Saturday, November 19, 2011

Thank-you, Amazon

I was doing a little online Christmas shopping last night ... okay - I was doing A LOT of online Christmas shopping last night.  I wasn't planning on buying anything for myself - really, I wasn't ... until I went on Amazon. Now, books are my weakness, I've admitted that before, but I was going to hold strong - I had really convinced myself I didn't anything new.  AND THEN ...

You know that little advertising tool that they have - the one where it recommends books based on previous purchases ... oh, I know you know what I'm talking about.  I was just planning on taking a quick peek - just out of curiousity ... and I couldn't believe my eyes ... and just as quick, I added it to my shopping cart - The Chronicles of Harris Burdick.

The Mysteries of Harris Burdick by Chris Van Allsburg is a classroom favourite of mine.  It is my hands-down absolute go to book for inferring and creative writing.  LOVE IT!  I have it in hard cover, and in portfolio version.  My favourite activity is to scatter the portfolio sheets on the floor of the gym, then turn out the lights.  I have my students enter the darkened gym with flashlights and sit around me in the centre of the gym.  They turn out their flashlights and I turn on mine.  I read the introduction to them, and when they are hooked, I let them turn on their flashlights and have them do a walk around, pausing at each sheet (they must do this step in silence).  After the entire class has had a chance to see all the pages, I turn back on the lights.  In groups of three or four, students choose their favourite page and create a 3 pose tableaux about the picture (before, during, after).  When we return to class, I have the students use the page they chose as a prompt, and they create the story.  I've even had classes create entire books using a story-in-the round method.  Once we even created a real book, complete with illustrations.

So, when I saw The Chronicles of Harris Burdick, I knew I had to have it.  Van Allsburg and 13 other authors (including Kate DiCamillo, Stephen King, Lois Lowry, Louis Sachar, etc.) have written mysterious and poignant tales to accompany the images.  I'm so looking forward to sharing this with my students (and I think I'll even grab my class from last year to share it with them, too).

Oh my goodness - I CANNOT wait for this book to get here ... just like a kid at Christmas.  ;)






With all my Christmas shopping last night, I was still in a Christmas mood today.  So I put that good mood to good use (why waste a good mood on laundry) and created a Christmas Drama Circle activity.  I've done two drama circles with my class already this year, and they have enjoyed them so much, I knew they'd love one for Christmas, too.  If you wish, you can click on the picture to get a preview of the product.  And, because I'm still in a Christmas mood, I'll send a copy to the first two people to leave a comment below with their email address.  Happy Saturday!!!


19 comments:

  1. Jenn - Don't you LOVE anything this author has written? So glad you scored a new title. Hope all's well up north; we're officially on our Thanksgiving break today and it felt AmAzInG to relax and unwind!

    Barbara

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  2. Long time reader, first time posting a comment on your blog. It looks great!

    marcy_sundling@hotmail.com

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  3. I'd love a copy.

    Denise
    taskcard123@yahoo.com

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  4. Marcy and Denise, I've just sent you the file. I hope you enjoy!

    Judy and Barbara, I'd love to send one to you as well, as you were the first two comments - I just need your email. Barbara - I hope you have a WONDERFUL Thanksgiving. Enjoy the well-deserved time with your family!

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  5. Great video. I plan to share this with my team. You have the best ideas and activities. Thanks for sharing your love of teaching. Knoxt@citrus.k12.fl.us

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  6. Hi Jen:

    Just got home from an early Thanksgiving celebration... I read your post, jumped over to Amazon, and one-clicked a copy of Chronicles of Harris Burdick. With an introduction by Lemony Snicket, the kids will be in heaven!

    Thanks so much for the recommendation!

    Kim
    Finding JOY in 6th Grade

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  7. You are so welcome, Kim! So many GREAT middle school authors have collaborated on this book - it's bound to be fantastic!!!

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  8. This book does look great! I'll be visiting Amazon next. :-) I purchased and used your Halloween Drama Circle cards. I used them as an activity station when we met with our little buddies... the kids had a blast! Thanks for your wonderful resources!

    Leslie

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  9. Yay - I'd love a copy. My email is gruenergang (at) sbcglobal.net - Thanks SO much!!

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  10. I just got the file in my inbox. I cannot wait to try it! THANK YOU!!!

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  11. Okay I am so freakin excited about that book-you have no idea! I didn't even know about it. Must go to amazon right now. I absolutely love the flashlight lesson-brilliant. Where did you get the Portfolio version?

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  12. Sarah, I bought the portfolio version of Mysteries of Harris Burdick years ago - I can't remember where ... but I just checked Amazon and they have it there, too.

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  13. I recently bought this book at our school book fair!!! Love it !!!

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  14. Well, wasn't one of the 2. But just in case you continue feeling that wonderful Christmas spirit....tcotton@usd345.com.

    I, too, do some writing about the Chronicles. However, your idea is so suspenseful! I think I'll do that !! Yey! Super excited! And......I am on my way to buy the chronicles!! Yippeee!!

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  15. Sorry......the Mysteries is what I currently use!

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  16. I've come here from pinterest. One of my favourite things is to have my kids write stories to these Mysteries. I've been doing it for about 10 years. It makes me a little sad to now have stories to go with them to be honest. It's like finding out how the magic trick is done. I appreciate the mysteries, and endless possibilities.

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  17. LOL - sorry, I mean the Chronicles book makes me a little sad. I LOVE LOVE LOVE how you introduce the mysteries. :)

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  18. Thanks, mommymakesstuff (I'm a mommy who makes stuff too ;) )

    I (briefly) thought the same thing when I saw the book. But then I thought, since Chris Van Allsburg only authored one story, the rest of the stories are just other people's ideas about what the pictures could mean - the same thing my own students do. I think (hope) they'll get a kick out of the other versions. I'll still do my regular activities and student stories first, but I'm excited to add this new twist, too. We'll see how it goes - I'm going to do my Van Allsburg unit this January when I start inferences with my students.

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