Charlotte’s Web, Stuart Little, and The Trumpet of the Swan are three of the most well-known and best-loved books ever written for children. No doubt many of you are familiar with some or all of these books. You may have had Stuart Little read to you when you were little and watched the movie of Charlotte’s Web more than once. Or you may have read all three books on your own. Those of you new to these books are in for a treat — they are truly wonderful stories.
A video about Charlotte’s Web featuring Ms. Edinger!
To begin you are going to take a look at two brief biographies of White — the sort that are on the flap or back of his books. You will use these as models to research and write something similar for one of your classmates.
A Scholarly Look at Charlotte’s Web
Reading or Rereading the Book
To begin you will be given your own copy of Charlotte’s Web to read. Some of you may already have read it or had it read to you while for others of you, this will be your first time. Either way, you are bound to enjoy reading it. You will be given a date to have the book finished and in school. Please keep in mind that we all read at different paces. Those of you who finish quickly do not need to make a big deal about this. And do not give away what happens to those still reading. We want this to be a great experience for all.
A Close Reading of The Book
When you are all done we will be doing something very special — learning how to do a scholarly close reading of the book. First Ms. Edinger will model how to do this and then each of you will prepare a chapter on your own. We will then do a series of seminar meeting where each of you will present your chapter findings.
You are going to write a blog post arguing one way or the other. Keep in mind that anyone in the school community can read this so make it as good as you can!
- On a sheet of notebook paper write at the top which opinion you are taking. (Either “It is a good adaptation” or “It is not a good adaptation.”)
- Then list the three reasons (selected from the lists above) you will be using to support this opinion.
- For each reason provide evidence from the book and/or movie.
- Have this checked by a teacher,
- Once your plan has been approved by a teacher get your laptop.
- Go to this blog post. (You should have the blog bookmarked so this step should be an easy one!)
- Open up a new tab. Go into gdocs, create a document called “Your Name’s Charlotte’s Web blog comment.”
- Share the doc with Ms. Edinger.
- Your comment will be a single paragraph. It will need to begin with a clear topic sentence, explaining what you are writing about and what your overall opinion is: is the movie a good adaptation or not?
- In the body of your paragraph give three reasons (each in a complete and separate sentence) to support your opinion. Push yourself to make these complex sentences. Along with each reason you MUST give evidence from the movie and book. Do NOT simply copy the reasons above as they are. Rework them so they are YOURs.
- End your paragraph with a concluding sentence that restates your opinion in a different and new way.
- Check to see that you have complete sentences and that they all make sense. Read them aloud to yourself quietly to be sure. Do they all present your ideas clearly?
- Check for spelling. You may use the spell check, your laptop dictionary (it is in applications), and the small ones we have in the classroom (in the red bin on top of the cubbies).
- Check for punctuation, especially commas and periods.
- Check for capitals, especially for character names, and sentence beginnings.
- Be sure to underline or italicize book and movie titles .
- When you are ready, have this checked by a teacher.
- Go to your blog.
- Create a new post.
- Cut and paste your paragraph into it.
- Publish it!
Stuart Little and Trumpet of the Swan
After reading one of these you will meet in small groups to create a document showing how the book you read is similar to Charlotte’s Web. Each group will be responsible for coming up with a list of similarities with quotes from the books themselves.
The E. B. White Box
As you now know there are many similarities between E.B. White’s children’s books and so you are now going to have fun (at least I hope so) making an E. B. White box. That is, a box that represents one of the themes of White’s children’s books, featuring the ones you read.
We will look at some of their work which I hope will inspire you as much as it did me. Ms. Edinger will show you a box she did with Carin to give you a sense of what she hope yours will be like.
- Life and death
Find one quote from Charlotte’s Web and one from the second E. B. White book you read, (and third if you did three) related to the theme of your box.
Once you select a theme, you should spend a few minutes sketching out your ideas for the box. Please show this to Ms. Edinger before starting your box. You can, of course, change your plan once you get started, but a simple plan is a good way to get started.
You will be making this box using collage. The materials for you are F&Gs, that is the galleys for picture books Ms. Edinger has. They have wonderful colors and objects and should be great fun for you to use. You may also want to use newspaper (as Ms. Edinger did). You will need to cut out these.
Once you have your cut-outs ready you can assemble them in the box. You will probably want to make more cut-outs as you go and may think of new and different ways to achieve the theme you have in mind. Be creative. Have fun!
If you look at these boxes from a couple of years ago you will see that each student wrote a paragraph with a title explaining the theme and what viewers saw in the box. We are going to ask you to do something similar in a google doc. Call it “Your-name White Wall Card” and share it with Ms. Edinger.
- Your Name
- One quote from Charlotte’s Web and one from the second E. B. White book you read, both related to the theme of your box.
- A Title- this can include your theme and the author’s name
- Books/characters that you focus on
- Description of your box as it shows the theme
- A good ending! This can include a fact about E.B. White that connects with your theme, something you liked about making the box, encouragement to read the books, compliments to E.B. White
- Is your writing complete? (Are there complete sentences, proper capitalization, punctuation?)
- Does your paragraph make sense? (beginning, middle, end)
- Will readers understand what the theme of your box is?
- Did you spell check?
Charlotte’s Web, page xxx
Trumpet of the Swan or Stuart Little, page xx