Author Study

by RebeccaStone14
Last updated 6 years ago

Language Arts

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Author Study

Author: Chris Van Allsburg

Author Study

I like the Book!

Rebecca Stone

Mini Lessons:1.Using the book The Z was Zapped: The teacher does a read aloud with the book emphasizing the organization he uses. After reading, the teacher pairs up the class and gives them a letter. Together, the class makes an alphabet book. The students must draw the letter, something that represents that letter and a word using that letter to describe the representation. For example: “A” The Aromatic Asparagus. It is advised that the teacher use a theme such as food or sports.(Organization)2.Using the book The Stranger: The teacher reads aloud the book with the kids closing their eyes so they may attention to how the words flow together. After the read aloud, the teacher gives students predetermined strips of paper that has three random words on them. The students must then use the words, two sensory words, one adjective, and a verb to create a sentence. (Sentence Fluency)3.Using the book Jumanji: The teacher will read aloud Jumanji to students emphasizing on word choice; more specifically strong verbs. Using an anchor chart, the teacher along with the students will make a list of all the strong verbs Van Allsburg uses in his story to draw in his audience. Students will then go back to a piece they have written previously and scratch out their boring verbs and put in strong ones. (Word Choice)4.Using the book The Polar Express: The teacher will have students write down what they see. Then, the teacher will cover up ¼ of the picture and have the students write about what they see. The teacher will repeat this 3 more times. Once again the teacher will display the whole picture so that the students can write what they see. This will help students focus and use better description and thus create a richer variety of words as a class. (Ideas)5.Using the book Two Bad Ants: The teacher will take one passage from the book and delete all punctuation. As a class, the students will decide what punctuation goes where sentence by sentence until it looks like the original passage. (Conventions)6.Using the book Jumanji: The teacher will read aloud Jumanji asking students to pay attention to how Van Alllsburg illustrates his books to match the story. After reading, the students will go back to a previously written piece and illustrate part of the story. (Presentation)7.Using the books The Garden of Abdul Gasazi: The teacher will do a read aloud with the book emphasizing how Van Allsburg creates the character Fritz the dog without Fritz saying a word. After reading, the students will describe an animal character or characters that don’t speak, they can describe how others react to their characters and how their characters behave, and, if their characters are animals, they can give them human-like characteristics as Van Allsburg does with Fritz. (Voice)8.Using the book Two Bad Ants: The teacher will read aloud the book emphasizing how Van Allsburg shows the reader where the ants are through the use of words rather than telling them. The students will choose a setting that is familiar to them and describe it by showing it in detail instead of simply telling where it is. Then have them switch descriptions with a partner and try to guess what place their partner has described. (Word Choice)9.Using the book The Mysteries of Harris Burdick: After the read aloud, the students will be able to chose of the prewritten ideas and build off of it. The students may choose whatever story they want but it must have a beginning, middle, and end. (Ideas)10. Using the book The Z was Zapped: After reading the book aloud, the teacher will discus with students how Van Allsburg illustrated each of the letters in a new way. The students will then create their own alphabet book with three letters doing something different just like Van Allsburg did.

Website:Go to Van Allsburg's website for all kinds of resources:Here!

Videos:Interview with Chris Van AllsburgInterview with Chris Van Allsburg about the Polar Express

Email Chris

Reflection:My favorite movie when I was a kid was Jumanji; it still is one of my favorites now. It wasn’t until earlier this year that I found out that it was a book before it was a movie. I read the book and immediately fell in love with the illustrations and the way Van Allsburg wrote the book. For one of my lessons in my internship, I used the book (I even brought in stuffed animals when reading). When I found out that we had to do an author study my first thought was to use Chris Van Allsburg; and that’s when I found all his other wonderful books! Not only was Jumanji turned into a film but the Polar Express was, too. I found this author study to be very enlightening. It not only opened my eyes to all the books by one of my favorite authors, it also broadened my horizons on how to use these books. I really enjoy Van Allsburg’s books because most of them teach a lesson. For example, Jumanji teaches the importance of finish things and reading instructions. All of his books use such amazing imagery and other poetic devices so they can be used for a variety of lessons. After reading these books, I noticed theme that touched on all/most all of them was that they carry dark undertones, have uncontrolled events, and a sense of irony. Van Allsburg uses these themes to emphasize the darker side of humans like in The Sweetest Fig. Van Allsburg tells children stories but in a grown up way. He doesn’t dumb down his word choice or have perfect endings. He uses words that teach kids to importance of word choice and voice without doing it directly. Even his most basic book (The Z was Zapped) has amazing word choice that is illustrated so that younger students can start to understand these words. I admire Chris Van Allsburg very much for the way he writes, especially since he writes for children.



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