Sunday, September 1, 2013

Mentor Text

I'm linking up with Collaboration Cuties, for their Must Read Mentor Text Linky. 

I would like to share a book I came across last year, The House Takes a Vacation, by Jacqueline Davies.

This is a comical book about a house that decides to take a vacation to the beach. Here's a review from School Library Journal: 

When the Petersons go on vacation, their house decides to take one, too. After some discussion, the windows, roof, front door, and sun porch agree to go to the beach, though the chimney complains in a smoky voice, "Travel is a pain in the bricks." As the house walks away on spindly legs, the basement stays put: "'You're such a stick-in-the-mud,' said the roof, but the basement refused to rise to the occasion." When it finally reaches the sea, it stays to watch the "Dance of the Sunlight" as the sun rises over the water. "Can't top that," says the roof. Puns are plentiful as the house takes a swim in the ocean and then goes home, arriving just before the Petersons do. "What happened?" the family wonders, as their bedraggled residence, seaweed hanging from its roof, starts to plan another vacation for next year. This slight story is memorable mainly for its play on words. The large oil and colored-pencil illustrations blend vivid colors and flowing shapes to create an impressionistic mood. The different parts of the barn-red dwelling have facial features (eyes, eyebrows, and mouths) that suggest distinct personalities. The beach scenes mix a foam-green ocean with dazzling blue skies. Humorous visual details abound, echoing the tale's silly fun. The text is not long but it is somewhat sophisticated in its humor.

I use this book to introduce my students to personification and puns.  After reading the book students use the Strip Designer app to personify an object in the classroom. I challenge them to throw in a pun if they can. Below are some student examples: 

There you have it, my first mentor text. Have a great week! 

*App Spotlight: Strip designer is well worth the $2.99 price tag attached to it. It allows you to create comics from scratch using the photos in your camera roll. Unlike some of the other comic design apps I've tried, Strip designer lets you customize each frame. You also have several options when selecting the number and style of your frames.  Students love using this app to create their own stories.