Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Have Fun, Molly Lou Melon

Title: Have Fun, Molly Lou Melon 
Author: Patty Lovell 
Illustrator: David Catrow 
Publisher: Putnam Juvenile 
Publication Date: October, 2012 
Genre/Format: Fiction/Picture Book 
GoodReads Summary: Molly Lou Melon's grandma taught her to be happy with herself no matter what, but  that's not all she learned. Molly Lou heard all about how her grandma didn't have fancy store-bought toys when she was little. She made dolls out of twigs and flowers and created her own fun in her backyard.
So Molly Lou does just that, proving that the best thing to play with is a huge imagination! 
What I Think: Molly Lou Melon is back and better than ever! If you remember, Molly Lou Melon is one of my favorites here at Teacher Mentor Texts. I love her strength and that she's not afraid to be herself. In Stand Tall, Molly Lou Melon, her grandma helped her have confidence in herself and who she is. This time, her grandma tells her all about her childhood in the olden days. She encourages Molly Lou to use her imagination when she's playing around the house. Together Patty Lovell and David Catrow come up with some wonderful creations for Molly Lou. I love David's colorful illustrations. His artwork is definitely busy, filling up the page with color and bringing the text to life. It's fun to stop and really take time to look closely at the illustrations and to see al that is happening.
     This book provides readers with a wonderful opportunity to stop and think about life. To stop and think of where we have come as a society. To stop and think about what's really important. So often, we get caught up in everything new and shiny but using our imagination and putting our brains to work is important and fun, too. As a parent, I can't tell you how many times we have boxes come into the house and the kids absolutely love the boxes. I try to look for toys or games that will encourage my kids to develop their creativity and their imagination. I believe it's important that we are able to do imagine things and then bring them to life.
     Here are some ideas for activities to do with kids that, like Molly Lou, ask them to put their brains to work!
1. Gives kids some props and then ask them to create a skit to tell a story. They can write a script and then act out their own version of readers' theater. We have two Bilibo seats in our house that the kids use to get really creative - they can be seats, they can be a rock for a lookout, they can be turtle shells.
2. Offer kids art supplies or other household objects and let them loose to create some kind of creative creature. Afterwards, ask kids to sit down and draw and describe what they have created (or maybe they draw first as part of their creative process...) and then to write a story with their creature as the main character. For Christmas, Peanut got this amazing bucket from Land of Nod that is full of art supplies so he can get to work. Lakeshore Learning also has bulk art supplies you can buy. 
3. Give kids some good old-fashioned wooden games to play or card games to play. Set aside a time for kids to learn and play these games. In partners or small groups, ask students to write their own how-to guide for playing the game. Maybe they have some insights as to how to hold the cards or strategies to share. Or ask them to create their own game from the materials of one game. I loved Pick-Up Sticks as a kid. They don't look like much...they are really just a simple little box of sticks...but they are challenging and engaging with just a little encouragement from an adult to get started.
Most of all, have some fun!
Read Together: Grades K - 4.
Read Alone: Grades K - 4 
Read With: Stand Tall, Molly Lou Melon by Patty Lovell, House Held Up By Trees by Ted Kooser, Grandpa Green by Lane Smith, It's a Book by Lane Smith
Snatch of Text:   
"Molly Lou Melon's toy chest overflowed 
with whoseywhatsits of all shapes and sizes.
Her grandma had told her, 'Back in the
olden days, I didn't have fancy dolls or
action figures. I made them out of twigs,
leaves and flowers like holly hocks 
and daisies.'

So she did just that."
Reading Strategies to Practice: Activating Background Knowledge, Making Connections, Making Predictions, Making Inferences 
Writing Strategies to Practice: Descriptive, Word Choice, Alliteration, Assonance, Rhythm, Expository, Interview
Writing Prompts: Write interview questions for a grandparent or other elderly adult. Record the answers to your questions and then compare and contrast his or her childhood with your own.
Topics Covered: Imagination, Creativity, Friendship, Ingenuity, Technology, Changing Times
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