Briar Rose, by Jane Yolen

Briar Rose, by Jane Yolen, is an excellent mentor text for the study of fairy tales and the uses of enchantment, as well as for a study of the Holocaust. The brilliant Jane Yolen re-envisions the tale of Sleeping Beauty as one woman’s attempt to transform her horrific experience in Nazi-controlled Poland into something mythical, and her grand-daughter’s attempt to find the truth of her grandmother’s past. It is a good example of parallel storytelling — one chapter mythical, one chapter set in the present — until all part of the mystery are revealed and the stories converge.

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Jack and the Beanstalk — Magic Fava Beans and Peas

Nature Explorer

Our ripening Peas and Fava Beans in the school garden were an opportunity to re-read Jack and the Beanstalk. This particular wonderful version has a great place where the man trying to get Jack’s cow says something like, “I have these magic beans I will trade you for your cow. But be careful with them. I lost the instructions for them, and I can’t remember what they do.”

The children wrote instructions for their magic beans. They wrote about what magic powers their own fava beans or peas have in our school garden!

jack and the beanstalk story starterjack and the fava bean stalkjack and the magic fava beans 2jack and the magic fava beans 3jack and the magic fava beans 4magic fava bean writingmagic fava beans 8magic peas 2magic peas 9Magic Peas storymagic peas writing

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Tuck Everlasting….continued

These are great insights into doing close reading with a class.

The Reading Zone

In class, we have been doing a close reading of “Tuck Everlasting” for the last few days.  We re-read the Prologue and Chapter 1, annotating when necessary.  It is so amazing to hear my students say, “Wow!  I didn’t even realize that circle had meaning the first time I read it!”  I think they are starting to understand the need to sometimes re-read parts of a book, especially when you want to clarify certain points or respond to the book in writing.  This is a skill they will need to hone as they move through the middle school and high school and one they aren’t explicitly taught at any grade level.  I am having so much fun with it!

Today, we read an excerpt from “Circling Tuck: An Interview with Natalie Babbitt” from Horn Book in 2000.  The interview is wonderful and Babbitt shares a lot of great…

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