April 20, 2014

Must Read Mentor Text: Polar, the Titanic Bear

I'm linking up what has quickly become one of my favorite texts for this week's Must Read Mentor Text hosted by Collaboration Cuties.

by Daisy Corning Stone Spedden

"Written for her son by an American heiress whose family survived the 1912 sinking of the "Titanic", this account of the Edwardian life and of the disaster is told through the eyes of the young boy's teddy bear. Illustrated with watercolors and family photographs, this book makes an ideal read-aloud." Amazon.com

This year's crop of fifth graders is wild about anything Titanic! We recently read Lauren Tarshis's book I Survived the Sinking of the Titanic 1912, enjoying the adventure story as well as the actual history behind it. When our fourth grade teacher saw what we were reading she brought this delightful book to me from her own collection of teaching materials (she is retiring at the end of this school year).

Told from the viewpoint of a stuffed bear, the story of the Titanic becomes VERY real for young readers. The story is actually written by a Titanic survivor as a memento for her young son, who also is a survivor as is his bear, Polar. Not only is the story of the Titanic recalled but a window into the world of Edwardian times is opened. Aeroplanes, funnicular railways, and department stores are in their infancy and introduced as the modern technology of the early 1900's.

While I don't teach Social Studies, I did use this text to teach Language Arts skills. We were able to continue our learning of literary skills, particularly character traits and point of view, comparing this text to Lauren Tarshis's that we had just completed. Following are two INB foldables that I used with my fifth graders to accompany the Polar text. A word of explanation is needed for the point of view items. As we were exploring the point of view for this text, one of my boys shouted, "Not PERSON point of view- BEARson point of view!" Too clever to pass up thus the foldable in its form below! They are yours for the taking; just click on the picture.

Additionally, I created a fun set of SCOOT cards to accompany this mentor text. There are actually four different activities in one: three different identify the parts of speech (nouns, verbs, pronouns, and adjectives) and one identify the prepositional phrase utilizing sentences taken from the book. My fifth graders have enjoyed using these activities. We played a round of SCOOT and a round of SCATTER already. This coming week we'll start looking at prepositional phrases and how they enhance our writing. We'll return to this set of cards once again, this time for practice with this particular skill. These cards are available in my TpT Store and can be downloaded HERE or by clicking on the following picture.

Be sure to stop by Collaboration Cuties to see what other great Mentor Texts have been shared this week.


  1. I have never seen this book!!! I think all kids are obsessed with the Titanic! This looks like such a neat book and I love when the narrator is not a person! Thanks so much for linking up! I hope I can find this book!!

  2. I love reading about the Titanic and kids do as well! Great post!
    Creating Lifelong Learners

  3. I don't know this book! I love it for Bearson point of view! How cute is that? Going to find the book at Amazon!
    Head Over Heels For Teaching


Leave a little message and let me know you've visited!