Have you ever read a book and just thought…
“You are perfect! You will be my favorite.”
I knew you would understand that feeling! #bookloversunite
Well… I had that exact moment with the book, Crankenstein by Samantha Berger.
You can check out this book on Amazon by clicking here or on the pic!
This book is perfect for this time of year and better yet, I knew my kiddos would totally connect with the cranky protagonist.
So last week, we used the book as part of our close reading routine during our ELA block.
For our first read of the book, we worked to understand the story structure. As I read the story out loud to my kiddos, we spot checked our understanding by answering questions like:
Who is telling the story?
Who is the Crankenstein?
Is the little boy really a monster?
I also had the kiddos listen for the part of the book that the author repeats. The kiddos rocked at saying the cranky “MERRRHHHH” sound every few pages.
Then, we worked together to answer a couple more comprehension questions about the story. We used the Monster Comprehension cards (from here) and pulled them out from our fun monster candy bucket. I snatched that puppy up from the Target Dollar Spot.
Each kiddo had a chance to chose a question card and asked the group for the answer. What kid doesn’t like to be the teacher getting to ask the questions?
Our second read focused more on word choice and shades of meaning. After reading the text a second time, we discussed the word, “Crankenstein” and how it was made up word. We discussed why the author chose to call their character that and how it helped to create a picture in our mind.
Then, I introduced the idea of “shades of meaning” in words using this visual.
This really helped students understand that authors don’t just “tell” us things… they show us!
Then we were ready to practice replacing weak words with a stronger version. With a buddy, the students chose a weak word. They worked together to brainstorm more specific or stronger word options.
*Teacher tip* I work at a Title I school and traditionally vocabulary is an area of weakness for my kiddos. To assist students with this activity, I allowed students access to a student Thesaurus and the synonym option in Microsoft Word on the computer. Then each pair presented their weak word and shared the stronger words they found.
We also worked to make connections to the text. We used this “Cranky Monster” sheet to help us make connections to the story.
It was so funny to see what students said that made them cranky!
We also used the story to inspire our writing for the week as well. After our third reading of the story, as a class we reviewed what made the little boy cranky in the story. Then, I had students discuss with their shoulder partner things that make them cranky.
I’ve always found allowing students to talk before they write helps get their ideas flowing (and helps to keep my writing time a little more quiet.)
We recorded 4 things that made us cranky and worked to understand why those things annoyed us.
We later used that sheet as a brainstorm for an expository piece on what makes us cranky!
After we finished our expository paragraph, students were ready to make their own cranky monsters!
Don’t you love how students work to put their own “flair” on crafts?
Here’s a peek at a few more…
I used our finished monster writings to decorate our classroom door!
This door was super simple to do. I wrapped the door using yellow “Caution” tape that I had found in the Target Dollar spot. #forthewin
The lettering for “Cranky Monsters” is found in my “I’m a Cranky Monster” pack!
There is seriously so much you can do with this book. We also examined illustrations and discussed how it helped us understand the actions in the text. You can see even more activities (including lesson plans!) by checking out this pack in my TpT store.
I hope I gave you a few ideas for using this super cute book in your classroom this Halloween season!