Thursday, November 18, 2010

Scaredy Squirrel

If you have not experienced the world of Scaredy Squirrel you are in for a rich literary treat. Engaging for adults and kids alike, it's the first in a series of adventures (future blogging to come...) of a Squirrel who cautiously avoids things living daily in his nut tree. One day his routine unexpectedly changes and he is forced to face his fears ultimately causing him to change his ways.

I love using this book as a mentor text for writing with my Kinders (and they love hearing it over and over again!). Here are a few techniques to examine
  • labeling pictures

  • list making

  • plus/deltas (a way to evaluate the positives and negatives of a situation)

  • numbered steps

  • diagraming and plans (he has quiet the exotic exit plan in the event of an emergency!)

  • voice

A fabulous critical challenge is to discuss being prepared in the event of an emergency. Scaredy has his emergency kit prepared with some very unique items. You can have students brainstorm what they would want in their kit - start with listing 5-7 items. Then have the students determine one thing they could give up and the 2 most important items to ensure they have. It is important to also have them set up important criteria - they have to be able to get the emergency kit quickly so weight and size are important factors. It is amazing to hear the discussions students have as a result of this critical challenge. Here is a resource from the publisher to get you started.

time is also an important part of Scaredy's routine. The digital and analog clocks that are part of the routines Scaredy outlines. Students can make the times to match the schedules. Another great critical challenge is to judge the better of two schedules in terms of use of his time. Again it's important to frame the challenge with criteria by discussing responsibilities throughout the day. Students can also design to specs a schedule for Scaredy to ensure he is using his time efficiently.

In the end, the kit is lost in of all things...a patch of poison ivy...a great opportunity for students to create a new story where Scaredy goes on a recon mission to get the kit back. Students can use the same techniques that Watt uses including lists, plans, steps and labels to stay true to the initial story line.

The vocabulary, humor and captivating story line make this book a fabulous book that will fly off the shelves into the hands of readers.

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