Thursday, February 4, 2016

Dr. Seuss Author Study

 Dr. Seuss Pack

I've always loved the books by Dr. Seuss. They are great for so many things. However, I felt like a lot of the stuff that was out there to teach about him, was too young for my kids. Whenever there was Read Across America Day, I could never really find anything for my third graders. So I decided to make my own.

Dr. Seuss can be tricky to teach about when doing an author study. His back story is a little sketchy for elementary. I created a brief history of his life that focused on the more positive aspects of his life.

 Dr. Seuss Pack

Because close reading is so big right now, this passage is great for getting students to annotate a text. I mostly used crayons when having my students highlight passages because then we could easily use different colors for different purposes (i.e. blue for setting, red for the main idea or problem, etc.) 

I wanted my students to be able to read the information but also write about the information they had learned. This page was a simple way for students to write a few facts as well as a few opinions about Dr. Seuss. 
 Dr. Seuss Pack
Now I really wanted to get into his books. Dr. Seuss books are great for making inferences and talking about message and moral. 
 Dr. Seuss Pack

I started with five books. These books are fairly well known and by third grade my kids had heard most of them at least once. It was nice having them somewhat familiar with them. We did one at a time and talked about the message and moral from each. I ended with Do You Know How Lucky You Are because most students hadn't read/didn't remember that one. (Oh this was also over the course of several days, not one!)

I liked putting them on one page because then it helped us compare and contrast the different messages in the books. Comparing two books on a similar topic or two books by the same author are a big part of the core and this was an EXTREMELY easy way to cover this. 

We had been talking about characters, setting, and plot all year in guided reading groups so it was easy to tie it in to Seuss. After we read Horton Hears a Who in our guided reading groups, the students got to work on this compare and contrast page. 

We did P.I.G. groups (Partner, Individual, Group of 3). They got to choose if they worked alone or with others, which they always love to do. 

 Dr. Seuss Pack

I had previously taught about inferences in my reading mini lessons, so my kids were somewhat familiar with the idea. However, making an inference in an 8 year old mind can be tricky sometimes. Seuss books seemed to help kids make the connections they needed to easier than with other texts I had used.

Here are a couple of the pages we did.
 Dr. Seuss Pack

 Dr. Seuss Pack

 Dr. Seuss Pack

Again, this was over several weeks total. We spend the majority of February studying his books.

After we had read a sizable collection of his books, We filled out two separate pages.
 Dr. Seuss Pack

Some kids drew actual book covers in the rectangles and some just wrote the title.

 Dr. Seuss Pack

If we had more time, I would have had my students write this report in actual report format: opening, body paragraphs, and closing. However, we had spent a ton of time reading and discussing his books so we didn't get to that before March 2nd.

One of my favorite parts was my Dr. Seuss interactive notebooks. We glued this into their notebooks and they LOVED looking back at them. We kept a running tally of the different parts of speech we found in the books and the kids kept coming back and adding to them.
 Dr. Seuss Pack

Finally, after all that, we made it to Read Across America Day. Our librarian would do something special during our library time with the kids. We had a professional storyteller come read one of his books and each child got a bookmark and a red or blue cookie. Our blessed librarian hand-made a bookmark for each student in the school! That was over 600 bookmarks!

After we got back from library, I gave them these two pages.
 Dr. Seuss Pack

They loved getting them! It was a really fun unit and I think the kids liked being able to read Dr. Seuss books that they had never seen before (I'm looking at you Bartholomew and the Ooblek!)

Hopefully this will give you some good ideas for your room. If you are interested in using any of the pages I used, you can find them here: Dr. Seuss Author Study.
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