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Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Tried It Tuesday {Theme}

Brrr...will this cold ever go away? On a brighter note...
It's Time for Tried It Tuesday! 
What have you tried recently at school or home?
My Tried It:
I have been busy purchasing more mentor texts for my library this year and these recently arrived in the mail. It is becoming a slight addiction! :) Amazon must love me!
See that tiny book in the middle? Yep, didn't realize this copy of "The Paper Bag Princess" was SO small! Oops!
We studied theme last week and I wanted to share this great lesson I used by the talented Jess at I {Heart} Recess.
I passed out the "Big Ideas-Themes" guide from this packet and we discussed some chapter books we have read with their themes. Students shared with their partners some themes from books they are reading independently and easily discovered that books often have many themes that can be supported with text evidence.
We read "Chicken Sunday" by Patricia Polacco together and discussed the themes with text evidence.
Then, students worked in small groups to read another mentor text and work on the graphic organizer that came with this pack. Many other texts could also be used, but since I already had the titles "The Bad Case of the Stripes," "A Chair for My Mother," and "Chrysanthemum," I just needed "Sylvester and the Magic Pebble" and "Thank You, Mr. Falker." I wanted those books for my growing collection anyway. :)
Here are the students working in small groups and pictures of some graphic organizers.

To read the book and complete the graphic organizers took the groups close to 30 minutes. When they were finished, I heard so many students say, "This was fun!". 
Do you use mentor text in small group work? I have also thought about having some of my struggling students read these mentor texts at a listening station. Many of them are on youtube and students could follow along in the book or just watch the video if you didn't have the book. 
I'm looking forward to reading what others have tried recently!


  1. Theme can be such a tricky concept to teach - thank you for the great resource! Those book choices are great mentor texts for theme as well. I am glad you ordered a mini, teeny, tiny book on accident as well. I ordered another Robert Mensch book, Stephanie's Ponytail from Amazon and it was the same size! Thank you for the linky!

  2. That's a great idea! I can definitely see working in groups with iPads to read the books online- that would be a hit at my tech-focused school!


  3. Paper Bag Princess is by far one of my favorite Robert Munsch books. In fact, he is my all-time favorite childrens' author. Thanks for the suggestion on the Theme packet! I guarantee my kiddos would enjoy doing this as well! XOX
    Rockin' and Lovin' Learnin'

  4. I just recently taught theme too. We expanded from the Theme topic to a Theme statement. This concept is so difficult. Thanks for the mentor text suggestions. They will be great for reinforcement and reteaching.

    Coffee Cups and Lesson Plans

  5. Aww, Thanks for the shout out! So glad you and your students enjoyed working on theme! It can be so difficult to teach and understand.


  6. I'm loving all of the new book choices that you're adding. Theme is tricky to teach. I know I struggle. I also love using the Patricia Polacco books for teaching personal narratives too! :) Then the same book(s) can be used for more than one topic and you can bring it back into the mix. Thanks for sharing!
    Mrs. Bentin's Blackboard

  7. I didn't realize that there were audio versions of some these books online - how awesome! Thanks!

  8. I think it is sort of funny that your Paperbag Princess book came in so small. You can listen to Robert Munsch read it here http://robertmunsch.com/book/the-paper-bag-princess#. I once bought those books on purpose to give to my students at the end of our fairy tale unit : )
    Thanks for the heads up on the theme pack - it is hard to teach but with great mentor texts like the ones you were using the students become totally engaged.