Saturday, January 12, 2013

Week 17: Beginning of Second Semester

Who Pushed Humpty Dumpty? And Other Notorious Nursery Tale Mysteries by David Levinthal and John Nickle 
Read to Kindergarten
Targeted Skills: Elements of Fairy Tales 

The kids were excited to be back in the library after a two-week break from school. We started the lesson with a review of the fairy tale elements that they had discussed in class. The kids were easily able to tell me that fairy tales begin with "Once Upon a Time," have good and evil characters (not always princesses and princes), have elements of magic (not always with magic wands), and usually have a happy ending.

I would like to put my fallibility right out there to show that I don't always pick a great read-aloud. At the beginning of the week, I chose The Man in the Moon by William Joyce to read to Kindergarten. It is a GORGEOUS new book that tells a fairy tale that I didn't think the students were very familiar with. I read it to one Kinder class, and while it was not a horrible experience, I got the vibe that they didn't love it. It is very long, and they got confused by some parts of the story. It is a beautiful book, and I think it will be better suited for the older kids, so I ditched it and went with Who Pushed Humpty Dumpty? I wanted to share something a bit unconventional since I knew they kids were familiar with many of the classics. This is considered a "twisted" fairy tale because it solves the mysteries of these beloved stories. I chose three to share (Goldilocks, Humpty, and Snow White--it is long, too), and we reviewed the traditional stories before we read the "solved" versions. Some of the humor flew over their heads (for example, referring to Humpty as a "good egg"), but they still enjoyed it. I want to share this one with the upper grades because I think they will "get it." If you are looking to spice up your fairy tale collections, this one is a must!

Lesson Frame 

I Broke My Trunk! by Mo Willems
Read to 1st Grade 
Targeted Skills: Elements of Drama, Examples of Dialogue, Making Predictions and Inferences

Like most librarians, I admit to having a book crush on anything by Mo Willems. Many kids forget that he wrote the Elephant and Piggie books, so I like to lead them to these (I have many since it's a series) when all of the Pigeon books are checked out (which is always). My kids have learned they must be patient when looking for books in the library.

It's difficult to find "drama" to share with students because we don't have any in the library. I chose this book because it is an excellent example of dialogue, and I wanted to show them how this can be turned into a script, which can then be shared as readers' theater.

First, let me tell you that my eyes were opened to something at the beginning of this lesson. I first asked the kids to tell me what "drama" means. Here are some responses:

  • "It means you are a hot mess."
  • "It means you make stuff a big deal."
  • "It means that you cry a lot."
  • "It means that you are a queen."
I soon realized that when our kids see "drama" on oh, let's say a standardized test, this is the definition that most of them have in their schema. It is IMPERATIVE that we teach them that drama can also mean "a play" or a "dramatic performance" so that they understand this concept. This might seem like a picky thing, but I think we have to keep in mind how things will be asked on a test and prepare our students with that terminology. Like it or not, we have to keep this in mind. I never condone "teaching to a test," but I think we have to teach in the reality in which we live. 

Off my soap box and back to the lesson: this book rocks. It's short, funny, and so fun to read. I made sure the students imagined this as a play--visualizing elephant and piggie on a stage. (Classroom teachers with more time could turn this into a readers' theater.) However, there are elements of flashback in the story, so this was a good way ask how would that be performed in a play? The kids LOVED this book, and so did I.  

Lesson Frame

If you haven't stumbled upon Mo Willems' blog, click here .

I HAVE to get this new t-shirt. You can find it on Mo's blog!!!

I am curious to know what resources you use for drama. Do you have "drama" in your library? (books not hot messes.) Please share in the comments below. I  need some titles to add to my collection.

The Legend of the Indian Paintbrush by Tomie dePaola
Read to 2nd Grade 
Targeted Skills: Elements of a Legend; Character Traits 

I like to read NEW books to the kids, but this is an example of a time when I had to go "old school." 

We reviewed elements of a legend that the kids had learned in class. They could easily tell me that legends are passed down from generation to generation, about real people, things, or events, and have some element of magic or fiction. 

I wasn't sure if the kids would enjoy this book, but they really did--especially the boys. Shame on me for doubting the magic of Tomie dePaola--he really is timeless. They liked the fact that Little Gopher wanted to be a warrior, but he was good at being an artist so he stuck to his true talent. They were able to identify this a positive character trait. We reviewed some elements of fairy tales that they learned last year (they haven't covered these in the 2nd grade curriculum yet), so that they could see what makes a legend different. 
Lesson Frame

What legends do you share with your students? I need some new ideas!

Scarum Fair by Jessica Swaim
Read to 3rd Grade
Targeted Skills: Elements of Poetry (rhyme, rhythm, figurative language); Vocabulary; Making Inferences

It was third grade's turn to hear this Bluebonnet book. Please see my post in Week 8 to read about this lesson. 

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