Friday, November 16, 2012

Week 11

Balloons Over Broadway by Melissa Sweet
Read to 3rd & 4th (6 classes)
Targeted Skills: Discuss the differences between biography and autobiography; Use text evidence to support character traits 

This book has been on my radar for several months, but I saved it to read in November to coincide with the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday. We started the lesson by discussing the differences between biography and autobiography. I am really trying to use the library cards to call on students rather than the traditional raising hand method. (Confession: With so many names to remember, I find myself only calling on students who I am certain of their names, and honestly, I also call on students who I know will keep the lesson going. This is wrong of me to do.) The library card method is going well and brings equity to my questioning practices, but it does slow down the lesson. Oh well. 

I was pleased that every class easily shared the characteristics of each genre, which all credit goes to the classroom teachers, who are teaching like their hair is on fire to cover our district's extensive curriculum. We made a Venn diagram to show the characteristics: 
After reading the first two pages of the book, the students turned and talked about the qualities that they admire in Tony Sarg. This is a great place to stop and make some inferences about his character and use text evidence to support those conclusions. After finishing the book, the students easily determined that it was a biography. We then watched a You Tube video of the Macy's Thanksgiving Parade so that they could see how Tony Sarg's creativity is still on display. The students truly enjoyed this book, and the illustrations are breathtaking. 
Lesson Frame:

Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus and The Duckling Gets a Cookie!? by Mo Willems
Read to 2nd Grade (5 Classes)
Targeted Skills:Compare two books by the same author; Look for elements of character, plot, and style

Who doesn't love the Mo Willems' Pigeon books? Since my second graders were doing an author study, I thought this was a perfect time for Pigeon because they are quick, fun reads that both kids and librarians love.  Even though most of the kids had read the first one, I started with it as a basis for comparison. We then moved on to the newest in the series and stopped to compare elements of character, plot, and style. The kids were quick to point out that Mo likes to use squares to speed up time, and he also shows the Pigeon's frustration with his trademark squiggle. They also noticed the similar "Pigeon Freak OUT" moment in both books and how Mo uses bold letters, colors, and punctuation to convey the Pigeon's emotions. I found an iPad app called "Don't Let the Pigeon Run this App." It is $4.99 and worth every penny. I did not have time to show the kids the app, but I will use it in the future. It lets the user create their own Pigeon stories, and Mo even shows you how to draw Pigeon. My own daughters LOVE it. If you are a fan of Pigeon, then you MUST let your kids buy this app!
   Lesson Frame
My Pigeon with the help of the App

Bear's Loose Tooth by Karma Wilson
Read to Kinder and 1st Grade (9 classes)
Targeted Skills:  Review Literary elements of plot and character; Make inferences

This is a great book for the primary kids because most of them can connect with the fear/thrill of losing a tooth. Of course, they all wanted to show and tell me about their loose teeth, so once we got over the initial excitement, we moved on with the lesson. They easily reviewed the literary elements, which once again proves that my teachers are rocking it in the classroom. Let me make it very clear that I do not take any of the glory away from the teachers on my campus. I am constantly blown away by their dedication and determination in the face of a very tough year. My reading lessons serve as reinforcement of the skills already taught in the classroom. 

After we read the book, the kids were able to apply the literary elements to the story and identify the events in the beginning, middle, and end.  I also introduced them to the other titles in the Bear series by Karma Wilson.
Lesson Frame

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