Monday, September 2, 2013

Author Study: Kevin Henkes

Happy Labor Day everyone! Hope you had a relaxing and wonderful long weekend! I sure did!

Last week we finished up our month long study of books by Kevin Henkes. The kids absolutely loved reading his books. Not only did we read the books but we acted them out, discussed them and wrote about them. We used activities from my author study unit. Here are the amazing books we looked at this past month:

Every other day I would read a new book and then we would discuss our connections, observations and wonderings. I was just amazed at the depth of my kids connections as we read more and more of his books. I kept track of what we shared on this chart:

The next day, I would re-read parts of the book and the kids would act them out either by making a frozen scene (re-enact a scene from the book without moving or sounds) or acting out the story with only movements (no sounds). 

I would also give students the chance to reflect on the book in their own journals and complete some other activities such a character webs or venn diagrams. Here are some examples: 

(Chrysanthemum's friends were teasing her and her music teacher said her name is nice.)

(I liked Jessica because I have an imaginary friend too.)

(She worries too much. Worry, worry, worry.) 

(Owen is a boy. He loves his blanket. / They both cried. / Wemberly is a girl. She loves her bunny.)

(When Lilly scared the bullies away.) 

(I like her purse.) 

(She was at school. / They both had Lilly. / She was at a wedding.)

(Do not pretend to eat our eyeballs. OK and you are the bravest in the world. And her little sister said, "That scares me!")

(My favorite character is Julius.)

(He was sad. He cried. He toasted marshmallows.) 

This past week we have been talking about our favorite books and characters. We made a class book where we wrote about our favorite characters: 

(Lilly - my sister is Lilly and she is silly like me.)

(Jessica - there was a real Jessica)

(Lilly - she had a purple purse.)

(Little White Rabbit - he has a good imagination.)

We also spent the last week writing like Kevin Henkes. I gave the kids a blank book and allowed them to come up with their own stories that were inspired by Kevin Henkes. I gave them three choices:

1. Rewrite one of his books (change the story)
2. Write a sequel (add on to the story)
3. Make up their own story (use some of his ideas)

I was amazed at how creative the kids were! I had several kids re-write his stories by changing something. For example I had Lilly and the Cowgirl Hat, Lilly and the Pink Plastic Purse, and Shelia the Brave Does Whatever She Wants. I had a few kids write sequels to his stories such as Owen 2 and Lilly's Big Party. I also had several kids make up their own stories. One student wrote about a bat who got lost (like Sheila Rae the Brave) and he titled his story The Case of the Missing Bat. Another student wrote about two mice who wanted the same tiara and he titled his story The Diamond Tiara. 

Finally, I also had my best friend come in and read Owen to my students in Spanish. My goal is to read at least one book by each author the month in Spanish.  The kids loved listening to Sarah and since we had read Owen several times in English, they were able to understand what was happening. 

If you liked these activities, please check out my author study unit on TpT! It is a generic version so you can use it with any author of your choice!  Click on the picture below to check it out! 

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