Young Zeus by G. Brian Karas- Appositives and Picture Books

Last week while planning my lesson on appositives, I knew I wanted to use a picture book to show my students how often writers use appositives.  And because I have  practicum teacher who would be teaching the lesson in one class I wanted to make sure the lesson was fairly straight forward.  I looked through a bunch of picture books and was thrilled when I saw that Young Zeus by G. Brian Karas was chockfull of appositives!  Even better?  My students are currently obsessed with Greek mythology, thanks to Rick Riordan’s books.  Young Zeus seemed like the perfect match for the lesson.

The back of the book says:

This is the story of how young Zeus, with a little help from six monsters, five Greek gods, an enchanted she-goat, and his mother, became god of gods, master of lightning and thunder, and ruler over all. in doing so, he learned a lot about family. Who knew that having relatives could be so complicated, even for a god?

Zeus is a young god in the story, being raised by the she-goat Amalthea.  When he learns the truth about his father, Cronus, he is determined to rescue his brothers and sisters.  That way, he will have someone to play with.  What child (or god) doesn’t long for the perfect playmate? A fantastic introduction to Greek mythology, kids will love this one.  Teachers will love it even more for it’s well-written prose.  The artwork is also gorgeous.

Plus, it uses tons of appositives!  A great way to show students the many ways appositives are used by “real” authors.  By the middle of the book, students were raising their hands to point out appositives as we read.  They also drafted their own sentences about the gods and goddesses, using appositives, after we finished reading the story.

*Review copy courtesy of the publisher


Slice of Life #15

Today I finished up teaching my students about appositives, using an activity from Jeff Anderson’s Everyday Editing.  I was a little hesitant at first, because my students can be a handful sometimes, if given a hands-on project (especially on a rainy Monday morning!).  But I decided to jump in anyway.  During my newspaper meeting, I put together the booklets and set them up, in order to save time.  I knew that having the students do it in class would result in us using most of the class period practicing following directions. ;)

To my surprise, all four classes were awesome!  They wrote their five sentences, copied them into the booklet with minimal distraction and questions, and in each class at least one student realized what we were doing.

“Wait!  This is like Madlibs!  You can mix up the sentences!”

With that, I would have them demonstrate for the class.  For the next few minutes the students would mix up their sentences, with sudden gales of laughter coming from different corners of the room.  Each student shared their silliest sentence.  And man, some of them were silly!  But by the end of the period, they were appositive experts.

I love when a lesson works out better than you planned.  :)

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