Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Review: It's Snowing!

It's official! I have finally finished this semester of Grad School! I did presentations for Science Methods & Social Studies Methods last week. I turned in three pretty substantial papers for Reading Methods yesterday and I took my Math Methods final last night! Oh my gosh! I'm actually done with the semester!!!!

With all this free time.. (what?! FREE TIME?!) I decided I will start a Christmas Book Review section. Sort of like The Twelve Days of Christmas, but since I'm seven days away and I only have ten Christmas books.. It'll be a Seven-Ten Days of Christmas: Christmas Book Reviews! This time next year I will hopefully be needing to be aware of all the great holiday books to read with my future students. :)

Day 1!

It's Snowing! by Gail Gibbons

I bought this book when my Reading Methods' professor gave us Scholastic Order Forms that I haven't seen since probably middle school. It was in a Holiday pack and I am so happy I bought it!

This informational, nonfiction picturebook is full of awesome facts about snow! The book is written as sort of a story, but as it progresses, new vocabulary and whatnot are introduced. There are diagrams of the snow/water cycle. There are pages that just show different kinds of snowflakes that we might see. There is information about the varying levels of snow storm. There is information about how to stay warm outside and fun things we do in the snow. The book seamlessly weaves all of this information about snow into a cute story about snow.

The book introduces map skills, briefly, when it shows a map of North America and places where it snows is white, places where it doesn't really know is green. It also goes on to show snowy places on each continent. However, on the map of the world, it does not reference where the places the author selected to include are located.

Gail Gibbons author study from A Place Called Kindergarten
When new vocabulary is introduced, it is written in all capital letters with the definition below it. I think that is helpful to make the new snow words stand out. The book is structured so that there are headings and subheadings, etc. but I don't think this would be the ideal book to discuss those things with because the headings are above a piece of dripping ice, like an underline that is melting ice... if that makes sense. I just think that it gets lost in the illustrations and might be hard for students to differentiate. I've looked at this book multiple times already and I just noticed it, so I think it might not be as noticeable for children.

At the end of the book, there is a page about being prepared if a snowstorm is coming. I think that's great so that students will feel prepared if anything was to happen because of the snow. Since it is an informational book, Gail Gibbons provides resources for where you can find more information about snow. On that page there is also fun facts about snow that are pretty interesting.

Gail Gibbons is the author and illustrator of this book. She has written many, many nonfiction books for children during her career and is considered "A Master of Children's Non-Fiction" and "America's Leading Non-Fiction Author" (according to her website). The list of books she has published is extensive and covers a huge range of topics. For my Children's Literature class this summer, I watched the video from Reading Rockets below when we discussed nonfiction books. It is really interesting to hear how she decides what to write about and it's exciting for children to actually see and hear an author speak.

There are so many things in this book I had no idea about! I think kids would really enjoy this book. I know I did!

Here's a cool snowflake activity from KidsBooks. The picture of many of Gail Gibbons books on the bookshelf is from A Place Called Kindergarten where the teacher in the class did an author study on her books. This just shows how even in kindergarten we can do author studies with our students! Very cool project!

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