You guys! You know how I wrote a blog post all about our new (I think this is the third year now, but it still feels new) Benchmark Advance Language Arts curriculum? It’s a good read if you like to watch me riding the struggle bus. 😂
Well, when we were in the process of getting our new curriculum (boxes upon boxes upon boxes of stuff), we had to turn in our old Houghton Mifflin stuff.
And, after using HM for about 14 years, you might say I was attached to some of it. Not all of it. But some of it.
And one thing I accidentally forgot to turn in was a big book. Or two. Or four.
I mean, they’re BIG. So they’re easy to overlook, right? 😉
So this week, I took out TEN DOGS IN THE WINDOW (from our old curriculum) and, in my teeny tiny opinion, it is one of THE BEST books for teaching students how to use picture clues to make predictions.
I can’t even explain to you how engaged students are when I read this book. EVERY SINGLE YEAR. EVERY SINGLE GROUP. EVERY SINGLE TIME.
Before I read the book, I talk about what it actually means to make a prediction. I show my kids our Predict Poster and talk about how when we predict, we make a guess based on clues in the picture or text.
Then we practice looking into our crystal balls, and using a wizard-like voice to say the words “I Predict” just so that we get used to the academic vocabulary. But we go back and forth in the beginning saying “I Predict” and “I Guess” so my kids understand that predict means make a guess.
Then I take out the book.
And I say we are going to practice making predictions today using this book. Remember, we make a GOOD guess based on the pictures and the text.
I follow this up with: Because this title says TEN DOGS IN THE WINDOW, would it be a GOOD prediction to say this will be about a whale in the ocean and a fisherman?
Well, that just gets them every time.
Which means I have to follow that up with something even funnier.
Would it be a good prediction to say this story will be about a basketball player who loses one shoe and walks around with one foot in a shoe and the other in a stinky smelly sock?
I mean. This is just who I am as a teacher. Come on in and sit down, and wait a really long time for me to get to the meat of the lesson.
Finally, I’ll say Would it be a good prediction to say that this book will be about ten dogs in a pet shop?
And my kids yell yes, and one or two might even say CAN WE PLEASE READ THE STORY NOW?
Well . . . because I had no idea that I was even going to blog about this lesson, I didn’t take any pictures of the actual pages so you’ll just have to trust me on the rest of this.
The first page has no words whatsoever at all.
Which is absolutely perfect for reviewing setting which is what we did. I mean, I just use every opportunity presented to me, don’t ya think?
Every single page from here on out shows a character with the words “Look, someone is coming . . . ” and that character is going to pick out a dog from the pet shop.
You have to turn the page to see which dog the character will pick.
TALK ABOUT ENGAGEMENT.
After the first couple of pages, when the kids understand that the character and the dog mirror each other (the man with the long, gray, shaggy beard and the shaggy dog), or go together (fireman and Dalmatian), the kids make a prediction while UP ON THEIR KNEES, SHOUTING, POINTING, TALKING TO THEIR FRIENDS, ETC.
And then when you turn the page, they yell YES! Or AWWW! Because their prediction was either correct or it wasn’t. Which also lends itself to . . . it’s okay if your prediction was wrong (although most kids will not admit to being wrong as you probably already know).
But let me tell you.
Before and after you turn that page . . .
It’s just amazing.
I know it could be annoying because you might want them to raise their hands quietly and sit like little angels, but I am all about the excitement over a book.
I AM HERE FOR IT.
Each page repeats so I use my big pointer and ask the kids to help me read, too.
“8 dogs in the window for the whole wide world to see. Look, someone is coming . . . “
Then you turn the page and it says “You’re the perfect dog for me.”
It’s a rhyming book, too!
And it’s subtraction!
AND . . . because the character and the dog go together, you can also talk about adjectives! We did that the second time we read it because . . . trust me, even though they know who gets which dog, they will still scream and shout, and beg you to read it again and again.
I’m telling you . . . this book is AWESOME.
Also, there is a little twist at the end with only one dog left in the window and no one is coming . . .
AND THEN . . . after all of the dogs are taken, and the window is empty, you can ask the kids to make a prediction about what will happen next.
That was a super good discussion in our class. Lots of students predicted that the pet shop owner would fill it back up with more dogs, but one or two predicted he would fill it up with cats.
And when you turn to the last page, which has no words . . . well, I’ll let you read the book to find out. 😉
GET THIS BOOK. Or, if you have it, grab it and read it next week. Trust me – you’ll be happy you did!