Mme G.C. -Work in Progress

Independent Consultant sharing my learning with others. Please scroll way down to follow me!!


September 2012

Learning to Question to wonder to learn Jamie McKenzie

The author examines why it is so important to question and then proceeds to   learning and teaching questioning. The majority of the book takes a look at different kinds of questions (essential , inventive, irrelevant , provocative) to name just a few. Each chapter gives examples for primary, intermediate, grades as well as middle school and high school.

In other research I have read, the concern comes up again and again that the teachers of today are asking too many questions and the students are asking nowhere near enough questions. This book would really help teachers to find a starting place to get their students asking questions .

I loved this quote from the book -``Thinking without questioning is like drinking without swallowing`.

This book would be good for a book club so that teachers could bounce ideas off each other and make commitments to try the various kinds of questioning and bring back conversation, observations and products to share ad evaluate.


Mentor Text for Writing with -This Plane

Cover of "This Plane"
Cover of This Plane

Talk Aloud for Comprehension

Day One

My talk aloud will allow me to model the reading/Writing Connection for my students.

This Plane

By Paul Collicutt  (629.13)

Concepts from ELA

  • Structured sentence writing. (scaffolded)
  • Use of sentence starters other than THE
  • Pictures match the writing.
  • Illustrations of real planes inside front and back covers
  • Pages go together: made of/ is a / taxis/ takes off / carries / gets fuel/ has / is / drops
  • Illustrations and text can be used together to support comprehension.
  • Sentences can start with other words than the or there is. Short informational texts with pictures about familiar objects

Also available in this series  This Boat, This Rocket, This Car , This Train

Introduction-I make connections to past learning (sometimes to future content):“We have been talking a lot about airplanes since we started our Airplane photograph. I found a book about planes that I really like, because it shows so many kinds of planes and the jobs that they do. I remembered that one of your words is plane and my book is called THIS PLANE. The author is Paul Collicott.”

I activate the student’s listening by saying:Listen carefully while I read this book about planes to you.  Notice what the author says about different kinds of planes. Be ready to tell me something you learned about planes and something you noticed about how the writing changed or stayed the same.


Read book and show illustrations

I like the way the author started every page with the words THIS PLANE.

It matched the title of the book( Show cover) and really helped me to know HOW each page would start. It helped me to feel comfortable as I read each page.

I liked the way the paintings matched the writing (show fuel / drops water- show how they match) The pictures helped me to understand the information the author was giving me in the text. Ask the children if the author painted a clear picture with both words and paint

Student application:

“Today while you are reading I want you to notice if the pictures match the writing. Take a sticky note with you and list some words that the author of your book uses to start a sentence. When we come back together we will talk about it




Day Two                       Talk aloud for writing-writing using Mentor Text

We’ve been working on trying to start our own sentences with something other than the word  the.


Yesterday we read the book This Plane.  Remember how I told you I liked the way the author’s writing matched the title of the book (Show cover) and really helped me to know HOW each page would start. I liked how this pattern gave us another way to start sentences! You looked for words in your books to start sentences with-here is some of our thinking from yesterday ( show chart)

Today I want to show you how I used Paul Collicut’s writing to help me write my own sentences. “ Remember how I told you that I really liked the way Paul Collicutt wrote this book. I liked the way he started every page with the words THIS PLANE. I liked the way the pictures matched the writing. I wanted to try to write the way he did. . “

Now listen to how I used Paul Collicut’s sentences to help me write my own sentences:”

( show models)

#1 This plane has purple stripes.  (Explain -In my first picture the only colour, is purple so it is easy to see that I will talk about that purple stripe.)

Do you see how I started my sentence with “This plane…” I liked the way the author started his sentence with something other than the. I wanted to do this with my sentence too.

(Show the cover and turn pages pointing out the words THIS PLANE)

“I liked the way I could tell what the author might say next by looking at his paintings. (Go to GETS FUEL and then DROPS WATER and show how the painting reflects the writing) I knew my picture had to give a clear idea of what I was going to say. Ask the children “Do you see how the author painted a clear picture with both words and paint? That is what I tried to do in my sentences. Do you see the way my pictures match what I wrote about them? Did I start with the words THIS PLANE? Do my sentences match my pictures?

Let’s look carefully at my work. Did I start with the words This plane? Do my writing and picture match?”


Attribute checklist-I make an anchor chart for the front, and also give a small copy to each child.

  • Picture matches writing
  • Capital at the beginning
  • Period at the end

“I tried another one and I want you to help me correct it.”

Second sample  .” Let’s look at the check list together. Did I ….”  go through the check list carefully an point to each part. Place a large check mark in the bubble,

#2 This plane is upside down.   (Explain –In my second picture my plane is upside down, and it is pretty clear that it is so I need to talk about that.)

Student application

“ Today we are going to make our own class book  using the model of This Plane by Paul Collicutt. I want you to write a sentence to describe an airplane. Start with the same starting words as the author This plane. Then you will draw and colour a picture that matches your drawing.  I want you to try really hard to use words you know. They might be colour words, size words like big or small, location words like high or low…Try to use in the room or your word wall to help you so that you can do it all by yourself. Don’t forget to start with a capital and end with a period.

Reflections on student responses:

This activity went really well and I am really pleased with the work they did. Every child was able to write a short sentence and draw a picture to go with it. Some of the children were able to write more than one thing and used the words around the room. One child ended up writing three sentences and was ready to write even more but we ran out of time. They aren’t used to creating their own writing and I think the lesson was a good starting point.

Student Samples


This plane has a red stripe.
This plane puts out the fire.
This plane has a wing. Its wing is red. It also has a stripe.


My Personal Reflections

I really enjoyed this lesson. The children loved the book and beautiful paintings. They were really excited by my models. They were eager to get to their desks and do their own writing.I think that the talk aloud for comprehension really flowed into the talk aloud for writing

I could have the children do so many things with this scaffold now that they are more comfortable with it. It wouldn’t have to be about airplanes I could relate it to almost anything we are working on. For example a pattern such as: “This triangle is red and has three points.”- would work great for math while “This bear is brown and fuzzy.”-would work well for science or descriptive writing.

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