Happy Fall Y'all! Reading Interactive Notebooks: The Stranger

Can you believe that October is upon us!  It has been a beautiful start to the school year, and if I can manage to make it all the way into October without having to turn on the heat, then my friends, everything else is BONUS time!
A few weekends ago I went to an apple farm with my family.  I love seeing all of the beautiful gourds and pumpkins, and I have to share the picture above because the colors are just so "perty."

In the Fall, I always start my literature circle practice groups with Chris Van Allsburg's book:  The Stranger.  
photo courtesy of AMAZON.com

I know I have mentioned this book before.  If you haven't read it, you really must.  Van Allsburg is a genious with upper level picture books.  Last week we talked about story vocabulary.  I used Erin's (I'm Lovin' Lit) foldables and lessons from her Reading Literature Interactive Notebook.  You can read about it {HERE} in a little product swap we participated in.  We also talked about our jobs of Discussion Director, and Vocabulary Enricher.  

This week we are focusing on being an Illustrator and the Passage Master.  In my class, the Passage Master works as a summarizer for the novel section or short story that the group has read.  I used another foldable in our Interactive Notebook and made a Plot Summary.  

This is a great tool for teaching the highlights within the plot.  My students like putting the information into a form other than a traditional summarized paragraph, and they grab for their notebooks... which makes me 'Happy Happy Happy.'
Our last job is Making Connections.  Then we will move on to a series of Van Allsburg books to help us practice these jobs.  Finally we will begin our novel units.  I start with books that have a survival theme.  Usually Hatchet is part of this novel choice, and I have my better readers read this.  However, some of the fourth and fifth grade teachers have been choosing to read Hatchet with their classes, and all of my students have come to me this year having already read the book... many have read it TWICE.  So now I am hunting for a new book with a survival theme.  I would love a few suggestions if you have any!


  1. Thanks Michele for reminding me of the terrific book The Stranger. I love I'm Loving Lit's Interactive Notebooks too so it will a great addition to my lesson plans. The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle is a great class read. Both my boys and gals are begging for more reading everyday. We happen to have 70 copies for some reason in our book room, so that made it even better. Love your blog and ideas!
    Traveling Though Sixth

  2. Survival theme...what about My Side of the Mountain, or The Sign of the Beaver (although this one doesn't have as much survival in it.)

    Hunter's Teaching Tales
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  3. I absolutely adore Chris Van Allsburg's books, so happy there are so many teachers using his creative genius! Love your blog, always so helpful and inspiring.

  4. Wow!!! I like the notebook. It is really very nice creativity. Love your blog, always so inspiring.

    Kopi Luwak

  5. A great survival book is "bearstone"by Will Hobbs. It's about a boy lost in the forest and mountains. Very realistic and full of survival and a rescue mission.

  6. Are We There Yet?

    Just found your blog - love it! Fever 1793 is an awesome book and is historical fiction, which I love to bring into the classroom because most of my kids don't gravitate towards this genre. Also, it's not quite along the lines of Hatchet, but Holes by Louis Sachar is a great book and covers a different type of survival. My kids love this book so much. I use Erin's interactive notebooks, too. They're awesome!

  7. Among the Hidden is another survival type them book.


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