Like many of my fellow participants in the month-long Slice of Life Challenge going on over at Two Writing Teachers, I spent much of my free time this weekend reading other slices. The caliber of the writing is incredible, and there’s such variety! I read many heart-felt remembrances of friends and family that moved me to tears. Observations about the trials and tribulations of daily life, both in and out of the classroom, had me laughing until I cried again. As the month is almost over (how is that possible?), many Slicers reflected on the lessons learned from writing every day and what they had learned about themselves as a writer. In addition, my sister was visiting from Rhode Island, so I spent lots of time with her. Needless to say, I didn’t make much of a dent in my TBR pile.
The one book I did get to, however, is priceless. Exclamation Mark (Scholastic Press, 2013), by Amy Krouse Rosenthal and Tom Lichtenheld, is the clever tale of a punctuation mark who knows he’s different from all the periods surrounding him. He tries to fit in, but nothing feels right. Then he meets a question mark, and he “discover[s] a world of endless possibilities.”
The possibilities for using this book in the classroom also seem endless. Reading it for the fun of it is where I’d begin. I love the fact that the pages look like the lined paper familiar to Kindergarteners and first graders everywhere, and the word play is a riot.
With deceptively simple language, Exclamation Mark, is the perfect mentor text for asking questions and using “end punctuation in sentences.” (CCSS L.1.2.b) Exclamation Mark’s facial expressions perfectly match every word, and the word choice itself lends this book to addressing CCSS Language standard 5.d for first grade, “Distinguish shades of meaning among verbs differing in manner (e.g., look, peek, glance, stare, scowl) and adjectives differing in intensity (e.g., large, gigantic) by defining or choosing them or by acting out the meanings.” You can get a glimpse of all the fun by watching the book trailer:
Whatever else you do this week, get this book!