Home » Language Arts » Short Stories, Picture Books, and Video Clips for Notice and Note

Short Stories, Picture Books, and Video Clips for Notice and Note

Those of you who have read my previous posts know that I am a huge fan of Notice and Note by Kylene Beers and Bob Probst. I started using it in my sixth grade English classes and saw levels of analysis I had never achieved when using traditional methods of close reading. Their concrete, user-friendly strategy made even the most difficult texts accessible to all.

For the last two years, I have used a combination of the examples given in the book and short stories to teach each signpost before we applied them to whole class novels. (See previous posts.) This year, I decided to add picture books and video clips to the mix. Because my classes are only 45 minutes long and I have to teach all of ELA in that time, I don’t use as many books and videos and I would like (or as are available), but the addition of these two things made the signposts even more valuable to my class. They had no trouble finding them when we read our first novel, Walk Two Moons.

Below are the resources I used this year. I always began and ended with a short story and showed the video and read the picture books in between. After we had learned all of them, I had them search in my many picture books for more.

(NOTES: I currently teach at an all-girls’ school, so the short stories reflect that. See my previous posts for more examples of stories to use. There are also numerous other picture books that have great examples of signposts. Also, I purchased the Pixar shorts DVDs.)


Short Stories

  • Thank You, Ma’am by Langston Hughes
  • Priscilla and the Wimps by Richard Peck

Picture Books

  • My Teachers is a Monster (No, I am Not) by Peter Brown
  • Julius, Baby of the World by Kevin Henkes

Video Clip

  • Tin Toy – Pixar Shorts Vol 1


 Short Stories

  • Tuesday of the Other June by Norma Fox Mazer
  • Who Are You Today, Maria? by Judith Ortiz Cofer
  • Flowers and Freckle Cream by Elizabeth Ellis

Picture Books

  • That Is Not A Good Idea by Mo Willems
  • One Word From Sophia by Jim Averbeck

Video Clips


Short Stories

  • The Richer, The Poorer by Dorothy West
  • A-Ha Moment by Julia Alvarez (from Oprah Magazine)

Picture Books

  • My Rotten, Redheaded Older Brother by Patricia Polacco
  • Tiger Goes Wild by Peter Brown (he’s a class favorite author)

Video Clips


Short Stories

  • Eleven by Sandra Cisneros
  • Charles by Shirley Jackson (also has a good A-Ha moment)

Picture Books

  • Chrysanthemum by Kevin Henkes
  • I Want My Hat Back by Jon Klassen

Video Clips


 Short Story

  • My Grandmother’s Hair by Cynthia Rylant

Picture Books

  • Aunt Flossie’s Hats (and Crab Cakes Later) by Elizabeth Fitzgerald Howard

Video Clip

  • Time Travel Mater – Pixar Shorts vol 2


Short Story

  • The Third Wish by Joan Aiken

Picture Books

  • Bully by Patricia Polacco
  • The Three Questions by Jon J. Muth (based on a story by Tolstoy)

Video Clip

  • La Luna – Pixar Shorts vol 2
  • Partly Cloudy – Pixar Shorts vol 2

Many of the other Pixar shorts would be great to use as well, but in the interest of time, these are all I had the opportunity to use this year.

For example:


For the Birds for A-HA MOMENT


There are also numerous collections of award-winning shorts available on YouTube.

My goals for next summer are to find some more animated shorts and also add in songs, poetry, and art. I am also going to ask the students to find some examples of these themselves this spring when we do more literary analysis.



4 thoughts on “Short Stories, Picture Books, and Video Clips for Notice and Note

  1. Do you use any drama in your class when you teach these? I have to teach a play, and I’d love to able to the strategies for a play. Do you have any good ideas for a play to use for the 8th grade level?


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