Friday, November 27, 2015

winter wonderland blog hop

Hello friends! Welcome to BigTime Literacy and the Reading in a Winter Wonderland Hop! I'm so excited to share with you on this annual tradition, and I hope you like what you find here from me!

Before we get to the good stuff, just a little bit of housekeeping for this link up... The Reading Crew and I decided not to present this as a hop, but as a closed link-up. At the bottom of this post, you can find the maps for both the K-2nd and 3rd-5th bloggers who are participating. That way, you can jump around from blog to blog however you'd like to.

We are giving away two collections of books! Each book that is featured on each blog is part of the collection. So, be sure to collect the mystery words that are listed on each bloggers' page in blue, so then you'll have the opportunity to enter to win the collections of books we're giving away!

In addition to featuring a great book for this time of year, we are also sharing freebies to use with it. Please note: my freebies will only be available for a limited time, so make sure to get a copy before they are changed to a paid product!

So without any further ado, let's get to it!
Enjoy the blog hop and have a wonderful holiday season!
The Legend of the Poinsettia

I have to come clean up front - I picked a great book - The Legend of the Poinsettia - a long time ago. I just love Tomie dePaola's books - the stories are great and I love the illustrations. When I was in the classroom, I used her Legend of the Bluebonnet as part of my Traditional Literature unit, which is what led me to her Legend of the Poinsettia. Well, working last minute like I usually do, I wasn't loving the text I chose - but only because the most obvious reason to use it is for teaching about the genre of Traditional Literature. Unfortunately, I waited too long to switch my text, so I'm delivering some great resources, but they are going to be bigger than the theme of this blog hop. I guess that's okay since you might not even teach a unit on Traditional Literature at this time of year, anyways!

About the book
This book tells the story of how the Poinsettia came to be. This Mexican legend explains how we all came to know this beautiful flower that adorns our homes at Christmastime. The main character, Lucida, and her mother are set to make the blanket for the Christ child, but then when Lucida's mother becomes ill, things don't go as planned. Lucida is left without a gift to give to baby Jesus. In a last minute attempt to bring something, anything, she grabs and arm full of weeds growing outside the church. In a Christmas miracle, they are transformed into the brilliant flowers we today call the Poinsettia.

Teaching with this text
This book would best be used as part of a larger unit on Traditional Literature. My idea would be to have groups of students study the various types of traditional literature: Fables, Fairy Tales, Legends, Myths, and Tall Tales. I would start by talking about the characteristics of all Traditional Literature: 

Then, together in groups, students would be given 3-5 books within that subset to read so they can construct their knowledge of TL. I've created this matrix for students to use as they are reading and studying their books:

I think a Matrix is a better version of a Venn Diagram. What's great about it is that kids compare and contrast within different characteristics, in this case, by characters, the setting, problem and solution, and another category that they can develop themselves. Then, after they complete all the similarities and differences (which Marzano cites as a high-yield strategy for learning) they can then think about generalizations they can make about that subset of TL.

I'm guessing that the research wouldn't end there - students could then go on to research online more books that could fit the genre and also check if their predictions about qualities of the genre are correct. Finally, I'm envisioning it ending with the groups teaching the rest of the class about their subset of TL.

My Freebie
You're going to love my freebie! It includes Traditional Literature Posters, a matrix that matches the posters, and also blackline masters of the matrix that are editable so you can modify them to meet your needs. Additionally, I've complied a brief bibliography of books that could be used to support this unit on Traditional Literature. Please note: this freebie will only be available for the weekend of November 27, 2015!

Well, that's all I have for you today! I hope you've found something helpful here at BigTime Literacy, and if you did, be sure to follow my blog! Don't forget about our giveaway! In case you missed it, my mystery word is poinsettia. You can enter it onto your sheet or into the Rafflecopter below. Good luck and happy holidays!

a Rafflecopter giveaway


  1. You have shared some great resources! I am excited to try them in my class!

  2. I love the design of your blog! It is beautiful. I like how you took the book and showed me how to use it in the broader scope of teaching literacy. Thanks for sharing!

  3. Great idea to use a matrix to compare multiple texts. I used to use this book a while back when teaching about Christmas in different cultures.

    Literacy Spark


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