Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Dear Bully

Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday
Here at Teach Mentor Texts we are always looking for more ways to support teachers! We've found that teachers seem to be constantly on the lookout for great nonfiction. We know we are! To help with this undying quest for outstanding non-fiction, we are excited to participate in Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday hosted by Kid Lit Frenzy and The Nonfiction Detectives. Every Wednesday, you'll find a non-fiction review here - although it may not always be a picture book review. Please visit Kid Lit Frenzy and The Nonfiction Detectives to see what non-fiction others have to share, too.


Title: Dear Bully: 70 Authors Tell Their Stories
Author: Megan Kelley Hall and Carrie Jones (editors) 
Publisher: Harper Teen 
Publication Date: September 2011 
Genre/Format: Non-Fiction/Short Story Collection
GoodReads Summary: Discover how Lauren Kate transformed he feeling of that one mean girl getting under her skin into her first novel, how Lauren Oliver learned to celebrate ambiguity in her classmates and in herself, and how R.L. Stine turned being the "funny guy" into the best defense against the bullies in his class.

Today's top authors for teens come together to share their stories about bullying—as silent observers on the sidelines of high school, as victims, and as perpetrators—in a collection at turns moving and self-effacing, but always deeply personal.
What I Think: I really think bullying is a problem..but here's the thing, when I started reading this book, I started to realize bullying isn't as simple or clear cut as I had maybe thought it was before. Now that I really think deeply about it, I feel like I lean towards defining bullying as big kids picking on little kids - either physically or mentally/emotionally. Obviously, it's much more than that...but it's actually waaaaaaay more than that. Reading the stories and insight in Dear Bully have made me truly stop and think about the different forms that bullying can take. Boys and girls can be bullies and be bullied. Something as seemingly trivial, like shutting someone out of a group of friends or giving someone a nickname in a split second but having that nickname stick like rubber cement, might seem too insignificant to be considered bullying, but it actually is.  
     Earlier this year, when I read Wonder by RJ Palacio, I had flashbacks to a girl who starting going to school with me in fourth grade when the elementary schools in our district combined for the intermediate grades. I read about Auggie and Julian and memories of this girl and myself flooded me. I clearly did not have the physical differences that Auggie has, but I still related to how Julian treated him. And don't we all have at least one person we can think of who made us feel yucky? Whether it was yucky or 100 times yucky - yucky is yucky. I'm not sure I had ever labeled my yucky person as a bully, but she totally was.
     What I love that this book addresses early on is the idea that we, as humans, have the capacity for compassion...but we learn the bullying behavior that exists. I recently found a YouTube video called The Empathic Civilisation that outlines how our brains truly are soft-wired for compassion and empathy. This book has it just right, we can empathize with others, but somewhere along the way we develop reasons and behaviors that don't reflect that. How sad, right? I hope readers pick up Dear Bully and stop and think about their actions - how do we treat others? how do we stand up for or defend others who are being bullied? how do we stand up for ourselves if we are bullied? We all need to stop and recognize our feelings and how others are making us feel but also to recognize when others need our help and, finally, how we are treating others. Just stop and think. Reflect on your interactions. How did you do? Can you be more compassionate?
     This leads me to Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher. What does it really matter if one small act of bullying continues or happens or is ignored? While Dear Bully helps us recognize how even small things are true acts of bullying, Thirteen Reasons Why reminds us why even the smallest acts of bullying need tending to. In Thirteen Reasons Why, we can see how ultimately all the little things can add up to a giant impact on a person. Is it worth it to ignore or be passive in regards to any kind of bullying? No, we need to address it all. Share this book with readers, help them see bullying for what it really is, help them think about ideas for stopping bullying and brainstorm ideas for combatting bullying. It has to start somewhere, I think it starts with recognition that bullying isn't an isolated event and that we all need to stand up for ourselves and each other.
Read Together: Grades 7 - 12 
Read Alone: Grades 8 - 12 
Read With: Speak and Wintergirls by Laurie Halse Anderson, Dreamland by Sarah Dessen, Please Ignore Vera Dietz by AS King, The Chronicles of Vladimir Tod (series) by Heather Brewer, The Astonishing Adventures of Fanboy and Goth Girl by Barry Lyga, Freak the Mighty by Rodman Philbrick, Wonder by RJ Palacio, Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher 
Snatch of Text:  
"I realized that I'm so much more than those insecure bullies ever deemed me to be. I'm special, and weird, and wonderful, all rolled into one. And I always have been. I think on some level, they knew that, and it frightened them. Maybe because deep down, they knew that they weren't."p. 71, from Heather Brewer's The Secret
Mentor Text For: Personal Narrative, Narrative, Activating Background Knowledge, Making Connections
Writing Prompts: Write about a time in your life when you felt bullied - think about the stories that you read and how bullying can exist in many forms.  
Topics Covered: Bullying, Friendship, Love, Courage, Self-Esteem, Identity, Feelings, Emotions, Pain, Adversity, Triumph, Perseverance, Unity, Support, Denial, Acceptance, Compassion 
I *heart* It:
P.S.
A ginormous thank you to Heather Brewer for sharing her story so candidly. 
I'm proud to be a minion for life.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

The Infects

Title: Infects
Author: Sean Beaudoin
Publisher: Candlewick Press
Publication Date: September, 2012
Genre/Format: Sci-Fi, Humor/Novel
Goodreads Summary: A feast for the brain, this gory and genuinely hilarious take on zombie culture simultaneously skewers, pays tribute to, and elevates the horror genre.
     Seventeen-year-old Nero is stuck in the wilderness with a bunch of other juvenile delinquents on an “Inward Trek.” As if that weren’t bad enough, his counselors have turned into flesh-eating maniacs overnight and are now chowing down on his fellow miscreants. As in any classic monster flick worth its salted popcorn, plentiful carnage sends survivors rabbiting into the woods while the mindless horde of “infects” shambles, moans, and drools behind. Of course, these kids have seen zombie movies. They generate “Zombie Rules” almost as quickly as cheeky remarks, but attitude alone can’t keep the biters back.
     Serving up a cast of irreverent, slightly twisted characters, an unexpected villain, and an ending you won’t see coming, here is a savvy tale that that’s a delight to read—whether you’re a rabid zombie fan or freshly bitten—and an incisive commentary on the evil that lurks within each of us.
What Kellee Thinks: Sean Beaudoin definitely has a unique style that you cannot confuse with anyone else. It is like when you see a movie and you know who the director is - that is how distinct Sean's writing is. And what he does so well is keep his style yet still has characters that have distinct voices that you can distinguish between. He actually reminds me of John Green in that way; however, Sean Beaudoin is more of the underground, quirky, dry twisted humor sort of way. This book also reminded me of the humor you found in Libba Bray's Beauty Queens in that it is very much a parody of qualities of pop culture and primarily emulated at zombie flicks such as Zombieland and Shaun of the Dead. 
     Once you get used to Beaudoin's style, the story sucks you in. An incomparable cast of characters takes us through a survival guide against those who want to eat you. You lose some you care about, you cheer when some turn and many will dream about one particular female. Between the cast of characters, the humorous plot line and Beaudoin's style, many will eat up this novel.
What Jen Thinks: I agree with Kellee, this is one of the most unique examples of voice that I have ever read. The whole novel exudes voice and energy. I felt like I needed to be running in place the entire time, it's completely an amped up book. I kept making connections with all the zombie stories I read when I read Zombies Vs. Unicorns. Those are some wild stories, it's amazing how unique zombie stories can be and reading all of those really expanded my whole thinking of zombies and of where they come from or what it means to be a zombie. It's an amazing exercise in writing - to think like a zombie and to try to understand a zombies hopes and dreams - they are...well, were...people, too. I love the idea of not simply accepting that a zombie is a dead person who's soul and essence are gone. What if when a person becomes a zombie he or she is still who he or she was....or that some people can become zombies but still act completely normal - like Edward is a vampire but has committed himself to not eating people. Is there a zombie who can withstand diving into a bowl full of brains? Talk about stepping into someone else's shoes and trying to walk about. I'm so impressed with Sean Beaudoin and what he has created with The Infects. I can completely see how readers are going to devour this book. Mmmmm...brains, I mean...books. 
Read Together: Grades 11 and up 
Read Alone: Grades 9 and up
Read With: Gaff by Shan Corea, Zombies Vs. Unicorns edited by Holly Black and Justine Larbastelier, Never Slow Dance with a Zombie by E. Van Lowe, Beauty Queen by Libba Bray, Zombie in Love by Kelly DiPucchio
Snatch of Text: "But Petal Gazes was a whole other universe, a different orbit, a brighter sun. She was a tenth straight espresso, pure feedback, wet-toe-in-socket beautiful. 
At least to him. 
Which went directly against Nick's long-standing policy: Never Want Anything. 
Treeless Christmas? Eggless Easter? Toastless morning? 
It's hard to be disappointed when you don't give a crap. 
But now he really, really wanted something. 
Petal Gazes." (p. 8)
Mentor Text for: Voice, Style, Humor, Parody, Allusions, Word Play, Vocabulary, Flashback, Dialogue, Making Connections, Activating Background Knowledge, Perspective
Writing Prompts: Write your own short story about what would happen if you encountered a zombie. Write a short story from the perspective of a zombie, show the reader what he or she might not realize or appreciate about zombies. 
Topics Covered: Family, Friendship, Love, Survival, Courage, Zombies
Kellee and Jen *heart* It: 
and

**Thank you to Candlewick Press for providing copies of The Infects for review**

Sunday, October 28, 2012

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? 10/29/12



It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? From Picture Books to YA! 
It's Monday! What are you Reading? is a meme hosted by Sheila at Book Journeys. It is a great way to recap what you read and/or reviewed the previous week and to plan out your reading and reviews for the upcoming week. It's also a great chance to see what others are reading right now…who knows, you might discover that next “must read” book!
After doing the meme for a couple of weeks, we realized this would be a fun meme to start up with a kidlit focus - anyone reading and reviewing books in children's literature - it can be picture books, chapter books, middle grade novels, young adult novels, you name it in the world of kidlit and it's in! We have loved being a part of this meme and we hope you do too!  We encourage everyone participating to go and visit the other kidlit book bloggers that link up and to comment on as many posts as you can. We love talking books and believe in sharing and discussing what we're reading. We hope you join us!

Last Week's Book Adventures:
Jen Says: It's amazing how we get to Monday and I have to think back on the previous week and feel at a loss! Things are still so busy and hectic in my life that it's hard to remember what I've done because so much has happened! I did do lots of reading this week. I finished the audio of Amy and Roger's Epic Detour and then I ended up listening to The Astonishing Adventures of Fanboy and Goth Girl by Barry Lyga. An interesting look into a 15-year-old boys mind! I also read Hattie Ever After by the talented Kirby Larson and loved it! It was my first 2013 read and it didn't disappoint. I'm super late starting to read The Infects but we're reviewing it on Tuesday so I will be reading nonstop tomorrow night!

Kellee Says: Another good book week! I finished listening to Ghetto Cowboy by G. Neri and loved it so much! I bought it immediately and booktalked it as soon as I could because I think it is a brilliant book (and it was checkout before the end of the day). I read another book from the Seven series from Orca publishing, Jump Cut by Ted Staunton, and I really like how each book has a different personality yet are connected. I think I'll do a blog post about the series because I think it is so clever.  I also purchased Brody's Ghost: Book 3 last weekend because I really enjoyed the first two and I was so upset to find out that it ends in a HORRIBLE cliffhanger and there isn't a release date for Book 4 yet. And thanks to a 3 day weekend, this weekend I finished Redwing by Holly Bennett, a unique post-apocalyptic novel with magical realism, and Mira's Diary by Marissa Moss, a time travel middle grade novel filled with history (I loved it!). Lastly, I am so glad that I finally got to Boy + Bot by Ame Dyckman. A great story and wonderful illustrations- I loved it and cannot wait to get my own copy.

Reviewed Last Week:
   
Just click on any picture above to go read the review

Upcoming Book Adventures: 
Jen Says: I'll be reading The Infects tonight so I can review it tomorrow. (That's my life lately...there's just isn't time to get ahead. Send along that time-stop button if you have one, I so could use it right about now.) I'll also be reading Personal Effects this week. I'm not sure what I'll listen to on audio...I know I have Eldest in my car and it might be the right week to delve into some fantasy listening. Happy reading, everyone!

Kellee Says: Currently I am reading Samantha Sutton and the Labyrinth of Lies by Jordan Jacobs and really like the concept. I am not far enough in to have much opinion next to that. I plan on finishing it and reading Audition & Subtraction by Amy Fellner Dominy this week then who knows. With my ears, I am reading The Frog Princess by E.D. Baker and it is pretty darn funny. If I finish it, I plan on listening to Dark Life by Kat Falls (though when I car pool we are going to start listening to The Giver when we drive together in preparation of reading the 4th book together). 

This Week's Reviews:
The Infects Personal Effects
Check back throughout the week to hear about these books. 

So, what are you reading this week? 
Link up below and don't forget to check out other blogs to see what they are reading!
To help build our community and support other bloggers, 
we ask that you please try to comment on at least the three blogs that posted before you. 
Also, if you tweet about your Monday post, don't forget to use #IMWAYR!
 and

Jon Klassen Live From Chicago

Last week I had the extreme pleasure of chatting with Jon Klassen before his book signing at Anderson's Bookshop in Naperville, Illinois. It was his first time in Chicago so we met for pizza at one of my favorite Chicago pizza places, Lou Malnati's. I had been brainstorming questions since I found out about the chance to meet with Jon, but there were just so many things I wanted to say that it was insanely difficult to flesh them out. We ended up talking about his books, a little bit about his process but a lot about how people seem to interpret I Want My Hat Back and This Is Not My Hat. Our conversation turned into yes another amazing discussion about these books that caused me to rethink and reprocess every other conversation I have had. Jon's books never cease to amaze me...just when I think I've heard every interpretation, there's more.
We started talking about writing picture books in general and he shared that once he has the idea, a picture book for him comes really fast. It may take a while for the idea to develop, but once it's clear, he can get the idea out in a couple of days.  

Jon explained that when publishers initially read I Want My Hat Back, the were only interested in publishing it if the ending was changed. Luckily, Candlewick was happy with the book the way it was. When it came to Candlewick, they did want to talk about the ending but what they wanted to talk about was the fact that the rabbit would never make an appearance again. If he's eaten, he's eaten. Jon agreed and we have I Want My Hat Back. (Thank you, Candlewick!)

Jon was interviewed by several bloggers during the This Is Not My Hat blog tour. I loved reading all of their interviews. I was super excited when Travis from 100 Scope Notes asked him if the bear actually eats the rabbit in I Want My Hat Back and he said, "For sure and absolutely." 

I asked Jon about the idea that while the rabbit is eaten, it might be just a fairy tale version of being eaten. Kind of like when the Big Bad Wolf eats Red Riding Hood and her granny but then we see them again when the woodman saves them. He said the rabbit is definitely eaten but the word eaten is definitely abstract according to him. 

And then Franki from A Reading Year asked him if he would be #teamrabbit or #teambear and he responded that if he really had to choose it would be #teambear because, "as far as I can see, the rabbit does nothing redeeming."

In my review of This Is Not My Hat, I linked to all the other posts where I have talked about I Want My Hat Back. It's no secret that I'm #teamrabbit. When I saw Jon's response to Franki about the rabbit doing nothing redeeming, I knew that's what I really wanted to ask Jon about. I'm mainly team rabbit because the rabbit messes up but I don't think it's okay for the bear to go all bear on him because of it. Jon was super passionate about his feelings that while the rabbit's punishment for stealing the bear's hat may not have been fair, it didn't have to be. He explained that his books are not about an eye for an eye and that life isn't always fair. Sometimes the punishment will match the crime, sometimes there will be no punishment for a crime, and sometimes the punishment will be far worse than the crime. In the end, he contends it doesn't matter. What matters is that the story is there and that kids can and will read and understand what it's about. 
Jon was very sure that kids there was enough in the story for kids to be able to read and figure things out. He doesn't see I Want My Hat Back or This Is Not My Hat as the kind of books that have an explicit or didactic moral at the end. I don't see them as that either...I mean, clearly! For people like me who are happy with book endings that are wrapped in crisp paper and tied up with a bow, these two books might not be what you are looking for. But, I do like books that make me think and really stretch my brain and that's exactly what Jon's books do. 
If you haven't read I Want My Hat Back...just don't even talk to me...go read it! Enough said.

I can forgive you if you haven't read This Is Not My Hat yet since it was just published, but when you do you'll see how it's like I Want My Hat Back but different at the same time. Jon talked last week about how everything is completely flipped for this book. The book orientation and the colors. It's just awesome. The seaweed layout is my all-time most favoritist page in children's literature. Read it, I think you'll agree that it's completely briliant. It gave me chills.

Extra Yarn is illustrated by Jon Klassen and written by Mac Barnett. It's a beautiful book but also a book that makes you think! I shared my fondness for Mr. Crabtree with Jon and he said Mr. Crabtree is his favorite character, too. Love.

Last year, at NCTE, I read House Held Up By Trees by Ted Kooser and illustrated by Jon Klassen. Colby and I were at the booth talking about how much we love I Want My Hat Back, when I spotted this book on the shelf and recognized Jon's artwork immediately. This book is beautiful and the haunting illustrations match the text perfectly. Jon talked about how he used a red chair in the book to help show size and perspective and then talked about the time of day. He couldn't change seasons so he used the time of day to show change in time as the book progresses over several years.

Interviewing Jon Klassen and hearing speak about his books is a night I will not forget. I'm so looking forward to what he illustrates or writes next! Thank you to Candlewick for the interview opportunity and for a copy of This Is Not My Hat for us to give away! (Giveaway is now closed.) Hooray, Candlewick!
 

Saturday, October 27, 2012

The Big Fat Cow That Goes Kapow

Title: The Big Fat Cow that Goes Kapow 
Author: Andy Griffiths  
Illustrator: Terry Denton 
Publisher: Fiewel and Friends 
Publication Date: February, 2009 
Genre/Format: Fiction/Early Reader-Chapter Book 
GoodReads Summary:  Look! It’s a book
With a mouse and his house,
And a mole in a hole,
And a bike with a spike,
And, of course,
A big, fat cow that goes . . .
5,4,3,2,1 . . . KAPOW!

New York Times-bestselling author Andy Griffiths, follows up his slimy, rhymey, easy-to-read hit, The Cat on the Mat is Flat, with ten more hilarious short, rhyming stories guaranteed to make kids laugh. 

What I Think: The first time I read this book, I was laughing out loud with Peanut. It's just so much fun! It's silly and the simple drawings add to the fun, rhyming text. If I were to ever compare a book to Dr. Seuss...this would be it. That's a pretty big compliment. I love how there are ten short stories packed into this book. It's like an early reader that feels more like a chapter book...and don't we just love that? A book that we can give to a young reader that will make them feel like they are reading a big-kid chapter book? Gotta love it! 
Read Together: Grades Pre-K - 3
Read Alone: Grades K - 3  
Read With: Green Eggs and Ham and others by Dr. Seuss, Elephant and Piggie (series) by Mo Willems, Up, Tall and High by Ethan Long
Snatch of Text:  
"It's raining
big fat cows 
today.

How many cows?
It's hard to say.

A big cow here.

A fat cow there.

Big fat cows are
EVERYWHERE!"
Reading Strategies to Practice: Fluency, Making Connections, Making Predictions
Writing Strategies to Practice: Rhyme, Literary Elements, Rhythm, Repetition, Alliteration, Onomatopoeia
Writing Prompts: Brainstorm a list of words that rhyme, try to write a story using those words - or give your list to a friend and see if your friend can write a story with your list! 
Topics Covered: Cows, Animals, Family, Imagination
I *heart* It:
 

Friday, October 26, 2012

Me and Earl and the Dying Girl

Title: Me and Earl and the Dying Girl
Author: Jesse Andrews
Publisher: Harry N. Abrams
Publication Date: March, 2012
Genre/Format: Realistic Fiction-Humor/Novel
Goodreads Summary: Greg Gaines is the last master of high school espionage, able to disappear at will into any social environment. He has only one friend, Earl, and together they spend their time making movies, their own incomprehensible versions of Coppola and Herzog cult classics.
     Until Greg’s mother forces him to rekindle his childhood friendship with Rachel.
     Rachel has been diagnosed with leukemia— cue extreme adolescent awkwardness— but a parental mandate has been issued and must be obeyed. When Rachel stops treatment, Greg and Earl decide the thing to do is to make a film for her, which turns into the Worst Film Ever Made and becomes a turning point in each of their lives.
     And all at once Greg must abandon invisibility and stand in the spotlight.
What I Think: This is definitely not a book to recommend to a sensitive person. It is exactly what it promotes itself as- a funny book about a thing that is not funny at all. Man, it is funny. It is also a provocative, curse-laden, stereotypical teenage boy book. In a generation that adores Family Guy, Adult Swim and Tosh.O and continues watching The Simpsons and South Park, crude humor is main stream and Jesse Andrew's book will definitely attract teen readers. 
     In addition to the humor, Me and Earl and the Dying Girl was fun to read- I couldn't put it down once I started. Greg's voice is evident throughout. You can almost hear him in your head as you read. Earl's voice was also distinct specifically when Andrews decided to write in Earl's teenage boy dialect so opposite to Greg's voice. Also, I really liked how it included aspects of the book as a script. My favorite character through the whole book, though, was Greg's father. He was definitely minor, but definitely was a unique character!
     A couple of things kept me from giving this book 5 stars though. 1) Earl, Greg's "best friend" is a stereotypical black teenager which wouldn't have bothered me so much if there had been a less stereotypical character of color to balance him and his family out, but unfortunately there wasn't. 2) And I am sure Jesse Andrews is so sick of hearing this (and I apologize that I have to say it...), it is just not The Fault in our Stars. TFioS had the humor and the cancer, but it also had heart. I know that Greg had heart, it was just hidden inside a 17 year old male's body, but I just wish we had seen more of it than we did. There was a glimpse at the end, but throughout most of the book he was just so emotionless. Now, I was never a teenage boy, obviously, so this may be realistic to how some teenage boys would deal with the situation that Greg was in, but I just wanted him to break.
     Now, do not let my two nit-picky things make it so you don't pick up this book. You should. You will laugh (probably) and you will cry (probably). And with that being said, Jesse Andrews shows us that it isn't just John Green who can write a funny book about cancer. 
Read Together: Grades 10 to 12
Read Alone: Grades 9 and up
Read With: The Fault in our Stars by John Green, Drums, Girls & Dangerous Pie by Jordan Sonnenblick
Snatch of Text: "I probably don't need to tell you that nothing is funnier at Benson, or any other high school, than when a human being falls down. I don't mean witty, or legitimately funny; I'm just saying people in high school think falling down is the funniest thing that a person can possibly do. I'm not sure why this is true, but it is. People completely lose control when they see this happen. Sometimes they themselves fall down, and then the entire world collapses on itself." (p. 138-139)

"A person's life is like a big weird ecosystem, and if there's one thing science teachers enjoy blathering about, it's that changes in one part of an ecosystem affect the entire thing. So let's say my life is a pond. OK. Now let's say some insane person (Mom) shows up with this nonnative species of depressed fish (Rachel) and puts the fish in the pond. OK. The other organisms in the pond (films, homework) are used to having a certain amount of algae (time that I get to spend on those things) to eat. But now this cancer-stricken fish is eating all that algae. So the pond is sort of jacked up as a result." (p. 199)
Mentor Text for: Scripting, Humor, Voice, Dialect, Dialogue, Metaphor
Writing Prompts: Greg likes to share aspects of his story like a movie script. Take a scene out of the book you are reading and transform it into a script. 
Topics Covered: Movie making, Cinema history, Leukemia, Cliques, High school, Friendship, Future
I *heart* It:

 

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Vocabulary Games

After I posted my genre introduction lessons, I had a sweep of tweets and comments about the games that I had mentioned in the post

I will say, none of these games were originally mine. As a teacher, though, we all borrow and share- so I am happy to share them with you. 

Vocabulary Pyramid
Set up like the $25,000 Pyramid, students are given topics and they must have their partner guess each topic using the vocabulary and knowledge from the unit/lesson. 

4 Corners
4 corners is like an interactive multiple choice assessment/activity. This game begins with all of the students in the middle of the room. You ask a question and each corner (or side) is an option. Students then go to what they choose or think is correct. 

Swat It
For Swat It you will need 2 fly swatters. You post your vocabulary words on a wall (your word wall would work) or you make a PowerPoint/Word document with your vocabulary words project. Then you have 2 students go head to head. You give clues or definition and students have to swat the word. I have heard that using a fly swatter is the best way, because you can see who is first; rulers make it much harder to see who was first if it was close. 

Post-It Password
Students put a post it on their forehead with a vocabulary word on it then walk around the room having conversations with other students to figure out what their word is. 

Draw a Conclusion
This is one of my favorites. It is a backwards circle map. Instead of starting with a topic in the middle and defining it in the circle, with Draw a Conclusion you put the clues in the circle and the clues have to be used to guess the topic. 
 
Can you guess the answer? 
That's right- Jiminy Cricket!

Jeopardy 
Self explanatory.

Word-O
Vocabulary bingo 
Hint: Use Smarties and kids can eat them when the game is over. 

Vocabulary Squares
Like Hollywood Squares. One team is X, one is O and the team is trying to get tic-tac-toe by answering vocabulary questions. 

Draw Me
Pictionary. 

Vocabulary Charades

Talk a Mile a Minute
Parents get into pairs (A & B) and one faces away from the board/projector while the other faces it. A student gets a list of vocabulary based on a topic that is being taught. They then go word to word giving clues and trying to get through all of the words. 


Memory
Cards with vocabulary words and then its definition are flipped over on a table and students have to flip them over trying to find their match. 

Find your Pair
Type up all of the vocabulary words and then sentences or definitions that go with the words. It is then the students' job is to find their pair. 

What games do you do with your students to reinforce vocabulary instruction? 

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

The 9/11 Report

Non-fiction Picture Book Wednesday
Here at Teach Mentor Texts we are always looking for more ways to support teachers! We've found that teachers seem to be constantly on the lookout for great nonfiction. We know we are! To help with this undying quest for outstanding non-fiction, we are excited to participate in Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday hosted by Kid Lit Frenzy and The Nonfiction Detectives. Every Wednesday, you'll find a non-fiction review here - although it may not always be a picture book review. Please visit Kid Lit Frenzy and The Nonfiction Detectives to see what non-fiction others have to share, too.


Title: The 9/11 Report: A Graphic Adaptation 
Author: Sid Jacobson
Illustrator: Ernie Colon
Publisher: Hill and Wang
Publication Date: August, 2006
Genre/Format: Non-fiction/Graphic Novel
Goodreads Summary: The 9/11 Report for Every American
On December 5, 2005, the 9/11 Commission issued its final report card on the government’s fulfillment of the recommendations issued in July 2004: one A, twelve Bs, nine Cs, twelve Ds, three Fs, and four incompletes. Here is stunning evidence that Sid Jacobson and Ernie Colón, with more than sixty years of experience in the comic-book industry between them, were right: far, far too few Americans have read, grasped, and demanded action on the Commission’s investigation into the events of that tragic day and the lessons America must learn.
     Using every skill and storytelling method Jacobson and Colón have learned over the decades, they have produced the most accessible version of the 9/11 Report. Jacobson’s text frequently follows word for word the original report, faithfully captures its investigative thoroughness, and covers its entire scope, even including the Commission’s final report card. Colón’s stunning artwork powerfully conveys the facts, insights, and urgency of the original. Published on the fifth anniversary of the terrorist attacks on the United States, an event that has left no aspect of American foreign or domestic policy untouched, The 9/11 Report puts at every American’s fingertips the most defining event of the century.
What I Think: I am a pretty educated human being, or at least I try to be, but I remember that when 9/11 happened (I was a sophomore in college), I was completely shocked by what had happened. I cried and I saw many others cry in the days and weeks following this tragedy. And we are in Orlando, FL not being directly affected by the death and destruction. However, I think all Americans felt threatened by the attack that was so blatantly made to just kill and scare. And it worked. 
     Lots of questions were asked after the attack and as I tried to keep up with the news, between the impending war and the facts leading up to the attack, I was confused and conflicted. I don't think this confusion has ever subsided and I find myself crying whenever I read, watch or hear about 9/11 in any sort of depth. Many of the questions were answered in the 9/11 Report that was written by the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States, but at a lengthy 571 pages it was only through the media that many of us received any information. The problem is, that in our day and age, all media is bias in some respect. Every single outlet had to pick and choose what they were going to report out of this tremendously large book of findings. This meant that for many years a large majority of the public did not adequately understand the 9/11 Report. Hence the beauty of this graphic novel. 

     Sid Jacobson and Ernie Colon's graphic adaptation of the Final 9/11 Report takes all of this information, condenses it (but doesn't seem to eliminate) and lays it all out for us to see/read. It is endorsed by the 9/11 Commission and finally allows the 9/11 report to be shared with a much wider audience. 
Read Together: Grades 5 and up
Read Alone: Grades 7 and up
Read With: I Survived the Attacks of September 11th, 2001 by Lauren Tarshis, Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer, Fireboat by Maira Kalman, 110 Stories by Ulrich Baer, 14 Cows for America by Carmen Agra Deedy, Love is the Higher Law by David Levithan, America is Under Attack by Don Brown, Non-fiction books about the 9/11 Attacks
Snatch of Text: 
Mentor Text for: Non-fiction Text Features, Making Connections
Writing Prompts: Using the information shared in The 9/11 Report what do you think the United States could have done differently before 9/11. Use text evidence to support your thoughts. 
Topics Covered: Integration- Terrorism, 9/11, 1993 World Trade Center bombing, Attack on USS Cole, Middle East, Osama Bin Laden, Government
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