Mentor Text Linky - If I Built a Car

I am linking up with the two amazing ladies over at Collaboration Cuties for their  Mentor Text Linky. This week's theme is Language Arts books.

I am sharing the book "If I Built a Car" by Chris Van Dusen.

I love, love, love the illustrations in this book I love the 1950's feel!

I use this book when teaching procedural texts and writing. I read this book at the beginning of an art lesson. Then we use the directions from a How to Draw Cars book to practice drawing cars. I photocopy a few copies of a few cars and the students follow the directions and try drawing a number of cars. We look at the directions in how to draw books and pick out important features (numbered steps, clear, concise, brief and diagrams).

Then the students pick one car design, make a good copy and add special details - like the book! Check out this special feature:

My next car is going to have a buffet table in the middle!

Then the students have to label their car. We do these as practice for when we write directions on how something works or how to make something. I teach them that the labels need to all go in the same direction - not any way they want and the words need to fit in the label box ( I usually give them a page with different size rectangles on it to write the labels). We make an anchor chart - sort of like this one - only not nearly as awesome,  as an example:

 They label their cars and they turn out fantastic year after year. I love seeing all the crazy features they add to their cars, flat screen t.v's , pools, hockey rinks, ice cream machines!

Our next step is writing out the steps for a simple class activity like making paper chains, marshmallow and toothpick towers etc. I take photos of students at different stages and then we write directions together using the photos.

Since I have no photos of our work I made this little freebie for you to use. There is a mini-anchor poster for Labels,  a picture to label together as a class or individually, and a vehicle that students can add features to. I would have the students add a trailer to the back so they can include all their cool features!

Also, I am having a sale at my TN and TpT stores. The TN store is on sale now.
The TpT sale starts tomorrow, don't forget to use the code TAD13 for the extra discount.

Classroom Freebies Manic Monday


  1. I love anything RETRO! You are right, the illustrations make this book extra cool! So creative and engaging... Thanks for sharing. :)
    Brandee @ Creating Lifelong Learners

  2. Great activity! I must get a hold of this one for next year! Thanks so much for sharing your creativity!

    Have a wonderful week,
    Sarah @ Hoots N Hollers

  3. Thanks for sharing! I love how you incorporated a unique way to help the kids remember labels in nonfiction text. Having them actually create it helps them to remember it! So fun!

    Reading Toward the Stars

  4. I love the idea of this book- I have never heard of it! Thanks for linking up a great book, which now, I will have to buy. :-P
    ideas by jivey

  5. I LOVE this idea!!! This is a perfect activity for those last few weeks of school when the kiddos need something extra engaging! Thank you so much for sharing!

    Koonce’s Korner

  6. Another great book that I've never heard of! Thank you for being so detailed as to how you use it. Then I have to think less. :O)

    This looks super fun and if I built a car, it would have a chauffeur with a Starbucks and a masseuse and a nail salon!! Then I could get all that done in route since I don't have time now!

    Thanks for linking up, friend!
    Collaboration Cuties

  7. This book looks great and the activity sounds fabulous! Thanks for sharing!

    :) Tamra and Sarah
    First Grade Buddies


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