2nd grade: Book project of the month for most classes is on biographies. I pulled a load of great titles to have ready for the students. What is a “great biography”? Age appropriate, at-level or very close, people that are interesting but not super well-known by everyone. I left most of the sports stars on the shelves, for what it’s worth. The “Who Was…?” series was in high demand.
With only one week until we vote for the WCCPBA, it was time to read the autobiography The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind by William Kamkwamba. This title fit in perfectly with our school’s STEM focus this year.
After reading, we watched this short video on William and his windmills in Malawi. Suffice to say, the video really deepened understanding and expanded empathy toward William’s achievement and background.
3rd grade: More booktalks! I have many, MANY students who aren’t checking out books for myriad reasons (they lose books, they have an e-reader, they own too many books, they are using their classroom library, they just got a book order in…seriously, I hear it all). This is my way to encourage use of the titles I choose especially for my student population. Here are a few of the popular titles from this week’s booktalks:
These students had the same lesson as the 2nd graders, without the biography focus. William Kamkwamba’s story is a must-read for all elementary students, and the video above is truly inspiring. William graduates this spring from Dartmouth, which is not so hard to believe: he is the boy who built a windmill to provide electricity and water using a photo from a book as his inspiration, after all.