Kindergarten: New author/illustrator study – Jon Klassen…who is one of my new favorites. Even better, kids love his book. Best, though, is all the thinking that his stories and illustrations encourage. I read I Want My Hat Back, and students had a thinking question: What happened to the rabbit? As the K’s are prone to do, the discussion took many, MANY turns as they verbalized their thoughts. Always entertaining, those K’s.
After the discussion, we made connections with the non-fiction section – specifically, wild animals in the 500’s and pets in the 600’s. The K’s have begun an animal project in the computer lab and are using the brilliant PebbleGo database to ignite interest. By showing the K’s where to find the animal books, I expect to see more and more circulate in the coming weeks.
2nd grade: Washington Children’s Choice Picture Book Award Nominee – Sophie’s Squash by Pat Z Miller. With the majority of homes sporting orange squash last week, it seemed like the right time to share this gem. We had great discussion over Sophie’s statement mid-story: “Bernice will last forever.” Almost all students figured out that Bernice DID last forever…as seeds growing into new squash each year.
My favorite part of this story is sharing how my family reenacted Sophie’s Squash last year on Thanksgiving. We took three mini-pumpkins, planted them in our backyard island, then waited for them to grow. And waited. And waited! But they did grow, sprouting new pumpkins, which prompted me to invite students to bring in their own small squash next week to plant in our school’s garden (which is under-utilized). Talk about making stories come alive!
4th grade: Cornell Notes, part 3 – Students read over their highlighted notes, identified 3-6 key words, then wrote important information about each in their own words. Lots of modeling for each class was key. Each group of students wrote their own key words/information, as this is a skill for everyone to practice. One teacher took the notes upstairs to her room to incorporate into her Social Studies lessons for the week, as all the 4th graders are beginning their study of Pacific Coast Native Americans. Win!
New this week: Vine videos showcasing what students are checking out. Often, I observe parent volunteers making notes on what other students are choosing or asking me for what’s popular in a certain grade/class. The 6-second videos are a quick, easy way to showcase student interest AND advertise to my community!