Saturday, December 12, 2015

Who Will Guide My Sleigh Tonight?

I wanted to share this wonderful book with you in case you want to use it next week.  I love discovering a book that I can use so many different ways for teaching.

Who Will Guide My Sleigh Tonight? by Jerry Pallotta and illustrated by David Biedrzycki is one of those books. We used it for predicting, inferring, using important details that add to the story, and, of course, for having fun!

The illustrations in the book lend itself to so many great teaching points.  We have been working on adding specific details to the books we write during Writer's Workshop.  

During our last literacy meeting, we talked about how some students will spend as long as they can get away with coloring a sky or grass- or other random parts of their picture. Many times this illustrating is to avoid the writing part, and these random additions to their illustrations don't add to or help with their story.

Our goal is to have the children think about their illustrations and add important details that add to the story- purposeful details.

This illustration from the book was  a perfect example of an important detail.  We talked about how we could tell by using the picture that Santa's job was too big for just him.  If the illustrator had drawn only one or two houses, it wouldn't have looked like such a big job- but LOOK at all those houses he has to visit!  
We  also had fun predicting who Santa may try to use next to guide his sleigh.  I  let a different child try to predict each time.
Once we saw who Santa tried,  I had a student explain if he/she thought the idea was a good or bad choice and why.  The child also could point out to the class other things he noticed in the illustration- for example in this one: How  could we tell Santa was running away? How can we see the tiger is close up and Santa is farther away? Why do you think the mouse's hat flew off his head? ...

They loved this illustration.  The child who described this one did a great job explaining how the hoppy kangaroos made Santa's toys go all over the place.  The children  loved how the words were hopping on the page, too.

This page had so many great details to point out including  the ellipsis (which I teach the kids means SOME. THING'S. COMING.) and the cheetahs who were so fast they were blurry!

We used lots of the pictures to infer what the illustrator wanted us to know just from the picture:

(The mice are sweating and struggling so we can tell the sleigh is too heavy for them.)

(The giraffes' necks got them in trouble because they are too long!)

 (The clothespin on Santa's nose tells us that those skunks are smelly!)

The monkeys... well, this is self-explanatory.  You can probably tell this was the favorite page. The book is also just plain fun!

We all quickly predicted who we thought Santa may try next year.  

I'm excited to see the children use some of these ideas in their writing. And even when I don't see it in their writing and illustrations YET, I do know they are taking all of this in, as I keep reinforcing important details in illustrations.  When they are ready, I'll see it!  

Meanwhile, they absolutely loved this story.  You know it's a good one when you hear, "AGAIN, AGAIN, AGAIN!!!"

Here is a Youtube video of the book if you want to take a look at it.  

Thank you for stopping by!


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