Sunday, August 25, 2013

Must Read Mentor Text: The Journey of Oliver K. Woodman

I haven't been the most ideal blogger lately. Whew, the first week of school really wore me out! However, I couldn't miss an opportunity to link up with the girls from Collaboration Cuties for their Must Read Social Studies Mentor Text Linky Party! In fifth grade, our curriculum has changed this year in the state of Ohio. We used to focus on American History from Native Americans through the Industrial Revolution. Now, our focus is on Western Hemisphere geography. Everything we teach from history to economics all must relate to geography. It makes sense but it's been hard grasping our new spin on things. Our fourth grade teachers inherited most of our previous history like Revolutionary War and Declaration of Independence. As the fifth grade Social Studies Department Chair for my grade level, I've been working really hard to try and find some geography related picture books to bring social studies to life for our students. It's been rough! But here's a book a colleague found a few years back...

The book Oliver K. Woodman by Darcy Pattison is literally about a man made from wood named Oliver. He's going to visit a little girl in California named Tameka. Tameka's uncle is unable to come visit for the summer so he sends Oliver on a cross country trip in his place. The story takes place in letters and post cards that people write to Uncle Ray as they pick up the wondering Oliver. Uncle Ray then writes to Tameka to tell her about Oliver's travels.

 This book does a great job reviewing the different landscapes (in pictures) of the United States as well as give the "Spark Note" version of a cross country tour. Many times as I read a new destination I have my students make a prediction of what Oliver might encounter in that region of our country and then we read the page and see if any our predictions are correct.  I like to use this book as a review of our regions unit since Oliver travels across the entire United States. The book is also full of tons of PUNS and dry humor! I love it! Many of the travelers comment on Oliver's great manners and sense of humor...

After reading,  I have my students map out Oliver's journey to practice scale and latitude/longitude as part of our geography skills review. The map of his entire journey can also be found in the back of the book. An amazing co-worker Jocelyn created this handout to review geography skills that goes along with the book. You can grab a copy from my Google Drive here.

There is also a companion book, Searching for Oliver K. Woodman if your looking for a follow-up lesson or activity. This is a newer book that's on my Amazon wishlist but hasn't made it into my classroom rotation quite yet.

Don't forget to link-up and share the Social Studies love,



  1. This sounds really interesting! I have never heard of this book!! We are just finishing our geography unit. I'll have to remember this for next year.

    Thanks for linking up!
    Collaboration Cuties

  2. I have never heard/seen this book before but it looks like I need it for my geography unit! I'm off to see if I can find it at the library! Thanks for sharing.

    Hunter's Teaching Tales
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  3. A new book to add to the wish list! I love how you called in punny! hehe This sounds like my style, thanks for introducing me to it!
    Head Over Heels For Teaching

  4. I felt the first week drain, too! Ready for another week! :0) I would have loved to use your suggestions when I taught fifth grade--so I am passing them on to my former teaching partner... Thanks so much for sharing!

    Sarah @ Hoots N' Hollers

  5. This is a nice book and giving us important and interesting knowledge same like custom essay writing service and so much excitement also. Everybody should try to read it to get very interesting knowledge if they seeking for some beneficent material.


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