Tuesday, February 17, 2015

High Tide for Horseshoe Crabs - Book Review

This book review is for all my East Coast friends and for those of you who enjoy going to or reading about the ocean: High Tide for Horseshoe Crabs by Lisa Kahn Schnell and illustrated by Alan Marks. Schnell and Marks have created a unique picture book that tells the story of the annual spawning of the horse shoe crab on the Delaware beaches. I remember this scene from my childhood in Delaware, so the book brings back wonderful memories for me.

The story is easy to read, but provides just enough facts to keep both youngsters and adults interested. The reader follows along as the first crab comes ashore and ends with the baby crabs returning to the ocean. As I read the story and looked at the pictures, I could almost smell the salt in the ocean. I could imagine the waves breaking against my toes, and I'm quite sure I heard sea gulls diving for crab eggs.

Inside the front cover, Marks uses drawings to present additional facts about the horseshoe crabs. For instance, did you know that horse shoe crabs do not have teeth or jaws? They have to push their food in with bristles at the base of their legs.

This is a book that anyone with young children should have in their library. It can be used to help your child write a school report. It can also be used as a mentor text on the use of sensory images in your writing. Or, it can be read just for the sheer joy of it. This one is a keeper for my library!

Note: I received this book free from the publisher in exchange for an unbiased review. Those of you who know me, know that I will tell you if I don't like something. I like this book! 

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Teaching Composition

I wanted to pass on a resource I am using in my Composition class at Cornerstone Tutorial Center. It's called Writing to Texts by Newmark Learning. Here's what I like about it:

Writing to Texts
1. It covers both expository writing and persuasive writing.

2. It provides the articles to use. You don't have to find your own.

3. It teaches the students to understand a writing prompt and how to answer it effectively. This is a skill that is needed.

4. It provides a choice of prompts with each lesson. Some are better than others, but there is at least one that you will like.

5. It is reproducible for use in your classroom.

As usual, I don't use the book exactly as written, but what teacher does? However, it does give me everything I need to create an effective lesson. (Shhh! A secret: I even use this in my high school classes - I just wite-out the grade level on the reproducibles!)