Monday, March 27, 2017

Teaching Science with Kidlit

NGSS PE 4-LS1-2. Use a model to describe that animals receive different types of information through their senses, process the information in their brain, and respond to the information in different ways. 

Try these book pairs:
For more suggestions and full lessons, check out Perfect Pairs:

Friday, March 24, 2017

In the Classroom: Vivid Verbs in Expository Literature

After sharing the Using Vivid Verbs video mini-lesson available on my website with your class, invite students to look closely at one of their rough drafts.

Encourage the children to circle the verbs in a few paragraphs and then search for spots where adding vivid verbs could strengthen their writing.

CCSS.ELA—Literacy.CCRA.R.4: Interpret words and phrases as they are used in a text, including determining technical, connotative, and figurative meanings, and analyze how specific word choices shape meaning.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Behind the Books: Vivid Verbs in Expository Literature

What’s the difference between an active verb, like walk, and a vivid verb like stomp or tiptoe? A vivid verb does double duty.

If you read the sentence, “The girl walked across the room,” you know one thing—the girl moved from Point A to Point B. But if you read the sentence, “The girl stomped across the room,” you still know that she moved, and you also know how she feels. She’s angry. And if you read the sentence, “The girl tiptoed across the room,” you know that she moved and that she’s trying to be quiet or sneaky. A vivid verb is powerful because it allows you to pack a lot of information into a single word.

Consider this brief excerpt from Rain, Rain, Rain Forest by Brenda Z. Guiberson (Holt, 2004):

“Splitter, splat, splash! Rain gushes into the rain forest. It soaks the moss, drizzles of dangling vines, and thrums against slick waxy leaves.”

As you read this, can’t you see what’s happening in your mind’s eye? When writing is steeped with vivid verbs, it can paint a picture with words.

How can we encourage students to notice how an author uses verbs as they are reading and think carefully about their own verb choices. I'll provide a fun activity on Friday.

Monday, March 20, 2017

Teaching Science with Kidlit

NGSS PE 4-LS1-1. Construct an argument that plants and animals have internal and external structures that function to support survival, growth, behavior, and reproduction.

Try these book pairs:

For more suggestions ad full lessons, check out Perfect Pairs:

Friday, March 17, 2017

In the Classroom: Comparisons in Expository Literature

After sharing the Power of Similes video mini-lesson available on my website with your class, encourage students to find and circle similes, metaphors, and other kinds of comparisons in a rough draft. Then invite the children to identify at least two places where adding a comparison will make their writing more engaging.

CCSS.ELA—Literacy.CCRA.R.4:  Interpret words and phrases as they are used in a text, including determining technical, connotative, and figurative meanings, and analyze how specific word choices shape meaning.

CCSS.ELA—Literacy.CCRA.R.5:  Analyze the structure of texts, including how specific sentences, paragraphs, and larger portions of the text (e.g., a section, chapter, scene, or stanza) relate to each other and the whole.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Behind the Books: Comparisons in Expository Literature

As nonfiction writers do research, they learn a lot of facts and ideas that their readers won’t know. How can a writer make that information accessible to his or her audience? By using similes, metaphors, and other kinds of comparisons to use what readers do know as a launching point.

Many books do this effectively on an as needed basis, but a few books use comparisons as a central focus to make abstract ideas relevant to their readers’ lives and experiences.

Here are a couple of examples from If You Hopped Life a Frog by David M. Schwartz (Scholastic, 1999):

“If you swallowed like a snake . . .
you could gulp a hot dog thicker than a telephone pole.”

“If you scurried like a spider . . .
you could charge down an entire football field
in just two seconds
.”

Actual Size by Steve Jenkins (Houghton Mifflin, 2011) and How Big Were Dinosaurs? by Lita Judge (Roaring Brook, 2013) are also chock full of visual comparisons that will delight as well as inform young readers.

How can we encourage students to be on the lookout for comparisons in the expository literature they read and enhance their own writing with fun, creative comparisons? I'll provide an activity on Friday.
 

Monday, March 13, 2017

Teaching Science with Kidlit

NGSS PE 4-LS1-1. Construct an argument that plants and animals have internal and external structures that function to support survival, growth, behavior, and reproduction.

Try these book pairs:
For more suggestions and full lessons, check out Perfect Pairs: