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Friday, September 21, 2007

Happy Birthday Marilyn Singer - October 3!

Happy Birthday Marilyn Singer! Born October 3, 1948.

Marilyn Singer is an author of over 70 books for children and young adults. Her books cover many genres including poetry, picture books, non-fiction, fairy tales, fiction, and novels for kids and young adults. Therefore, there should be a book for everyone to enjoy this week!

One of my favorite books by Marilyn Singer gives an opportunity for students to learn about many different countries and locations around the world. On the Same Day in March: A Tour of the World's Weatheris a book that focuses on 17 locations around the world including India, Kenya, Antarctica, Paris, and Argentina. The book shines light on the fact that on the same day the weather conditions around the world can be vastly different. This exploration into weather and latitude is very well presented and therefore easily grasped by students.

I saw many opportunities for lessons with this one book, yet I only wanted to spend one week celebrating Marilyn Singer's birthday. I gave a thought to having the students write a multiple paragraph research report on the different countries mentioned in the book, or I even thought of a more interactive project like a diorama. However, I just didn't have the time, but I wish I would have. The illustrations and descriptions used in On the Same Day in March would have been a great springboard to some awesome dioramas. Unfortunately, I settled on gathering short summary paragraphs of all the locations in the book. Students chose one of the short paragraphs about a country or location that they wanted to read about. They were instructed to practice their paragraph all week for on Friday they were going to read their paragraph to the class. Additionally, they were asked to look for a book on their location during the weekly trip to the library.

We also read On the Same Day in March together as a class. During the reading we completed a giant web graphic organizer. In the center of our organizer was a picture of earth and the title of the book. Sprouting out from earth were pictures of all the locations mentioned in the book. As we read we found pictures and wrote words to describe the weather at that location described in the book. We used a computer and projector along with with the graphic organizing software tool, Inspiration. This visualization was very powerful when the book was completed. This project could also be completed with giant chart paper and markers.

Around this time in the school year we were also discussing our upcoming standardized testing. Two of the important concepts in 4th grade writing was summarizing and retelling. I was able to review these ideas by presenting the students with a simple book by Marilyn Singer titled Didi and Daddy on the Promenade. I had the students read the short story about a little girl's visit to the Brooklyn Heights Promenade with her father. I had the students retell what they read by recalling all the things that the pair saw and experienced. Then, I gave a students a short article that I had found on the history of the Brooklyn Heights Promenade. We then wrote a short summary of the article. The students were able to see the difference between a summary, a short writing that tells the main ideas or points and a retelling, a writing that shows all of what you remember about a story.

Marilyn Singer also wrote a great non-fiction book titled, A Pair of Wings. This book discusses the wings of many animals and their different uses and characteristics. I used this book for journal writing. I was getting bored with some of the topics I was coming up with for journal writing. I read this book to the students and we were able to write a some great paragraphs. The topic sentences we used were "Wings have many different uses," and "There are many different looking wings."

I didn't get a chance to use any of Marilyn Singer's poetry in my weekly celebration in the classroom. However, it is still worth noting for your celebration this week. She has some great poetry books. My favorite are Footprints on the Roof: Poems about Earth, How to Cross a Pond: Poems about Water and Central Heating: Poems about Fire and Warmth. The illustrations by Meilo So are unique and a perfect companion to her poems.

Don't forget to share your ideas from your own Marilyn Singer birthday celebrations by posting comments to this blog. I am sure there are some great ideas out there from teachers and homeschooling parents. Have a great week!

Click Here to read the 2010 Marilyn Singer Birthday Post.

Check Out Marilyn Singer's latest book Mirror, Mirror: A Book of Reversible Verse:

1.  Marilyn Singer's Website
2.  Interviews with Marilyn Singer

Post Updated: September 28, 2010

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