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Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Our Author Study: Roald Dahl

Wow! I realized today that it has been almost two weeks since I have blogged.  Part of that was due to some personal issues, but a large part of the problem was my computer's refusal to connect to the internet at my house. {Oddly enough, it would connect at school, but not at home.  This obviously made blogging difficult.}  I was probably a day away from buying a new computer out of frustration when the problem somehow, amazingly, resolved itself.

I wanted to share what my 3rd grade reading class has been up to lately.  We are just finishing up an awesome author study of Roald Dahl.  I absolutely love his books.  They are fun and quirky with interesting plots and characters.  I was so excited to share them with my class.  

We started with James and the Giant Peach. {I chose this book to begin with because we had just finished a unit on characters.  I thought the bugs would be interesting characters to discuss.} At the end of the book, we made a character mobile to display.  We colored and cut out a peach, James, and the bugs.  On the back of each character we wrote character traits that could describe the character.  It was a perfect extension of what we had already talked about in reading.  


 We also made a lapbook where we filled in the books, setting, character list, summary, and theme paragraph.  {Again this was designed to review many of the reading concepts we had learned this year.}

 Next up to read was Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.  We read through this book rather quickly because I wanted the students to simply enjoy the story itself.  We used our writing time during this week and a half to write an essay comparing and contrasting our main characters from the two books, James and Charlie.  {I was shocked by how much easier the essays seemed than in past years.  Possibly due to the fact that we had spent so much time talking about both characters in class.}

Once we completed the novel, we spent two class periods watching the movie. {We watched the older version starring Gene Wilder because it's the version I prefer!} The kids couldn't believe that I was letting them watch a WHOLE movie in class!!  Although they were a little less excited when I assigned them another compare/contrast essay for homework.  This time, their task was to compare the book to the movie.  We filled out a Venn Diagram while they watched the movie.  Then they took the chart home to complete their essay.  {I wanted to see if they could write an essay independently, and I must say I was pleased by the results.}

By this point, I think we were all ready to move on.  I was even asked when we were going to do more work in our reading notebooks!  So we switched to a new unit on figurative language, but I am sneaking in one more Roald Dahl book.  

We are reading the BFG as our class read aloud right now.  It worked out great because Dahl uses an unbelievable amount of figurative language in the BFG so the kids are hearing it as well as learning about it. I also found a recipe for frobscottle that I am going to attempt to make for my students when we read that chapter! It looks delicious, and I can't wait to try it!

I must admit, I truly enjoyed this author study.  I think I may have like the books even more than my students did.  Plus I loved seeing my students experience books that may have been out of the comfort zone of the normal books they choose.  Hopefully they were inspired to read more Roald Dahl books on their own!

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