Tag Archives: Organizational Strategies

Sit-In: How Four Friends Stood Up by Sitting Down by Andrea Davis Pinkney

Schema: Civil Rights Movement, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Text-to-text:  Freedom on the Menu: the Greensboro Sit-Ins by Carole Boston Weatherford

Metaphor: The story uses an extended metaphor to compare the Civil Rights movement to a recipe throughout the story.  Author’sPurpose: to share a story about the civil rights movement and to teach us about African American history

Author’s POV: 3rd person

Cause and Effect: Because the demonstrators were nonviolent, the effect was that the national news only captured the violence of the angry white people which made Dr. King’s message even stronger.

Mental Images: Imagine having salt, ketchup, and coffee poured on your head and pepper thrown in your eyes and still sitting calmly

Organizational Strategies: the story is organized like a poem

This is the story of the four college men who began the Woolworth sit-ins in Greensboro, North Carolina, February 1, 1960. The author shares a story in language and illustrations that tell what happened with a positive point of view and a message of hope for the future. The metaphor of a recipe is used to mix the ingredients needed to end segregation.







Heckedy Peg by Audrey Wood

Schema: stranger danger

Sequencing: Days of the week are the names of the children. Sequence four events that move the story forward.

Cause and Effect: Because the children let a stranger in, they were turned into food.

Drawing Conclusions: The mother asks each child what they would like from the store.  When a witch turns the children into food, the mother must draw a conclusion as to which child is which food in order to get her children back.

Classifying: Make a classification chart placing each child in a separate section or column. Write what they wanted from the store under their name. Add underneath each child what each child was turned into by the witch.  Ask students if they can conclude how the mother knew which food was which child by looking at this information.  The clue is that each child wanted an item that went with serving the food they were turned into.

Text-to-text connection: The Three Billy Goats Gruff has a troll that is thrown into the river and never heard from again.

Text-to-Self Connection: Parents tell children to not let a stranger in and to not “touch” fire when they are home alone.

So Far From the Sea by Eve Bunting

Schema: sea, setting

Questions to activate background knowledge:

Can you think of another time in history where a group of people have been treated unfairly because of the color of their skin?

Can you imagine being taken away from your family because of your ethnicity?

Why is the title so far from the sea when it looks like the sea behind them?

Why does the woman have spring flowers in the winter time?

Have you ever heard of World War II?

Who was locked up and killed during that war?

What is a spy?

Point of View: Who is telling the story?

Text-to-Self Connections: going somewhere that makes you feel nervous, making emotional connections

Inference: I am inferring that it is winter because they are putting on their jackets.  The wind is cold from the Sierra.

Setting: 1942, popular song: Don’t Fence Me In

Drawing Conclusions: Look at the location of Manzanar and draw a conclusion about why the author made the title “So Far from the Sea”

Mental Images: the field bigger than a football field, seeing it empty like erasing a blackboard, imagining he could climb on the mountain’s back and it would become a big eagle to fly him away, boat( a real American scout sail)  moving on as a way to say his grandfather had moved on, and so were they

Cause and Effect: Because Japan attacked Pearl Harbor, the United States, the effect is “the U.S. was suddenly at war”

Metaphor: What could the author mean when he says the grandfather began dying the moment he was put on the bus and taken to Manzanar?  The author is comparing dying to being taken so far from the sea and losing his boat and freedom.

Metaphor: What is “moving on” a metaphor for as the family leaves the cemetery? a boat moving on, the family moving on to Boston, the family moving on and letting the hurt of the grandfather’s mistreatment go

Organizational Strategies: What did you notice about the way the illustrator organized the illustrations with the color pages and the sepia no color ones?  What is he trying to show? Can you think of any other text-to-text connections that show a shift in time?

Compare and Contrast: The way the camp looks before and after the war.

Text-to-Text Connection: Tree of Cranes by Alan Say is set in Japan and a mother is telling her son what Christmas was like in America when she was a child.

Synthesis: Can you think of other groups of people who are thought of as suspicious because of their heritage in our present day time or in the past?–Jewish people during WWII, slavery in the U.S., today’s airport security with certain names, appearances, the Muslim religion, the controversy in NYC about the Mosque being built near the 9/11 site?

Synthesis: Can you think of a time when you had to “move on” and let something go that has hurt you?

Moo Who? by Margie Palatini

Schema: farm animals and sounds

Text-to-Text Connections: Click Clack Moo, Cows that Type by Doreen Cronin

Use the cluster word web to describe the farm animals attributes.  Write farm animal in the center, then add the animal and their attributes in the extended bubbles.

Cause and Effect: Because Hilda Mae Heifer was hit in the head, the effect is that she has lost her memory about who she is and the sound that she makes.

Sparrow Girl by Sara Pennypacker

Schema: wild birds

Read the note at the back of the book so the students can understand the problem better before you begin the book.

Text-to-self connections: doing a project with a sibling, feeling sorry for the birds, seeing problems that wild birds cause

What city animals help keep the balance of nature in our area?  Some insects and birds eat mosquitoes, coyotes eat rats, and ladybugs eat aphids that harm our roses

Text-to-Text Connection: Trout Are Made of Trees by April Pulley Sayre

Organizational Strategies: the cycle of the story begins and ends with Ming-Li as a wise one about  farming.

Mental Images: “Scratching at her thoughts like a monkey.”

Cause and Effect: Because the sparrows were eating the grain from the fields, the effect is that the rulers want to scare the sparrows away.

Because Ming-Li felt so much empathy for the sparrows, the effect is that she rescued some of them.

Because the food chain is broken with the absence of the birds, the effect is that the locust, worms,  weevil, and grasshopper  population grew and devoured the crops even more than the sparrows did.

Voice: Ming-Li’s voice is the strongest one in the book.

POV:  The story is told from Ming-Li’s POV.

Author’s purpose: Historical fiction is a way to teach history in a way that readers can relate in a personal way to the events of the period in history.  The characters make the story more passionate.

Stick Man by Julia Donaldson

stick man

Schema:  sticks, playing with sticks

Text-to-Text Connections: Over in the Meadow, an old rhyme about the animals in a meadow; the rhyme goes something like, “over in the meadow in the sand and the sun lived an old mother turtle and her little turtle one…”  See the lyrics

Also a connection with the Gingerbread Man stories as the stick is running from animals and people.

Personification: the stick is personified

Predicting: Ask students to predict what the stick man will be used for next as you are reading the story.

Because a dog grabs him, the effect is that stick man gets farther and farther away from his home.  Every situation where Stick Man is taken can be used as a cause and effect example.

Because Santa Claus rescued the Stick Man, the effect is that he is taken back to his tree.

Organizational Strategies:  Create a flow chart showing the stick’s movement throughout the story.

Always in Trouble by Corinne Demas

always in troubleSchema: following rules

Text-to-text connections: Pinkerton Behave by Steven Kellogg, Chewy Louie by Howie Schneider

Text-to-self connections: ask students to share the bad behavior of their dogs or pets

Sequencing and Organizational Strategy: The book follows the days of the week as Toby either behaves or misbehaves.

Cause and Effect: Because Toby misbehaves, the effect is his owners send him to dog obedience school.

Compare and Contrast: Compare the ways students misbehave with the ways Toby misbehaves.  What type of training could students go to in order to learn how to behave better?

Tree of Cranes by Alan Say

cranesSchema: origami, making a wish

Author’s Purpose: to share the experience of  learning about Christmas in Japan.

Mental Images: The mother describes the lights and trees in California to her son.

Organizational Strategy: Flashback: the book begins with the narrator telling the reader that he had not been back to the pond since he was not old enough to wear long pants.

Point of View: the story is told from the young boy’s point of view.  Because his mother does not meet him at the door as usual, he infers that she might be mad at him for something.  He then wonders why she is acting so strangely making the cranes, digging up the tree, and being so quiet.

Drawing a Conclusion: The mother in the story concludes that her son has been to the fish pond because he is flushed, wet, and cold when he comes home.

Sequence the events in the story from the time the young boy gets home, to the end when he and his father build a snowman.

Simile: At the end of the story, the author compares the passing of the days and time to the snow that has melted away; they are both now gone.

The Year of the Perfect Christmas Tree: an Appalachian Story by Gloria Houston

yearSchema: Christmas trees, theme of the White House Christmas tree

Text-to-Text Connection: That Book Woman by Heather Henson and Miss Dorothy and Her Bookmobile ( historical fiction using cause and effect and drawing conclusions) by Gloria Houston

Author’s Purpose:   Gloria Houston and her family grew up in the Appalachian Mountains of North Carolina; the historical fiction story depicts what life was like in the early 1900’s during World War I.

Characterization: Characterize the mother in the story and use example from the text as evidence to support your depiction.

Loyal: She went to the rocky craigs to cut the tree that her husband promised to deliver to the church saying her husband was as good as his word.

Self-sacrificing: She cut up her wedding dress to make a dress for Ruthie to wear in the Christmas play at church.  She also used the nylons her husband mailed to her from Europe to make the doll for Ruthie that became the family heirloom.

Sense of humor:  She went along with the preacher about inferring that the people in the holler were hearing the heavenly angels singing on high the night they cut the tree.

Strong: She used the big saw to cut the tree and then loaded it on the sleigh.

Brave and Courageous: She knew how to “make do” with what they had by using honey instead of sugar, herbal tea instead of coffee, embroidering flowers over rips and tears and lowering the hems of Ruthie’s dresses.

Creative: She designed Ruthie’s dress and created the doll who looked like Ruthie.

Organizational Strategy:  the Flashback:  The story begins with the narrator saying the story happened the way that Ruthie told her.

Metaphor: The old woman was picking her geese for the snow

Simile: the road wound like ribbons

Andy Shane and the Pumpkin Trick by Jennifer Jacobson

andyshaneSchema: visiting pumpkin farms, tricking someone

Text-to-self connections: choosing a pumpkin, playing dunking for apples, biting a donut on a string, not wanting to play with a girl if you are a boy

Predicting: Why to you predict Andy is hiding from Delores in the pumpkin patch?

Maybe he is afraid of her, maybe he wants to jump up and scare her?

What do you predict Andy’s great idea to catch the pumpkin smashers is going to be?

Use a Bubble Map graphic organizer to compare and contrast the ways to try to catch the tricksters when Andy and Delores are brainstorming.

Cause and Effect: Because Andy and Delores tripped up and got tangled with the sheets, the effect is that the tricksters laughed at them and ran away.

Personification: The pumpkins take on human traits when they seem to say, “pick me!”