As mentioned previously on the blog, my students were totally inspired by the book Tap the Magic Tree by Christie Matheson (you can read about it in Books That Inspire Young Authors). When it came time to design some provocations for the writing table for our butterfly project, I was thinking about how I could give the children an opportunity to show their learning about the butterfly life cycle. Since the children were already familiar with the cyclical nature of Tap the Magic Tree, it seemed like a good jumping off point for talking about the cycle of how caterpillars grow and change. As a class, we brainstormed a version of Tap the Magic Tree called “Tap the Magic Egg” (which, of course, the children were completely excited about!). After some modelling with the entire class, we placed some inspiration books, book covers, newsprint, and sample vocabulary at the writing table. As with our other Tap the Magic Tree experiences, this centre was immediately jam packed with children creating their own life cycle stories. I was able to assess the children’s understanding of the concept, but each story was unique to the child who wrote it. We certainly got a lot of enjoyment out of hearing the stories read aloud at reflection time!
You can read more about our butterfly project by clicking here.
Every once in a while I come across a book that is so delightfully magical I simply cannot wait to share it with my students. This week I have not one, but TWO such delightful books, based on similar ideas. The first is Press Here by Herve Tullet and the second is Tap the Magic Tree by Christie Matheson. As read-alouds, both books offer opportunities for student participation and are excellent resources for making predictions. In Press Here, the author commands the reader to tap on a single yellow dot in the middle of the page. When the page is turned…voila! A second yellow dot has appeared! The book continues in this vein, asking the reader to clap, blow, tip the book this way and that, until it ends where it started with one yellow dot. The first time I read this book was before lunch, and as the children lined up in the hall I head them exclaiming “You could write clap five times and draw five dots!” and “Yeah! And you can tap all the yellow dots and then make them blue!” They were writing their very own versions of the story! What an inspiring book for my young authors!
Tap the Magic Tree is essentially the same, except with an additional conceptual focus on the changes that occur across the seasons in one apple tree. This story tied in nicely to our Maple Tree Inquiry and discussions that have already been occurring about the fall changes in our community. Since the children were already thinking of ways to create their own versions of this story we set up a provocation at our classroom writing centre this week. What a busy centre this has been! Along with a copy of the book, our provocation included writing materials, newsprint for book pages, construction paper for a book cover, and a stapler. Several versions of Tap the Magic Tree have since appeared in our classroom and the children have been keen to have their classmates’ versions read to them during sharing time. What a wonderful opportunity this has been to create excitement around reading and writing in our classroom!
Do you have a book to recommend that helped inspire your young authors? I am always looking for the next great read-aloud!