Thursday, July 12, 2012

A Fiction Safari and Using RAFT for Writing

So for my Thrilled with Science Thursday for the next couple weeks I am looking for books that talk about animals or habitats of different parts of the world or different biomes.  These topics complement nicely with covering natural resources and geography in Social Studies.

This week I came across several picture books about animals in Africa.  This wasn't really what I was searching for, but all 3 of them caught my eye so I picked them up.

1) Little Elephant's Trunk by Hazel Lincoln
The AR level for this book is 3.3.  This is a cute story about a baby elephant observing the other young animals.  He wonders about how his trunk works and how he does different things.  This would be a great story to talk about how baby animals grow and learn.  It also could be used to make connections for students about how they learned to do things.  The illustations are very captivating.  This would be a great story to discuss visualizing, making connections, and even inferring what it would be like to be the baby elephant.

2) Way Far Away on a Wild Safari by Jan Peck
The AR level on this book is 1.6. This book has a lot of rhyme and has a very playful spirit.  The book is more about a young boy's imagination about going on a safari.  You could definitely pair it with something more serious or use it to discuss how we use our imagination. I gather this is part of a larger series of similar books.

3) What the Animals were Waiting For by Jonathan London and Paul Morin
The AR level on this book is 2.5. This book was very beautiful.  It is written from the point of view of a grandmother from the Maasai tribe telling a grandchild what the animals are waiting form.  They are waiting for the rain.  The descriptions read very poetically.  This would be a wonderful book for discussing language.  You also can perceive such a sense of culture from the story.  You could easily use this story to infer about the Maasai culture or about the animals. 

I also haven't really shared a freebie since last week, so I wanted to share something with you.  My brain is thinking about writing since I am having my writing giveaway right now. (Don't forget to enter to win up to $15 of my writing products at my TpT store.)  One of my favorite strategies for writing especially with content areas is RAFT.  For any of the stories above, you could use RAFT to get kids thinking in a new way.  They could write from the young elephant's point of view, the elephant's trunk, the other animals watching the young elephant, the young child listening to the grandmother, etc.  Format could be a speech, letter, story, poem, etc.  I have created a simple little web that students could use to do their pre-writing, but before making their web they should think about the role, audience, format, and topic of their writing.  I love RAFT because it inspires creativity, critical thinking, and allows for differentiation.

Freebie Fridays

Don't forget about my Dealing with Divas linky either.  Sometimes we all need a little advice on how to deal with the drama in our lives or classroom.

Just for fun, I also am linking up with the blog hop I saw at The Teaching Thief that is being hosted by Tales from a 4th (and 5th) grade teacher. I look forward to checking out some new blogs.
Planning With Raft


  1. Hi April! Thanks for stopping by at my blog! I love yours as well! I'm now your newest follower :) Can't wait to share ideas with you!

    Little Lovely Leaders

  2. Those look like great book selections. I love that you paired them with science!! Thanks for linking up again this week.

    The Teaching Thief


Pin It button on image hover