22 March 2016
Gooney Bird Greene - Book Review and Lesson Ideas!
Hello, elementary writing teachers! This post is for YOU! I have THE book for you! Do you know Gooney Bird Greene? The girl with the "absolutely true stories"? The girl who wears wildly mismatched clothes or even pajamas to school each day? If you don't know Gooney Bird, you must meet her!
Lois Lowry, acclaimed author of The Giver, Number the Stars, and Anastasia Krupnik, has written the best book for blossoming writers. Gooney Bird Greene is a master storyteller...yet she is only in 2nd grade! Her stories are always wild and unbelievable...yet somehow "absolutely true", as she always assures her teacher and classmates.
This short novel is a great read-aloud for grades 2-5. Your students will be completely hooked by Gooney Bird's stories and will beg you to keep reading. Better yet, Gooney Bird's stories make for great creative writing brainstorming sessions! You can encourage kids to think of stories they can write about their own lives, but with a twist. Gooney Bird is the master of "hooks"...and this is something I know most kids struggle with (even my current 8th graders!) I've had lots of success using this book in my upper elementary classrooms at the beginning of the year to launch my writer's workshop!
And guess what? This is not the only Gooney Bird book! You can find Gooney Bird writing poetry -all types!- in Gooney Bird is So Absurd. I LOVED reading this to my class during April because it's Poetry Month! After Gooney introduced a style of poetry, I'd have my students write a poem, just like Gooney Bird. We invited parents in to have a poetry slam at the end of the month, too!
In Gooney the Fabulous, Gooney Bird introduces her classmates to fables. When I taught 3rd grade, one of our district-mandated writing assessments was for kids to write a fable. This book was the PERFECT read-aloud before we began writing!
Gooney Bird on the Map has Gooney and the rest of Mrs. Pidgeon's class learning about U.S. geography, as well as celebrating Valentine's Day and President's Day. This one is great to read in February or whenever you are teaching U.S. geography. My students and I had fun finding cities on a giant map and telling stories about vacations we've been on.
I'm not kidding...you can literally use a Gooney Bird Greene book with just about any unit you are teaching! Your students will never tire of Gooney Bird...I promise! She is one of my all-time favorite literary characters. Happy reading!