Thursday, November 11, 2010

Dear Mr. Henshaw

How long before he writes back?
Leigh Bott's favorite author since the second grade is Mr. Henshaw. In 6th grade, Henshaw is still his favorite author and he continues to write to him as the new kid in school. Leigh lives with his mom and misses his father who is a cross country trucker. He also is troubled by a lunch thief who steals all the "good stuff" out of his lunch bag every day. When Leigh is assigned a writing assignment, he again turns to Mr. Henshaw whose answers help him more than he ever thought they could. Beverly Cleary brings us Leigh's thoughts first through letters to Mr. Henshaw then through Leigh's Diary in a unique children's novel, Dear Mr. Henshaw.

Teachers: Here are some resources and ideas to help you teach this novel... 

Web Resources:
  • Comprehension Questions: This site offers comprehension questions section by section in the novel. The questions are opened in a word document that can serve as a comprehension worksheet. 
  • Teaching Plan: This scholastic website offers activities and journal responses that can be used with Dear Mr. Henshaw.

Vocabulary: Here are some words that may need to be pre-taught: mobile home, flatbeds, gondola, potluck, duplex, interstate, postage, loner, broker, halyard, nuisance, snitch, mimeographed, wrath, thief, invention, demonstration.


Before Reading: Teach a minilesson on letter writing. At the beginning of the story, Leigh is learning how to write letters and it will help students relate if they too know how to write letters.

During Reading: Have students write a letter to their favorite author like Leigh writes to Mr. Henshaw throughout the novel.

After Reading/Writing: Writing prompt: Predict what you think will happen to Leigh next. How will his relationship with his dad progress? Will he continue to write? Will he ever meet Mr. Henshaw?

Cleary, B. (1983). Dear Mr. Henshaw . New York: Morrow.
Newbery Medal Winner

Happy Reading (&Running) =)

The Lemonade Wars

Who will win the Lemonade War?

Evan and Jessie are brother and sister. Evan is people smart where as Jessie is math smart. The two normally get along great, but with Jessie skipping the third grade, she will be in the fourth grade with Evan when the summer is over. Evan does not like this idea and Jessie just can't seem to understand why. When a fight leads to Evan yelling "I hate you" one thing leads to another and before they know it, its war. First the terms are who can earn $100 first, then it is: who can earn the most money in the last five days before school starts from their lemonade stands? As the days wear on, the war gets nastier and its possible that the war will never end. Jacqueline Davies keeps you at the edge of your seat as you wonder who will win The Lemonade War.

Teachers: I'm back again with some resources and ideas to help you teach this novel... 

Web Resources: 
  • The Lemonade War Wiki: This wiki is connected to the Nutmeg Book Awards, a competition in Connecticut where students read different novels and vote on the one they like the best. This site offers a slide show that would serve as a great initiation for students before they read the novel. There is also a link for students who want to start their own business like Evan and Jessie. In addition, you will find two writing prompts from voicethread for after reading. Finally, there is a summary of the novel on this site as well.
  • Literature Guide: This literature guide includes a summary, discussion questions and activities that will help to teach this novel. 
  • Lemonade War Site: This link goes to the "for teachers" section of a website all about the Lemonade War.
Vocabulary: This novel is set up so that each chapter  has a title relating to having a business, each chapter begins with a definition of the title. These words are: slump, breakup, joint venture, partnership, competition, underselling, location, global, negotiation, malicious mischief, total loss, waiting period, crisis management, reconciliation.
The novel also has other words that relate to business, making a profit, etc. These words are: profits, public relations, clients, miser, charity, value-added, goodwill, real estate, profit margin, franchise, investment, receipt.

Before Reading: Ask students to talk in small groups about a time when they had a competition with a sibling, friend, etc. They should discuss what the competition was, who the competition was with and how what resulted from the competition.

During Reading: As students to come up with ideas they have for Evan or Jessie to make more money in order to win the lemonade war and discuss these ideas in small groups.

After Reading: Have students write a persuasive essay in which they choose who should have won the lemonade war, Evan or Jessie, and persuade the reader to agree with their stance.

Across the Curriculum:
Social Studies: This book could be used in conjunction with a Social Studies lesson or unit on basic economics or capitalism. Students can learn about running a business, making money, etc. by using this book as a resource.
Math:  Use this book in connection with fractions, money, problem solving, etc.

Davies, J. (2007). The Lemonade War. Boston: Houghton Mifflin.

Happy Reading (& Running) =)
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