Monday, June 20, 2011

Diary of a (Fill in the Blank) Book Project

When I saw today's link at TBA I had to share my favorite project! I just added this file to the Charlotte's Web pack I've been working on. It'll be available in my TPT store soon.

Have you read the Diary of a _____ books by Doreen Cronin? So much fun.

There are diaries for a worm, a fly and a spider. Each is more awesome than the last. T
hey are written in the form of a diary, are witty and have fun illustrations and quick one-liners.

I love them. Kids always love them.

One of them mentions that a worms head looks just like it's butt. What kid isn't going to love that?

A few years back, I happened to be reading Charlotte's Web to the class as my chapter book read aloud and broke these fun titles out during our writing block as a model of organization and voice from six traits.

Ever have one of those light bulb moments? You know, the kind where you scrap your plans and go with something way better that "just came to you?"

That's when "The Diary of a Pig" was born. We used Cronin's books as a model/inspiration and composed our own version based on the events in Charlotte's Web.
We discussed 1st person vs 3rd person.

We talked about style. We chatted about the important parts that would be important to include. Not only is it fun and creative, but it is a fabulous way to check a child's level of comprehension on a text.

After reading a chapter (or chapters in some cases), I asked the class to compose a diary entry.

While the book doesn't specify dates, we used context clues to form a timeline and thus "date" our entries (Wilbur being a spring pig, Fern being in school, the crickets signaling summer, etc).

They were asked to include some words that they considered to be "key vocabulary."

The cover was designed to look like Cronin's. We observed how each of her covers had a white background and each had a pencil as part of the illustration. They needed to do the same.

After all of the books were completed, we made them available in the class library for a bit. They took a lot of pride in this activity.

You could easily do this with other books as well.

My class just wrote "Diary of a Crayfish" to go with our science unit. Some of my favorite excerpts:

-Bummer! All this time I've been thinking I'm a mermaid. Some kid just told me that is actually called a tail flap."

-Arrived at a school today via the UPS truck. I had been in a small box with others of my kind. My carapace hurts.

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  1. Great idea! I love Doreen Cronin's books! Such a great author. Thanks for sharing.

  2. I had rememebered your original post and did this project after state testing. My kids loved it! I had to modify it because of time and do a class book instead of individual ones. I plan on doing this again next year.

  3. Super cute idea! I agree with Marlene, I can totally see my first graders doing this as a class!

  4. I love this! Thanks for sharing!

  5. I love this idea! I can't WAIT to do it next year. Thanks so much! :)

    Mrs. Thompson

    Adventures in Teaching

  6. I love this. I plan to read Charlotte's Web with my 2nd graders this coming year and this will be something fun to do with them :)

  7. Absolutely LOVE this idea. Where can I get a copy of this? I tried look on TPT and I could not find it. CCarlsen.

  8. We have a teacher free-store for low income schools and they had blank books in the shape of a pig. Five years ago, my students did the same thing as yours: created Diary of a Pig books. It was a great way to help the kids summarize Charlotte's Web and they loved writing in the pig-shaped book.

  9. I did this very same project when we studied crayfish in science.


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