will have to read the book to find out how they solve the dilemma of having too many wives!

Here's how I use it in the classroom. After reading the book I talk to the class about things we need in the room-- like a laptop computer for everyone. Then I pose the problem: If I put my laptop in the pot, how many times would we have to keep putting in laptops to get exactly the number we need- no extras? I also add to the problem this requirement: What would be the smallest number of duplications that would solve the problem--obviously we can just keep putting in one at a time. I divide the students into groups and give each group a large piece of paper and let them go about solving the problem. It's actually trickier than it seems. 

Once we have solved this one I give them a new problem- maybe starting with a different beginning amount. They always love this book and the problems. It really makes them think! (It also helps that little kids love magic!)

Thanks Collaboration Cuties for this great link up!

Mentor Text

I found the best little idea from a blog I follow. It's a link up with other teachers who blog about texts being used in the classroom, including how these are used. Since we read picture books, non fiction, and fiction constantly this is right up my alley. Here's the link:
This is from a blog called Collaboration Cuties. The text I am recommending is our current read aloud. It's actually two books by Sharon Creech. The first is Love That Dog. 

This is the story of Jack, a fifth grader, and his teacher Miss Stretchberry. She begins to read poems to her class and has the students write poems in a journal style. At first Jack is VERY reluctant to write- in fact he says "I can't do it. Only girls write poems"! Or he says, "Can't do it, brain is dead."! However, as more and more poems are read, Jack begins to take on the writing styles of the poets and consequently begins to crank out some really good poems himself. It's called Love That Dog because Jack does focus on his dog throughout the book and finally writes a spectacular poem about his dog.

The follow up book is called Hate That Cat:
The same Jack and Miss Stretchberry continue their poetry journey. This time the focus is on Jack's hatred of a neighborhood cat.

Both books are quite profound, funny, touching, and best of all- both books are written as poems! Each book also contains the poems Miss Stretchberry uses as inspiration in the book's classroom .

In my classroom I use these when we begin a study of poetry. Each day we read a little and then go to our Writer's Notebook and write a poem. Our first efforts are just like Jack's- reluctant and not very meanngful. After about a week, though, I do notice that kids begin to take it more seriously and they begin to write some really amazing things.

Here is a sample written by a student last week:
Midnight Hour
Blackbirds flying
around in the 
the rain making
their feathers
sleek and
A huge
of thunder
that should have
scared them

Since Love That Dog and Hate That Cat are both written in poem form it's best if the kids can see the book as it is read aloud. I have enough copies of each so we can do this! 

Some Writer's Craft that is a focus in each book: alliteration, onomatopoeia, similes, metaphors, repetitive phrases, and more! ENJOY!

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