Kindergarten: Snow day = no classes. Bummer, since I had a fabulous Peter Brown lesson ready to go. When we’re back in 2014, Mr. Tiger is going to Go Wild!
2nd and 3rd grades:
Fact: I almost never read any December holiday stories. This year, though, I couldn’t pass up Dara Goldman’s Boris and Stella and the Perfect Gift. It was perfect for so many reasons: a little bit of Christmas AND Hanukkah, a thoughtful story that would provoke good questions, and (my favorite!) a version of O. Henry’s classic short story “The Gift of the Magi”. Goals: review last week’s TAG lesson, discuss A=Ask a Question about the characters / problem as a class, write T=Tell What You Like independently.
For each class, the questions started out slow. One thing I explained to them was that the ability to ask a good question (one that we don’t already know – and can’t infer – the answer to) leads to deeper thinking and reflection on a story. Eventually, they hit on some winners: Are the two bears married? Why did the illustrator choose to make the characters bears instead of humans? Where do the bears live – Russia, Italy, or somewhere else? How old are the bears?
With 1 day separating this lesson from winter break, I chose to jazz up the writing portion of the lesson by making the paper resemble a gift. I included the copyright info for the book as well as a bonus question: What would be your perfect gift? It was my hope to get their work returned Winter Break to share with families, but a snow day prevented that from happening. Below are some student work examples. The PDF I created is here.