ivy + bean: book 2 (minilesson possibilities)

One thing I was struck by in Ivy + Bean and the Ghost that had to Go was the way Annie Barrows crafted action throughout the book. The opening scene involved gymnastics. I’ve met many young writers who want to write about gymnastics. I can’t wait to share the way Annie Barrows stretches the action of a backbend. Check this out:

Then she arched over backward. She flung her arms over her head and made a perfect backbend. She looked like a turned-over pink teacup. Then she rose back up — boing — like a doll with elastic in its legs.

—Annie Barrows, Ivy + Bean and the Ghost that had to Go 

I can imagine teaching from these lines over the course of a few days. Here are some minilesson teaching points I’m eager to share with young writers…

  • Writers often stretch action by adding a line of character description. Then they return to the action, and leave readers with a vivid picture of how the character looks when doing something.
  • Writers use onomatopoeia (sound words) to help the reader imagine the action even more.
  • Sometimes authors use a comparison to help the reader see the action more clearly. Annie Barrows uses two similes in this short passage.
  • Its. Here is a prime opportunity to teach why it doesn’t need an apostrophe!
  • Writers use specific action verbs like arched, flung, and rose
  • Dashes — Check out how Annie used them to set apart the word boing. It almost feels like the sentence boings in the center of it! Writers sometimes use dashes when they want to startle readers and make them pay attention.
I’m sure you notice other teaching possibilities too. It is unlikely that I would teach all of these, however, they are all valid options, depending on the needs of the class. 

Leave a comment on this post and you’ll get a chance to receive…

One person will receive book two in
the Ivy + Bean series.
Three people will receive mini note cards.

And if you receive a giveaway,  you get a chance at the grand prize…

Make sure to check out more inspiration from Ivy + Bean and the Ghost that had to Go at these other blogs:

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  1. I love when you share writing mini lessons. I normally use picture books to teach mini lesson and just talk through chapter book read alouds. I love how you suggest pulling a few lines from a read aloud to analyze and pull out mini lessons. Thank you!

  2. I think in first grade we would talk about the fun word usage of “boing” and brainstorm some of our own to use in our writing.

  3. Like others I also love seeing ideas for mini-lessons. It is nice to consider all of the possibilities. My favorite part was your follow-up that they are all options but it would really depend on the needs of the individual class – so important to always keep at the forefront of our minds.

  4. Not only do I love seeing the lesson ideas, the ideas themselves lead me to create my own about other mentor texts, which I have decided is the best way to teach writing. Thanks.

  5. I once saw someone talk about using just one mentor text for so many things, just as you have, Ruth. Sometimes it's good to examine the same text more deeply, & as the students know the text more & more, they might notice more too. Thank you for this. I will share with the teachers I work with.

  6. I like that you have used a mentor text that many young writers are likely to pick up and read on their own. I think doing this will help make the connections more real for them.

  7. Your minilessons are like minimentors for teachers (because they are short and focused- for the impact they have in helping us learn to use mentor texts more effectively, they are more like megamentors)! Thanks for sharing.

  8. I will add these ideas to my collection of minilessons. We have always enjoyed this series but I never thought of using it as a mentor text. Thanks for sharing.

  9. Thank you for sharing your thoughts as you brainstorm ideas for minilessons. Another idea for a minilesson might be writing about what you know. Sometimes it's fun for beginning writers to compile a list of topics they could teach and thus share with others.

  10. I know I'm too late for the giveaway, but I had to comment about how awesome the use of action was. I will definitely use that in my class!!!