Up Close and Personal with Gibbons and Cherries

the authors Gail and Lynne respectively that is!
Yesterday our second graders got to “meet” Lynne Cherry, the author of the Great Kapok Tree {and other environmental themed books}. I really had no idea about any of her books besides the Great Kapok before then! You may remember my post about our district’s yearly collaboration with our local university’s Little Read program and getting $300 to spend at Barnes and Noble.
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She spoke about her early love of writing and being alone in her woods. She also spoke A LOT about groups of kids who have persuaded many big wigs to stop using Styrofoam {including McDonald's!} and even a group of kids whop raised money to buy an entire forest. She has a collection of film shorts as well.
Later on, she showed us how to draw a dragon…random, but fun and came in handy when I couldn’t take much more on Friday afternoon!
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We learned about using series of Cs, Vs, and shading using crosshatch.
Speaking of not taking much more…if I have to teach one more lesson on subtraction with regrouping I am gonna loose it! It does take lots of practice to perfect, but our Math Expressions unit is going on 2 weeks.
My latest tactic to break the minutia, writing on our desks. Hey, you gotta do whatcha gotta do
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I had student volunteers use money models and equations to show ungrouping on the document camera. See the AMB magnets…more on this later!
-----------Insert Chili’s Presidente Margarita break with the hubs here------------
Part 2
And on to Gail Gibbons! My FAV nonfiction author. Her books are the perfect avenue to teach text features. Each year I have my students make “expert posters” on a chosen topic. They each check out a Gibbons book from the library and read it daily for the first week. During that week I review features we’ve learned and introduce new ones, too. Then during week 2 {this coming week} each student gets a poster sized paper to make their posters.
expert poster
Here is my own on tigers I made as an example. It includes a title, diagram with labels, comparison, fact box with vocab, and a map. Each poster must have at least 4 text features and be labeled with what the feature is.
There are lots of resources online, and I use a lot of them. But I wanted my students to make a text feature book with their own creations. Enter Text Features Gurus!
This packet {on TpT and TN} includes a student book to use to glue in examples OR make their on. I personally can’t decide if I want to make the book about themselves {since they are definitely experts on that} or on their topic. I will have to let you know! We also look for examples in Scholastic News and old magazines. I also included a newspaper style sheet to create if you do not have access to poster paper!
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This booklet is a freebie from Beth Newingham’s Scholastic blog. It’s a lot of copies, but I think finding examples is just as important as creating them.
Well, you’ve read enough about Gibbons and Cherries! As a grade level we have decided to renovate my mom’s garden {which is outside my classroom window} in April! I can’t wait to share the progress!
4 school days til Spring Break!!! woot-woot!


  1. We just read The Great Kapok Tree as part of our persuasive writing unit. How exciting it must have been for your students to meet the author!!!

    Runde's Room


notes to the teacher

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