Saturday, July 13, 2013

Swirl by Swirl - Must Read Mentor Texts!

Each week Stacia and Amanda at Collaboration Cuties host a Must-Read Mentor Texts link-up. There is a different theme focus every week throughout the month and blogs can link up on Sundays. I'll be rotating through reviews of different mentor texts for language arts, math, science, and social studies. You can check out their blog for previous link-ups to connect with other mentor texts they have shared and other bloggers have reviewed, too. 

Title: Swirl by Swirl: Spirals in Nature 
Author: Joyce Sidman 
Illustrator: Beth Krommes 
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Books for Children 
Publication Date: October, 2011 
Genre/Format: Non-Fiction/Picture Book 
GoodReads Summary: A Caldecott medalist and a Newbery Honor-winning poet celebrate the beauty and value of spirals.What makes the tiny snail shell so beautiful? Why does that shape occur in nature over and over again but also celebrate the beauty and usefulness of this fascinating shape. 
What I Think:  Have you ever noticed that kids seem to notice things that adults often overlook? I'm not sure if it's because kids are taking things in in a different way than we are, but I feel like they spot things differently, and especially if they've been made aware of something. Thinking about how the brain works, I wonder if it has something to do with the fact that they are collecting information and trying to make connections between new information and information they already have so they are hyper aware of these things. I'm honestly not sure, but I do know that I've had enough experiences with kids noticing things after I've mentioned it. Reading Swirl by Swirl and pointing out swirls to kids makes them notice them more and more. It's awesome to hear how they notice swirls or other patterns and love to come up and share what they have found. I particularly love this book as a mentor text for helping kids slow down and notice the world around them. There are swirls all around us but we might notice them if we aren't looking. It's amazing what we do notice when we slow down and observe the world in a different way. This is really where writing should start, as writers, we need to stop and open our eyes to the world around us. There are so many stories just waiting to be written if we only take the time to notice what is happening around us. It might be something in nature that inspires the setting of a story or maybe even something we notice that could become a poem or spur research for expository text. I just love that this book helps us slow down and notice patterns around us.
     I love the artwork in this book and the beautiful language used to describe the swirls. This book can actually be used as a math mentor text or a science mentor text. I remember learning about Fibonacci numbers and thinking they were so fascinating. In math, this is a great way to introduce Fibonacci numbers or patterns in general. Students could look at different image or photos and in pairs count and see if they can recognize the Fibonacci pattern. For science, the book shows plants in animal in nature that kids could learn more about. Students might discover an animal they want to read more about and can research and write about that animal. In this sense, I think this book would match so well with Kate Messner's Over and Under the Snow
Read Together: Grades Pre-K - 6
Read Alone: Grades Pre-K - 6
Read With: Over and Under the Snow by Kate Messner, What Do You Do With a Tail Like This? by Steve Jenkins, Navigating Early by Clare Vanderpool
Snatch of Text:  "A spiral is a growing shape. It starts small and gets bigger, swirl by swirl."
Reading Strategies to Practice: Activating Background Knowledge, Making Connections, Asking Questions
Writing Strategies to Practice: Descriptive, Alliteration, Expository
Writing Prompts: Take a nature walk or sit outside and observe the nature around you. Describe what you see with your five senses. Do you notice any swirls or other patterns around you?
Topics Covered: Integration - Math - Patterns, Fibonacci, Integration - Science - Nature, Discovery, Observation
 I *heart* It:

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