Read to Kinder & 1st Grade
Targeted Skills: Discuss elements of fiction (characters, setting, and plot)
This is another Mockingbird book from our district list, and it's an excellent read aloud for the little ones. We discussed the characters, setting, and summarized the beginning, middle, and end of the plot.
This book offers a great discussion of "creative problem solving" and also some science about reflection and the moon. We also discussed character traits that the kids admired about Cindy Moo, such as the power of perseverance and determination. This is a cute read aloud that the kids enjoyed.
Betty Bunny Loves Chocolate Cake by Michael B. Kaplan
Read to 2nd Grade
Targeted Skills: Discuss elements of fiction (character, setting, problem/solution)
Betty Bunny is one of my new favorite characters because she is full of spunk and charm, proving that she truly is a "handful." I love that this book presents a realistic character (even though she is a talking bunny) because I think so many kids can identify with her strong feelings towards chocolate cake (I sure can!). The ending provides an excellent discussion on problem and solution because the students realize that Betty Bunny does not learn her lesson by the story's conclusion (kind of like in life). Even though the book ends, students can infer that Betty will eventually learn how to be patient; it just might take her a little longer. This is one of my new favorite read alouds because it is funny and the kids LOVED it!
If You Lived Here: Houses of the World by Giles Laroche
Read to 3rd Grade
Targeted Skills: Discuss elements of Expository; Make inferences; Generate ideas for writing
This is an excellent nonfiction book that the students truly enjoyed. After showing them the picture of each house, I let them "Turn and Talk" to share their reactions. (I am trying to incorporate more opportunities for students to talk during the read aloud lessons.) We then read the information about the house and the students made connections to their quick conversations. I was unable to share the entire book (it features 15 houses, and I read about 8 of them). The students then determined that the book was nonfiction even though it has illustrations and not real photographs (they are getting good at judging a book based on its content and author's purpose--not the pictures--hallelujah!). There is an excellent map located in the back of the book that shows the location of each house in relation to the world. We then talked about a writer's workshop idea of designing their own dream houses based on what they read in this book. Fabulous!
Writing Lesson with 4th Grade using Face Time
Targeted Skills: Conferencing with other writers
Colleen, my amazing librarian colleague from Seabourn Elementary called me up and said, "Some of my 4th grade teachers want to use Face Time to conference about writing. Are you in?" I said, "Yes!" This lesson was all Colleen's idea; I just got two teachers who were interested and scheduled a time for them to come. It was wonderful! The students volunteered to read their writing before they came so that they would be prepared. We then took turns (one from Shaw and one from Seabourn), and everyone wrote a TAG post-it (see Lesson Frame) while listening. Colleen and I swapped the post-its so that the writers could get their feedback. The students LOVED this experience, and we will definitely be using Face Time in the future for book discussions and more lessons. Thanks for the idea, Colleen!