Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Andrew Clements Author Study

20 Day Blogging Challenge, Day 13:  Tell about a favorite book to share or teach.

Andrew Clements is one of my favorite authors, so I like to get my students hooked on his books.  His books are mostly realistic fiction, and he is a master of character development.  I like the way his characters grow and change.   The way I get my students hooked is to start with a read aloud.  We did that earlier with A Week in the Woods.  Then we use several of his other books in reading groups.  Currently I have a group reading The Report Card, another reading The Landry News, and a third reading Frindle, which was his first book.

Of all his books, A Week in the Woods is my favorite.  In this book, Mr. Maxwell has a long tradition of taking students for a week long camping trip.  It is a trip that all students look forward to, except the new student, Mark.   Our fifth graders spend two days at Y Camp each year, and it is something fourth graders are excited about, so my students can really connect with this book.

This book provides a great opportunity to talk about character traits.  The two main characters, Mark and Mr. Maxwell, go through a lot of changes throughout the book, so periodically I like to have my students examine the ways they have changed.  It is an excellent opportunity to work on compare/contrast, because our perception of characters is very different at various points in the story.

There is a lot of action in this book and Mark makes a risky and unexpected choice to set off on his own in the New Hampshire mountains.  We have lots of discussion about the decisions made by the characters and predict the possible outcomes.  I like to use Edmodo to carry on some of these discussions.  I used to live in New Hampshire, so I like to share information about that part of the country with my students.

Andrew Clements has a great website with downloadable study guide ideas.  Check it out at  http://www.andrewclements.com/

Also, here is a lesson plan from Scholastic for an Andrew Clements authors study.

At some point, I always line up the books and have the kids compare and contrast the art on the cover.  The kids love seeing the way that all the covers are alike.

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