Monday, March 25, 2013

Week 25

Press Here by Herve Tullet
Read to Kinder, 1st Grade, 4th Grade
Targeted Skills: Use text evidence to make Inferences
 I read this at the beginning of the school year to Kinder and 1st Grade, so I wasn't expecting the same reaction of complete glee. Since it is a Mockingbird book, I needed to share it again, and it was also a good time to read it to 4th grade. 

This book just ROCKS. Even though the kids knew what was going to happen to the dots, they still screamed in delight--yes, screamed--when the dots got bigger. Maybe it's just an excuse to scream in the library (yes, I let them--enjoying books should be so joyful), but I think it was an authentic response. And the 4th graders thought it was super-cool, too. And they screamed.

As if this book wasn't awesome enough on its own, there is an iPad app! It does not have the book as a feature (which would be amazing), but it has games to play with the dots. I demonstrated a few games and turned it into a little making inferences activity; we would guess what the dots would do based on the name of the game. For example, one game is called, "Fireworks," so the kids inferred that the dots would explode like fireworks. Boom. They were right. Oh, the app is not free. It's $1.99 and worth every penny. 
Lesson Frame:

Home Screen for Press Here App

You tap the dots to uncover the games

"Fireworks" Game--Exploding dots
Is Everyone Ready for Fun? by Jan Thomas  and Oink-A-Doodle-Moo by Jef Czekaj
Read to 2nd Grade
Targeted Skills: Make Inferences and Text Connections between the 2 books

These are two short books on the Mockingbird list, so I combined them, and the kids were able to find many similarities between them (both have animals as characters, both have cows and chickens, both stories are told through speech bubbles). One that I did not think of was that they are both by authors of previous Mockingbird books, Rhyming Dust Bunnies by Jan Thomas and Hip and Hop, Don't Stop by Jef Czekaj. That was a happy accident. I love it when those happen!

Lesson Frame: 
I Want My Hat Back and This is Not My Hat by Jon Klassen 
Read to 3rd Grade
Targeted Skills: Make Inferences and Text Connections between the 2 books

My circulation computers took 2 hours to log on the week before Spring Break (proof that even the computers were tired). I have a 3rd grade class first thing each morning, so this was problematic. (Third is the only drop-off and fixed schedule grade level because I am part of the elective rotation to lessen the PE numbers as part of a district's a long story). Anyway, no computers meant no checkout, so I had to get creative with our 45 minutes together. This was a perfect opportunity to share these two book in a compare/contrast lesson format.

First, I read I Want My Hat Back and then This is Not My Hat. Then we did a Venn diagram to compare and contrast the two books. The students LOVED it and I suggest reading these two books together for a strong lesson in the importance of using illustrations for meaning. So much of the humor in these books is inferred through the pictures. 

Lesson Frame:
Venn Diagram:

Wonder by R.J. Palacio
Read to 6th Grade
Targeted Skills: How sensory language creates imagery

As I've written in a previous post, I am on a personal mission to get as many people as possible to read Wonder. Three of my sixth grade classes have finished it or are in the process, so I still had 2 more classes to get on board. I decided that I would share the beginning of the book in this lesson, and then the kids would BEG their teacher to keep reading it. And it worked.  

As the students listened to the first chapter of Wonder, we discussed how Palacio uses sensory language to create imagery, and we made a foldable that looked like this:

 We discussed how the sensory details are the cause and the image that they produce in the reader's mind/heart is the effect. I recommend doing this with any chapter in Wonder. Truly a perfect read-aloud because it is engaging and offers so many lessons.

I also played the song "Wonder" by Natalie Merchant since this is where Palacio got the inspiration for the title. We listened to the song and then the students wrote about how it connects to August.

Lesson Frame:

In an effort of full transparency and fallibility, here are some pictures of March Madness in the library--the Friday before Spring Break. Actually, it has often been MUCH worse, but this will give you an idea:

Books are ALWAYS on carts in my library.

Do your shelves look like this or is it just mine?

I tell the kids that the good books are on the carts.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Dr. Seuss Day!

In honor of Dr. Seuss birthday on March 2, we dressed up like our favorite Seuss character on Friday, March 1. This was my principal's idea, so I especially loved it. Here are a few of the highlights:

Mrs. Knight made these awesome hats for us. (I'm on the right.)

This is one of my favorite pictures ever!

The Lorax!

A 5th grader rocks her Dr. Seuss hat!

Showing off our Dr. Seuss quote in the library.

Love it!

Our 5th grade bilingual teacher is Cindy Lou Who!

Some of our 5th grade teachers with Sam I Am!

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Week 24

Barnum's Bones: How Barnum Brown Discovered the Most Famous Dinosaur in the World by Tracey Fern
Read to 3rd Grade
Targeted Skills: Literary Nonfiction; Make Inferences; Interesting Facts

This book is on the 2014 Bluebonnet List, but since the curriculum focus for the week was literary nonfiction, I thought this would be a good choice.

My students loved this book--especially the boys. It is a great example of literary nonfiction--true events told in a literary way...less "just the facts" and more story elements. It is perfect for making inferences and tying in some science elements about fossils and dinosaurs. Fabulous read-aloud!

I passed this book along to one of my 3rd grade teachers as an example of literary nonfiction. It was a bit too long to read during our lesson time in the library, so she read it in her classroom. She said that her students really enjoyed it--especially since they have become fascinated with the presidents.

Lesson Frame:

Goldie and the Three Hares by Margie Palatini
Read to 1st and 2nd Grade
Targeted Skills: Difference between Fiction & Expository; Main Idea; Make Inferences and Text Connections

The curriculum focus for the week was "main idea with expository text." But this is when I have to get creative because I need to read our Mockingbird books by May so that we can vote for our favorite. Unfortunately, we don't have any expository books in our list this year. To learn more about our Mockingbird list, please read this post 

My students LOVED this book, and it is a perfect example of a twisted fairy tale. The students were able to make inferences and text connections to other fairy tales that they had read. When we finished the book, they did a "turn and talk" about the main idea. We discussed how finding the main idea of a fiction story is different than finding it in expository, but everything that you read does have a main idea--just a different strategy on how to find it.
Lesson Frame: 

Big Bouffant by Kate Hosford 
Read to Kinder & 4th Grade 
Targeted Skills for Kinder: Fiction or Nonfiction? Good research book? Context clues for vocab
Targeted Skills for 4th Grade: Genre? Use text evidence to make inferences about character traits; personal narrative idea

I have already read this book to 1st & 2nd grade, so it was Kindergarten's turn since it is a Mockingbird book. I stagger the MB books so that I don't have to read it 16 times in a week (the number of K--2nd classes on my campus). I don't want to end the week sick of a  book. This was another stretch of making the lesson fit the curriculum objective to the week for Kinder. They are working on research in the classroom, so we talked about if this book would be good for research? They said no because we need books of facts for research, and they knew this was not facts but a story. I have a super-sharp group of Kinders this year! They impress me every week.

Even though 4th grade does not participate in the Mockingbird Book vote, I try to read some of the books that I think they will really enjoy. They get sad when they realize that they miss out on them. This book is a perfect example of bumping up the lesson to meet the needs of the class. This is perfect for 4th grade, and they loved it! They used text evidence to make inferences about Annabelle's character. We also talked about how they could write about their own hair emergencies for a personal narrative.

Lesson Frame for 4th Grade: 

Lesson Frame for Kinder: 

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Week 23: Book Fair #2

The Book Fair Returns...

Our second fair was held this week, and we met all of our sales goals! So I am excited (and ex.haust.ed) and still trying to remove the stench of dirty pennies from my fingers. If you would like to read more about how the Book Fair rolls at Shaw, then please read this post.

I was most excited to see how many students would return their "Make a Date with a Book" cards from the previous week. I got back 32! I think I checked out around 80 books, and considering that the students only had a week to go on their "dates," I'm happy with this result. These 32 students got to choose a free book from the Book Fair! I couldn't resist letting all of them win, and I have plenty of money in my Scholastic Dollars account to use for freebies.

Returned cards

Happy 6th Graders!

Free Books!

I just have to include this picture as proof of what I'm dealing with during the Book Fair. I am the cashier, so I touch/count/deal with ALL of the money (I HATE it, by the way. Thank goodness the books are free in the library).  I had to teach so many students about "money etiquette," how to properly hand money to a cashier (un-wad the bills, have your coins lessons). I wonder if the cashiers at Wal-Mart have to unfold bills that are in the shape of hearts? Book Fair problems... 

Friday, March 1, 2013

Week 22

Poetry Lesson with 6th Grade
Targeted Skills: Analyze poetry for language, purpose, and meaning

As a former high school English teacher, I miss the days of analyzing poetry, so when my 6th grade teachers asked me to help them with a poetry lesson, I was thirlled! I chose 4 poems from this great anthology, Poetry After Lunch. We did a tri-fold and labeled each column "Poem Title," "My Thoughts," and "Analysis."

After writing down the title, we read the poem and then students wrote down their initial thoughts. I pointed out that sometimes poetry makes you ask questions, so it's okay to be confused and not understand it. I urged them to write down questions if they had any confusion. We then discussed the three ways to analyze a poem by answering these three questions:
  • What do you notice about the language? (Does it rhyme? What figuruative language do you notice?)
  • What do you notice about the structure? (Does it tell a story? Does it share an emotion? Does it follow a certain pattern?)
  • What does the poem mean to you? (There is more than one meaning to a poem.)
We started with some "easy" poems by Shell Silverstein and then worked our way up to some more advanced ones. I think it is important that students are exposed to poetry throughout the year rather in just a single "unit" or week. We need to sprinkle more poetry into our lessons so that students will have more exposure to it, and therefore, more of an appreciation.

Students then got to participate in "Make a Date with a Book" if they wanted to. Please see this post for more details.
Lesson Frame:

Looking at Lincoln by Maira Kalman
Read to 3rd Grade
Targeted Skills: Discuss Genre; historical significance; Facts learned from reading

Since my 3rd graders finished their research on presidents, I thought this would be a great choice to share with them--and also in honor of Lincoln's birthday, which was that week. This is a selection on next year's Bluebonnet list, and it's one of my new favorites.

We discussed genre and text evidence to support the fact that it was a biography. Students then turned and talked about some interesting facts that they learned about Lincoln.

Lesson Frame:

Red-Eyed Tree Frog by Joy Cowley
Kindergarten Research
Targeted Skills: Listen for Facts; Write Facts; Discuss the purpose of Expository Text 

I fully admit that I get a little squeamish at the thought of Kindergarten research. (God bless those dear Kinder teachers, every one of them). Instead of full-blown research, we ease into it with a read-aloud and note-taking activity. I want to stress the idea that we use Nonfiction books (Expository) to do our research because they contain facts. I read this fabulous book and then we complete the chart over the animal. Students then check out their own animal book to complete a research project with their parents at home. Easy-peezy!
Please pardon my drawing. I am NOT an artist.
Lesson Frame:

And the rest of the week was spent getting ready for the Book Fair and Preview Day. Oh Joy!!

I'm predicting this will be a sell-out...