For decades I’ve been launching my 4th graders’ school year with an E. B. White author study. You can read more about it here and find the materials for the students here. As you will see there is close reading, passionate essay writing, and art. I’ll still be doing all of that this year, but I’ve added in something new that I’m very excited about — Melissa Sweet’s glorious Some Writer! The Story of E. B. White.
As the children read or reread Charlotte’s Web at home in preparation for our close reading, in school we read Some Writer! together. I gave each child a copy of the book and they followed along as I read aloud, stopping frequently for us to marvel at the art, the primary sources, and the information. At the end of each chapter the children spent five minutes going back through it, taking notes on what seemed most interesting in terms of their forthcoming work with Charlotte’s Web.
This week they will be working in table groups to pull out their most significant, important, and related notes and put them into a Padlet, a digital workspace. These will then become another source for them when they begin their close reading of one chapter of Charlotte’s Web. I’m so excited to see what they’ve come up with and how it informs their explorations.
I’ll be back to let you know how it goes!