Inspiring Independent Writing Project Mentor Text (Part 5 of 5)

My students were always shocked to learn that my favorite subject to teach wasn’t writing… it was social studies!  I was a history minor in college and almost considered getting my first master’s in secondary education so I could teach high school history.  As you know, I went into elementary education and the rest is, well, history!  That said, I’m always on the look out for picture books that present historical events in an intriguing way.

GandhiGandhi: A March to the Sea, written by Alice B. McGinty and illustrated by Thomas Gonzalez tells the fascinating story of a 24-day march Mohandas Gandhi and 70 of his followers made to nonviolently protest the taxes the British government levied on salt. The March to the Sea took place in 1930 and was the beginning of of Gandhi’s Satyagraha movement, which inspired many peaceful protests and campaigns in modern times.  McGinty wrote about Gandhi’s March to the Sea in free verse.  From the very first page, I was drawn into the book:

Click on the image to enlarge.

Click on the image to enlarge.

Often teachers don’t have enough time for social studies or to focus on poetry.  Therefore, I thought combining social studies and free verse poetry could be an interesting way to examine history and do some content area writing during the final month of the school year.  (If your upper elementary students are anything like mine were, they will love experimenting with writing free verse.)  Granted, if you’re doing independent writing projects, not every student will be completing a free-verse poetry project or something steeped in history.  However, for students who are engaged in some kind of research-based social studies work, one way to have them publish their work could be in the form of a free verse poem.  And if that’s the case, then Gandhi: A March to the Sea is a fantastic mentor text!

 Take a look at two more page spreads from Gandhi: A March to the Sea:

Click on the image to enlarge.

Click on the image to enlarge.

Click on the image to enlarge.

Click on the image to enlarge.

Images courtesy of Two Lions, an imprint of Amazon Children’s Publishing.

Finally, there’s a Common Core Educators Guide for this book on Amazon.com.  When you go to the detail page for the Gandhi: A March to the Sea, scroll halfway down the page and you’ll see it.

Giveaway Information:

  • Many thanks to Two Lions for sponsoring this giveaway. One lucky commenter will win a copy of Gandhi: A March to the Sea by Alice B. McGinty and Thomas Gonzalez.
  • To enter for a chance to win a copy please leave a comment on this post about independent writing projects, how you’d use this book in your classroom, or about the ways you use poetry with your your students.
  • All comments left on or before Friday, June 14th 2013 at 11:59 p.m. EDT will be entered into a random drawing using a random number generator the following day. I will announce the winners’ names at the bottom of this post no later than Sunday, June 16th.
  • Please be sure to leave a valid e-mail address when you post your comment, so I can contact you to obtain your mailing address if you win. From there, my contact at Two Lions will ship the book out to you. (NOTE: Your e-mail address will not be published online if you only leave it in the e-mail field.)

Comments are now closed.  Thanks to everyone who left a comment on this post.  Isabel Showkatian’s commenter number was selected so she’ll receive a copy of Gandhi.  Here’s what she wrote:

My students have spent the year studying Virginia history and spent countless hours steeped in biographies about our founding fathers. As I read the sample pages of Gandhi: A March to the Sea I wondered what similarities and differences might be found between Gandhi as a founding father of modern India and George Washington, the found father of the United States. What similar qualities did these leaders share and how did these cope with conflicts and failures . . . this would lead to some insightful discussions and hopefully to free verse poems on these two men . . . alternatively I could see students writing reflection pieces on the concept of leadership, what makes a “man” great . . . as the year ends it’s a wonderful opportunity to reflect on the accomplishments of others and their own accomplishments.