Thursday, May 16, 2013

Author Study: Eric Carle

After we were done with our state's MCA testing, I wanted to give the kids a fun project to do as we wind down the year.

I decided to do an author study on the beloved Eric Carle, author and illustrator of The Very Hungry Caterpillar.  I thought this would be a big project to take on, but it really came together quite easily.  Here's how it's gone so far:

Day 1:
We started by talking about authors.  We made an anchor chart that described what authors do, and listed some of our favorite authors.  I introduced Eric Carle by reading his book The Grouchy Ladybug.

Day 2:
We read a biography about Eric Carle.  I took it right from the internet, so it was above grade-level for the majority of my kids.  Since we had just finished the MCA's, we used our decoding skills to dissect the article.  We learned that:

  • He was born in 1929 in New York.
  • When he was six years old, his family moved to Germany.
  • The first book he illustrated was Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? by Bill Martin, Jr.
  • The first book he wrote and illustrated was The Very Hungry Caterpillar, which has been translated into more than 50 languages.
  • He is inspired by the times he spent with his father in the forest, exploring nature, animals, and insects.
Days 3-5:
We divided into groups and read different Eric Carle books.  At each book "station", they filled out a story map for the book, and added it to their "Eric Carle Books" table (I will add it to my TPT store soon!).  After about 15-20 minutes at the book "station", they rotated to a new book.  We continued this until they had visited all the stories.

The seven stories they read now rest on my white board ledge, and they are quite popular for silent reading time!

Day 6 and on:
We started writing stories like Eric Carle.  I planned on having them write, illustrate, and bind their books into a keepsake.  After each step of the writing process, they needed to check in with a teacher before going on to the next step.  Because my students are ELL, writing stories is difficult for them.  Our ELL teacher, Ms. Meredith, suggested I use a "Story Board" to help them lay out their ideas.

The kids came up with really cute stories!  They even used lots of animal characters and repetition, just like Eric Carle does in his stories.  I think being able to write and draw at the same time really helped them.

This is what the Story Boards ended up looking like:

The next step was writing their rough drafts.  We use lined paper and put an X on every other line, to leave room for corrections.

The last step of our writing process was to take their rough draft and make it into the final copy.  I provided the kids with some printed lined paper.  I made some pages horizontal and some vertical, depending on what the students wanted.  This student chose horizontal pages.

After they did their final draft in pencil, they were allowed to use a fine tip permanent marker to trace over their words.  Last, they erased over the marker to remove the pencil marks and leave behind the nice-looking marker.

The rest of the page will be filled with their illustrations... done with collage, just like Eric Carle, of course!  (Stay tuned for a post on illustrations!)

I'm super excited that the kids have become so interested in the Author Study!  I can't wait to see how their final books turn out.  :)

Until next time,
-Miss Woodward

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