Monday, January 7, 2013

It's Monday, What Are You Reading?

This month many classrooms are doing a variety of new writing units of study. A couple of them are historical fiction in fifth grade and opinion writing in second grade. During this month's Monday Blogs, I will be focusing on both of those genres. Even if you are not currently writing in one of those styles, it might be beneficial for you to glance at the books I will be sharing. The genres are repeated throughout the school year at various grade levels and the books may be useful at a later time.
The first book I am sharing with you is Earrings! by Judith Viorst.  I love this book because it is exactly the way children of this age act!  As you read the book, I am sure you will visualize someone in your life who is just like the girl in the story. The author tells us that as she interviewed several young girls, one thing she heard over and over was that no matter how much they pleaded and argued their parents would not let them get their ears pierced until they were older.  She knew right then she had a good book idea. How perfect for second grade opinions!

Since this is a common plea with young girls, it will be a great mentor text to get them excited about having an opinion! This will be a wonderful book to  kick off your introduction of opinion writing!
Historical fiction is something that fifth grade students have been reading for several years. Since they are familiar with this genre in their reading time, it may be easier for them to try their hand at writing it. They will use things they know about narrative writing and fiction writing as they start off this unit of study. Still, this genre will take more research than other narrative writing. The first decision you will have as a teacher is what era the children will write about...will they all write in the same era or will they choose their own.  Lots of questions. I will try to share over the month several different eras to support the decision you make.

The first book in this genre is The Harmonica by Tony Johnson. The book was inspired by a true story. Henryk Rosmaryn, the main character, was taken as a young boy to a concentration camp in 1939. There, with the help of the harmonica that his father had taught him to play, he survived the hardship of prison life. This book will show students how research is necessary in this type of writing.

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