I'm excited to be linking up with Amanda from The Teaching Thief and Jennifer from Lifelong Learning to share a couple of my favorite fiction books. My first is “Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus” by Mo Willems. My first graders LOVED this book and it’s a great way to teach both voice and persuasive writing for the little ones. It's about a pigeon who keeps begging the readers to let him drive a bus after the bus driver requests that the readers "don't let the pigeon drive the bus." After I read the story aloud, we made a class book called “Don’t Let The Pigeon Come Into Our Classroom!” The kids pretended to be the pigeon trying to convince the students to let him into our classroom. They came up with some hilarious responses such as, “I’ll do your homework for you,” and “I won’t tell your teacher.” This activity was so fun and really helped my students begin to understand persuasive arguments.
Another read aloud I love to use when teaching voice and persuasive writing is “I Wanna Iguana” by Karen Kaufman Orloff. It’s about a boy named Alex who really wants a pet iguana and is trying to persuade his mom to let him have one by giving convincing arguments. The entire story is told in the form of letters between Alex and his mom, and some of her responses to his arguments are pretty funny. After we read this story, my first graders wrote a letter to their own parents trying to persuade them to let them get a pet. They actually did a great job coming up with some good persuasive arguments! FYI, this book has a great sequel called “I Wanna New Room.”
While I’m on the subject of writing, I thought I would share some of my favorite poetry activities I did when I taught fifth grade and student taught third. Maybe I can recycle some of these ideas to use with my fourth graders this year.
These are I Am Poems, which I’m sure most of you have heard of. I had the students stand in front of the overhead projector while I traced the shadow of their profile onto black paper. They cut out their profile and glued it onto colored paper. Then they typed their poems, printed them out and glued them on. I used this activity to teach voice, explaining that we should be able to recognize who each poem belongs to just by hearing their voice in their writing.
For this activity, the students wrote a poem about an item that is special to them. Most of them wrote about pets, toys, etc. They brought in a picture of their item and then typed the poem. They repeated the line “This is my _____” at the beginning of each stanza, and the second and fourth lines had to rhyme.
This is a collage of haikus my students wrote to celebrate spring. In a haiku, the first and last lines have 5 syllables and the middle line has 7. They did a really nice job working together and planning out how to put the whole thing together with very little help from me.