Read to 3rd Grade (5 classes)
Targeted Skills: Compare the characteristics of fiction and nonfiction; main idea and supporting details
This is the first one of the 2012 Texas Bluebonnet Books that I have read aloud to my students. Each year I choose 3-5 that I will read to the 3rd--6th grade classes when they come to the library. Because students only have to read 5 to vote for their favorite, this ensures that all students will get to participate in the voting. Sometimes I have to get the teachers to read 2 or 3 in their classrooms because I wasn't able to share all 5 in the library, but they are always looking for a great read-aloud, so they are happy to do so. Last year I had 100% of my 3rd--6th graders participate in the voting, and that is my goal again this year (over 450 students!). Many librarians in my district start reading these at the beginning of the school year, but I like to start the Bluebonnets in October/November so that they have a better memory of them at the end of January when voting occurs.
I started out this lesson with a review of fiction and nonfiction characteristics. I called on students at random to list qualities of each genre, and I recorded their responses on a piece of colored paper under the Elmo. I did this so that I could give each teacher the list for their class (my chart paper supply is limited, so colored paper works). I should have done this as a Venn diagram so that the shared qualities would be more easily distinguished, but I guess it works this way, too. We then made the connection that "Expository" is the "Fancy Nancy" way to say nonfiction. Before we read the book, the kids predicted that the book was fiction because "it looks fiction!" they all said. Once again, I emphasized that we have to READ the book and THINK about the author's purpose: Is she telling us a story by using characters and other literary elements, or is this book teaching us facts about a real thing?
After we finished the book, the kids all decided that this book was definitely expository. I pointed out that even though the book had few text features and did have some cartoonish illustrations, it still taught us FACTS about hotdogs. We then discussed the main idea of the book since both fiction and nonfiction have a main idea. We looked at the title and subtitle as a hint. I want the kids to be more aware of title to help them determine the main idea. This book demonstrates this perfectly (The HISTORY of the Hotdog). The supporting details all connect to the history. They LOVED this book, and they enjoyed the "turn and talk" activity about what they like to put on their hotdogs. Ironically, the cafeteria served hotdogs on Friday of that week, and the kids all thought I made that happen. I love that they think a librarian has that much power.
On Friday, our local newspaper came to take pictures for a feature piece on our district's libraries. I was very honored that they came to Shaw and included us in the article. You can read the article and see some of my 3rd grade darlings.
Scarum Fair by Jessica Swaim
Read to 5th Grade (5 classes)
Targeted Skills: Have fun with poetry; Notice characteristics of poetry; Make inferences; Vocabulary development
This is another 2012 Bluebonnet book, and I chose it for this week's lesson because my fifth grade teachers asked me to do a lesson on poetry. This is a perfect book for October because it allows students to have FUN with poetry with a spooky Halloween theme! Remember that my first focus is on the affective domain of learning, so I always strive to make reading enjoyable and relevant.
I asked the students if they thought it was possible to have fun with poetry. About 50 % of each class admitted that they did not like poetry. We then read the poems together and discussed the rhyme (but I stressed that not all poetry has to rhyme), the rhythm (we clapped out the beat on some), and the figurative language. There are a few poems that make a great lesson on making inferences, so we discussed the thinking behind making an inference. After we finished the book with lots of laughs and "ooooss", I asked they thought it was now possible to have fun with poetry...I got a 100% "yes" response. And that, my friends, is why I love my job.
I only had 10 lessons with two grade levels this week because of preparation for the (duh-duh-DUH)... Book Fair. In order to make sure that as many students as possible could get into the library to checkout new books before the Book Fair took over, I had open checkout time for a majority of the week. I blocked out Friday to set up the Book Fair, and I had some other conflicts, so that limited the library schedule for the week. Here is our library wiki schedule if you are interested to see how it works. Teachers sign up each week to bring in their class. My 3rd grade only comes at a fixed time because of a district mandate. Unfortunately, this is the teacher's conference period, so they do not come with their class, but I still collaborate with them about what they want me to teach. All other grade level teachers come with their classes and are involved in the lesson.