Hello everyone! This will be my LAST OLLI lesson for the school year as I believe classes are wrapping up this week.
Here is a list of the previous OLLI lessons and anchor books:
OLLI#1 (The Hike)
OLLI#2. (If I Could Build A School)
OLLIE#3 (Mother’s Day)
OLLI#4 (Everybody Needs a Rock)
OLLI #5 – (WANTED: Criminals of the Animal Kingdom)
OLLI #6 – (Up in the Garden and Down in the Dirt)
OLLI #7 (All About Feelings – “Keep it! – Calm it! – Courage it!)
OLLI #8 (I’m Talking DAD! – lesson for Father’s Day)
OLLI #9 (Be Happy Right Now!)
Before my lesson, I just wanted to say WELL DONE, everyone! You did it! You juggled online and in person teaching AND supported your family AND wrote report cards AND learned how to ZOOM and so many other things! Great job!!!
Summer is here! School is almost over! The days are longer (last night it was starting to get light at 3:30 am – yes, I was awake!) and the weather hopefully warmer. (Can you say “NO MORE RAIN”?) With some restrictions being lifted, we want to encourage children to spend more time outside enjoying the outdoors during the summer. I have many happy childhood memories of playing outside in the summer with my sisters. The endless days and evenings playing in the back yard, riding bikes to the park, the back alley, the neighbour’s house – outside until the streetlights came on or my mum called us in for supper – whichever one came first. This week’s OLLI, I wanted to share a lesson that is an ode to these outdoor summer adventures!
Dusk Explorers – Lindsay Leslie
This beautiful new book invites children (and parents) to enjoy playing outdoors on a summer evening. The story winds through the neighborhood streets, with lyrical, descriptive language and encourages readers to head out for bike riding, tree climbing, playing, and wonderful exploring. It’s like a hit list of childhood’s best memories! I can’t imagine any child who wouldn’t want to try out all the outdoor “dusk explorer” activities after reading even just the first pages of this book. Beautiful illustrations by Ellen Rooney. This book came out in early June (warm book alert!) so it is not one that I was able to find as an online read-aloud, unfortunately. But if you order it soon, you could read it online to your class before school breaks for summer.
Watch the book trailer HERE:
This is one of those books that can inspire MANY different reading and writing lessons. Below are just some of the ideas I thought about while reading this book.
NOTE: I would recommend discussing the word “dusk” (and “dawn”) with students before reading this story! In my experience, some have never heard of the word!
- VISUALIZING – Because of the author’s use of sensory details, this is a perfect book for visualizing. I would read this story and invite students to listen for different sensory words and images.
Click HERE for the Six Senses Visualizing Template
Click HERE for the Single Image Visualizing Template
TIP – When practicing visualizing, I don’t show the pictures to the students the first time I read. I want the words from the story to help them create their own visual images.
2. BECOME A DUSK EXPLORER – It’s hard to read this book without wanting to immediately run outside and start exploring your neighbourhood! I think the author really wanted readers to feel that outdoor summer excitement so think this would be a wonderful “enjoy your summer” send off activity to give your students!
After sharing the story, invite students to make connections to their “dusk exploring” experiences. Ask what their favorite “outdoor” games are? (climbing trees, running races, kick the can, hide-and-seek, lane-way hockey or basketball, firefly catching)
Tell the students that now that summer is here, there will be more time for outdoor adventures. Invite them to become “dusk explorers” in their neighbourhood this week. Use the “Dusk Explorer” template to record things they saw, heard, played, felt. Encourage them to try something new like a new game.
Click HERE For the Dusk Explorer template.
NOTE: Remind them to ALWAYS be with a parent or tell a parent where they are going.
3. WRITING – I will definitely be adding this book my list of Writing Anchor books as it is such a great example of an author who uses senses to create images. I was also excited to find a video from the author, Lindsay Leslie, talking about writing sharing how to develop sensory details in writing. It’s a video I would definitely share with students!
Watch the author talk HERE:
After watching the video, reflect on what the author was saying. I like to explain that in science, we talk about “the FIVE senses”, but writers actually use “SIX” senses – adding the sense of “emotional feelings” in additional to physical feelings.
Invite your students to go outside at dusk one evening this week. Have them sit quietly in one spot and pay close attention to their senses. What are you noticing? What do you see? hear? smell? taste? feel? (physically), feel? (emotionally). Have them record their observations on the Six Senses of Dusk template. Invite them to write a descriptive paragraph, using as many of the sensory words as they can. Remind them not to just write a list “I saw… I heard…” but to use similes and interesting detail words in their descriptions such as “sometimes”, “once”, “if”, and “when”.
ie – I see the pink clouds, fluffy like cotton candy. Sometimes, I pretend the clouds are animals playing in the sky.
Click HERE for the Six Senses of Dusk template
For younger students, they could write about dusk using the 5 finger planner: TOPIC, DETAIL, DETAIL, ONE TIME…, FEELING. (one sentence for each of their five fingers)
ie. I like to play outside when it’s dusk. (topic) The clouds are pink like cotton candy. (detail) The leaves rustle in the wind. (detail) One time, my brother and I played badminton until we couldn’t see the birdie. (one time). I like being outside when it’s dusk.
For more mini lessons for adding details, see my new book Powerful Writing Structures.
Additional Books to Support the Lesson:
I hope you find one or two ideas you could share with your students this week, either online or in person. Below is a list of more summer books – some new releases and some old favorites. Many of these would also make great anchor books for writing sensory details. Check YouTube as some of these are available as online read-alouds.
And Then Comes Summer – Tom Brenner
A lovely, lyrical ode to summer fun. Great for making connections and sensory details.
Summer Song – Kevin Henkes
So excited about this brand new book – the last of Henkes’ seasonal series.
Summer Color – Diana Murray
Love this book for younger and older students – beautiful details of nature.
Summer Days and Nights – Wong Herbert Yee
Beautiful small moment details about summer with great sensory words.
Rules of Summer – Shaun Tan
Master artist and storyteller Shaun Tan’s book about summer rules is weird, mesmerizing, dark in places but a great choice for older readers.
Hooked – Tommy Greenwald
Beautiful descriptions of fishing, some dad bonding, and I love David McPhail’s illustrations.
Jules Vs. the Ocean – Jessie Sima
Brand new book about a young girl who attempts to build elaborate sandcastles to impress her older sister.
Down Under the Pier – Nell Cross Beckerman
Beautiful descriptions of the inter tidal zone with a dreamy, magical “endless summer” feel.
Cannonball – Sacha Cotter
Love this new summer story about family, overcoming fears, and the importance of being oneself, all in the pursuit of performing the perfect cannonball!
The Little Blue Cottage – Kelly Jordan
Lovely story about returning to that special summer cottage year after year.
You’re Invited to a Moth Ball – A Nighttime Insect Celebration – Loree Griffin Burns
Love this idea of having a summer event to celebrate nighttime moths! Stay up late one night this summer and discover the amazing world of moths in your own back yard. This would be a great summer family event!
Teacher friends… you have been through a lot of challenges these past few months and have faced them all with determination, dedication, open minds, and open-hearts. You have supported your students through through all the ups and downs, the online and in person, and all the “wash your hands” and “don’t stand so close to me” moments! And in case it wasn’t clear before, you have shown the world just how important the role of a teacher is in the life of a child. Thank you.
I will be continuing to post book lists over the summer, and will return with more OLLIs in the fall! Thanks to everyone who has been using and sharing my posts.
Have a safe, happy, and healthy summer, everyone!
Enjoy your holiday – you have earned it (x 100!)