Writing a mystery…
I’ve got to break this post-once-a-week pattern! Work is keeping me extremely busy. My biggest project right now is my mystery night in the library literacy event. My fourth grade students are currently in the brainstorming/planning phase of their mystery stories. I found a fantastic lesson and great templates to guide them. Some students have hit the ground running while others are struggling with the story elements. I think that with enough support, I will be able to guide most of my students through the writing process with positive results. My biggest problem is time-not enough of it! I see each class for only 45 minutes a week. When we get a little more pre-writing completed, I will have to send some work back to the classroom/home for those who want to finish for literacy night. I am really enjoying this activity as I have not had the opportunity to teach creative writing in ten years. I’ll keep you all posted on our progress!
Perfect Picture Book Friday
Thank you Susanna Leonard Hill for keeping me on track! At least I am posting once a week, because I would definitely not miss Perfect Picture Book Friday. I look forward to the challenge each and every week!
Title: The Wave of the Sea-Wolf
Story and pictures by: David Wisniewski
Clarion Books 1994
Suitable for: ages 9+
Themes: Native Americans, folklore, ocean, tsunamis
” From the misty land between sea and mountain, the tops of the tallest trees can rarely be seen. But when the clouds part, a marvelous thing can be observed against the sky-a war canoe, trapped in the trunk of a lofty cedar…” And so begins the legend of Gonakadet also known as the Sea-Wolf. Young Kchokeen, a Tlingit princess, journeys to the edge of the ocean with a group of village girls to pick berries after a long winter. Her mother warns her not to go to close to the ocean, but seeing no danger, Kchokeen disobeys her mother and wades into the bay. While playing in the bay, the princess unknowingly steps on a piece of rotten wood and falls into a very large hole. Unable to free herself, she sends the girls back to the village to bring help. Kchokeen remains trapped in the hole with a bear cub through the night. Before a rescue party can reach them a large wave crashes over the hole and lifts Kchocheen and the cub out of the hole and into the water. They cling to a tree until the water recedes. Cold and tired, Kchoheen gazes into the moon, and in its reflections she meets Gonakadet the Sea-Wolf. Kchokeen returns to her village with a new power-she can predict the arrival of tsunamis. This blessing proves to be an invaluable gift when the men in the big ships who wield metal arrive…
Links to resources:
Why I like this book: I love sharing folktales with my students. This one is especially interesting to me because it is based on a Pacific Northwest Native American legend. The area in which Kchokeen and her people lived is a strip of rainforest that runs from present day Washington state to Alaska’s Yakutat bay. I love all of David Wisniewski’s books. He was an amazing artist and storyteller. About ten years ago I taught in a private school that brought David Wisniewski to Dallas for a multicultural presentation. I remember listening to him in awe as he described his book-making process. He painstakingly carved each detail out of card stock-like paper with an exacto knife tool. Wisniewski then layered the paper to create a three dimensional effect. He told the students that he used over a thousand blades on a single book. The detail in the waves and the debris and the natives is remarkable. This book is a collection of artwork as well as a retelling of an age-old tale.