Tuesday, January 26, 2016

A Variety of Van Allsburgs



My class recently completed an author study
We read a variety of books by the author, Chris Van Allsburg
It was magical!

By Tim Pierce (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0
 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Compare and Contrast

As a class, we read several Van Allsburg books: The Garden of Abdul Gaszasi, Ben's Dream, The Sweetest Fig, Jumanji, A Bad Day at Riverbend, Widow's Broom, and Two Bad Ants After reading each book, we did a compare and contrast of each story and the illustrations included in each. We loved Van Allsburg's award-winning illustrations and delightful drawings. Some illustrations had color, while others were black and white using pen and ink. Many had a dreamlike appearance to them. 




We often found a special dog named Fritz either as a main character or hidden in the illustrations. Who is Fritz? We also saw similar images between books. For example, we saw the train from The Polar Express in Jumanji, and the kitchen from Two Bad Ants in the book Ben's Dream.



Summarize Your Favorite


After we read and discussed six Van Allsburg books, students picked their favorite picture book to  summarize. Each student was given a Google doc via  Google Classroom.  Students planned and wrote a summary on a Google Doc using the summary poster below.  














Here is one student's 


Somebody 
Wanted 
But 
So 
Then 

digital plan for Riverbend. 












Summaries

Once each student completed a summary, I grouped students together according to their favorite book. They read each other's summaries and selected the best summary to represent their group. What criteria was used to determine the best? Following the Somebody, Wanted, But, So, Then format, incorporating high level vocabulary, and inserting useful phrases.   Then students made revisions and made the best summary even better!


Here are the group summaries: (Click to enlarge.)


Jumanji




Ben's Dream






A Bad Day at Riverbend





The Sweetest Fig




Two Bad Ants







The Widow's Broom




The Garden of Abdul Gasazi









Which is your favorite Van Allsburg? 
Give at least two reasons with support.

Compare (what is alike) and Contrast (what is different) your favorite book with another book. 

What illustration is the best? 
Give at least two reasons with support

20 comments:

  1. Dear Mrs.Yollis,

    The Polar Express is the best Van Allsburg book ever. One reason is that the illustrations are very elaborate. For example, in Polar Express, when you first see the Polar Express, it has a lot of detail such as the front of the train. However, my favorite illustration is when the train is chugging through the forest and it’s all snowy because I think it looks dreamy, just like some other books by Van Allsburg. In addition, there are three beautiful wolves in the picture, which I like too. Another reason this book is the best is because it’s mostly narration. There are only about three quotes in the whole story. Secondly, I really like books with only narration because it’s all like, “On with the story” and not people talking like, “Yak, yak, yak.” Clearly, The Polar Express is a fantastically exceptional story.

    Sincerely,
    Kostaki

    ReplyDelete
  2. Dear Mrs. Yollis,

    "The Widow's Broom" is an amazing book by Chris Van Allsburg. One reason is that the illustrations are magnificent. In addition, Van Allsburg has won many awards including the Caldecot. My favorite illustration is of the witch in front of blue fire.

    Another reason this book is the best is because the broom has a big personality. For example, when the Spivey dog was biting the broom, it threw the dog a very far distance. Also, the broom scared the Spiveys away when they tried to kill it.

    In conclusion, "The Widow's Broom," is my favorite Van Allsburg book. Not only does it have great illustrations, it has a great story.

    Your student,
    Aaron

    ReplyDelete
  3. The Sweetest Fig is the best Chris Van Allsburg book.

    One reason is the illustrations are awesome. First of all, Van Allsburg has won many awards including the Caldecott. My favorite illustration is where Mr. Bibot is standing next to the cafe in his underwear. It was a hilarious sight!

    Another reason this book is great is because a dog named Marcel is present. For starters, Marcel is my last name. Also, the name Marcel is French, and I am from France.

    The last reason why I think this is the best Van Allsburg book is because it has a couple of things that rarely happen in life. For example, the Eiffel tower was drooping. Also, a fig makes people’s dream come true.

    Clearly, The Sweetest Fig is the best Chris Van Allsburg book.

    Your student,
    Heloise

    ReplyDelete
  4. Dear Mrs.Yollis,

    Jumanji is the most extraordinary Van Allsburg book ever created.

    First of all, the illustrations are magnificent. My favorite illustration is when Peter and Judy find the game board because it looked shiny under the bright beaming sun. In addition, Van Allsburg has won many awards including the Caldecott Award.

    Another reason I love this book is, because lots of crazy events happen. A volcano erupts in the fireplace and lava pours all over the floor, slowly but steadily. Furthermore, a pack of rhinos destroy everything like a sofa, many china plates and cups, and other types of furniture.

    Crazy things happen and lots of mischief happens. Who wouldn’t like this book?

    From,
    Michael

    ReplyDelete
  5. Good Morning Mrs Yollis! This morning we used your excellent model for writing a summary in our Guided Reading session to have a go at writing chapter summaries of our current reading books. We thought we would share our results with you:

    The Boy in the Dress by Brodie
    Lisa wanted to Dennis to dress as a girl and go into school for the day wearing his dress, but Dennis didn't really want to in case anyone worked out it was him, as he might be teased. So Lisa had to work hard to persuade him, and eventually he plucked up his courage and went into school dressed up, and pretending to be Lisa's French penpal. Then Lisa introduced him to all her friends...

    The Twits by Year 3.

    Mr Twit wanted to eat Bird Pie for supper, so he put glue on the tree to try to catch them, but the Roly Poly bird warned the birds not to sit on the big dead tree. Mr Twit came out of the house to collect the birds but they were all sitting on the monkey cage instead. Then Mr Twit got angry. Mr Twit said, "I'll get you pesky birds!" Then Mr Twit put glue on the tree and the cage. The next morning they were all sitting on the roof!

    We enjoyed reading your summaries too - it would make us want to find out more about Chris Van Allsburg, an author we do not know.

    Your english friends in A Room with a View

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Karissa, Maddie , and AbbyFebruary 3, 2016 at 12:02 PM

      Dear Mrs. Monaghan,

      Abby, Maddie, and Karissa liked both summaries. We admired your high level vocabulary such as, persuade, and pesky.

      Brodie, we've never read The Boy in the Dress but we were glad that you wrote a summary about it. Maddie was wondering why Lisa wanted Dennis to dress up as Lisa's French pen-pal?

      We all read The Twits and thought that when you described that part of the story, it was brilliant. Do you remember when all the animals super glued all the furniture to the ceiling? In addition, the Twits thought they were walking upside down, so, they did a headstand on the "ceiling". Then they glued their heads to the floor and began to shrink that was hilarious!

      Have you ever read any Roald Dahl books?

      Love,
      Maddie, Abby, and Karissa



      Delete
    2. Hi Maddie, Abby and Karissa,
      In The Boy in the Dress, Dennis enjoys wearing Lisa's dress, and so Lisa persuades him to wear it outside, then to school. As he is 'disguised', they pretend that he is French so people don't guess he's Dennis. I won't tell you the end of the book in case you get the chance to read it!
      We all enjoy Roald Dahl Books, and in our class we've also read Matilda, Fantastic Mr Fox, The Magic Finger and James and the Giant Peach. What about you? Do you have a favourite?

      Mrs Monaghan & A Room with a View

      Delete
  6. Dear Mrs. Yollis,

    The Widow's Broom is the best Chris Van Allsburg book ever. One reason is that the illustrations are fantastic! First of all, Van Allsburg has won many awards including The Caldecott Award. My favorite illustration is when the broom is useing it’s stick to hit the right keys on the piano, one note at a time. Another reason I think this book is the greatest is because the broom has a big personality. For example, the broom was whacking the Spiveys and flinging their dog. The broom was doing other fascinating things that other brooms can’t do like chopping wood, playing the piano, and feeding the chickens. The weirdest one to me is chopping wood. In conclusion, the book is a hilarious book and I absolutely enjoyed reading it.


    You ask us to compare and contrast two books so I compared The Widow's Broom and Jumanji. The difference between The Widow’s Broom and Jumanji is that The Widow’s Broom has a witch and Jumanji has wild animals. The two books are alike because they both have unusual things happening like in Jumanji, a volcano explodes and lava pours out, a python is coiling up on the mantle, and a fierce lion is chasing the kids.

    What’s your favorite Van Allsburg book?

    Love,
    Abby

    ReplyDelete
  7. Two Bad Ants is the best Van Allsburg book. One reason is the illustrations are extraordinary. First of all, Van Allsburg has won many awards including the Caldecott Medal. My favorite illustration is when they fell into the coffee and thought it was a big brown lake. Another funny illustration was the one of the ants getting electrocuted in the outlet.

    Another reason this book is the best is because it’s in the point of view of two ants. For example, I like when they look into a bowl of sugar and thought they are huge crystals. In addition, I like when the ants fell into the garbage disposal and spun around.

    In conclusion, Two Bad Ants is an awesome Van Allsburg, and I can’t wait to read it again!


    ReplyDelete
  8. Dear Mrs. Yollis,

    I think Bad Day at Riverbend is a stupendous Van Allsburg book. One reason is that the illustrations look simple, but are amazing at the same time. First of all, Van Allsburg has won many awards, including the Caldecott Medal. My favorite illustration is the one of Sheriff Ned Hardy on the cover looking horrified. It’s simple because it’s drawn only in outline, yet you can tell exactly how he felt. I like it because it makes me use my imagination to read the image.

    Another reason I adore this book is that the illustrations have very little color. I like that because it is is unusual. For example, on page one, there is no color on the picture of the city of Riverbend. When I saw that, I stopped and thought, “This looks like a coloring book. How unusal for Van Allsburg.” I also like the way the color comes in gradually throughout the book. It makes you want to read on. Obviously, these illustration make this book the best Van Allsburg book.
    Love,
    Lily

    ReplyDelete
  9. Dear Mrs. Yollis,

    My favorite Chris Van Allsburg book is The Widow’s Broom.

    One reason is the illustrations are stupendous and magnificent. First of all, Chris Van Allsburg has won many awards for his illustrations including the Caldecott Medal. My favorite picture is the one of the witch standing in front of the of the blue and red fire. She look so real and magical.

    Another reason this book is the best is because the broom has a big personality. When the Spivey children throw rocks at the broom and call it names, the broom ignores them at first. But soon the broom can’t hold back, and it launches the Spivey’s dog about a mile away. In addition, the broom circles the Spivey’s house every night pretending to be a ghost. Later, the Spiveys move away and the broom and the widow finally live in peace.

    I strongly believe the widow is very smart. When the Spiveys want to burn the broom, the widow gives the Spiveys her old broom. That way the broom can still live, and do the thing it loves the most; sweep. Also, when the widow finds that the witch is gone in the morning, she is not surprised.

    Lastly, the broom is very helpful. The broom is a very quick learner so that it can do a lot if you just teach it. For example, the broom feeds the chickens, and plays the piano one-toon-at-a time.

    Not only is this book the best, but it has you wanting to read it over and over again. What book do you like the best?

    Your happy student,
    Maddie

    ReplyDelete
  10. Dear Mrs. Yollis,

    I think that the Widow’s Broom is the best Van Allsburg book. One reason is the illustrations are stupendous. First of all, Van Allsburg has won many awards including the Caldecott Medal. In addition, Van Allsburg’s pictures are so descriptive that you can tell what the characters are doing. My favorite picture is when the broom flings the Spivey dog after he pesters him while sweeping. That part you can really read without the words. Once I saw the picture, I knew what was going to happen. That is how descriptive Chris Van Allsburg is. No wonder he won the Caldecott!

    Another reason this book is the best is because once you start reading you don’t want to stop. You have to find out how it ends.. For example, an exciting part is when the witch fell off the broom. She knew that the magical broom wasn’t working, and I thought the broom wasn’t magical anymore. But then it started sweeping all by itself. Another exciting part is when Mr. Spivey killed the widow’s regular broom when he was supposed to kill the magical one. Then, the next day, the widow shouted that she thought she saw the ghost of the broom. I think that part was interesting because you might not know if the ghost broom is really real.

    In conclusion, the Widow’s Broom is the best Van Allsburg book. Some illustrators won the Caldecott, but I think the Widow’s Broom and all the other Van Allsburg books deserve it the most.

    Sincerely,
    Karissa

    ReplyDelete
  11. Dear Mrs. Yollis and class,

    Jumanji is the best Van Allsburg book.

    One reason I like it so much is that there are a lot of unexpected events that happen. For example, some lions were lying in the living room. Also, it was the craziest thing in the world when monkeys were stealing food from the kitchen.

    Another reason I love this book is that the illustrations are magnificent. Van Allsburg has won many awards including the Caldecott Award. I liked many of the pictures, however, my favorite illustration was the one when the lion was looking under the bed and his head got stuck.

    Jumani in one of my favorite books. It was fun to imagine what the scenery would look like. This book really inspired me to read more.

    Sincerely,

    Ari

    p.s. Did you know that my name means “lion” in Hebrew? Maybe that’s another reason why I really like this book!

    ReplyDelete
  12. Dear Mrs. Yollis,

    I found a link to your blog and was immediately drawn to your lesson using the picture books from Chris Van Allsburg. I work with students in grades 3-5 and another teacher mentioned using his books in her book study groups and author study. Your summary lesson is brilliant and I will try this lesson out and pass it on! Your students did a wonderful job with the group summaries. It is inspiring to see that your third graders have been using Google Classroom. My fifth graders started using Google Classroom this year and have done so well, but I was a little unsure of how the third graders will adapt. Great blog!

    ReplyDelete
  13. The Widow’s Broom is the best Van Allsburg book that I have read. Van Allsburg had won many awards, even the Caldecott. One reason is the illustration are magnificent and beautiful. An example is the picture of the witch standing at night with the wind rushing through her long, dark hair. Another amazing illustration is when the magical broom launch the Spivey kids’ dog. Another reason to support my opinion is the magical broom has a strong personality. For example, the broom hit both of the oldest Spivey kids and plays the piano one key at a time. The broom also showed personality when it was chopping wood. I thought the broom did a fantastic job at acting. Lastly, when the widow wanted to get rid of the Spive family, the widow taught the magical broom to circle around the Spives’ house with an incredibly sharp axe.

    In conclusion, The Widow's Broom is the best Van Allsburg book in the world because it has magnificent illustrations and exceptionally high vocabulary.

    Sincerely,
    Kate

    ReplyDelete
  14. Dear Mrs. Yollis,

    The Widow’s Broom is the most amazing book by Van Allsburg. One reason is the illustrations are fantastic. Van Allsburg has won many awards including the Caldecott Medal. I like all of his illustrations, but my favorite illustration is when the witch was standing in the red and blue flames. It makes the witch look magically beautiful.

    Another reason why this book is the best book is because the broom has a big personality. For example, when the the Spivey children threw rocks and stones at the broom, the broom first tried to ignore them. However, when the Spivey’s dog bit the broom, it had had enough and launched the dog quite a distance. Also when it first crash landed, it started helping around the house! But I don’t mean just sweeping. It actually helps feed the chickens and other chores like that!

    My last reason is the widow is nice and smart. She is nice because when the witch crash landed (because her broom ran out of flying power) the widow helped her up, took her in and cared for her in her house. In addition, the widow is smart because she used the broom to scare away the mean neighbors by pretending it was a “ghost broom.” Eventually they moved away. “Yay!”

    Clearly, The Widow’s Broom is the most superior book written by Chris Van Allsburg. Not only are the illustrations simply amazing, but the text is just as good.

    Your Widow’s Broom loving student,
    Abigail

    ReplyDelete
  15. Dear Mrs.Yollis,

    The Polar Express is the best Van Allsburg book. One reason is that the illustrations are magnificent. First of all, Van Allsburg has won many awards such as the Caldecott Medal. My favorite illustration is when the train is going across the ice. It is so pretty with all the glistening snow. Another reason this book is the best is because it has a lot of magic. For example, they go to the North Pole. When they go to North Pole, they go into Santa's sack. The elves take them out, they walk to the crowd of people waiting to meet Santa. That was magical! In conclusion, The Polar Express is the best book ever.

    Your student,
    Bailey

    ReplyDelete
  16. Dear Mrs. Yollis,

    I think Bad Day at Riverbend is the best Van Allsburg book ever. I liked that it did not have much color in it. One reason I like that there is no color is because it makes the book look like a coloring book. At the end of the book there is color.

    Another reason I like Bad Day at Riverbend is because it is funny. One funny part was when I saw Fritz as a stick dog on the bulletin board. Another funny moment was when the coachman has colorful slime all over his face.

    In conclusion, Bad Day at Riverbend is an outstanding book.


    Here is a compare and contrast. Bad Day at Riverbend and The Garden of Abdul Gasazi are the same because there are animals in both books. Bad Day at Riverbend and the Garden of Abdul Gasazi are not the same because Bad Day at Riverbend has color at the end of the book and The Garden of Abdul Gasazi does not have color at all.

    Your Student,
    Hailey

    ReplyDelete
  17. Being a teacher, I love looking through blogs. You have a great one! I wanted to share a new children's book I read to my class. It's called "Cooking With Mr. C." by John Contratti. It's a sweet story with a beautiful message. I'm telling all my teacher friends about it. I got it through Mascot Books and my friends ordered it through Amazon. (She does everything through Amazon.) :) Elaine

    ReplyDelete
  18. Dear Mrs. Yollis,

    Two Bad Ants is the best Van Allsburg book. One reason is that the illustrations are amazing! First of all, Van Allsburg has won many awards including the Caldecott Medal. My favorite illustration is when the ants get stuck in a coffee cup and think that the man’s mouth is a cave.


    Another reason I love this book is because the story has magnificent humor. For example, the ants get stuck in some kitchen appliances like a toaster and the garbage disposal. Another funny moment was when they get electrocuted in the power outlet. It reminds me of when I put my hand in a toaster! Ouch!

    Clearly, Two Bad Ants is the most extraordinary Van Allsburg book. What is your favorite Van Allsburg story?

    Sincerely,
    Rayhan

    ReplyDelete

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