October already! I can't believe the first month of school is already past us. September is always a blur for me, so it is nice to finally start feeling like the whirlwind of back to school is over and the year can finally get started.
Even though the weather here has not been very fall like, we started our foray into fall with some fiction stories this week. (I love alliteration :-) We focused on Henry and Mudge Under the Yellow Moon and spent time talking about how the setting impacts the story.
We did a first reading of the story in partners, looking for story elements. (This was a great way to review what we'd been focusing on the past couple of weeks, and a preview of what would be to come the following week.) The story is usually a pretty successful read for most of my kiddos and they always love the way Mudge does things just a little bit different!
The next day, we narrowed our story element focus to setting. We charted what setting meant, what components made up the setting, and how it impacted the story. Then we returned to the text to look for clues for the "when" and "where" of the setting in this story. If you've ever read the story, you know the setting pretty much jumps out at you from the beginning - so it was the perfect way to begin our setting focus.
Students worked in partners to reread the story and look for clues in the text and illustrations that showed the setting. We did one page together, then I set them off. They really rocked this activity! It was great to walk around and listen to them talking with their partner (accountable talk, we call it) and recording what they found. Here is the sheet we used:
After coming back together and adding all our ideas to one class chart, we were ready for some critical thinking.
The next day we revisited the idea of how the setting impacts the story. How would the story be different if it didn't take place in the fall in the woods? After a little "turn and talk," we were set to begin thinking about creating our own setting for the characters.
First, we listed all the fall activities Henry and Mudge did together (that's the middle column). Then we went back to the text to find how each character did that activity a little differently.
Now it was time for the creativity! Each kiddo chose a season and an activity that Henry and Mudge might do together. Then they write how Henry would do that activity, and how Mudge would do it. Add illustrations and a catchy title and ta-dah - a whole bunch of new ideas for stories!
This was a great way to show how the setting truly can change the story. During book groups that week, each group read a different Henry and Mudge story set in a different season. On Friday we all came together and shared what we had been reading, read favorite parts to each other and compared books. Each group also worked on a reader's notebook for their story. They LOVED them!
Check out the notebooks at Michael Friermood's TpT store: