Friday, January 21, 2011

Chris Van Allsburg Author Study on TpT!


If you are interested in downloading the entire unit, you can purchase it for $6.00 on TpT.  It includes fluency passages, anchor chart titles and headings, reader response activities, photographs, examples, lesson plans and class book templates.  My kiddos ate this unit up with a spoon.  Of course, there are a few things that I made and can't sell because I used clip art from Lettering Delight.   I also have documents I have created from The Mysteries of Harris Burdick and Ben's Dream that I can't include because I used Google images and illustrations from one of the books.  If you would like a free copy of the story starters for The Mysteries of Harris Burdick or the landmarks from Ben's Dream, simply leave your email and I will send them on their way.

  When I decided to embark on a Chris Van Allsburg Author Study, I honestly thought that the Internet would be brimming with ideas.  Perhaps it is, and I wasn't lucky enough to stumble on those sites, but I came up pretty empty-handed.  Houghton Mifflin had pretty decent teaching guides that helped give me a starting point for my unit.  I also gained a few ideas from A-Z Teacher Stuff's forums, but ultimately, I had to create a TON of resources from scratch.  I hope that these ideas can help give someone else a jumping-off point!  I'd love to hear any ideas or lessons that you have tried in the past too! 

    This is just a sampling of what we did this during this three week unit.  Of course, we have spent time studying Chris Van Allsburg to understand the man behind the stories.  We are tying the Author Study into both Reading Workshop with a focus on inferring and Writing Workshop to enhance our personal narratives.  We began by reading The Z Was Zapped.  We decided that we didn't want so many bad things to happen to the letters, so we created a new version to work on alliteration and keep the letters safe.  We called it, "The Z Was Zonked".  Check out a few samples below!



    We worked on inferring with Just a Dream, and then discussed showing not telling in our stories. We worked on creating believable characters that can change and evolve.   We created a matrix to compare the story elements in some of Chris Van Allsburg's books.   Then, we read Ben's Dream the following day.  We had to use our schema to determine which famous landmarks were present in the book.  Then, we created a flow chart showing where Ben traveled to in his "dream".  Afterward, the class was broken up into three groups for a Map It activity.  They drew maps to show where Ben traveled in the proper sequence.  I have never seen them so excited... and because I am tricky... they now know ten famous landmarks too!  (As you can see, we briefly compared and contrasted the two stories with a Venn Diagram as well.) 




We read Jumanji.  We discussed Van Allsburg use of precise "strong" verbs.  First, they read an excerpt of lifted text and highlighted the verbs they found.  I had made a copy of the story and taped it together like a scroll.  They sat on both sides of the story, and the class worked together to highlight all of the verbs they found in the story.  We found that Van Allsburg used a TON of strong verbs!  We discussed how using action is another way to "show not tell",  then we created an anchor chart of strong vs. weak verbs before I sent them off to write.







   We read Zathura.  The kids were quick to pick up on the fact that Danny and Walter are the same kids that we meet at the end of Jumanji.  After a grand conversation about Zathura, we added onto our matrix to compare story elements.

Flashlight Reading
Students chose a mystery from "The Mysteries of Harris Burdick to write about!


My lines are really wobbly.  Please don't judge!  Bahahaha!



The cards were used as part of an inferring emotion game!


Teach kids to infer with "trash"!
Add caption
Mind Maps- Making T-T Connections to The Wreck of the Zephyr



Inferring with Vermeer: Art Detectives!
The Mysteries of Harris Burdick


35 comments:

  1. love love love this and will be "stealing" your great ideas.... my teaching partners are also excited!!!! thanks for sharing your great author study!!!!

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  2. I'm so happy that I was able to help your team! Planning took forEVER! Knowing that I saved even one person from scouring the internet and reinventing the wheel makes me smile! :)

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  3. We started the unit last week and I LOVE IT!!!
    go check out my blog to see how much I puffy heart you!!!
    http://ohboy3rdgrade.blogspot.com/2011/02/love-amanda-chris.html

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  4. Would love copies of anything you used that you were unable to post.
    evamireles4@att.net

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  5. I taught third grade for five years and taught this unit. I have been in fourth for a few years now and have decided to bring it back! I see that we are using many of the same ideas! Also, I was able to "steal" some new ones. Thanks for the scroll and verb idea!!!!

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  6. I would "puffy heart" a copy of anything you are unable to post!!! Going to start this unit after Thanksgiving! Thanks so much....shorn0106@yahoo.com

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  7. I just started a Chris Van Allsburg unit in 4th grade and came across your site on Pinterest! I LOVE your ideas and plan on spending the rest of the night reading through all your past posts. THANK YOU!

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  8. I love your ideas. I just decided to do an author study unit with my 4 grade students. This is my 2nd year teaching so I really enjoy trying new things! Anything you are able to send me I would really appreciate it! Thanks for you help! stephbuk1@gmail.com

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  9. I bought your Chris Van Allsburg author study on Teachers pay Teachers and it's been really helpful! I love his work, and it is such a relief to not have to create all these materials myself. Your unit was well worth the money! I would also love copies of the stuff from Ben's Dream that you couldn't post. My email is megan.defferding@springfield.k12.or.us. Thanks so much!

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  10. I can't tell you how happy I am to have found this- I have been reading Chris VanAllsburg to my third graders for years, but have never done a formal author study! This unit seems to capture so many parts of the Common Core as well, which makes it that much sweeter! Anything addtional you couldn't post would be much appreciated- rachel_yonkers@websterschools.org

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  11. I purchased your author study and am so excited!!! I am in the process of trying to piece things together. You had mentioned emailing a copy of the story starters for The Mysteries of Harris Burdick or the landmarks from Ben's Dream. Would you mind emailing these items along with any that you feel are pertinent to effectively teaching this unit? Thanks for the awesome ideas!!!
    mccannons@clarke.k12.ga.us

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  12. As a first year teacher I am constantly searching the web and feel very fortunate to have stumbled upon your Blog. I love these ideas for our upcoming author study. Can you email the story starters and landmarks? Thank you so much!
    johnsonj@colheights.k12.mn.us

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  13. This looks like a great unit. I have 5th graders and the study is on a much smaller scale. The final project I would also like to have the kids write a story for some of Harris Burdick's pictures. I wuld love a copy of the story starters you used. Thanks so much for posting this.

    cindy

    Cagefamily@aol.com

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  14. Thank you so much for the wonderful ideas. I will be purchasing your unit plan but would love it if you could send me anything that you couldn't post. Thanks again! jsoricone@emhcharter.org

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  15. Thanks so much for the wonderful ideas. I purchased your unit and I can't wait to use them. I would love it if you could send me anything that you couldn't post. Thanks and I hope you have an awesome school year.
    krose@kcs.kana.k12.wv.us

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  16. I'd love a copy of the story starters and anything you couldn't post. I'll be purchasing your unit this weekend. Thanks!

    familybuzz@gmail.com

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  17. What a great unit! Thank you for sharing. I would love a copy of anything you weren't able to post. shay.rothstein@gmail.com

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  18. I would also love a copy of anything you weren't able to post. This is wonderful! hmtoad@gmail.com

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  19. I would also love a copy of what you weren't able to post. We are 3 books into a Van Allburg study. Kids are loving it. I would like to end it with the The Mysteries of Harris Burdick. I'm going back to purchase the unit on TPT. Thanks!
    rrteach2000@yahoo.com

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  20. If you don't mind, and you're still able to email copies of the resources you weren't able to post, I would very much appreciate it. Either way, thanks for the ideas! rfult2@unh.newhaven.edu

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  21. Great unit! chicadefutbol@gmail.com

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  22. If you still can, I would also love to get a copy of the resources you were not able to post. king.navywife@gmail.com
    Thanks!

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  23. We were just looking for a better way to utilize readers workshop and you've helped us tremendously! Can you email the resources you discussed and I am heading over to purchase the unit! Awesome! Earleyheather@yahoo.com

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  24. I am going to purchase the unit, I am so excited about this author study. I would love a copy of the things you couldn't post. Cpitts@madison-schools.com

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  25. I would love a copy of the story starters and landmarks please. Starting this unit next week! Question - how much did you do as read alouds vs. student reading of the books? Thanks! woodjojo@gmail.com
    www.fifthisfabulous.blogspot.com

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  26. I also do an author study with Chris Van Allsburg books in literature circles. I love your ideas and will use them in my 4th grade classroom to augment our current study. Thanks.

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  27. May I please have the things you mentioned you would email! I bought your TPT lesson earlier this year and now after state testing is done we can FINALLY do more writing other than narrative and expoisitory! My email is vbchick3402@aol.com

    Thank you! :)

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  28. I love doing a Chris Van Allsburg study each year and I am very excited to add all your amazing ideas to the few plans I already have! I would love any extra resources that you were not able to include on TpT! jenreinhart09@gmail.com

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  29. So excited about his unit for October! I am perusing the TPT download now. Would love the additional resources also! wkovash@bjcs.org

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  30. Is it possible for you to send me the stuff that you could not post to my e-mail? I love this unit!!! deenafunk60@gmail.com

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  31. Love this unit, I used bits and pieces last year with my 2nd grade littles and they loved it! I am going to use it full force this December! In what order did you read the books? I love your activity explanations but wasn't sure in which order you read them, was curious if you found a sequence that worked best for you! Thanks for all your ah-mazing ideas!

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  32. I am a first year teacher in third grade. I am so excited to share this with my team and use it! Thanks soooo much!

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  33. Thanks for all of your hard work. If it's not too late, I'd love copies of the stuff you were not allowed to put on TPT. Thanks so much.
    mriso@k12albemarle.org

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  34. Thank you so much for sharing your wonderful resources! I'd love the copies of the items you could not add to TPT. natacha.edmondson@gmail.com

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  35. Thank you for doing the leg work! As we are nearing the end of the year now, I am so excited to have something fun to do with the kids. Could you please email me the resources? Thank you so much!
    tara.dzirbowicz@spartaschools.org

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