Welcome to part 4 of the series, Teaching with Tomie dePaola books: Responding to Literature.
In this post I’ll walk you through some of the ways I have my students write about what they
are reading during our Tomie dePaola author study.
As we transition to Common Core and implement new writing frameworks
in my district our students are learning to use the writing piece of Thinking Maps
to organize and plan their writing. Teaching students to write a response
to literature has been our focus this quarter.
After reading Strega Nona Meets Her Match we wrote a character analysis of
Strega Amelia. I asked my students which book and character we should choose and
hands down it was this one! Guess why? I wish I could say it was deeper than this,
but it’s because she dresses fancy and wears makeup! And they love that she’s sassy!
They’ve noticed that many of Tomie dePaola’s characters have little black dots for eyes.
Except Strega Amelia…. She has fancy blue makeup on!
I guess you just never know what’s going to make an impression!
We talked a lot about this character and reviewed her relationship with
Strega Nona. We thought back to telling events from other stories in the series
that might give us some insight into Strega Amelia’s character.
In their journals, students made these maps describing the character and gave
reasons for their word choices.
As students shared their ideas I recorded them on a class chart.
Next, I had students fold a piece of legal size paper into 4 parts and choose
markers in 5 colors to color code each step. This is a 3-4 day process so
I have students make a little tally mark in the top corner of the page with their colors so
they remember which ones they should take out the next day. From here it is an
“I do” then “You do” process. I first modeled each step then it was their turn.
This is the first time my second graders have written a character analysis so we started
very simple. I wrote a topic sentence that introduced the character then
chose three adjectives I wanted to tell more about and recorded them in this map.
Students used their own bubble maps and did the same.
We added details under each description that we wanted to include
in our writing. Lastly, we wrote a closing sentence that included a feeling,
a personal connection, or an opinion about
the character. We color coded these as we went along.
Next, we used the same color coding to write a rough draft.
Here we added transition words and any changes.
I had originally planned for us to publish our writing in these little Strega Nona houses,
but when my kiddos saw these they begged me to put our letters
to Tomie dePaola, written the previous week, inside Strega Nona’s house
and mail them to him. So, that’s just what we’re going to do!
I originally made different writing inserts for our Strega Nona houses but since we
were sending them to “our Tomie” as my one little sweetie
refers to him, students instead wrote 3 wishes they have, things they noticed
during our author study, and their favorite Tomie dePaola book.
Oh my gosh, these turned out so cute! I really just wanted to keep
every single one of them! We hear that Tomie actually writes back to kids
and my class is very worried that they’ll be in third grade when he does.
I have solemnly sworn to gather them all up when/if (fingers crossed!) we receive a letter
so we can all open it together!
If you’d like to make Strega Nona’s house with your class, you can!
Click to find it in my Tomie dePaola Author Study.
I’ve also added his variation sold seperately, for publishing writing during a fairy tale unit to my TPT store .
Be sure to read all of the posts in this series through the links below.
Find all of the activities in these posts in my Tomie dePaola Author Study available in my TPT shop.
Visit my Tomie dePaola board on Pinterest!
Thanks so much for following along and happy teaching with Tomie books, friends!
Hi Linda! I have your unit and love it! Are the houses printed on construction paper or copy paper? Thank you!
This is FABULOUS!! I got your Tomie unit in the Magical Product Swap last year and my kiddos absolutely loved it!! I'm moving up to 3rd at a different school this year and was already thinking about starting the year off with this unit! Could I possibly get the updated version also? I would love to start my new job impressing the principal with these awesome activities! You rock! 🙂
Thank you, Sylvia! I hope you found something you could use!
These are beautiful. I love Tomie dePaola's work. I am your newest follower. Great blog.
I've added the fairy tale cottage to the Tomie dePaola unit. You can now redownload the updated file.
Yes! I'll be adding Strega Nona's house to the unit this summer and send a note out to all of my store followers so that you can then re-download the updated unit. thanks so much for asking!
Yes! I will be adding Strega Nona's house to the unit this summer. I will send a note out to all of my store followers on TPT and TN then you will be able to re-download the updated file.
Thanks so much for asking!
Are you going to publish the houses? I bought the unit on Tomie but the houses were not a part of the package–
We're using your Tomie dePaola unit to finish up the year and love it! Are the Strega Nona houses something you can share?
I have thought about writing to Tomie as a class. We wrote to Judy Schachner (Skippyjon Jones) and she replied and the kids loved it!
I LOVE those houses! How in the world did you make them?
Your posts have been loaded with tons of genius ideas! Thanks for sharing all your amazing creativity my friend:)
I have really enjoyed reading all of your posts about your Tomie unit and seeing the pictures of your kids' work. I was SO planning on doing a big Tomie unit with your product, but we have only had time to do The Art Lesson and Fact/Opinion sort. Time runs out so quickly at the end of the year, so I will have to plan on getting an earlier start on it next year! Thanks for sharing your ideas in such detail, and I hope you hear back from Tomie after you mail those letters!