Teaching the Six Traits with Great BooksNovember 5, 2007Source: Books, Lesson and Ideas for Teaching the Six Traits
Pair ShareTalk to someone next to you about a book you use to teach writing.
Teach ideas by:*reading aloud samples with good detail, good imagery*looking for details*identifying filler
Wilfrid Gordon McDonald Partridge by Mem Fox
Lesson IdeaAsk students to bring in one favorite treasure: it might be a photo, gift, or a simple thing found on a trip such as a seashell or a special rock. Meet in small groups of three or four to share the object and the memories that go with it.
Lesson IdeaRead the book and talk about the memory connection. Now ask students to write about the meaning behind the object. Students who struggle could do pictures. You could also make a class book of memories by taking digital photos of the objects.
Monster by Walter Dean Myers
Lesson IdeaShare a portion of the book aloud and discuss how it is set up. Allow students to continue reading on their own, paying special attention to camera angles and close ups. Ask students to take a narrative they have written and rewrite all or a portion of it as if it were a script.
Lesson IdeaThis also works great as a group activity where students work together on a short narrative and present it as a play or readers theatre. You can also use this as a way to review a novel. Students work in groups to rewrite it into a script and perform it for the class.
The Mysteries of Harris Burdick by Chris VanAllsburg
Lesson IdeaLet students work on pairs or groups to interpret a picture of their choice and write something based upon it. Ideas include: letters, business correspondence, resumes, wills, journals, advertisements. For group accountability, ask each person in the group to compose a different form of writing.
OrganizationTeach organization by: * Reading aloud leads* Working on transitions* Reading aloud endings
Holes by Louis Sachar
Lesson IdeaBegin by reading just the first chapter aloud. Brainstorm a list of questions that pop into your mind when you hear this lead. Predict answers to questions and save this list to see which ones get answered.
Lesson IdeaNext time students write, fiction or non-fiction, pair them up and have them read their opening to a partner.The partner will list questions that the lead generates. If there are no questions then students will know they should revise their lead.
Amos and Boris by Will Steig
Lesson IdeaChart Amos and Boris. Draw a horizontal line graph that rises during action sequences and falls during more quiet periods. Next, have students write a short narrative and graph their story. This can be very revealing! If you dont have any highs and lows you might not have a story line.
VoiceTeach voice by: Reading aloudWriting lettersIdentifying the best voice for an audience
Dear Mrs. LaRue by Mark Teague
Lesson IdeaRead Dear Mrs. LaRue to the class. They will definitely get the idea of voice.Ask students to write letters of complaint as Ike did. They can choose to write from any perspective but must be an animal or object that does not normally speak.
Out of the Dust by Karen Hesse
Lesson IdeaRead the first chapter aloud. Ask students to describe the kind of voice they hear.Extension: Have students write about a personal experience in free verse form. Other great examples of this form are: Love that Dog by Sharon Creech and any book by Sonya Sones.
Harris and Meby Gary Paulsen
Lesson IdeaMake copies of a chapter of this book. I would suggest chapter six.Have students mark their copies where they hear voice coming through. Then look at what is going on in the plot when the voice is the strongest.
Word ChoiceTeach word choice by: Reading aloudCollecting favorite words or phrasesBuilding word collagesFinding ten other ways to say it
A Series of Unfortunate Events by Lemony Snickett
Lesson IdeaGive students a list of about twenty words. Ask them to choose two or three and imitate Snicketts style of defining for us just how he is using the word.
PSThese are great for reluctant readers.
The Z was Zappedby Chris Van Allsburg
Lesson IdeaRead the book aloud, share pictures, and encourage guessing before you reveal each answer. Assign each student one or two letters and ask them to illustrate the letters fate. ( The A was anchored).
Lesson IdeaExtension: Create an alphabet book specific to that content area. The b was bisected.The c was calculated.
Sentence FluencyTeach sentence fluency by: * Reading aloud or asking students to read aloudDoing choral readingsListening to poetry and musicWriting poetry and business letters
The House on Mango Street by Cisneros
Lesson IdeasTry a read around. Copy a short passage.Give it to students in groups of three or four and ask them to read it aloud, taking turnsonly dont guide the flow. Try it a few times until the rhythm of the story comes through.
My Man Blue by Nikki Grimes
Lesson IdeaInvite students to choose a poem and do a small group reading ( 3-4 students) performing it for the class.
Encourage them to come up with the most important word to describe each page.
ConventionsTeach conventions by: Saving faulty samples of text and asking students to hunt for errors.Providing punctuation-free text and having students fill in the punctuation as you read aloud. Practicing editing and layout.
I Never Saw Another Butterfly
Lesson IdeaTalk about how authors and illustrators are rarely the same person. In this case the writer was a different person than the artist. Assign students a writing project where some are illustrators and some are authors.
Music of the Dolphins by Karen Hesse
Lesson IdeaPage through the book and talk about how the conventions change within the book and why.What is the author telling us by changing the font?Ask students to create a dialogue in which conventions play a major role. Talk about :font, italics, ellipses, exclamation pointsWhat might their use or lack of use show? Share writing in small groups to see if they can guess the authors mood or tone.
Pair ShareTalk with the person sitting next to you about two books you plan to use in the next month.