Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Journaling With Non-Fiction

              Visit Alyson Beecher to discover favorite non-fiction picture books every Wednesday on her blog, KidLit Frenzy.  Amazing picture books are shared!

           Every one of our students at school keeps a field journal, so we're always looking for good mentor texts to share with them, to give them ideas from others who keep their own journals. The other part is to learn what to look for, why to capture it, what details to note in words and sketches? Of course those younger students do all of their notes in pictures, or by carefully copying down a few words. Slowly everyone improves their noticing. It's a great thing to practice, and then to know one is improving.


            Today I discovered three wonderful picture books that will enhance most any student's learning in field journaling. One many of you have reviewed. I'm sorry I haven't read it sooner. The other is a marvelous example of one year in a journaler's life. It's lovely and creative, and I hope you'll look for it!

Look Up! Bird-Watching in Your Own Backyard - written and illustrated by Annette LeBlanc Cate
             The book is filled to the brim with ideas for journaling, and many, many facts about birds. The pages showing the color in birds, including those in shades of brown or black and white are simply breath-taking. There are how-tos and jokes, all presented in cartoon-like drawings. Balloon speech is everywhere! Besides learning much from the book about journaling and details, it's a beautiful mentor text for a creative way to share research, much more entertaining than a report! 

The Robin Makes A Laughing Sound, a birder's journal - written and illustrated by Sallie Walf, designed by Micah Bornstein
             Sallie Walf chronicles her birding year in this book, sharing that she's journaled since seventh grade, when a teacher taught the class how to identify birds. Each page shows a few sketches and observations and a poem that looks as if it's been prepared on another paper, then taped into the journal. It's a lovely presentation.  You can find an example of one of the pages here.

 Morning, Noon, and Night - written by Jean Craighead George and illustrated by Wendell Minor
       Here's an old book discovered in our library, that I believe, if you can find a copy, would make a beautiful mentor text for children. It has clear, basic and beautiful language showing the day from morning until night. It's written by wonderful Jean Craighead George who makes facts seem like poetry, and illustrated by Wendell Minor, whose paintings always inspire. One beautiful page: "Good evening, the evening,/when the earth has turned from light to dusk/and vesper begins." The painting is the ending sunset with bats in flight-gorgeous.         

16 comments:

  1. I adore the first book, but the other two are new to me. Much purchase!

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    1. Hope you find and love them, Katherine. Thanks!

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  3. These titles sound great. I don't particularly like animals or nature but I'm always surprised by how many kids come in our store and ask for field journals especially about birds. Thanks for sharing. The second one looks great!

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    1. It is a beautiful book, will be good to recommend, Earl. Thank you!

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  4. I LOVED Look Up! I don't know the other two. I really like the idea of field journals and mentor texts to inspire them.

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    1. Thanks, Holly. We believe it helps in writing across the curriculum-attention to detail?

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  5. One day I'll make an excuse to drive cross country to come see your school - it sounds like you do so much authentic writing!
    I have not read the Jean Craighead George book, and I do love her writing! I'll have to check that out. Might be a good mentor text for chronological writing text structure?

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    1. It is beautiful, and simple, and just right, Michele. Perhaps not for the youngest students, but 3rd grade and up! Would love to have you visit!

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  6. Look Up is do great! The Robin book looks really interesting. The other one is new to me, but I see that Jean Craighead George is the author, must be good!

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    1. The George book is old, just a find! I imagine it can be found on Amazon, used! She is a treasure for NF writing. I've used her books a lot. And I agree, Look Up is marvelous-can't believe I've waited this long to read it. Thanks, Gigi!

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  7. I loved Look Up! Thank you for sharing the other books that could be paired with it.

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    1. You're welcome, Kellee. They're all terrific!

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  8. I always enjoyed journaling with students. Great idea to use these books as a way to do some outdoor journaling -- science/nature and writing. I'm sure they'll observe some amazing things, even outside your school.

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    1. It's a favorite thing to journal with our students, Laura, & we all hope it's a habit they'll either keep with them or return to later in their lives. Thanks!

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  9. Wendell Minor is such a treasure - I am always in awe of his beautiful paintings. Such glorious art in picturebooks. Haven't read this one yet, so will be on the lookout for it. Glad to see the journaling picturebooks too! :)

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