If you’ve ever looked forward to a special day with your father, this story will bring back the thrill that only a young child knows. Written in the voice of a girl who is going “owling” with her father late one night, the beautiful pictures and language in this story put you into the forest as you hear your “feet crunch over the crisp snow” with “heat in your mouth from all the words that are not spoken”. You’ll see the “black shadows stain the white snow”, and “feel someone’s icy palm run down (your) back” as you listen for the whoo-whoo-who-who-who-whoooo under an owl moon.
~Teacher Stuff blog review written by Emily Stout
FREEBIE: You can download some lesson resources for this book by clicking here:
- “Visualizing with 5 Senses” cards (Owl Moon)
- Printable directions for “Round Table Consensus” with Owl Moon (color)
- Printable directions for “Jot Thoughts Poem” with Owl Moon (color)
by Emily Stout
- Comprehension strategy: Visualizing
- Author as Mentor: write using 5 senses
1. Read the story Owl Moon to your class. I recorded myself reading this book ahead of time, and I used sound effects to help the students visualize the story better. For example, the story says, “A farm dog answered the train, and then a second dog joined in.” (Click the sentence and download “Owl Moon snippet” to hear a part of the recording.) I used sound effects to give the story the same eerie feeling of a forest late at night. Soundbible.com has a great collection of free sound effects. (I would share my recording with you, but I believe that would break copyright laws.) If you have older students, you can let them make a recording of the book using sound effects. (I recommend Garage Band–it is the easiest way for you or your students to record books.)
2. This story is full of beautiful language that paints a picture in your mind. Use ‘Round Table Consensus‘ (See Kagan Structures below) to sort the words and phrases from this story into 5 senses. The “Visualizing with 5 Senses” cards (print from link above) has sentences and phrases from the story your students can use.
3. Once your students have spent time sorting the language used in Owl Moon, they can use the author, Jane Yolen, as a mentor to write their own poem focusing on the strategy of visualizing. Have students write about a time that they went camping, swimming, or did something outside. Have each team agree on an outdoor event to write about, then use the structure “Jot Thoughts” (see Kagan Structures below) to help students brainstorm good visualizing words and phrases to put in their poem. First have students use their sticky notes from “Jot Thoughts” to create a team poem, then have students write their own individual poem.
- Kagan Structures
– Round Table Consensus:
1. Each team needs a “Visulizing with 5 Senses” sorting mat and Owl Moon cards.
2. The first person takes one card, reads it aloud, and decides where it goes on the sorting mat.
3. Teammates show a thumbs-up or thumbs-down to show if they agree or disagree. If there are any thumbs-down, the team needs to discuss the answer. If the team cannot agree, everyone raises a hand so the teacher can help.
4. When the team agrees on the answer, it is the next person’s turn to draw a card.
-Jot Thoughts Poem:
1. Each team needs sticky notes for each person.
2. As a team, decide which topic you are going to focus on i.e. camping, swimming, etc.
3. When the teacher starts the timer, write as many visualizing sentences or phrases as your can about your topic. Write one phrase or sentence for each sticky note. Try to cover the table with your ideas. Use all 5 senses.
4. When your time is up, use the ‘Round Robin’ structure to read all the ideas your team came up with.
5. Arrange your sentences in an order that sounds pleasing.
stars sparkling in the sky.
The hot dry smoke
burns my eyes when I
squeeze them shut.
Marshmallows puff out
as the orange fire dances under them
turning their fat white
The spongy center doesn’t
always slide off the stick
when I pull the soft, gooey filling
into my mouth. Yum!
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