Must Read Mentor Text - The Z was Zapped

That is right, I am posting twice today - what are you going to do about it??  If you missed my earlier post you can click here to participate in an awesome giveaway.

But I had to, I just had to post again so I could link up with Amanda and Stacia at Collaboration Cuties for their linky....

This week's theme is Language Arts and I am suggesting a book that you can use for parts of speech (verbs) and word choice. It is

The Z was Zapped by Chris Van Allsburg. This is a pretty straightforward alphabet book. Each letter of the alphabet has something happen to it - not regular old verbs, but fun and interesting verbs, like overgrown and quartered and uprooted. The text for each picture is on the page behind the picture so the students can look at the pictures and predict what will happen to the next letter.

I use this book to review verbs and for word choice - when we need to pick strong verbs or vivid verbs - whatever you call it!
We make a list of the verbs in the book and we brainstorm other interesting verbs we can use in our writing. One thing I have in my class is a binder of interesting words students can use - yes it is just like a thesaurus - only the words in it are words that I will introduce in lessons and refer to often. I have the binder separated into sections rather than ABC order - I have a section for transition words, adjectives, adverbs, colour words, dialogue words, character traits, emotion words and I think that is it (the binder is at school). I keep the binder on the ledge right under my word wall and students use it frequently when revising their writing. I have found tons of word lists for it on the Internet. Two things that I added this year are these Verb Alphabet Cards from Joy in the Journey

and these synonym posters from Joanne at Head Over Heels for Teaching.

When I had a Hollywood theme - the binder was Award Winning Words but of course I am doing a superhero theme this year so I had to change the cover (one of those crazy jobs that I can't believe I spent time doing when I had real jobs to do!!)

Click here if you would like a copy of this cover for a binder of your own :)

One last thing we do when learning/reviewing parts of speech is play The Minister's Cat at the end of the day. Only we call it The Principal's Cat. Of course adjectives is the easiest way to play but we do it with verbs too. The Principal's cat is a jogging cat. The Principal's cat is a dancing cat. Then we move on to adding when or where to the sentence. The Principal's cat is jogging on the beach. The Principal's cat is sleeping on the fridge. The Principal's cat is painting at midnight. I guess I will stop there with the examples - I am sure you got it with the first one :)

Be sure to check out the other books being linked up this week!


  1. I love this book...let's be honest, I love all books by Chris Van Allsburg. Thanks for sharing some of the activities you use with the book.

    Hunter's Teaching Tales
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  2. Pure awesomeness!! I love it! I totally forgot about this book (bad teacher!!) I will have to either get it or find it in the media center very soon! I love your word lists that are easily accessible to students!! Cute!!!

    Thanks for linking up and risking the double post! I hope you have a great week next week! I will be thinking of you!
    Collaboration Cuties

  3. Love this (and all of his) book! Thanks for the reminder of a great way to use it! Sometimes I collect so many books that I forget that I have them...

    Sweet Rhyme – Pure Reason
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  4. I love Chris Van Allsburg! I'll be using this one when we start reviewing verbs. Thanks for all the great ideas!
    Polka Dot Lesson Plans

  5. AMC, you are so good to me! Thanks for the shout out! I'm a huge fan of Chris Van Allsburg and I don't think I've seen this book!!!! What??!! I MUST have it for my collection! I love your binder idea for easy access to words! So clever!
    Head Over Heels For Teaching

  6. Looks like I am not alone in my love for all that is van Allsburg! Thanks for the super hero cover. It fits perfectly with my theme this year.

  7. This is a great book! I love your binder idea. I think I'm going to give that a try.

    Thank you!

    Fit to be Fourth
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