Pumpkin Heads! by Wendell Minor

Theme: Fall/Halloween

Writer’s Workshop: Descriptive Words/Pictures

Recommended Grades: K-2nd grade

Pumpkin Heads is a short book displaying a wide range of ways to create jack-o-lanterns.  The artwork is stunning. 

Lesson Idea: Read aloud this book.  Discuss with students how the author uses descriptive words to describe the different types of pumpkin heads on display.  Ask students to draw a picture of a pumpkin head and write a short descriptive piece to describe it.  Compile all of the pictures and descriptions into a class book.

©2010 by Dawn Little for Picture This! Teaching with Picture Books. All Amazon links are affiliate links and may result in my receiving a small commission. This is at no additional cost to you.

Seed, Sprout, Pumpkin, Pie by Jill Esbaum

Theme: Fall

Writer’s Workshop: Nonfiction Text Features

Recommended Grades: 2nd -5th grade

Seed, Sprout, Pumpkin, Pie (Picture the Seasons) is another book in the National Geographic Kids Picture the Seasons series.  This book describes how pumpkins grow, different types of pumpkins, and various uses of pumpkins.    

Lesson Idea: Read aloud this book.  Discuss with students how the author uses text features to describe the pumpkins.  For example, when describing the size of pumpkins, she mentions that some may be GIANTS you can sit inside.  Discuss how she uses different fonts and font sizes (print features and print layout) to match the word.  This is one example of nonfiction text features.  The author uses this craft several times in this text.  On a piece of chart paper, in a T-chart form, list the words the author uses and how she enhances the text by changing the fonts to match the words.  On one side of the T-chart, place the word and its meaning.  On the other side, show how the author used the font to emphasize the word.  Discuss with students how using this particular text feature demonstrates meaning of the word.  Find other mentor texts that model text features the same way.  Share those on the class T-chart as well.  Display the chart in the classroom as a resource.  Provide students with an opportunity to experiment with different fonts and font sizes in their own informational writing.

For more information on print features and print layout, including a graphic organizer and mentor texts that use this craft, check out the October 2010 issue of The Reading Teacher.  I actually happened upon this article after writing this post.  Perfect timing for my issue of The Reading Teacher to come in the mail!

The Reading Teacher, 64(2), pp. 137-139

©2010 by Dawn Little for Picture This! Teaching with Picture Books. All Amazon links are affiliate links and may result in my receiving a small commission. This is at no additional cost to you.

Previously by Allan Ahlberg

Theme: Creating a Classroom Full of Readers and Writers

Writer’s Workshop: Organization/Getting to Know Students

Recommended Grades: 3rd -5th grade

Previously by Allan Ahlberg is a neat little book I found at the library.  The inside cover states, “Every story, every person, and every thing started somewhere.  Find out what all of your favorite fairy tale characters were up to. . . PREVIOUSLY.”

Lesson Idea: Read aloud this book.  Discuss the word, “previously” and how the author used the word to organize the book.  At the beginning of the year, use it as a model to teach students how to write about themselves.  Model for students using your own life first, _________ was a fifth grade teacher, previously she ____________.  Work backwards to describe specific details of your life.  Then, ask students to do the same.  A fantastic writing model to learn more about your students!

©2010 by Dawn Little for Picture This! Teaching with Picture Books. All Amazon links are affiliate links and may result in my receiving a small commission. This is at no additional cost to you.