Category Archives: Research skills

New year? New ideas! Kindergarten

After teaching elementary school library for over a decade, one would think there is a set lesson or format I use to map out each school year. It’s often assumed that I do the same thing, year in and year out. After all, why recreate the wheel?

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Well, I do. New classes mean new personalities. What worked with one group of children may not work with another. Our annual school learning goals need to be taken into account, as well as curricular, technological, and logistical changes. In short: I never do the same thing exactly the same way each year.WP_20141002_006

Our K’s traditionally take part in unit studies, but the books, activities, and technologies used change a bit each year. With so many new titles, apps, and websites, there will always be new ways to foster learning.  The questions used in lessons change, too, since I work to get better at incorporating critical-thinking, claim-evidence-reasoning questions. Adding strategies and ideas from the Maker movement into our lessons (when reasonable) is also a goal.      

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Protecting their garden from invading bunnies. Inspired by Candy Fleming’s Muncha! Muncha! Muncha!

The first six weeks tend to follow a pretty set format regarding skills introduced and overall expectations. Most of my first six weeks is explained here.  Note: for the lessons listed, students visit library 1x week for 40 minutes.

  • Week 1: Play I-Spy in the Library game, learn where to sit (assigned spot) and how to sit (hands/feet to self), get to know one another with the Squishy Ball, listen to one story (first author study), show where to sit at the end of the lesson (the line near the door…no chairs/table spots), learning goal: what does an author do?
  • Week 2: Review where/how to sit, play make-believe games with Mr. Tiger (large stuffed animal mascot who I “talk” to), listen to story, barcodes & passes, self check-out (books on top of shelves only), learn whose responsibility it is to bring back book (students, not moms!)
    • Before week 3 – remind students to bring back books. No tears is the goal…
  • Week 3: review where/how to sit, play make-believe with a stuffed animal Tiger (he holds our stories…I model kindness by asking to borrow it politely, then giving it back at the end), listen to one story, begin questioning, learn E=Everybody, review what happens if you forgot your book (browsing basket), review self check-out
  • Week 4: continue week 3. No new additions.
  • Week 5: Add Rhyme Time. Continue with previous skills/expectations.
  • Week 6: Introduce book care. Continue with previous skills/expectations.

By this point, routines are usually down pat. If they’re not…it’s reteach, reteach, reteach. It’s impossible to add in how to find books if children can’t remember where to sit so that they have their own safe space.

Most of our lessons will have a focus question and includes stories and rhymes. I’ll often include movement games and make-believe to maintain interest and focus. Technology (in the form of beginning database research and project creations) is usually added in the second half of the year. Some tech I like: PebbleGo (for outer space/animal research), Flipgrid (for video responses to any literature), iPads (is perfect for K to extend learning, Daisy the Dinosaur & Lightbot Jr are great for coding). Major units outside of Author Studies may include the Geisel Award, a Wool/Fabric science collaboration, and Folklore Around the World (which includes map skills). However…

I’ve been known to extend units into first grade. To leave units out. To add new learning. Because life happens: there are subs, no school days, new classroom units.  Because each group of children is different…so my teaching should embrace and reflect their differences. And while there are certain authors I read year in and year out (Ezra Jack Keats), each group has stories shared and questions asked that best meet their needs.

Curious as to which author/illustrator units were kid-friendly AND whose stories had great questioning / conversation potential from the past few years? See below! And please note: the K’s will usually study 5-7 per year at a minimum of 3 weeks per individual.

  • Ezra Jack Keats ♥♥
  • the Mo you don’t know (lesser-known Mo Willems titles)
  • Kieko Kasza
  • Jon Klassen
  • Mac Barnett
  • Candace Fleming
  • Lauren Castillo
  • Jon Agee
  • Sergio Ruzzier
  • Deborah Freedman
  • Cynthia Rylant (usually with Arthur Howard)
  • Christian Robinson

Happy reading & teaching, y’all! ~arika

Oct 3-7, 2016: Deborah Freedman, Folktales, WCCPBA and maps

Week 6:  Deborah Freedman author study (K), Folktales Around the World (1), Learners in Our World (2)

Kindergarten:

Week 2 of the Deborah Freedman author study. This will culminate with a whole-kindergarten Skype visit with Deborah at the end of the month!

At the end of the lesson, students can:  identify the role of an author; identify a variety of feelings displayed in response to scenarios* (*from SecondSteps); use shelf-markers to assist in selecting books

Our book conversation focused on feelings. Mouse and Frog display a wide range of feelings in the book and struggle with their friendship – something very familiar to K students. Talking through their authentic reactions to Frog taking over the story (and Mouse’s reaction) was a powerful connection to their classroom-based SEL learning.

At the end of the story, to prepare for our author Skype, students brainstormed with knee-neighbors to generate questions for Deborah Freedman. Please excuse my messy handwriting – this wasn’t best modeled work; rather, it was getting their ideas down ASAP so we could check out before dismissal!

This was also the first week K’s could choose books from anywhere in the library using a shelf-marker. After I led today’s modeling, there will be quick (1min) student-led modeling of this skill for the next 4-8 weeks.

1st grade:

Our LAST week of our Folktales Around the World study! Based on student feedback, we had to continue for one more week and include the continent of Europe. Unfortunately, I couldn’t find a good trickster tale to share…so Margaret Read MacDonald came to the rescue with Too Many Fairies.

At the end of the lesson, students can: sing and locate the continents of the world; identify traits of folktales make predictions; name feelings when presented with physical clues*, use claim evidence reasoning, locate and label the folktale’s origin on the world carpet map

For this story, students had two focuses: identify the feelings of the old lady AND the fairies (and how behavior was impacted based on the feelings) and make a claim as to having the fairies come to their house. Overall, a good discussion spurred by a Celtic folktale…even for the students who didn’t want to read “a fairy book”.

2nd grade:

To conclude our unit on Learners Around Our World, I chose a 2017 WCCPBA nominee to bring the learning full-circle: Anne Sibley O’Brien’s I’m New Here.  With children from 3 different countries (Guatemala / S Korea / Somalia) moving to a school in America, this reinforced the idea that we are all learners while opening a conversation on empathy and compassion.

At the end of the lesson, students can: independently access a database; locate and label a country/continent on a world map; use and understand map features; use physical, verbal, and situational clues to determine what others are feeling*; identify ways to show compassion for others in response to scenarios*

During reading, we had whole-class discussion on how the students felt in their new schools. We also talked about the (seemingly unfair) expectations of one of the teachers.  After sharing, I modeled again how to access CultureGrams, and students were set to work locating and labeling one of the countries featured in the story on a world map (a “magic map”, as I call it, thanks to Quiver!).

However…this happened in one class:

It was a Make It Work moment…time to model flexibility and problem-solving! Thinking fast, we used a generic world country map to locate and label countries as a whole class (thankfully, Google still worked!). By modeling a growth mindset of “problems happen” and staying calm, we were successful and met our learning goals.  And next week, they’ll use CultureGrams one more time!

PS: CultureGrams fixed the problem in a matter of minutes after the tweet!

 

Sep 26-20, 2016: Deborah Freedman, Trickster Tales, Learners in Our World

Week 5:  Deborah Freedman author study (K), Trickster Tales (1), Learners in Our World (2)

Kindergarten:

The first week of a 2-3 week Deborah Freedman author study (one class will miss a week due to a teacher workday).  I shared Blue Chicken as our first story…which was perfect, as the first part of the lesson was on book care.

At the end of the lesson, students can: identify ways to keep books safe, identify the role of an author, show where the E section is in our library, identify the E on the spine label of a book.

My friend Tiger – who only speaks to librarians and allows me to model polite conversation and manners – was holding a package as we sat down. After asking him if we could open it, we found books that had been destroyed: chewed up, colored in, pooped on, ripped apart, dropped in water. This was a tactile way to show why caring for books is important. I stressed that accidents happen and that telling someone if a book gets hurt is the right thing to do…no matter what.  And that they won’t get in trouble for it. 🙂

Blue Chicken – when blue paint is spilled everywhere – was a lovely story to follow. The chicken who spilled blue paint did her best to be a problem-solver and fix her mistake…which is what we expect our students to do.

1st grade:

Possibly the final week of our Folktales Around the World lesson…possibly, because my 1st graders called me out for not featuring a story from Europe!

At the end of the lesson, students can: sing and locate the continents of the world, explain what a trickster tale is, identify key traits of folktales (retellers, from 6 continents, stories passed down orally), make predictions.

Years ago, I performed Tops and Bottoms at a storytelling festival, and it remains a favorite to share with listeners of all ages. After the first trick Hare played on Bear, students started predicting what Hare could grow that would benefit him while giving Bear nothing good to eat. Many giggles, lots of opportunities for conversations, and fabulous illustrations!

2nd grade:

Week 2 of Learners Around the World! This week, we looked at schools in Colombia, South America with Monica Brown’s Waiting for the Biblioburro.

At the end of the lesson, students can: identify the 7 continents of the world and Equator, use a primary source to learn new information, access a database to learn about a country, compare schools and education in two different countries using personal knowledge and information gathered from a database and primary source.

This week, YouTube came to the rescue with these two video clips, showcasing the work of Librarian Luis and his two burros, Alfa and Beto, as he takes books to remote areas in Colombia.

Safeshare – https://safeshare.tv/x/ss57ed282af200f

Safeshare – https://safeshare.tv/x/ss57ed2896db50f

Other happenings in our library:

  • Fifth graders are enamored with the PokemonGO game in our library…so much so that they wanted to create game pieces, too. So, during recesses the past few weeks, I taught a handful how I created the images and QR codes. They came in on their own time (usually 10-15 minutes) and worked…and the first student PokemonGO to our library QR code was made this week!
  • A 2nd grader stopped by one morning, sharing how she downloaded the Quiver app at home and showed her parents how to use AR with the dot picture she made in library. She wondered if there was more she could do with the app.  Answer: YES! She came in during her recess and together we explored the Quiver website, downloading new coloring pages to augment using their free app. She had the best time coloring and making her work come to life. We wonder how the technology is made and works. Maybe a future Skype visit with Quiver?
  • Fifth graders+ lunchtime + Wednesday + picture books = Lunch & Listen in the Library! It’s holding steady with about 30-35 students in the room each week.
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Happy reading and teaching, y’all!   🙂   arika

Library Lessons: Sep 19-23, 2016

Week 4. Or, 10% of the year. Audrey Wood, Trickster Tales, Learners Around the World.

Kindergarten:

Our final week with Audrey Wood featured The Little Mouse…Big Hungry Bear and The Birthday Queen (so chosen because it happened to be my birthday on class day!).

At the end of the lesson, students can: make text-to-self connections (related to celebrating a birthday), identify moods/feelings based on illustrations, show where the E section is, identify the E on the spine label of a book.

Before reading The Birthday Queen, students thought of items that makes birthday celebrations special. Writing these on the board, we looked for these during our story. Each time something appeared (say, balloons were in the story), students did a cheer (pat-pat-clap-clap-HOORAY!)  There was MUCH cheering!

During The Little Mouse…Big Hungry Bear, we examined illustrations to infer mood and feeling of Little Mouse. His expressions showed surprise, worry, fear, seriousness and more. A wonderful story to practice the challenging skill of inference!

1st grade:

More trickster tales! This week, from South America: Jabuti the Tortoise.

At the end of the lesson, students can: sing and locate the continents of the world, explain what a trickster tale is, identify key traits of folktales (retellers, from 6 continents, stories passed down orally), identify ways to act when jealous of another.

Much discussion was had by the classes on who the trickster actually was – Jabuti or Vulture. This led to more discussion on why Vulture acted the way he did (jealousy) and how we, as humans, can act when we are jealous of another – a  needed, appropriate topic for 7 year olds, to be sure. A critical thinking question that came up as I read: Why, when Vulture dropped Jabuti, was it important that the tortoise land on his back?

2nd grade:

Week 1 of Learners Around the World! This week, we looked at schools in Chad, Africa with James Rumford’s Rain School.

At the end of the lesson, students can: identify the 7 continents of the world and Equator, use a database to learn about a country, compare schools and education in two different countries using personal knowledge and information gathered from a database.

Rain School is always well-received by students, though always with a bit of disbelief. Do children really build their own school with mud? This question is what CultureGrams is made for – learning about people, land, and cultures in a kid-accessible format.  While I usually wouldn’t use this with 2nd graders (it’s designed for grades 3+), I make it accessible by reading the information out loud, breaking down any difficult vocabulary or concepts, and making connections to our story.

As a whole class, we located the continent of Africa, the country of Chad (which we had estimated on our own world carpet map), then used the sidebar to navigate to Schools in Chad. And at the end, when asked how we are the same as learners, it was easy to make the connections. Yes, there are many differences. But there are many similarities, too…and seeing how we are the same as humans, no matter where we live or how much money we have, is a huge part of this mini-unit.

Students did not write any information down, as we barely had enough time to complete the story, database access, and check out…but I hope for them to independently access and use CultureGrams later this year…maybe for Culture Week?

Happy teaching, y’all! 🙂 arika

Out of this world research with Kindergarteners

A few weeks ago, Mrs. Mc stopped by the library for a casual chat. Five minutes later, a plan was hatched, fusing library research, databases, and technology to in-class curriculum.

I love chatting. And I’m a big fan of Mrs. Mc. 🙂

See, during our impromptu chat, she mentioned an upcoming literacy unit on outer space. Tentatively, I threw out an idea: could we team up and research about planets using PebbleGo, then make learning videos with ChatterPix Kids to share new knowledge with others? She was on board (!!), and this is what’s happened so far.

(NOTE: Our school is on a fixed specialist schedule, and the K’s come to library 1x/week for 40 minutes. Our library has 18 desktops and 10 iPads.)

Week 1:  After we settled down with Rhyme Time, I explained the next 3-4 weeks would be devoted to a library/classroom unit on outer space. Prior to class, I’d printed out photos of the eight planets and our sun…and Pluto. Arranging them on the floor as an intro, a handful of students knew that Pluto wasn’t a planet anymore but didn’t know why…the perfect lead-in to the story Pluto Visits Earth by Steve Metzger.

After reading, students were asked to think about which planet they would most like to learn about while watching a BrainPop Jr video on the planets. Post-viewing, each student selected a planet.  It was awesome seeing their authentic energy and excitement. Some asked if they could research TWO planets!

Between week 1 and 2:  Planning time -creating a note-template for the K’s, checking to be sure it’s accessible and K-appropriate for all the students, emailing parents to request help for the research lesson, preparing clipboards with pencils and personalized note-templates (student name/planet filled in). One thing I should’ve included on the note template: a space for citing PebbleGo. Argh!

During open library periods in weeks 1 and 2: visiting the K classrooms during Friday Fun to share/show/teach the ChatterPix Kids app. Knowing that we have 10 iPads and 24 students who have never used the app, giving them more hands-on playtime is important.

Week 2:  A quick review of the planets to start our lesson, followed by a refresher in accessing/using PebbleGo. Students had experience with it earlier in the year, having completed an in-class animal project. Now, they’d use a new area of the database: SCIENCE. My sample was Pluto, as it was not a planet they would research. After modeling how to navigate/read/listen to the information about Pluto, I showed them how to write what was learned in your own words (not PebbleGo’s words). Paraphrasing was a goal, but not a requirement.

Students then received clipboards with their personalized planet note-template and a pencil and went to work at desktops/iPads. Two parents were on hand to assist with PebbleGo navigation and note-taking (a VERY good thing, as there is no aide or para help).  At the end of our lesson, each student had written down (either by themselves or with the help of an adult) at least one fact about their planet. Including check out and the whole-group lesson, it was 40 fast minutes!

Between weeks 2-3: reading and deciphering the K notes, emailing parents to request help for the iPad recordings, testing ChatterPix on the iPads (does the camera/mic work?). By rewriting the student notes, it’ll help a nearby adult prompt them if needed. No changes are being made…just legible handwriting on sticky notes.

Weeks 3-4:  The current plan is to create – then share – our learning using ChatterPix Kids to make videos. Here are samples made using my Pluto notes:

How this’ll all get pulled off is still TBD. Given that it’s right before/after Spring Break, many students will be absent.  With only 10 iPads and 24 students, there is no fair sharing (which is a BIG concern for 5/6 year olds).  And what about when they’re not making their video…what will they do then?  Ack!  Food for thought…

Once the mini-movies are made, I’m not sure what application to use to gather them into one large video…iMovie, Sway, or something else…but there is still time to figure that out.  Updates to come!

Moral of this post: all it takes is one conversation at the right time with the right teacher. Take a minute. Get up. Chat. Connect. Because what you learn may lead to some great teaching and learning for you…and your students.

Fall 2015 Update: Teaching, Leading, Inspiring

With the first trimester completed, it’s a great time to recap what has been taught and accomplished in the school library. (Full disclosure: reflecting, while often done mentally, is MUCH harder to do in writing.) Here’s (most) of what happened in the first 14 weeks of my 2015-2016 school year:

Teaching

Kindergarten:

  • Completed three author/illustrator studies, reading a wide selection of titles from Audrey Wood, Mo Willems, and Arthur Howard.
  • Learned about the jobs of authors and illustrators and how authors are represented on a book’s spine label.
  • Explored the E/Everybody and I Can Read sections of the library, locating titles by authors shared in class.
  • Understood the importance of caring for books when examining ruined, discarded titles.
  • Discovered books about wild animals in the 500 section of nonfiction and pets in the 600’s, which related to their classroom-based animal projects
  • Incorporated purposeful movement, as it is important that these students move every week. Recited rhymes to start each lesson – we call it Rhyme Time.  Used hands to act out where to find wild animal and pet books in the non-fiction section (5 = wild animal paw swipe; 6 = 3 pet whiskers on each side of the cheeks).
  • Modeled and introduced questioning strategies, beginning with “I Wonder” questions. Students are frequently asked to explain their thinking, using both the text and life experiences as references.  One example of this: when reading Mr Putter and Tabby Walk the Dog, Mr Putter is at a loss when faced with the naughty dog Zeke. Students are asked to give advice to Mr. Putter, based on what they know about dogs or what they think Zeke will respond to based on the story.

2nd Grade:

  • Celebrated Talk Like a Pirate Day, reading pirate stories and researching real-life pirates using WorldBook Kids database.
  • Discovered how students and schools across the world are similar/differentRead fiction stories Rain School and Waiting for the Biblioburro, then researched true facts using CultureGrams and YouTube (videos of news clips).
  • Explored OTTER Award nominees, including placing informal holds on any title of interest. The nominees were The Hit of the fall! With up to nine copies of each book, students are reading like crazy. The hold list is still long, but we’re making headway!
  • Began reading WCCPBA nominees. A nice compare/contrast was made between Mogie and Gaston – how are the dogs the same and how are they different? Using the text to find ways aside from their looks was key.
  • A special October 30th storytime featured Mac Barnett’s charming Leo: a ghost story. Listening the final version of a story they’d heard last year when Mac visited our school was a treat..as was seeing the NYTimes-honored illustrations of Christian Robinson!

4th Grade:

  • Connected Michael Hall’s Red to our school expectations…which were connected to expected behaviors in the library.
  • Reviewed and retaught how to use Destiny to make recommendations, write reviews, place holds, and make friends. A Code of Conduct was reviewed and signed by each student, expressing the integrity they’re expected to maintain when using school technology. Students practiced each skill, writing reviews for Red, making ME a friend, and logging on/off appropriately.
  • Explored Sasquatch nominees, and set reading goals. In reflecting on this, I’ve noticed many students choosing to not read the nominated titles. What to do, what to do…
  • Researched a self-selected topic related to NW Coastal Peoples (the fall SS unit). All students practiced taking notes, rewriting them into original paragraphs, citing their source, then sharing their research in unique Flipgrid videos.  This project took FIVE WEEKS…but the process was important. The videos will be peer-reviewed in the next two weeks!
  • Read and discovered traits of myths – NW myths in particular. Sharing Coyote in Love for this lesson allows for students to practice predicting and inferring.
  • Similar to the 2nd graders…a special October 30th storytime featuring Mac Barnett’s charming Leo: a ghost story. Listening the final version of a story they’d heard last year when Mac visited our school was a treat..as was seeing the NYTimes-honored illustrations of Christian Robinson! This served as a TREAT for all students who had completed the note-taking portion of the NW Coastal Peoples research.

Inspiring…in the library:

  • By popular demand, began and sustained a weekly Lunch & Listen storytime with 5th graders. Missing even one week – even due to a power outage – is no excuse for the story-starved students.
  • Selected 30 students (of the 60+ applicants) to participate in Global Reading Challenge, a reading event sponsored by the King County Library. The 4th and 5th graders are in teams of 6 and aim to read/remember as much as possible about six different books. At our meetings, students eat lunch, swap books, and answer teacher- and student-created questions about the titles. Along with a 5th grade teacher, we host the weekly meetings during lunch/recess in the library. I read and wrote questions about one title, and students are asked to do the same. We remember what we write 🙂
  • Volunteers! Met with the PTA library chairs – planned and hosted two hour-long parent volunteer training sessions, planned and organized the fall book fair. Student volunteers come in daily – they cover magazines, check in / out books during open recesses, and manage kindergarten library books and passes.
  • Book fair!! Hosted a 3 day fair (due to a power outage). Ordered all materials and restocks from Scholastic, distributed flyers to all students (with hours printed on address labels!), booktalked dozens of titles, hosted a hugely popular Family Night…and made over $4,000 for the library. YAY!
  • Utilized our new iPads. The 4th grade uses them when filming Flipgrid videos and accessing Destiny.

Leading – PD and goals:

  • Attended the SLJ Leadership Summit in Seattle. Best takeaway: http://www.bezosfamilyfoundation.org/students-rebuild
  • Attended and presented at the 2015 WLMA Conference in Yakima, WA. My session was Operation: Motivation! A year of enthusiasm in the elementary library. As nervous as I was that no one would stick around for the last session on the last day, colleagues from across the state stayed to listen. Truly honored. Best takeaway: http://www.slideshare.net/Donalynm/the-best-books-of-2015-so-far
  • Attended and presented at the 2015 AASL Conference in Columbus, OH. My session was Easy as 1,2,3:designing an essential library program for young students. Another huge honor. Reflecting on the experience, I know what to do to improve as both a presenter and a K/1 expert.  Learning what to spend more time on – and what to leave out – was a good growth experience. Best takeaway: http://national.aasl.org/58543aasl-1.2740177/t019-1.2740640/fri011-1.2740647/a042-1.2740654
    • Of note: gave similar presentation to district librarians in October.
  • Attended SLJ webinar on littlebits, a very cool Makerspace / coding platform. Super-cool that our art department already has a set ready for use.
  • Submitted proposal to WLMA to establish a new state book award – the OTTER Award – designed for transitioning readers. No word yet on what will happen, but I’m very optimistic!

SO! The first trimester has been busy. A bit of reflection and random thinking:

  • Read and teach traits of myths BEFORE Thanksgiving for 4th grade to better connect to classroom learning (ultimately, myths are part of their assessment).
  • Find more stories about students in school around the world for 2nd grade – only read and mapped stories from 2 continents in our mini-unit.
  • Make Halloween week a dividing line – have mini-units or studies finished at that time so that classes can enjoy a reading week.
  • GRC – email home families as soon as teams are formed (email is my least favorite). Give students questions to prep during Winter Break.
  • Virtual library training? Have a video they can watch at home?  Shelving tips?  Hmm…
  • HUGE success running a 3 day fair (versus a 5 day fair). Had more sales – especially books. Only 1 day with the Fun Zone was amazing.
    • Schedule K/1 classes in 2-20m chunks – browse/buy times.
  • Dot Day – to celebrate or not? Maybe alternate with Talk Like a Pirate Day?
  • Continue to have students responsible for checking in K books and pre-sorting library passes into YES/NO piles before check-out (yes = can check out/ no = can’t check out…much easier)
  • Lunch & Listen is the Best Thing Ever. Keeping it 5th grade has worked well.
  • Need more K-3 students in at recess. Reach out to teachers to let them know students can come in.
    • Maker days?

And…that is all. For now. 🙂

Library Lessons: May 11-15, 2015: Folktales, Fables, Biographies!

This was a week of continuation for all grades, as we are in the midst of extended learning.

Kindergarten: Week 4 of our Folktales Around the World lesson.  This week: Margaret Read MacDonald’s The Squeaky Door, which is based on a Puerto Rican folk song.

the-squeaky-door

The K’s *love* the choral reading aspect, chiming in with Little Boy’s common refrains of “No, not me!” and “Yes! Yes! Yes!”.  This folktale’s problem – a boy can’t sleep with a squeaky door – is always discussed, as is an appropriate solution to the problem.  Adding animals to the bed won’t solve a squeaky door!

2nd grade: Comparing illustrations of fables:  “The Ant and the Grasshopper” (Snead) and “Belling the Cat” (Pinkney).  Looking at illustrations of fables from 3 variants – Pinkney’s Aesop’s Fables, Snead’s Aesop’s Fables, and Wormell’s Mice, Morals and Monkey Business – students listen to ONE fable, then use text/illustration evidence to prove/disprove which illustration matches best.  C-E-R, folks!

Comparing student’s Claim-Evidence-Reasoning to the work of a detective (who looks for evidence everywhere) or a lawyer (who tries to prove why something CAN’T be) worked well and sparked some great debate.20150514_152952691_iOS

4th grade: Mighty Jackie, Fact or Fiction?

After listening to last week’s story – and listing statements that could be proven true/false – we worked as a class to access the local public library’s databases and find a newspaper from April 1931, when Jackie was to have pitched versus the NY Yankees.

We read headlines, dates, captions and text of 2 NY Times articles to discover that yes, Jackie Mitchell DID pitch and strike out Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig.

Interesting side note – we ended up teaching the game of baseball (balls/strikes, umpires, teams, etc) to the handful of students who had no idea. Thankful for the OTHER handful of students who were baseball experts and helped in explaining!