Sunday, February 26, 2012

Mr. Popper's Penguins

Performing Penguins

In this classic, Newbury Honor book, written by Richard and Florence Atwater, Mr. Popper loves everything about the North and South Poles. When a penguin is delivered to his front door he has no idea how his life will change. With his painting business shut down for the winter, and money tight, how will the Poppers support themselves and the penguins? Take this exciting (and quite hilarious) journey with Mr. Popper and his family in Mr. Popper's Penguins. Then, when you're done reading, watch the modern remake of Mr. Popper's Penguins with Jim Carey as Mr. Popper.

Reading Level: Flesch-Kincaid: 6.3

Teachers: Here are some resources for you to use...

Web Resources:
  • Scholastic: This site is listed as a "discussion guide" but I would call it more of a list of really good ideas to go along with reading Mr. Popper's Penguins.
  • Money Management: This site provides a very detailed way to use Mr. Popper's Penguins cross-curricularly by teaching students about using credit.
  • Study Guide: Comprehension questions for each chapter.
  • Reader's Theater: Reader's Theater for Mr. Popper's Penguins.

Vocabulary: Words to discuss: spectacles, heathen, pompous, rotogravure, novelty, ushers, ecstatic, nuisance, expedition

Before Reading: Create a KWL for Penguins. Use this throughout reading to see what Mr. Popper seems to know (or not know) about penguins.

During Reading: Stop and make a prediction: After the first penguin comes to live with the Poppers; after Greta comes to live with the Poppers; after the penguins are born; when the Poppers start to run out of money; when the Poppers are going to have the penguins audition; after they are offered a 10 week tour with the penguins.

After Reading
  • Watch the Mr. Popper's Penguins movie and compare and contrast the two.
  • Create a floor plan of the Popper's house throughout the stages of "penguin life" in their house.

Across the Curriculum
  • Use the money management lesson (or your own version of this lesson) to connect Mr. Popper's Penguins to math.
  • Study penguins as a Science Connection. What kind of penguins are in this book? What other penguins are there? There is much to learn about penguins, did you know: most penguins don't live in the cold?!

Atwater, R., Atwater, F., & Lawson, R. (1938). Mr. Popper's penguins. Boston: Little, Brown and Co.

Happy Reading (&Running) =)

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Love, Stargirl

A Sequel in Letters

Stargirl is back, in a different state, and is being homeschooled again. After everything that happened to her in Jerry Spinelli's Stargirl, she can't imagine going back to a real school again, so instead she studies "the essence of nothingness" and writes poems while on "field trips." Her heart is still broken after what Leo did to her but she writes him letters about her experiences that she is not sure she will ever send. Stargirl's letters tell of her new friends Dootsie and Betty Lou. She shares her feelings for Perry and her desperate attempts to help Alvina, a headstrong preteen. Stargirl's journey in this story is about trying to find the happiness she had when she was back in Arizona with Leo. A fantastic sequel that only makes you love the free-spirit that is Stargirl a little bit more than you did after reading Stargirl. Find my blog on Stargirl here.

Reading Level: Flesch-Kincaid 3.0 (Interest level is at a higher grade level)

Teachers: Here are some resources and ideas...

Web Resources:
  • Discussion Questions: This site offers a variety of discussion questions as well as writing activities and "beyond the book" ideas such as staring a "Stargirl Society."
  • Reader's Guide: From randomhouse publisher, a Reader's Guide of discussion and comprehension questions is available here.
  • Sample Unit Plan: Here you can find samplings from a Love, Stargirl unit. There are comprehension questions, poetry connections and many possibilities to help get you thinking when creating your own plan of study with Love, Stargirl. You can also purchase the entire unit plan.

Vocabulary:  To preteach or talk about: stucco, bungalow, vacant, parenthetical, agoraphobic, valiantly, hijacked, meddling, pip, quaint, smitten, oratorical, vintage, nun-chucks, ovation, drab, solstice, daunting, flattery, befuddled, reverence.

Before Reading: What do you remember about Stargirl? Have you ever written a letter you weren't sure if you would send? Write a letter to someone that you probably would never send to them.

During Reading: Follow one part of Stargirl's letter and create some type of representation of the story just focusing on that one aspect. You could create a flow chart, a pictorial representation, a story board, etc. Examples: follow Stargirl's happy pebble wagon, follow Stargirl's feelings towards Leo or Perry, follow the events in Margie's doughnut shop.

After Reading: Stargirl decides at the end of her letters to send them all to Leo. Would you have made the same decision? Do you think her decision will change anything that has happened between Stargirl and Leo?

Spinelli, J. (2007). Love, Stargirl. New York: Alfred A. Knopf. 

Happy Reading (&Running) =) 

Thursday, February 16, 2012

I'm Back!

Hey anyone and everyone who has made it a point to check out my blog in the past... and especially to anyone who has not been too happy with my upkeep of this blog for the past 6 months.

I just finished student teaching in December (1st grade)! Now I am long-term subbing in a kindergarten class. I am happily recently certified in K-6 and in 7-12 English. Needless to say I have had way to much on my plate over the past 6 months.

But this is no excuse, I am back and reading and ready to give you teachers out there more resources to help you in your class. Although being in kindergarten makes me tempted to review books of the "picture book" genre, my first love is good old young adult fiction and early chapter books... so look forward to some blogging from teacherwillrunforbooks in the days to come :)

Currently Reading: Love, Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli
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