Unpack your scarves and boots… winter is fast-approaching! To help you prepare for the long winter season, I’m sharing a wonderful winter mentor text and resource to use with your students this snowy season.
Last November, I had the privilege of attending the NYS Reading Association conference where Salina Yoon was presented with the 2014 Charlotte Award for her book Penguin and Pinecone. She talked about her inspiration for writing this beautiful book and the message about friendship she hoped to share with her readers. It was very inspiring to listen to her speak and share her story, and I just knew I needed to share this story with YOU!
“When penguin finds a lost pinecone one day, an unlikely friendship blooms.”
In the heart-warming story, Penguin and Pinecone, a little penguin becomes friends with a pinecone; however, he finds out that his friend pinecone can’t live in the snow, so he takes the pinecone back to his home in woods with the hope of being reunited again. Later, he visits his friend pinecone in the woods and discovers that “love only grows over time.” (Read the full summary at www.salinayoon.com)
So how do I use this story in my classroom? Well… I actually use this grades 2-5 with all the students I work with, since it’s a great mentor text for all ages, but for this specific lesson, I used it to teach author’s message to my RTI 2nd & 3rd graders.
First, to get my students thinking about the story, I show them the book trailer created by Salina Yoon.
I have them activate their schema, thinking about what friendship means, and then I ask them to think deeply about why this book is labeled as “a friendship story.” I share that friendship and love are the two themes of the story, and I ask the students to make predictions about what the author’s message might be (connected to themes). Students record their predictions on a sticky note to revisit after we finish reading.
NOTE: If your students need a review of what “author’s message” is, you may wish to use the poster below (it’s a forever freebie!) or create an anchor chart for your classroom.
With their individual predictions in mind, students now have a personal purpose for reading — to see if their author message predictions are correct!
For my 2nd and 3rd grade groups, I read the story aloud to the students. In my small groups, the students follow along in their copies of the text. (NOTE: You could easily share it as a read aloud on your reading rug, or even using a projector screen using an AverMedia player with your whole class.)
After reading the story, we talk about the story events and complete a shared graphic organizer for author message. Students hunt for text-evidence to support their understanding of the author’s message (CCSS RL2.1, RL3.1). They use this evidence in their written responses and visualizations.
There are many discussion questions connected to theme and author’s message you can use during your instruction. These can also be used as writing prompts.
Possible Discussion Questions:
- What is the author’s message for FRIENDSHIP? (How do you know?)
- What is the author’s message for LOVE? (How do you know?)
- What does Penguin learn about friendship and love from his friendship with Pinecone?
- What did YOU learn from the story about Penguin and Pinecone?
- What evidence from the text supports the author’s message that “Love only grows over time”?
- What evidence from the text supports the author’s message that “Friendship lasts forever, even if you’re miles apart”?
- Why do you think the author chose these themes for her book?
- Why do you think the author chose these specific messages for her book?
Download This Resource
Would you like try out this resource in your classroom? Check it out here or by clicking the cover image below. You can use this resource as a shared lesson, similar to how I explained it above, to model author’s message using a think-aloud process. You can also use it for students to apply their knowledge of the skills independently.
(NOTE: This resource was a limited time free resource from 11/27/15 – 12/4/15 as part of a blog hop. It has since returned to being a paid resource in my TpT store.)
There are SO many lesson extensions for Penguin and Pinecone. I could make it a blog post in itself, but below are a few resources and ideas for you to try out and explore for yourself!
Salina Yoon shares a wonderful CCSS-aligned educator’s guide on her website to use with your students. This resource (created by www.teachingseasons.com) includes text-based activities for sensory language, making predictions, compare/contrast, sequence of events, and author’s message. You can download it for FREE here!
Apparently, penguin has his own blog! It’s a cute photo journal from penguin’s point of view, sharing what he’s been up to. It hasn’t been updated since 2013, though, so this could be a fun writing extension activity to use with your students. Students have to think beyond the text to come up with what they think penguin is doing now in 2015. Have students create a picture/photo journal, or even their own blog from penguin’s point of view. As an extension to the mentor text lesson, students could try to incorporate their own “author’s message” into their journal/blog entries. (They could use one of the penguin crafts below to document their penguin’s journey in photos!)
- Pinecone Penguins (from Martha Stewart)
- Thumbprint Penguin Art (from The Preschool Toolbox Blog)
- Penguin Water Bottles (from Scholastic)
The author created three coloring pages you can use for your K-2 fast finishers. Check them out here!
I came across a wonderful interview on the Charlotte Award blog that I thought would be fun to share with students. It could lead nicely into an author study, after using it as a mentor text. Students can even compare/contrast the author’s messages in each book!
ADDITIONAL BOOKS IN THE PENGUIN SERIES:
Check out the other books in Salina Yoon’s series:
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NOTE: This blog post was originally part of a blog hop sponsored by The Reading Crew. We divided our blog posts into primary and upper elementary link-ups. Explore the category that is most appropriate for the grade you teach, or check out both if you wish. Each blog post will feature a mentor text along with a corresponding skill freebie to use with the book.