Books Teachers Love: December's Before Morning

You guys. I found a GEM! I was strolling around B & N (let's be honest, I was in there for nearly an hour enjoying books) when I came upon this book. I knew it was perfect for my December Books Teachers Love post!

I'm featuring Before Morning by Joyce Sidman. After you check out this AMAZING book, make sure you look at the 11 other awesome books teachers are showcasing this month.

Since buying it, I've read it myself over 10 times, noticing something different each time. It has so many awesome elements that it packs a total winter (and academic) punch!

I may be a tad biased that the author is a Minnesota author and that I often make this wish every winter for a snow day or two. This book is unlike any I've read in a while, though. It is written as an invocation- or a wish poem as Ms. Sidman explains at the end. The words are few, but they are so rich in meaning when they are added to Ms. Krommes AMAZING images. I love this style. If you go over to the amazon link, you can see images of part of the process in making this book.  That alone would be so fun to show students. But, I'll be sharing the many different things you could cover in this book ranging from reading, to writing, to art.

Reading: Text and Picture Connection to Promote Comprehension

The pictures and limited text go hand in hand for all sorts of reading skills- inferring, predicting, word solving- you name it. Each time I read it, I thought of a different question I could pose to my students. I started to run out space of writing them all done, so I decided to make some post-it prompts to place on the pages so I remember what I wanted to pull out from my students.

Have you ever printed on post-its? It's one of my favorite things to do when I have the time to prepare for it. I ended up making one for because it is THAT loaded with good talking points. Obviously I probably will not use them all, but I wanted options. 

I have a general template I print off. Then I stick my post-its on it. Then I print the ones I want and stick 'em right in! Some of the pages have no words at all, but a ton of details to pay attention to. I want to remember what is significant in each picture when I'm reading it aloud to my students. 

Writing: Write Your Own Invocation Poem

As soon as I read this, I thought about how I could scaffold this to have my own students write their own invocation poems. I started creating some planning pages and I can't wait to give them a try with my students when the first big snowfall happens here! I typed out the poem and then noticed some patterns, so I made a pretty blank template and then one with prompts to help us craft our own. Then I also made a brainstorming page for those that may struggle with writing a wishing poem about. 

Vocabulary and Phrases

Even though this book has very few words, they words it does have are not simple by any means. They are loaded and a bit obscure and students will need to use the pictures and background knowledge to help them figure it out. I made some vocabulary cards and thought about the different strategies we could use to figure them out. I also made some figurative phrases cards to talk about what the author really meant by those phrases.

Art: Scratch Paper Designs

I loved the design of the art in this book and thought that when we write our poems, we could try to mimic the style to also get some art integration to accompany our poems. I found a tutorial here that didn't require a whole lot of materials, yet they are exciting. I'll be honest and say that it didn't turn out as well as the example as I was playing around with it, but it was still so fun and had a similar impact. I think we'll still give it a go and try! All you need is some cardstock (I used water color paper) black acrylic paint and oil pastels. I used a toothpick as our scratcher, but will search for some other options. Some parts came off super clean so I'm going to continue to investigate why that might have been. 

Whew! Told you this was loaded with options! If you are so lucky to go get this book, feel free to download these resources here. Or better yet, enter to win this book and 3 others by entering the giveaway below!

Check out the other books below!


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