|Courtesy of http://mowillemsdoodles.blogspot.com/|
So Columbia Teacher's College has a couple of units of study on characters throughout the school year in first grade. When developing mini lessons, I want to use a familiar text so we don't spend time reading the book or comprehending it, but we practice the strategy. This is where Mo Willems enters the picture: throughout the year, whenever I have five minutes to spare, I read one of his books for a fun read aloud. You wouldn't believe how quickly the class settles down when I announce, "I just bought the latest Elephant and Piggie book!" Even better, sometimes during the read aloud I give one of my friends a stuffed character to hold:
|Courtesy of http://mowillemsstuff.blogspot.com|
Oops...I digress! When it's time to teach these mini lessons, they children are quite familiar with the story lines and eager to try the strategies during the active engagement part of the mini lesson. Some mini lessons that I might cover during the unit of study:
- Good readers notice the outside part of the character.
- Good readers notice what the characters says.
- Good readers notice what the character does.
- Good readers notice how the character feels.
- Good readers notice how the character changes from the beginning to the end of a book.
- Good readers make connections to their characters.
Growing Readers by Kathy Collins has some awesome ways to celebrate the end of unit of study, including coming in dressed as your favorite character, and presenting to the class. I haven't had the chance to plan for this kind of celebration, but it's on my to-do list for the future.
Pigeon Presents is a great teacher and student resource for teacher units, activities, games, and coloring pages. Happy Birthday Author has an awesome post dedicated to Mo Willems, with a comprehensive list of references at the end.
Let me know which author is your secret weapon...