Sunday, May 5, 2013

Language Arts Must Read Mentor Text- The Great Gracie Chase- cause and effect and response to literature

I'm so happy to be hosting our Must Read Mentor Texts Linky for Language Arts!  But, do you know how hard it is to just pick one book to talk about with Language Arts???  It's tough!!  But we did it!!

I'm excited to be sharing a book today that I have used for many years in writing and reading....A cute, fun story about a little dog that causes a lot of commotion!  :O)

The Great Gracie Chase- Stop That Dog! is a story that all of us pet owners can personally relate know when your pet gets out of the house or out of the yard and suddenly you are having to sprint down the street screaming its name? Searching frantically!!!! Trying to catch it!!! YEP! That's what this little story is all about!

This humorous story is written by Cynthia Rylant and illustrated by Mark Teague....I LOVE both of them!!! :O)

Gracie is a very good dog and has never done anything naughty.  But, Gracie likes a very quiet house and one day, some noisy painters come in and disturb Gracie.  Of course, they leave the door open and BAM, off goes Gracie, running down the street!!  So, people run after her, trying to catch her, but this causes Grace to run faster and further.  Until, finally, everyone gets tired out and once again, Gracie has her peace and quiet, so she just goes on home.

***Warning- this next part is personal- If you don't want to read personal, skip down to the Mentor Text Memo***  ;O)

I think I love this book so much because I have so many connections to it.  We had a dog just like Gracie when I was growing up.  Calm, quiet, always good.  But if that door got left open and she saw a chance to run...she ran.  Fast.  And far.  My brother and I would go running after her and she'd just keep running (one or both of us would end up in tears, worried we'd never catch her) and we'd be screaming her name!!!  But, it never failed.  She'd have to stop and go potty.  And that was when one of us would grab and and carry her home.  Then, she was right back to her sweet, calm self, like nothing happened.  There's just something about that open door...

Just this week our big black lab pitbull mix (Piper) did the same thing.  My husband had used the lawn mower and when he put it back in the building in our backyard, he left the gate to our fence wide open.  Later, he went down to let her out and he said it happened so fast he couldn't believe it.  She walked outside a little ways and then she immediately looked left.  He said as soon as she looked left, he knew but by the time his brain got his body moving, she was gone.  So, 10:00 at night my husband yells at me to get his truck keys because Piper is out and he runs after her.  By the time I get my slippers on (yes, slippers, because I was in my pjs ready to get in the bed) I get in the truck and head through the neighborhood.  They were all the way in the back.  But, you see, Piper is obsessed with getting in vehicles.  So, all I had to do was pull up, open the door, and in she went.  My husband had ran after her and almost caught her.  We think that's only because she's about 9 years old now and so she's slowed down, otherwise, who knows where she'd be.  See...the open door...BAM!  (But, unlike Gracie from the story, Piper is naughty most of the time, so this was not a surprise.)

Ok, personal drama over!  I use this book during language arts to teach making connections, cause and effect, and writing a response to literature.

First off, I try to get students to make connections.  Not everyone is a dog lover, like me.  So, some kids have never had a dog.  But, most kids have had an experience of some kind with a dog, and so I get them to make those connections first.  Every year that I have used this book, every single student has had an experience of some sort with a loose dog.  Whether it was theirs, a grandparent's, or a neighbors, they know pretty much what happens when a dog is running for its freedom.  So, they can usually make some sort of connection.

Then, we work on cause and effect.  I feel like there are two different kinds of stories that use cause and effect.  One is when there are just different events and there is a cause and then an effect.  And then later, there's another cause, with an effect.  The second kind of story is where you have one cause, and then a sequence of effects, sort of like a domino effect.  I feel like The Great Gracie Chase is more of a domino effect story.

Gracie gets upset, she runs.  The painter runs after her and then one by one, more people see it and join in the chase.  In the end, she gets what she wants.  Peace and quiet.  So maybe that makes it a circle story too.

Anywho, I thought of making a cause and effect sheet just for this book for you as a freebie, but then I decided I'd make a blank cause and effect sheet for the "domino effect" instead, so it can be used for more stories.  So, here ya go! (Just click the pic!)

Finally, we take all of the connections we've made with this story and we write a response to literature.  I usually help them set it up and organize it, and this is how it goes:

Click the picture to get the freebie!
Students use this graphic organizer to jot down their thoughts.  They summarize the story in the first box (which will be the first paragraph).  Then, they choose 1 sentence starter from the second box and fill in the blank box (paragraph number 2).  For example, "One time when I was younger I had a dog that was just like Gracie.  Her name was Sable and she was so sweet and loving..."

Then they choose another sentence starter and fill in the corresponding box (paragraph number 3), like "It made me feel really upset and nervous when Gracie got loose because that is always how I felt when my dog got loose...."

Finally, the last paragraph they choose one of the sentence starters and fill in the box.  Like, "This is a great book because it is action packed.  You are on the edge of your seat, wondering if anyone will catch Gracie..."

Now, I usually used this organizer in 3rd grade, but it could still work for 4th.  I just wouldn't let them choose good or bad to describe the book, they'd have to use better adjectives, and I'd tell them they have to use strong, descriptive words to describe their feelings.

I will say, only once did I have a student say he did not like the book.  Let me say, though, that he was a very difficult student and had many behavior problems.  He said he did not like the book because he once had a dog and then the dog died so this book made him sad.  But, he still participated in the writing. He just wrote short sentences and did not recommend the book.  So, there is always the possibility that a student may get upset...but at the same time, maybe this is an opportunity for them to write about it and get it out?

Of course, there are other great books that can be used for response to literature.  If you are a dog lover, and can connect with this book, this could always be your model lesson using Gracie to connect with your experience of a loose dog.  Then, the students could use the same organizer, but with a different book for their independent writing.  Just a thought...  :O)

So, now it's your turn!!!

(If you have never linked up before you can check HERE for more information.)

I can't wait to see what you link up!!  And if you aren't a blogger, please leave a comment of your favorite book for making connections and/or response to literature!

For the Linky- Please make yourself a SANDWICH!  Please comment on the person who linked up before you and the person that linked up after you.  I know everyone puts in a lot of time and effort to these posts and I want everyone to feel the love!!!  (Haha, see, you're a know...because you are in the middle of the you get it?)  ;O)

Next week's topic- Math


  1. This is my favorite linky! I love the "personal drama" part of posts. :) It makes me feel like I am really getting to know the authors. Thanks for hosting. I may have broken the rules with my post. Do catalogs count as mentor texts to link up with? I hope so... :) Thanks for the feebie. I love all response to literature organizers. :) Have a great Sunday!
    Brandee @ Creating Lifelong Learners

  2. Hi girls! Thanks for sharing this book! We are both dog lovers and can totally relate to this book! We also have planned to review connections and into cause/effect in the next weeks, so this is PERFECT!!

    :) Tamra and Sarah
    First Grade Buddies

  3. What a great book suggestion. I love books that are easy for the students to make connections to, it lets them experience success right away. I have pinned everything here - can't wait to use it all next year!

    Looking From Third to Fourth

  4. Love this book, author, and illustrator! Thanks so much for the freebies! :0)

    Have a great week--
    Sarah @ Hoots N Hollers

  5. I love this book so much, especially because my mom's dog is named Gracie, and she TOTALLY acts like the dog in the book!! :) Thanks for hosting each week! Love all the link-ups!
    ideas by jivey
    Follow ideas by jivey on Facebook!

  6. Yay! Language Arts week is my most favorite one of these linkies but definitely the most difficult for me to choose just one book...:) I love reading about all the great books out there and how other teachers are using them and I know my little friends would just love this book about Gracie. Plus we need to really dive into Cause & Effect, so I'll be adding this one to my list for Cause & Effect books!
    Learning to the Core

  7. Took your advice and linked up my making connections mentor text. I am really excited to be participating. Thanks for hosting!

    Eclectic Educating

  8. I do not have this dog book, and I am fond of dogs. I have 2 little naughties. Back in her day, my little Hannah chased a cat down the block zig zagging with me way behind. She doesn't do that so much now. :0)

    Learning With Mrs. Brinn

  9. Thanks for sharing this book. I am a dog lover, so I always enjoy reading books about dogs. I really like the Response to Literature freeibe - thanks!
    Polka Dot Lesson Plans

  10. How exciting! I have this book in my classroom library! Thanks for the freebie to use with this text! And, thanks for hosting a great party!
    Head Over Heels For Teaching

  11. Great idea for a linky! I am your newest follower and will bookmark this linky to come back for ideas! Thanks for sharing!

  12. Awesome cause and effect idea. I have this book on cd. So I never use it as a read aloud because it always goes into my listening area. I too love new ideas with books that I already have.
    Thanks so much.

    School Is a Happy Place

  13. I'm so glad that I found your blog through Manic Mondays. I love your Response to Literature organizer. Perfect! I'm your newest follower.

  14. Love the organizer! Thank you!! I am totally a "dog person" and your review really spoke to me:) Another one to pin for later. I am learning so much from you ladies!
    Fourth Grade Flipper

  15. I have already downloaded the Response to Literature sheet - the prompts are great! Thanks so much for sharing.

    Learning in the Little Apple

  16. I love your blog! I found you through Manic Monday. Thank you for the great freebie.
    Pirate Girl's Education Invasion

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