Saturday, October 2, 2010

Rewriting Growing Vegetable Soup

The essential questions for this unit of study are:

clip_image001 How does reading help me become a better writer?

clip_image001[1] What can I learn from other authors and illustrators?

clip_image001[2] How can I make use of the craft of other authors and illustrators in my writing and drawing?

Growing Vegetable Soup by Lois Ehlert


This week we studied the text, Growing Vegetable Soup by Lois Ehlert. This choice is for the following reasons:

  • This is a subject students have had experience with (familiarity and prior knowledge).
  • This is procedural text.
  • The structure overuses a connecting word as a way of organizing the text (and).
  • The illustrations are large, simple, and match the text.
  • The author/illustrator labels her illustrations
  • The text is easy to read but also introduces some new vocabulary.

Monday-No school, holiday 

Tuesday- I read the story to the students. 

Thursday-Students read the book chorally with me. Students were asked to pay special attention to the words in the story. They were asked what word Lois Ehlert used over and over again. After several guesses, one child offered the word and. We talked about how the word and connects thoughts and lists of things. I explained that in this book Lois Ehlert uses and a lot to connect parts of the story together making one very long sentence that covers several pages.

Friday- Students reread the book chorally. They counted how many ands they found in the book. Again, I showed the students how the author overused and to connect steps together in specific parts of the book. When we counted how many ands were in the book, a student reminded me to count the and in, Written and Illustrated by Lois Ehlert”. I thought about not honoring that request as it was not part of the text but chose to do as the student asked. We talked about how usually when an author is both illustrator and writer, their name appears on the cover and title page without the words written and illustrated. We wondered why this time since it was the same person doing both jobs she would have “written and illustrated” on the cover and title page. One of my students suggested it was because she wanted to put another and in the book. We looked at other books we had been reading by Lois Ehlert to see how her name was featured. All of her other books only say, Lois Ehlert. I thought this was very clever thinking from my students and it shows me they are trying to look at books through the eyes of an author.

The students needed to follow a procedure in order to write a procedural text so I gave them ingredients and directions to make their own snack.  I told them they needed to pay close attention to all the steps that went with the making their snack and in fact they might have to imagine some of the steps they were not privy to such as the gathering of the groceries. I gave each child a recipe card to keep. I explained that we learn to read for many reasons. We read for pleasure, for information, and to follow directions (procedure).Some authors write directions for people just like Lois Ehlert did in her book. Students were told after they made their snack and ate it, they would then create a book about making their snack similar to Lois Ehlert’s book, Making Vegetable Soup.



The students sliced apples and bananas, and spread Nutella (hazelnut spread) and/or peanut butter on graham crackers. Then they topped the graham cracker with their fruit and we drizzled a little bit of honey on top. Many of them had never had a snack like this before but every student ate at least part of their creation.

Once the students experienced a procedure, it was time to write the text. They recounted what had happened in order even,adding to the text that we picked the apples from a tree and that we had gone to a grocery store to buy the ingredients. This part was imagined but we agreed it was important to make our text interesting and long enough to bother to read. While students gave steps to making their snack, I recorded on chart paper. They overemphasized the word and throughout their text. We placed periods at the end only when there was going to be a setting change. (Example: Once we left the grocery store…we ended the sentence with a period and started a new sentence gathering the tools we needed to cook.)

chart paper

Each student selected a part of the story they wanted to illustrate. I reminded them that Lois Ehlert uses bold color, large objects, and she labels important items in her illustrations.

Making Snack cover

Here is the text the students came up with:

We are going to make graham cracker sandwiches.

We are going to pick apples from a tree.

We are going to the grocery store to get honey

and bananas

and graham crackers

and peanut butter

and Nutella.

We got all the tools to make the sandwiches.

We got knives and paper plates.

We all washed our hands and Mrs. Brown washed the apples.

We cut up apples

and bananas.

Mrs. Redman gave us a graham cracker

and peanut butter and Nutella and honey.

We spread the peanut butter and the Nutella and honey on the graham cracker.

We put fruit on top and ate it all up!

We hope we can make it again, tomorrow.

I was particularly interested to see the students open and close their story very similar to Lois Ehlert. I had not pointed the opening and closing out to them although we have been talking about it in Writer’s Workshop.

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