Tag Archives: Predicting

The Hired Hand by Robert D. San Souci

Schema: fairy tales, element of magic

Genre: traditional literature

Setting: Virginia

Predicting: Predict what young Sam will do when the man comes back with the request to make his wife young again

Character Motivation: What motivates young Sam to charge the man for what the hired hand did?  What motivates him to change at the end?

Compare and Contrast young Sam and old Sam:

Characterization of young Sam: He damaged the saw blades because he didn’t clean the logs first concluding that he is lazy; he cuts the boards unevenly concluding that he is careless; he refuses to sweep the shop concluding that he is again lazy and disrespectful toward his father; he is dishonest and arrogant as he “puts on airs” when he is in charge.

Characterization of old Sam: hardworking and kind

Internal consistency of young Sam’s character: What types of things would you see young Sam doing in the future?

Big Idea or Theme: Work hard and treat people well or trouble will find you.

What evidence supports the conclusion that young Sam learned a lesson?

The Witch’s Guide to Cooking With Children by Keith McGowan

Schema: Hansel and Gretel , step-mothers, fairy tales, science fairs

Big Idea: Good vs. evil

The publisher offers a detailed reading guide for teachers that includes vocabulary,  poetry,  and writing responses.

Text-to-Self Connections: sibling rivalry, bullying, moving to a new apartment, visiting the library

Author’s purpose: to entertain

Cause and Effect: Because an inheritance was at stake, the effect is that the children’s lives were in peril.

Because the dog, Swift, followed commands, the effect is he brought the children a knife to free themselves.

Because the children’s so called “parents” wanted to have them killed and eaten by the witch, the effect is that the children had to find a way to escape.

Because the children had access to the library and the Internet, the effect is that they were able to do some research to help themselves.

Because the pet shop owner rushed them out the back door of her shop, the effect was that they stayed one step ahead of the witch.

Drawing Conclusions: What conclusion did the children come to after seeing Swift with the bone and then reading the witch’s journal?

Inference: What do you infer happened to the children’s real father?

Point of View: The story is told mainly from Sol’s POV.

Predicting: At the end of the book as the children walk away all alone, where to you think they will go first when they get to their new town?  Based on what they did in the story, they might visit their public library.  I predict they just might be very quiet in the library and stay away from the librarians too!

Synthesis: The readers will synthesize that the author has created a modern day version of Hansel and Gretel.  Ask them to further synthesize by creating a modern day version of a different fairy tale.

Satire, making fun of certain causes or situations is also seen in the book when the author says the children’s real mother was drowned while investigating global warming when the ice she was standing on melted.

Although the topic of this book is controversial, the author uses no foul language, and good does win over evil.  Although many children that have been eaten previously, they are mentioned in the witch’s journal to set the premise.  Even in the fairy tale of Hansel and Gretel, the reader infers that other children have been enticed to enter the witch’s candy house and have been eaten.

Book Talk: Bring a copy of a cookbook with the similar red and white plaid cover to compare with this one and ask,

What would you do if you thought your parents were planning to give you to a witch who wanted to eat you?  Would you be suspicious if you saw a neighborhood dog holding a very large bone in its mouth?  Have you ever wondered what you would do if you were kidnapped? Do you want to read a book that will give you nightmares?  Well, here’s that scary book you been asking for!

You know the old fairy tale Hansel and Gretel…that mean old step-mother that sends her step-children off into the woods, hungry, just looking for something to eat.  What if instead of sending you off to find fire wood, they just dropped you off at the mall and disappeared leaving you in a new neighborhood lost and confused?  The kids in this book are too smart to fall for that.  They know how to use their public library and the Internet.




The Ox-Cart Man by Donald Hall

Schema: selling what you make, seasons

Circle story: The story begins in the fall and follows the man and his family through a year as they make what they can on their farm to sell and use the money from what they sell to buy the things that they can not make.

Predicting: What do you think the Ox-Cart man will be doing the next fall?

Drawing Conclusions: What do you think the Ox-Cart man might buy with his money the next year?

Sequencing: Sequence  the farm chores and activities that the family does  throughout the year.

Synthesizing: What do you think the things that the man sold will be used for after he sells them?

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?

Teacher’s Pets by Dayle Ann Dodds & What Do Teachers Do (after you leave school) by Anne Bowen

Schema: teachers after school may grade papers, meet with other teachers, play with the class pet, call parents, make copies, go home

Text-to-Text Connections: Both books are about teachers and what they do at school; Bartholomew and the Oobleck by Dr. Seuss.

Compare and Contrast: What teachers do during school with what they do after the kids leave.  Match  teachers who are at your school with teachers in the books.  Who is the scientist?

Text-to-Self Connections:  Some students may have made the slime that the teachers made.

Drawing Conclusions: Can you draw some conclusions about teachers after reading these two books? (they like to have fun and enjoy pets)

What evidence from the text led to your conclusion?

Internal Consistency: Miss Fry is predictable in her response to each child.  What would be something she could do that would be inconsistent with her mannerisms?

Predicting: Predict what the parent will use as the reason for asking if the pet may stay at school in Teacher’s Pets.

Inference: Why do you infer that the student brought a sponge for a pet?

Willa and the Wind by Janice M. Del Negro

Schema: windy days

Personification: The wind takes on human traits and speaks in this tale.

Cause and Effect: Because the wind blows the sisters’ cornmeal away, the effect is that Willa is determined to get it back or get something in return.

Characterization: Willa is a strong woman character.  She can be described as fearless and aggressive. Use the idea wheel to describe Willa.

Drawing Conclusions: Willa draws the conclusion that the innkeeper is dishonest.

Predicting: Predict what the innkeeper will do when Willa arrives with the goat.

Seasons: With March winds, this is a good one to use for Spring.

Text-to-Text Connections: The Windy Day by G. Brian Karas

The Wind Blew by Pat Hutchins

The Wind Blew by Pat Hutchins

Schema: March winds, the old saying that “March comes in like a lion and out like a lamb,”  chasing something that has blown away

Cause and Effect: Because it was so windy, the effect is that everything is blowing away

Predicting: Ask the students to predict what is going to blow away next.  There are clues on each preceding page of what will be next.

Sequencing: Use a sequence graphic to sequence the order of the items being blown by the wind.

Spring begins in late March so this is a good one to use for a seasonal book.

Text-to-Text Connections with The Windy Day by G. Brian Karas

Willa and the Wind by Janice M. Del Negro

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.

Too Many Tamales by Gary Soto

toomany tamalesSchema: making tamales, admiring jewelry

Text-to-Self Connections: taking something without permission, not wanting to get caught, getting together with relatives for the holidays,  seeing something and then remembering something you forgot about

Predicting: Predict what Maria is going to do when her mother leaves to answer the phone.

Drawing Conclusions: What conclusion does Maria come to about the whereabouts of the ring?  What clues from the story lead you to this conclusion?  First she thinks it is in a tamale because she thinks it fell off of her thumb and went into the masa.  Secondly, she thinks Danny swallowed it.

When did Mother come to the conclusion that Maria was playing with the ring? The clues from the story indicate that she found it in the masa since she “scraped off a flake of dried masa”  from the ring.

At what point do you think Maria’s mother found the ring in the masa?  Maybe when she sent Maria to get her father to help?

Synthesis: What do you think Maria synthesized from this experience?  to tell the truth immediately? to leave other people’s belongings alone?

Can’t Catch Me by John Hassett

can't catch meSchema: ice from the fridge, icebergs

Text-to-text Connections: Gingerbread Man stories, stories where characters are being chased

Compare and Contrast: the animals that want to eat or cool off with the ice cube to characters in other versions of the Gingerbread Man.  Compare the whale with the fox in the original story.

Sequencing: Sequence from the last animal to interact with the ice cube to the first.

Drawing Conclusions: What conclusions can you draw based on the last page of of the story with the freezer door open, water on the floor, and the legs of the boy and his mother?

Cause and Effect: Because the freezer door was left open, the effect is that the ice has melted

Predicting: Predict what the ice cube man will say when one of the characters wants to use him in some way.

Felt board story: I found some clip art to represent the characters in the story, laminated them, stuck some Velcro on the back, and made a quick felt board story to go with this book.