Thursday, February 14, 2008

Reader's Workshop - Author Study - Eric Carle

This week started our very first author study-- Eric Carle. After surveying the children to see if they were familiar with Eric Carle, many of them chanted, "He is my favorite author!" At first I was slightly disappointed when so many children knew of his books, but then I thought, what a great opportunity to take this author study deeper. The books that most children have at home are "The Very Hungry Caterpillar," "The Very Busy Spider," and "The Grouchy Ladybug." The book that we started with this week, however, was not one that they heard before. The first book was "Do You Want To Be My Friend?" It is about a mouse who is looking for a friend. He visits a horse, alligator, seal, lion, hippo, monkey, and giraffe until he finally meets another mouse who says, "Yes" to being his friend. An attribute chart was started listing the title, connections, questions, and what we discovered/learned about this book. After having a book talk about the mouse's adventures, we discussed how it would be hard for those animals to be his friend. For instance, the seal lives in the water and the hippo might step on him. The students noticed how a green snake was drawn throughout the book until the last page where we found it's head. That was very dangerous for the mouse. The children made text-to-self connections. Emir said, "It reminded me of PreK when I was looking for a friend." They had questions about how Eric Carle thought of this book - maybe he was lonely and looked for a friend when he was in school. The next day, children were given large index cards and they drew their favorite animal from the book and we put together a story board. This visual has not only helped in the student's retelling of the story, but it is being utilized in Writer's Workshop for their Response to Literature writing.
For the next five weeks, we will be working on our author study of Eric Carle. Our activities will include making class books, using dramatic play to enhance understanding, and drawing/writing in a Reader's Notebook each day to log thoughts/questions/wonderings about the author's work.
This will allow students the opportunity to look deeply into the wonderful world of Eric Carle.

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