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Thursday, December 14, 2017


This post from Carolyn Kisloski is a reminder that there's nothing that can beat a GOOD book!  Talk about engaging children!!!

I wanted to share this wonderful book with you. I love discovering a book that I can use so many different ways for teaching.

Who Will Guide My Sleigh Tonight?, by Jerry Pallotta and illustrated by David Biedrzycki, is one of those books. We used it for predicting, inferring, using important details that add to the story, and, of course, for having fun!


The illustrations in the book lend itself to so many great teaching points. We have been working on adding specific details to the books we write during Writer's Workshop.

Sometimes students spend as much time as they can get away with coloring a sky or grass- or other random parts of their picture. Many times this illustrating is to avoid the writing part, and these random additions to their illustrations don't add to or help with their story.

Our goal is to have the children think about their illustrations and add important, purposeful details that add to the story.

This illustration from the book was a perfect example of an important detail. We talked about how we could tell by using the picture that Santa's job was too big for just him. If the illustrator had drawn only one or two houses, it wouldn't have looked like such a big job- but LOOK at all those houses he has to visit!

We also had fun predicting who Santa may try to use next to guide his sleigh. I let a different child try to predict each time.

Once we saw who Santa tried, I had a student explain if she thought the idea was a good or bad choice and why. The child also could point out to the class other things she noticed in the illustration- for example in this one: How could we tell Santa was running away? How can we see the tiger is close up and Santa is farther away? Why do you think the mouse's hat flew off his head? ...

The children loved this illustration. The child who described this one did a great job explaining how the hoppy kangaroos made Santa's toys go all over the place. The children loved how the words were hopping on the page, too.

This page had so many great details to point out, including the ellipsis (which I teach the kids means SOME. THING'S. COMING.) and the cheetahs, who were so fast they were blurry!

We used lots of the pictures to infer what the illustrator wanted us to know:

(The mice are sweating and struggling so we can tell the sleigh is too heavy for them.)

(The giraffes' necks got them in trouble because they are too long!)

(The clothespin on Santa's nose tells us that those skunks are smelly!)

The monkeys... well, this is self-explanatory. You can probably tell this was the favorite page. The book is also just plain fun!

We all quickly predicted who we thought Santa may try next year.

I'm excited to see the children use some of these ideas in their writing and illustrations. And even when I don't see it in their writing and illustrations YET, I do know they are taking all of this in, as I keep reinforcing important details in illustrations. When they are ready, I'll see it!

Meanwhile, they absolutely loved this story. You know it's a good one when you hear, "AGAIN, AGAIN, AGAIN!!!"

Here is a Youtube video of the book if you want to take a look at it.


We have so many ideas like this in our monthly Happies packets. Feel free to check out the previews for our packets each month. Our packets are FULL of ideas to bring happiness to your classroom. You can find these at Dr. Jean’s website or at my TpT Store!

Thank you for stopping by!