Saturday, February 11, 2012

A Book Review and 3 Day Lesson Plan for Common Core

One of my favorite authors is Laura Candler. Her Power Reading Workshop book changed my teaching life. I recently had the privilege of reading an advance copy of her latest ebook, Graphic Organizers for Reading: Teaching Tools Aligned with the Common Core. Before I read it  I was a little skeptical. I mean I have several graphic organizer books, and I can Google anything I might need, but this book is so much more than graphic organizers. Laura gives you a teaching model to use with the graphic organizers, and I love how well written the instructions for implementation are. As I read the book, I felt like I was sitting at the table with a seasoned teacher being mentored. The teaching techniques outlined in this book were the real treasure and the graphic organizers were a nice bonus. I used Laura's teaching model to teach a 3 day lesson on character traits. The following lesson outline is based on her method:
Day 1: Model how to use the Character Trait graphic organizer with the book Sophie's Masterpiece.
Day 2: Guide students through the process of filling in the Character Traits graphic organizer using the book Rainbow Fish. 
Day 3: Let students practice independently completing the Character Traits graphic organizer with a copy of Recess Queen.

Day 1: 
Click HERE or on the picture for the link to the online video version of this book. You will need to click on "All Stories" to get to the book.  It is read by CCH Pounder. I paused the book and switched to my document camera to demonstrate how to use the text to determine character traits, but you could show the entire video first if you wanted.
I also gave students a copy of Laura's Character Trait list to look at.
Click HERE for a copy.
Example of Character Trait:
Artistic- "She spun webs more wondrous than anyone had ever seen."
Day 2:
Click HERE or on the picture for the link to the online video version of this book. The words appear on the screen, so you can pause the video and let students determine character traits and write the text as proof.  They will need a copy of the Character Traits List. This book is an easy book to determine character traits with.
Day 3:

I showed the students a book trailer of The Recess Queen. Then I gave students a copy of the story for them to independently use to fill in the graphic organizer.  Click HERE for a  copy of the words. I got this copy many years ago but couldn't find the link, so I uploaded to Googledocs. If anyone has the original link, I would love to share it.

My students loved this 3 day lesson! They begged for more, and were able to come up with character traits that weren't on the list. Currently this book is only available in ebook format. Click HERE or on the cover for a link to purchase this book. If you are still unsure, download the preview of the book. I also created some emergency sub plans with this book. It's so easy because they just need her instructions, the graphic organizer, and a mentor text. Good luck as you continue to create magic in your classroom!


  1. I love your idea of using Sophie's Masterpiece for character study. I will somehow work this idea in this week. Thanks!

    1. Thanks, Stacey! I like using that book because most of the kids haven't heard it. By the way, I'm following all your blogs, and I'm looking forward to reading your stuff.



  3. Great idea about using Rainbow Fish for character traits. I didn't know they had an online version of it. Thanks!

    Teaching in Room 6