A Journal for Corduroy: Responding to Literature
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This lesson provides a model of reflection for students as they listen to stories, begin to read stories, and develop their own written stories. The lesson can be used with any story; however in this case, the story of Corduroy allows for a personal connection by having students interact with a stuffed bear and write about their own adventures with Corduroy. Students listen to A Pocket for Corduroy and three other Corduroy stories and discuss the characters and plots. A letter to parents introduces a follow-up writing activity, in which a stuffed classroom "Corduroy" goes home with a different student each night. With parents' help, students write and illustrate a two- to three-sentence adventure story about Corduroy's stay with them, and share their stories with the class.
- A Pocket for Corduroy by Don Freeman (Penguin Putnam):Begin the lesson by reading aloud A Pocket for Corduroy or another of the Corduroy books. Ask questions while reading, and use the two handouts below to model how to choose a favorite part of the story and a favorite character.
- Corduroy Favorites handout: This handout helps students choose their favorite part of a Corduroy story and explain why.
- Corduroy Characters handout: This handout helps students choose their favorite character in a Corduroy story and explain why.
From Theory to Practice
- Literature response journals can help children to think about and respond to literature in new ways, thus guiding them to a deeper understanding of the communication of ideas through writing.
- Teacher instruction shifts in response to students' developing capabilities and peers can influence the learning experience by sharing personal responses to literature.
- Encourage children to trust their own voices and express their thoughts clearly in writing.
Common Core Standards
This resource has been aligned to the Common Core State Standards for states in which they have been adopted. If a state does not appear in the drop-down, CCSS alignments are forthcoming.
This lesson has been aligned to standards in the following states. If a state does not appear in the drop-down, standard alignments are not currently available for that state.
NCTE/IRA National Standards for the English Language Arts
- 4. Students adjust their use of spoken, written, and visual language (e.g., conventions, style, vocabulary) to communicate effectively with a variety of audiences and for different purposes.
- 5. Students employ a wide range of strategies as they write and use different writing process elements appropriately to communicate with different audiences for a variety of purposes.
- 11. Students participate as knowledgeable, reflective, creative, and critical members of a variety of literacy communities.
- 12. Students use spoken, written, and visual language to accomplish their own purposes (e.g., for learning, enjoyment, persuasion, and the exchange of information).
Materials and Technology
- A Pocket for Corduroy by Don Freeman (Penguin Putnam), and a selection of other Corduroy titles
- Backpack or canvas bag to hold the stuffed bear
- Folder to take home assignment including writing paper
- Stuffed bear resembling Corduroy
- Computer with word processing software and printing capability
- Gather the Corduroy books that you will be using for this lesson, along with a stuffed bear to use when students are ready to begin writing their own adventure story.
- For your reference, a sample integrated unit using the Corduroy books can be found on the website, Children's Literature Across the Curriculum Ideas: Corduroy.
- Read the Don Freeman biography to learn more about the author of the Corduroy books.
- Listen to a story and respond orally and in writing
- Develop an adventure story using the Corduroy character
- Review other books by the same author and discuss them in class
Instruction & Activities
- Begin by reading A Pocket for Corduroy. While reading, ask questions such as:
- Reread the story the next day and distribute the Corduroy Characters handout for modeling new questions and answers.
- For the next three days read a different Corduroy book and discuss it in class. The same handouts can be used for each book. To further engage students, you may ask them which Corduroy story they would like you to read on each day.
- Tell students that they will each be taking Corduroy home for one night. You will be the first one to take Corduroy home and write an adventure story. The next day, share your story and drawing with the class as a model.
- Establish a schedule for each child to take the bear home with a folder of writing paper. The folder should also contain a letter explaining the project to parents. A sample letter is provided:
During the day Corduroy lives in our classroom. Each night he travels home with a different student for a new adventure. On the piece of paper provided, please help your child write a two- to three-sentence adventure story about Corduroy's stay at your home. Your child can also draw a picture to illustrate the story.
Please have Corduroy and his adventure return to class tomorrow. After your child shares his or her adventure and drawing with the class, we will work together on creating a class book including all of Corduroy's adventures. Thank you and have fun with Corduroy and your child!
Begin each day by having the child tell or read his or her story about Corduroy's adventure. During this activity, have students sit in a circle. This will minimize any anxiety over speaking in front of the class. After the child shares his or her story, ask questions such as:
What would you do if you were Corduroy?
What did Corduroy think?
Model how dialogue can be used in the story to enable Corduroy to speak and interact.
What do you think will happen next?
Why did the little girl look for Corduroy?
Who was Corduroy?
How did the little girl feel?
How would you feel?
Would you do the same thing? Why?
After reading and discussing the story together, distribute the Corduroy Favorites handout and model how the sentences can be completed. Ask students to complete the handout. Then invite students to share the parts they liked in the story, the reasons why they liked those parts, and their drawings.
- E-mail other classes also participating in this activity and ask about what Corduroy is doing in their class.
- Enlist the help of older students to work with younger students who may need help in reflecting and writing.
- Make a class book of students' adventures with Corduroy. Use a word processor to type each story and then donate the book to the school library.
- Use the lesson Word Wizards: Students Making Words and the interactive Word Wizard to engage students in a hands-on word study activity related to the story of Corduroy.
Student Assessment / Reflections
- Review student journals
- Evaluate students' contributions to the classroom book
- Observe while students discuss the stories they have written
- Use a rubric or ask students to assess their own accomplishments during the lesson by answering "yes" or "no" to the following statements:
1. I drew a picture of Corduroy's adventure at my house
____ Yes _____ No
2. I have 2 or more sentences about what Corduroy did at my house.
____ Yes _____ No
3. I rewrote my Corduroy adventure on the computer.
____ Yes _____ No
4. My Corduroy adventure is in the class book.
____ Yes _____ No