Today I read, Old Henry by Joan Blos. I stopped in a few key places throughout the book and the students sketched what they were thinking, or what the story was about. The book’s wise and witty tale is about different kinds of people learning to get along. Henry’s house is worn down and he doesn’t keep his lawn groomed. His neighbors get upset and try to make him change his ways. Henry moves away and then the neighbors realize that they miss him. At the end of the book, Henry writes a letter to the mayor of the town asking if he can come back.
I had the students write a response letter from the mayor to Henry with his decision. We then shared our sketches and letters. We also are working on theme and character type. The students had to identify the theme of the story and the type of character Henry is (round, dynamic)
It was a quick way to review some vocabulary terms we have been working with, and to have the students listen to a story and do a little writing!! I love that even with eighth graders, they still LOVE hearing a story read to them. They all listen intently and they really enjoyed sketching (a non-threatening way to practice comprehension). We also got a laugh out of which students let Henry come back and which students said stay away in their letters.