Wednesday, November 4, 2015

November Read-Alouds!



This month we chose a seasonal title, two Thanksgiving themed stories, an old favorite, and two books for Election Day. We selected stories that were complex enough that they would lend themselves to span across 3-4 days. We plan to dive deep and cover many Common Core Literature Standards while also giving ourselves time to respond to the text with writing and art. 

We wrote rigorous text dependent questions where students use evidence from the text to deepen their understanding of the stories.  We created graphic organizers and writing in response to text activities to incorporate writing standards. We also incorporated an art piece to compliment each read-aloud and designed bulletin board headings to display some of the work. 

The lesson plan for each book will guide us through 3 days of close reading. Each day we will read the text for a different purpose and students will complete a different activity. 



Turkey Trouble by Wendi Silvano illustrated by Lee Harper 


We can't let November pass without reading this classic story by Wendi Silvano. This delightful tale is sure to make your students giggle as Turkey worries that he will be served as the main dish at Thanksgiving dinner.  He tries various disguises so the farmer won't be able to find him when Thanksgiving arrives. To address key ideas and details, students will sequence the events of the story. "Turkey Trouble" is filled with clever word-play, which is perfect for teaching words and phrases from the craft and structure standards. Students will determine the meaning of silly phrases from the story and identify whether they appeal to their feelings or senses.  As a culminating activity, students will disguise their own turkeys and write an option piece on why their costume is a better disguise.  


The Very First Thanksgiving Day by Rhonda Gowler Greene illustrated by Susan Gaber


When browsing through our November book file, we stumbled upon this treasure. What a find!  This beautifully illustrated story by Rhonda Gowler Greene teaches children about the events that led up to the very first Thanksgiving Day and celebrates two groups of people that came together to feast and give thanks for their harvest. It is a cumulative rhyming story where events are repeated and circle around.  The more complex structure of this story lends itself to sequencing.  Students have to think critically to put the events in order. We created event cards to sequence as a class and students will then put their own event cards in order on their own time lines.  Once students learn all about the first Thanksgiving, they will create dioramas based on the people and events from the story. You can read more about our The Very First Thanksgiving Day lesson plans here.

My Teacher for President by by Kay Winters and Denise Brunkus















We paired these two stories to teach children about Election Day.  "Duck for President" is an adorable story that teaches young students about the election process through Duck's political journey. Duck is tired of doing his chores on the farm and climbs his way to the top until he is elected as President of the United States. Running the country turns out to be more work and stress than he planned on so Duck returns back to the farm to write his autobiography.

In "My Teacher for President," Oliver, believes his teacher has the qualities to run for President. He writes a letter to Channel 39, listing all the reasons his teacher would be a perfect candidate.

We felt students will need some background knowledge about politicians and the election process to better comprehend and respond to these two stories.  We wrote a short text entitled "What Does a Politician Do?" to front load these close reads.  Much of the story is told through the illustrations in both of these books.  This provides an opportunity for students to use illustrations and details to describe the events.  Students will also learn about cause and effect and complete a graphic organizer about Duck and his response to different events in the story.  Students will use information from both stories to brainstorm and write about things they would change if they were elected class president.


In November by Cynthia Rylant illustrated by Jill Kastner 




"In November" by Cynthia Rylant captures special activities that occur in the month of November through gorgeous oil paintings and poetic language. This story encourages children to explore their senses and learn to visualize through detailed illustrations and beautiful similes and metaphors. We plan to have students listen the first time without looking at the illustrations. We will ask them to visualize scenes and paint images in their minds, then draw their visualizations. We will discuss adjectives as students use colorful words and adjectives to write about their own November scene.   



The Great Fuzz Frenzy by Janet Stevens illustrated by Susan Stevens Crummel


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The Great Fuzz Frenzy is a must read!  When a strange, fuzzy object (tennis ball) falls into the prairie dog burrow, they discover they can decorate themselves with the fuzz.  The prairie dogs exhaust themselves, swirling and twirling. Their creative frenzy turns in to greed when the fuzz finally runs out. Their arguing threatens to tear the community apart until they come together to rescue the town bully, Big Bark, who is kidnapped by an eagle.  This delightful story is great for teaching characterization.  It is a complex text with illustrations that are perfect for diving deeper into analyzing characters.  Students will determine how the tennis ball causes the prairie dogs to feel differently at various points in the story.  They will analyze two main characters by creating character maps.  As a culminating activity, they will write about a character from the story and create a prairie dog decorated with green fuzz.

You can purchase all of these read-alouds individually by clicking on the images or altogether in our November read-aloud bundle. 



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