Jun 23, 2013

Social Studies Mentor Text with an added ELA TWIST :)

Hello teacher friends!  As we close in on the final week of GOOGLE READER, I still haven't decided whether to use FEEDLY or BLOGLOVIN' as my new reader of choice.  I'm looking for some guidance from the experts.  What reader are you using, and have you imported your lists into the new reader?  Which do you prefer, are there others that you like, and why?
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Now, on to the reason we read blogs in the first place!  My number one reason for reading blogs is to learn about books and creative ways to use them in the classroom.  My number one reason for blogging is that I can't seem to stop talking about books and this is my outlet for sharing them. :) Today I'm linking up with COLLABORATION CUTIES to talk about Social Studies Mentor Texts.
After reading this book, I must admit that I realized I hadn't really thought about what it must have been like for people under Communist rule. I was aware of the details, but was missing the empathy. THE WALL gives you a taste of what it must have been like to live behind the Iron Curtain and to be denied art, music, and books.  This book gives you the empathy.  With empathy kids gain interest, and when they have interest, they are ready to learn!  I was a young child during the latter part of these years, and I knew Communists were bad, but I never really "felt" it. What an eye opener this book was for me!

The bottom lines read, " Things got worse...and worse."
Imagine the lessons on tone and mood.  Frankly those lines alone give me chills.  Notice the small yet prominent pops of red in the illustrations.  

As an added bonus, while researching text for the COLD WAR, I stumbled across a lesson comparing Uri Shulevitz's SNOW to the COLD WAR, saying that the reviewer couldn't help but think the author of SNOW was trying to create a metaphor through his dull, gray illustrations for how Russians must have felt during those times. I plan to use these two books together just as the reviewer suggested.  What a fabulous way to bring metaphors to life in Social Studies!  I see some very interesting critical thinking and writing happening through the use of these two books!

Keep in touch and stay connected as we move into the next phase Google Technology...where ever it may lead us!
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If you haven't already, click over and visit Collaboration Cuties and read about other books you can use in your classrooms.  This linky is guaranteed to add to your shopping list!
Have a wonderful Sunday and a wonderful week!


  1. These books look fantastic. What a great way to get students thinking about how things were in other countries. I will have to pass these books onto the middle school teacher that covers this time period.

    Hunter's Tales from Teaching

  2. Very cool way to teach empathy!

  3. I love using picture books to teach Social Studies (and Science too). It looks like you are going to have some great thinking going on as these books help illustrate some important points.

    I have made the switch to Bloglovin'. Initially, I was using The Old Reader (essentially a copycat of Reader), but as more and more people moved over to Bloglovin', I decided to check it out. I am so glad that I did, it is a great place to catch up on your blog reading. You can opt to have them send you an email every day with the newest posts, or you can go to the site. What I like best about it, is I can read the blogs from the actual blog page. Reader and The Old Reader are set against a white background...boring. I also like that it is so much easier to comment on posts using Bloglovin'. I always figure, if you make the switch and really don't like it, you can switch again until you find what you like. I hope that input helped with your decision making!

    Primarily Speaking

  4. I enjoyed reading your thoughts on "The Wall" and the way that it provokes empathy. It looks like a fantastic book! So far, I have only checked out Blog Lovin and will be making the switch there initially. If I really hate it, I can always switch!
    Fourth Grade Flipper

  5. I don't have these two... I've adding them to my wish list for the fall. Thanks! As for the blog stalking question, I signed up for both. I think bloglovin is easier to manage. Now if I can just get it linked to my facebook page everything would be peachy!

  6. Two books added to my list!! :)

  7. Wow, these books look so interesting. I don't teach the cold war and can't say that I even remember what it's really about but these books captivated my attention right now, so I can imagine how the students feel! I think it's great that you will be using them for metaphors!

    I like bloglovin. I like the layout and I like that I can have the app on my phone. It's very easy to use and I can read wherever I am. :O)

    Thanks for linking up!
    Collaboration Cuties

  8. I am loving the book The Wall. I have not seen that one. Even though that topic is not directly in my curriculum I can usually find a place to fit it in! I have Snow so I will have to consider using them together. Thanks for the ideas.
    Bloglovin' is my reader of choice. I don't really know much abou the other. Seems to be the one most bloggers are using!
    Beach Sand and Lesson Plans

  9. Both of these texts look very interesting! I love historical fiction, and need to read more... Thanks so much for sharing!

    Have a great week,
    Sarah @ Hoots N Hollers

  10. What a great suggestion. I found communism to be one of the hardest concepts to teach fifth graders. I love the idea of a picture book to make it come to life.
    ~April Walker
    The Idea Backpack

  11. Brandee
    The Wall reminds me of Schindler's List (the movie) where you see the little girls in red walking around and later you see her jacket (the only parts of the film in color). Great suggestion...that is some powerful stuff

    Digital: Divide & Conquer

  12. I initially went with Feedly, I thought it had more of a Google Reader feel and I even wrote a post on it not long ago. However, as the time got closer to make "the switch" I checked out Bloglovin' too and I'm in love! My favorite part about Bloglovin' is that I can read posts from the actual blogs and check out all the cuteness on everyones page. It also make commenting easier for me. In Feedly in order to comment I needed to scroll to the top of the post, click the post name which would open a new tab in my browser, and then comment! With Bloglovin' I can comment as I'm reading with no other steps.
    Polka Dot Lesson Plans

  13. Although I'm with the little ones now, my original certification was in secondary history. If you can get students to have that sense of empathy about a situation or a place that is unfamiliar to them, you have really done your job. These books look like a great way to create that connection.
    Oh btw I'm going with blog lovin'. I'm probably not a good resource. I'm not super techy, but there it is.
    Have a good evening.

    School Is a Happy Place

  14. Wow! I am definitely going to have to check out The Wall. This will be my first year in intermediate, so I have a huge list of 'to-read' books. This is definitely at the top. Thanks so much for sharing. :)

    The Brown-Bag Teacher


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