Hameray Classroom Literacy Blog!

A Drawing Contest and Memories of Mrs. Wishy-Washy

Posted by Klara Lindblom on Nov 16, 2017 5:21:17 PM

We all grow up but the memories of our favorite children’s books will always be with us. Today, I want to share second-grade teacher Alexandra Bowe’s story about Mrs. Wishy-Washy. 

At the recently held Literacy for All Conference in Providence we had the honor to meet Alexandra Bowe who stopped by our booth to see some of Joy Cowley’s new books. During this visit, Alex was excited to share one of her fondest memories of Mrs. Wishy-Washy from when she herself was a young student. In 1990, she entered into a Mrs. Wishy-Washy drawing competition together with hundreds of other students from around the country. Alex did not only compete but was also one of the winners (representing New York state) of the competition earning a well-deserved prize: A Mrs. Wishy-Washy book.

Take a look at Alex’s winning contribution to the drawing competition!

Winning contribution

Thank you, Alexandra Bowe, for sharing your story, pictures, and childhood memories of Wishy-Washy with us.

Hameray will be launching its own 2017 Mrs. Wishy-Washy drawing contest very soon. If you’d like to be alerted, please sign up here.

 

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Topics: Mrs. Wishy-Washy, Contests

Summer Reading Challenge—with FREE Download!

Posted by Lyssa Sahadevan on Jul 7, 2017 3:59:10 PM

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This is a guest post by Lyssa Sahadevan of Marietta, GA. She writes a blog called My Mommy Reads, which is about motherhood and teaching-related topics.

My first graders are readers. They love books, stories, magazine articles, graphic novels, e-books, and so on. When it came to summer reading though, I knew I had to be creative. I want them to have an amazing summer filled with playing outside and spending time with their families. I also want them to READ!

I had seen several reading challenges on Twitter and decided to discuss the possibilities with my class. Could first graders come up with categories to support their own summer reading? Yes! There was much debate and then a bit of voting. They decided to go with favorites, community, and award winners. Favorites included any books they already loved. The community category was centered on learning more about our world—the people and places. As our class has really celebrated award-winning books this year, I was thrilled with their third category: award winners of all kinds. My students even had the idea to make a challenge for their friends. We decided to create bookmarks so they could check off the books as they read them over the summer.

Once the challenge was in place and the bookmarks were made, we needed to discuss each category in detail. Hands quickly went up. Joy Cowley Collection books were especially popular. One reader wanted to borrow the Mr. Tang set because there are three books and they are his favorites. Another reader wanted a Mrs. Wishy-Washy book because she has always wanted to live on a farm. The lists were growing, and this teacher could not have been happier.

>> CLICK HERE TO SEE THIS BOOK <<

While I do want my students to read over the summer, I want their reading to be personal and full of choice. I want them to broaden their horizons. I want them to continue to love reading. I want them to know their teacher will be taking the challenge, too! Will you join us? Download our reading challenge bookmarks below!

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For more information on the books mentioned in this blog post, click the series highlights images on the left below or click this link to visit our webpage for the Joy Cowley Collection series. To download the reading challenge bookmarks, click the image to the right.

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Topics: Joy Cowley Collection, Mrs. Wishy-Washy, Lyssa Sahadevan, Mr. Tang, Summer Reading

Writing a Wishy-Washy Valentine

Posted by Sally Hosokawa on Feb 9, 2017 3:29:00 PM

 

Valentine’s Day is just around the corner—this year, celebrate the day of love with Mrs. Wishy-Washy

In Wishy-Washy Card from the Joy Cowley Early Birds series, the animals on the farm decide to make a Valentine’s Day card for Mrs. Wishy-Washy. By reading this narrative text that is topical to the real world, your students will realize that reading is relevant and important to their lives, not just an isolated action that takes place at school.

In addition to its seasonal pertinence, Wishy-Washy Card also allows students to familiarize themselves with onomatopoeia (7) and high-frequency words such as “then,” the,” “she,” and “big” (3).

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Use this opportunity to introduce card writing into your classroom. For your students to become strong and confident writers, they must learn to recognize and write in a variety of genres. Although the Common Core stresses opinion writing (CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.W.1), explanatory texts (W.2), and narrative texts (W.3), we use many other kinds of writing in our everyday lives. By writing Valentine’s Day cards, students can directly experience the purpose of writing for interpersonal connection and communication.
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Use page 8 in Wishy-Washy Card as a guide for card writing. Have the children replace “Mrs. Wishy-Washy” with the name of the recipient. Encourage your students to decorate their card with hearts, glitter, or other craft supplies. Just like the cow made a “big heart” (3) and the pig made a “little heart” (4), each student will be able to make their unique mark on their Valentine’s Day card! 

By using writing to express their emotions, students will learn that writing is an important tool. Help them spread the love!

 

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Click the images below to learn more about Joy Cowley Early Birds, which contains the book featured in this post.

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Topics: Mrs. Wishy-Washy, Joy Cowley Early Birds, Holiday

Mrs. Wishy-Washy and the Big Farm Fair

Posted by Becca Ross on Sep 6, 2016 3:30:00 PM

This is a guest blog post by Becca Ross, who usually writes over at Love, Laughter, and Literacy. To read more from her, come back here for more posts from her or check out her blog!

It’s the fair season and I can hardly wait to visit our local fair! The Evergreen State Fair is just a few miles from my school and a lot of kids will be going. This is the perfect opportunity to help kids activate their schema about the fair and animals, let them engage in retelling with some fun props, and read a book featuring one of my favorite characters… MRS. WISHY-WASHY!

Sharing Our Schema

Many of my students will have just gone to the local fair by the time we start school, so Mrs. Wishy-Washy and the Big Farm Fair from the Joy Cowley Collection will be the perfect book to introduce the idea of schema.

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When I introduce schema, I start by telling the kids that our brains are like a big filing cabinet. Everything we read, experience, or observe goes into that filing cabinet. I use the example of hot air balloons because we live by a hot air balloon field. I tell the kids that I’ve read books about hot air balloons and I’ve filed that information away. I’ve seen hot air balloons taking off and landing, which I’ve also filed away. One thing I have never done is ride in a hot air balloon. I don’t have schema for that, but someone else may and that is what makes our schema different from one another.

Back to the concept of the fair, I ask the kids to tell me what they know about the fair to activate their schema before reading the text. More specifically, we focus in on the competitions they have at the fair. Some kids in our area participate in 4-H and may be able to share exactly what the animal competitions are all about. After we’ve activated our schema and shared things we know about animal competitions at the fair with our classmates, we’re ready to read the book. I usually stop during reading and ask the kids if they have schema to add.

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Retelling With Props

A few plastic animals, a spray bottle, and a plastic bin (so water doesn’t get everywhere) are all you need to create this retelling station. Some kids will be able to easily pick up the props and start reenacting the story, talking out loud as they go. Other kids will quietly spray an animal but won’t tell the story out loud. This is a great opportunity to jump into playtime and listen, model, and encourage. Adding some of the language in the story and talking with kids about the meaning behind different words is a great idea as well.

Mrs. Wishy-Washy is always a favorite character in my classroom with my kindergarten students. I imagine this year will be no different. I can’t wait to hear about my students’ fair experiences and share Mrs. Wishy-Washy and the Big Farm Fair with them!

Happy reading!

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To learn more about Mrs. Wishy-Washy and see Joy Cowley's books, you can click here to visit our website or click the Joy Cowley Collection series image below to download an information sheet with key features.

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Topics: Mrs. Wishy-Washy, Joy Cowley, The Joy Cowley Collection, Becca Ross, Farm Fair

Guided Reading Tips: Meanies in the House

Posted by Becca Ross on Aug 9, 2016 3:30:00 PM

This is a guest blog post by Becca Ross, who usually writes over at Love, Laughter, and Literacy. To read more from her, come back here often for more posts from her, or check out her blog!

Have you met the Meanies? My kindergartners absolutely LOVE the Meanies series from the Joy Cowley Collection. I recently found that there are new books featuring these fun characters. It's time to start stocking up on some new Meanies books for my classroom!

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The kids think these books are ridiculously funny. There is usually a rhyming element to the books and this makes it easy for the kids to chime in.

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Meanies in the House is a super-fun book that the kids are going to love!  Teachers will also appreciate that the end of the book has suggestions for how to use the book before, during, and after reading.

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Before Reading

Before the reading, the book suggests asking the children what a "mess" would look like in different rooms in the house. This activates their schema for messy places and helps them relate to the story a little better. I would use this book after a few other Meanies books had been introduced and ask the kids to predict what types of messes they think the different Meanies characters might make in a house. This is also a good time to introduce new vocabulary words in the story such as scattering and tappy.

During Reading

We can use prior knowledge from the reading we have done of other Meanie books. Have kids predict if there is anything they think the Meanies might be scared of.

After Reading

When the reading is complete, kids love to talk about the book. We can ask the kids to talk about the evidence they see in the story that the Meanies were making a mess. We can infer why we think the Meanies are especially scared of Grandma.  We can also dive into the meaning of words in the story. Many young readers might not know what phrases like run for cover might mean.

I can't wait to use my new Meanies books in the classroom. I think these books are great to use as guided reading books in small group instruction, but they are also awesome to use in whole class lessons. I would highly recommend using a document camera and projecting the books onto a large screen or using a big book for whole class instruction.  This book is great and I can't wait to share it with my kiddos when school starts up!

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To learn more about the Meanies and see Joy Cowley's books, you can click here to visit our website, or click the series highlights images below to download an information sheet with key features.

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Topics: Mrs. Wishy-Washy, Joy Cowley, The Joy Cowley Collection, Becca Ross, Meanies

3 Wishy-Washy Lessons with Joy Cowley Early Birds—with FREE Download

Posted by Cindy Price on Jun 28, 2016 2:34:34 PM

Today's guest blogger is Cindy Price, who is currently teaching first grade after 20 years in kindergarten. If you like what you see here, be sure to check back frequently for more posts, and take a look at her blog, Mrs. Price's Kindergators!

I am excited to share with you some of the ways I used these awesome Mrs. Wishy-Washy books in my classroom. My kiddos and I love Mrs. Wishy-Washy and they were so happy to be able to read more books about her.

The books we read were Wishy-Washy Sleep, Wishy-Washy Card and Wishy-Washy Road.

As usual, we began by learning the vocabulary. Each book had some awesome words to teach my kids! I love having them try to come up with synonyms for the different vocabulary words. The one they had fun with was "roared." This word was found in Wishy-Washy Road! The words they came up with surprised me.

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We made inferences about the stories. They looked at the cover and told me what they thought would happen. The text was perfect for my small group and my low readers. All of my kids gravitate towards these books. They love the characters and their adventures.

The one thing I love about these books is the fact that they increase my kids' self esteem and they become more confident in their reading. This is because these books have text that is easy for them to read as well as characters they love.

We can use these books for many Common Core Standards. We can use them for point of view, opinion writing, compare and contrast stories, text to self connections, listening and speaking standards, as well as reading fluency and writing activities.

Wishy-Washy Sleep was a book that my students related to. They discussed how they are similar to the animals in the book. They made a personal connection with the characters. Once they did this, we described and wrote about sleep.

Here are some of the things my kids did:

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We used this graphic organizer to write down our thoughts about sleep and then to create the book pictured here as well! They then shared their books with the class. This worked on their listening and speaking standards as well.

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The next book, Wishy-Washy Road, was one of their favorites! They discussed the safety rules and how we should never go in the road. I asked them what they thought should happen to the animals for not being obedient and for going into the road. They made many personal connections and shared with us what their parents would do if they were playing in the road.

And of course we read an emergent reader that I wrote about Wishy-Washy Road.

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The last book I got to discuss was Wishy-Washy CardThis book is great to use during the month of February because the animals are making their valentines. So I made Mrs. Wishy-Washy Valentines for the kids to color and share with their friends. I also created a letter for the kids to send to someone who they would like to be their Valentine!

These books were awesome! There are so many things that we can teach our students using Mrs. Wishy-Washy books.  Group discussion, increasing self confidence in reading, causing kids to smile as well as foster a love for reading are just a few things these books accomplish. If I could, I would read Mrs. Wishy-Washy everyday!

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I am now a first-grade teacher, so that makes me a first-grade teacher for one year and a kindergarten teacher for twenty years. Every day is a new and exciting learning experience for both myself and my students. I believe that kindergarten should be a fun yet educational experience where the students are immersed in poetry, children's literature, music, kinesthetic and hands-on activities, as well as hugs and love!

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To download the activity packet, or an information sheet with key features about the Joy Cowley Early Birds series, which contains the book mentioned in this post, click the images below.

New Call-to-Action Early Birds Wishy-Washy Mini Unit

 

 

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Topics: Mrs. Wishy-Washy, Joy Cowley, Joy Cowley Early Birds, Teaching Writing, Writing Activity, Teaching Reading, Reading

5 Ways to Use Mrs. Wishy-Washy for Guided Reading

Posted by Becca Ross on Jun 23, 2016 4:39:20 PM

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This is a guest blog post by Becca Ross, who usually writes over at Love, Laughter, and Literacy. To read more from her, come back here often for more posts from her, or check out her blog!

If you teach Pre-K through 2nd grade, I'm sure you're familiar with the beloved Mrs. Wishy-Washy. Twenty years ago, when I first started teaching, I had many of the Mrs. Wishy-Washy books. I had big books for whole class lessons and six-packs for small group instruction. Many of the books were purchased with a grant from the school, so when I moved schools I couldn't take the books with me. My new school didn't have the Mrs. Wishy-Washy books so I started looking for them online. Much to my dismay, the company that I had purchased them from previously had been bought by another company and I couldn't find the books!

For the past several years, I've been teaching with the few Mrs. Wishy-Washy and Meanies books that I own. (If you aren't familiar with the Meanies books, Mrs. Wishy-Washy makes a cameo appearance.) One day, I was browsing through some of my favorite literacy blogs and spotted a post about Mrs. Wishy-Washy! The books looked slightly different than my 20-year-old copies, and appeared to have a new publisher, but I was THRILLED to have found my favorite character again! Now I get to tell you all about why I love Mrs. Wishy-Washy!

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The book that I would like to share with you today is called Mrs. Wishy-Washy and the Big Wash, written by Joy Cowley and illustrated by Elizabeth Fuller-Fulton. I'll start by telling you about the story: Mrs. Wishy-Washy is a bit obsessed with cleanliness. She likes things just-so. When it was time for the farm animals' “wash day,” she was out of water and they had to search the town to find some. Now that you have an idea of what the book is about, here are my favorite five ways to use these books for guided reading:


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  1. Onomatopeia

     I chose this book as my first to share with you because my kindergarten students absolutely LOVE onomatopoeia and I knew this would be a favorite. If you aren't familiar with onomatopoeia, it refers to “the naming of a thing or action by a vocal imitation of a sound associated with it” (Merriam-Webster). It's a game-changer when introduced during kindergarten Writer's Workshop. The kids love adding "sound words" to their writing, and I suspect that they just love saying the word “onomatopoeia” every time they notice it being used in a story.

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  2. Teacher’s Notes

    Another great thing about this book is that it has “Teacher Notes” at the back... hello, Guided Reading groups! The back page of the book gives the teacher suggestions for before, during, and after reading, and also has suggestions for making meaning, analyzing the text, and taking things to the next level. They call this Cracking the Code, and point out rhyming and compound words. 

    In my previous school district, we had an entire room dedicated to storing our Guided Reading books. Unfortunately, my new district does not have the same resources. Last spring, I described the steps of a Guided Reading lesson to a teaching partner, and we wished our books had a tool like this embedded into them.

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  3. Group Lessons

    I'll tell you a couple of different ways I would use this book in my ideal world. I love using big books in my classroom because kids can actually see the text and the illustrations, even if they are sitting at the back of the rug. One way to use this would be to do a whole group lesson with the big book version of the story. I would still use some of the before, during, and after reading ideas, but I would spread it out over 3-5 days of instruction. I love reading half of the book on the first day and saving the other half for the second day. Kids absolutely beg for the second half of the story! By day 5, most of the kids are reading along with the big book and they are also able to read it on their own during our literacy stations.

  4. Guided Reading Groups

    Another option for using this book, in my ideal world, would be to purchase six-packs of the small versions of the books to have on hand for Guided Reading groups. The before, during, and after reading Teacher Notes at the back are set up perfectly for small group instruction.

  5. Other Text Features

    Any way you read this book, I love the text features you can point out. Punctuation, rhyming words, onomatopoeia, and compound words are part of our everyday instruction in kindergarten.

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    I'm so happy that I've found Mrs. Wishy-Washy again and I can't wait to share some really fun ways to use these books in the classroom or at home with your little literacy lovers!

    Happy reading!

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    To learn more about Mrs. Wishy-Washy and see Joy Cowley's books, you can click here to visit our website, or click the series highlights images below to download an information sheet with key features.

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Topics: Mrs. Wishy-Washy, Joy Cowley, The Joy Cowley Collection, Becca Ross

Fun with Mrs. Wishy-Washy in Kindergarten!

Posted by Tara Rodriquez on May 10, 2016 3:16:17 PM

We were so delighted and surprised when we got an email out of the blue from kindergarten teacher Amy Blessing showing us the creative ways that she and her students used Mrs. Wishy-Washy and the Big Wash and our Mrs. Wishy-Washy and Friends finger puppets in her classroom.

We always love when teachers write in and tell us how their students are enjoying our books and accessories! We asked Amy's permission to share this teaching strategy with our blog followers so that the literacy community at large could be inspired by her methods of making reading fun—and by her students' creativity! Check out the images that Amy created and sent to us to see what they did!

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We love hearing from you! Want to share your own creative and fun classroom ideas on this blog? Email tara (at) hameraypublishing.com to become a guest blogger, or to submit a photo set like Amy did!

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To learn more about the books and other prizes that this classroom received, you can download the series highlights for the Joy Cowley Collection and Joy Cowley Early Birds by clicking below, or you can read about the audiobooks and finger puppets by clicking here

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Topics: Mrs. Wishy-Washy, Joy Cowley

Five Great Activities for Wishy-Washy Ice Cream—with FREE Download!

Posted by Cindy Price on May 3, 2016 2:31:10 PM

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Today's guest blogger is Cindy Price, who is currently teaching first grade after 20 years in kindergarten. If you like what you see here, be sure to check back frequently for more posts, and take a look at her blog, Mrs. Price's Kindergators!

I love Mrs. Wishy-Washy! I mean who doesn't! I have read Mrs. Wishy-Washy and Mrs. Wishy-Washy's Farm for years in my classroom and the kids love them! When I discovered that there were some books about Mrs. Wishy-Washy that I had not yet heard of, I was excited. I have to tell you the one I used this week, Wishy-Washy Ice Cream, I absolutely love! So do my kids!

Anything that has ice cream is amazing to me, so I couldn't wait to use this! Mrs. Wishy-Washy is a beloved character and combining her with ice cream provides us with so many things we can do in the classroom! Here are five activities my kids did!

  1. We began by reviewing the vocabulary. We talked about what ‘clop’ and ‘flop’ and ‘plop’ meant. We also talked about how these words rhymed and began to make a list of other rhyming words.

 

  1. We made inferences about the story. They looked at the cover and told me what they thought would happen. Some thought it would be similar to the other Mrs. Wishy-Washy stories. The text was perfect for my small group. The kids loved it, and they loved the fact that they could read it themselves. The pictures were perfect, not overwhelming!

 

  1. We used our five senses and described ice cream. We filled out this chart together. Their adjectives were both amazing and funny! 

 

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  1. We created a mini-book about ice cream. I had them fill out a graphic organizer, then take it and write their own book using the book template. This organizer is so helpful, and the kids are able to write a book successfully when they use it. They love it when they get to be the author!

 

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  1. We did a small writing for morning work the next day about ice cream. They made a giant paper ice cream to glue their writing to.

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I also read an emergent reader that I wrote about Mrs. Wishy-Washy's Ice Cream, and we read that. My kids and I loved this book! There are so many more things you can do!

If I had had more time, we would have made homemade ice cream. We then would have written about the experience as well as write a how-to book. Then we would have graphed about whether or not we liked the ice cream we made ourselves better than the ice cream we get in the store.

 You can download the pages I used with my class at the bottom of the page! I've also added some Mrs. Wishy-Washy clipart to make Mrs. Wishy-Washy pointers for your kids to follow along with! All you have to do is copy, laminate, cut, and hot glue to a popsicle stick!

I cannot wait to share my ideas about the other Mrs. Wishy-Washy books I will be reading with my kids! Check back soon! 

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I am now a first-grade teacher, so that makes me a first-grade teacher for one year and a kindergarten teacher for twenty years. Every day is a new and exciting learning experience for both myself and my students. I believe that kindergarten should be a fun yet educational experience where the students are immersed in poetry, children's literature, music, kinesthetic and hands-on activities, as well as hugs and love!

~~~

To download the activity packet, or an information sheet with key features about the Joy Cowley Early Birds series, which contains the book mentioned in this post, click the images below.

New Call-to-Action  Mrs. Wishy-Washy's Ice Cream Unit 

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Topics: Mrs. Wishy-Washy, Joy Cowley, Joy Cowley Early Birds

[New Post] Using Mrs. Wishy-Washy Books to do a Character Analysis—with FREE Download!

Posted by Paula Dugger on Feb 19, 2016 10:42:33 AM

describe the imageThis is a guest blog post. It's authored by special guest blogger Paula Dugger, who is an educational consultant with a rich-literacy background that includes serving as a Reading Recovery Teacher/Teacher Leader, first grade teacher, Title I and high school reading teacher, as well as a Reading Coordinator.

 Mrs. Wishy-Washy has been a favorite of my mine as well as my students' for over twenty years. Joy Cowley has delighted young readers with simple text and fun stories through her endearing characters.

I created an activity that allows beginning readers to journal Mrs. Wishy-Washy through 21 books found in the Joy Cowley Early Birds Collection and Joy Cowley Collection. Not only do readers document their reading but they also analyze the main character beginning with level 3 titles and progressing to level 16.

Because this activity may take months to complete, I usually have students put their 2 sheets in a folder so that they can decorate the front with Mrs. Wishy-Washy and some of her friends. It also makes it easy for me to store them and pull for small group direct instruction. As the readers become more proficient and move to higher levels, the activity can be completed independently.

I hope your students enjoy this activity as much as mine do.

 

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To download Paula's activity, or information sheets with key features about Joy Cowley's two series Joy Cowley Early Birds and the Joy Cowley Collection, which contain the books mentioned in this post, click the images below.

 

 Mrs. Wishy-Washy Journal Activity    New Call-to-Action   New Call-to-Action

 

 

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Topics: Mrs. Wishy-Washy, Reading Activities, Paula Dugger, Guest Blog, Independent Reading

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