Monday, August 27, 2007

Happy Birthday John Scieszka - September 8!

Happy Birthday Jon Scieszka! Born September 8, 1954.

Jon Scieszka's bizarre books provide a great opportunity to teach comparing and contrasting. In the classroom I had my students explore comparing and contrasting with books likeThe True Story of the Three Little Pigs and The Stinky Cheese Man and Other Fairly Stupid Tales.
A classic way to have children compare and contrast is through the use of a venn-diagram. This simple graphic organizer, made with two overlapping circles, allows children to write down characteristics that are different and similar about two items. The overlapping area of the circles is where children will write characteristics that are the same. The outlying area is where children write characteristics that are unique to the item.

I can remember having children read a traditional Three Little Pigs story and then read Jon Scieszka's The True Story of the Three Little Pigs. After reading both stories, we labeled one circle of the Venn Diagram, "Three Little Pigs" and labeled the other circle, "True Story". Children are easily able to see the similarities and differences between the two stories. Their similarities are usually simple and low in number, i.e. Three Pigs, Wolf, Housing Materials. The differences usually get a little more plentiful, i.e. Wolf asking for sugar, Wolf goes to jail, Sneezing, newspaper story, etc.

This activity can also be accomplished with traditional fairy tales and Jon Scieszka's The Stinky Cheese Man and Other Fairly Stupid Tales. This book is full of "fairly stupid tales" like the Princess and the Bowling Ball (to be compared and contrasted with The Princess and the Pea) and The Stinky Cheese Man (to be compared and contrasted with The Gingerbread Man). It should be noted that Lane Smith received a Caldecott Honor Medal for illustrating The Stinky Cheese Man and Other Fairly Stupid Tales.

I love incorporating different books and stories together. It gives a purpose to reading many short stories in one sitting. Famous stories that many children overlook these days like Sleeping Beauty, Snow White, Hansel and Gretel, and Cinderella are referenced in The Frog Prince Continued. Also, fables are the focus of Jon Scieszka's Squids Will Be Squids. The concept of morals can be taught to children using traditional fables and the new "beastly fables" from Mr. Scieszka's wacky point of view.

Click Here to See the latest Jon Scieszka Birthday Post from Happy Birthday Author from 2010.

Links:
1. Jon Scieszka has his own website to inspire boys to read: www.guysread.com.
2. Reading Rockets Video Interview of Jon Scieszka.
3. You Tube Video - Princess and Bowling Ball
4. Reading Rockets Video Interview of Lane Smith, illustrator of many Jon Scieszka books.
5. Jon Scieska's website Jon Scieszka Worldwide.
6. Baloney Henry P. (a book by Jon Scieszka) Website.
7.  Reading Rainbow "Math Curse" Complete Episode - Vimeo 

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