Week SEVEN! Can it be?! (Answer: Yes. Yes, it can.)
This was the week that Book BINGO was introduced!
And, Book BINGO!
Cheers, y’all! –arika
Week 9! All should be fine…but this is real life. See 3rd grade!
We kicked off our BEARS unit with two of my favorites that I brought to London from the USA. The good: the stories were well received. The bad: they need more movement, and the riddles weren’t the best for this group. Hmm… Reflection and revision is needed.
The final week in our Peter Brown author study! Being that it was the week before Halloween, we read the 2017 release Creepy Pair of Underwear. The goal? To compare/contrast it with Creepy Carrots using a Venn Diagram. Result? Success, even though they’d never used a Venn Diagram before!
Week 3 of our Haiku Animals unit. This week: accessing PebbleGo and writing 3 bullet-point notes on a chosen animal. And citation, in limited form. Students had a mostly-complete citation on their note-taking form, and they had to discern the part missing…then fill in the blank. It was a developmentally appropriate way to introduce citing sources.
The 2nd graders are across the board in their ability to read/write/note-take. This was a surprisingly successful lesson which had everyone engaged and focused. Next week: videos with ChatterPix Kids!
Okay. So, these were the best laid plans. Students were going to use Destiny and write reviews using SWBST. BUT. Destiny was being a bear (not its fault…something deeper). Passwords and usernames were changing overnight, and I didn’t know why. When 25% of the class can’t log in, it doesn’t matter how many students there are – the lesson still goes to pot in under 30 seconds. Suffice to say, of my two 3rd grade classes, we only attempted logging in with one. The 2nd did this lesson orally.
You know those moments when a one-off lesson turns into something more? That’s what happened here. Last week, students gave feedback and input regarding our library home page in Destiny. Little did we realize that the SINGLE link every student chose as a “good” link to keep was this one: Teachers’ Top 100 Books for Children
Click the link. What do you notice? As we shared in class, the list was created by the NEA, which is trustworthy organization. However…when was it published? Not one child noticed this little detail: the list was 18 years old! This was the perfect way to teach copyright and checking to see when a website was created. I absolutely love when lessons like this create themselves!
This is going to lead into our next unit: FAKE NEWS, using Laurie Thompson & Ammi-Joan Paquette’s Two Truths and a Lie, where looking at a site’s author is a key skill.
Cheers, y’all! –arika
Week 6. Time is moving right along.
These two stories were PERFECT for the PreK set. Sergio Ruzzier’s Two Mice was both simple and complex, as there were many places for inferencing and predicting. Mac Barnett’s Count the Monkeys was, as usual, an interactive gem. Picking books that give opportunities to talk and move will serve you (and your little learners) well!
Continuing the Author Study with Peter Brown. The best part of this week’s lesson was the BRAIN question: what surprised you? So many surprises, from Tiger walking on all four legs to getting undressed to going back to the city. Open ended questions like these allow all students to participate without fear of being “wrong”.
Notice that this week, I left off the bottom of the spine label AND the period from the underlined title. This was a teachable moment – it took about 90 seconds and will be part of the review for the next 2-3 months.
First: reading for the sake of reading. No agenda, no questions, no work…purely a story to enjoy.
Next: Book BINGO! More about that HERE.
Know that some of the BINGO sections were chosen to match last week’s Scavenger Hunt. Students should now know where to find Fairy/Folk Tales, series, nonfiction. Next time, I’ll add biographies and poetry to the hunt!
After sharing the goals of BINGO, I booktalked 2-4 titles that would be great fits for their BINGO board. From titles like Ready, Freddy! to Bunjitsu Bunny to Mercy Watson, many books were getting checked out to support the BINGO board.
Book BINGO was the big lesson, followed by booktalks and goal-setting (which BINGO column would be their first to tackle).
Some background: SO many of these students wanted to know why we weren’t doing Battle of the Books (which was done by the previous librarian). Short answer: because we’re doing something that allows everyone to participate. Longer answer: BINGO supports all language learners as books can be read in any language. It allows students to achieve success if they move mid-year. Extra copies of the same books don’t need to be purchased. Books can be in any language and from anywhere. MORE books and a wider variety of books are read with Book BINGO than in Battle (where the same 6 titles are repeatedly read). No class time is needed to run BINGO, as compared to Battle. No extra meetings need to take place. Diverse titles are supported in BINGO (though, as an international school, diversity is already a big part of their lives). I love that everyone – adults and students alike – can participate and succeed and grow with Book BINGO!
Cheers, y’all! –arika
Week 5! The time is flying.
New unit: COUNTING. We started with The Name Song, then did the Little Mouse, Little Mouse color/counting/guessing rhyme from last week (note: I always hide the mouse before they come in. My pieces are magnetic, too). They were so excited to play this game again! We’ll use it one more time before changing it up. Patterns and repetition works with the littles.
Stories included another Pete the Cat – this time, with his four groovy buttons. And Doreen Cronin’s counting adventure Click Clack, Splish Splash gave good opportunity to talk about what was actually happening in the story and why it was happening. Why were the ducks sneaking? Why was it important that the farmer was sleeping? Building in opportunities for children to think and wonder about their reading at a young age will serve them well as they grow as readers.
You may notice our main slide doesn’t include much of this work. Why? Too many words/images. I keep it simple for the pre-K’s visual needs. More isn’t always better.
Author study: Peter Brown. Intro song: The Name Song. This week: My Teacher is a Monstert! (no, I am not). No image was put on the slide…and here’s why: I forgot! Noticing this error before the class came in, I could’ve added it, but I chose to use it as a thinking question moment. After sitting down, students talked with knee-neighbors about what they think a teacher-monster would look like. Ideas included sharp teeth, rough skin, purple or green, big size, pointy nails and more. This was a perfect way to build an open-ended question into the lesson and engage all students.
Know that each week, prior to check out, we review expectations related to self-checkout and locating books (using our shelf marker, how to scan the barcodes, etc). It takes 2-3 minutes, but I’m taking time at the beginning to reinforce and review. One of my favorite sayings in teaching is “go slow to go fast.” Slow down at the beginning of the year (and week 5 is still the beginning!) and work with intention to teach the skills and behaviors you really value and that will ultimately benefit the child.
Grades 2, 3, 4:
Emoji Scavenger Hunt! After last year’s Pokemon Go to the Library hunt, I chose to edit the clues and streamline the hunt into a single hunt for all grades. What I learned: it was perfect for grade 3 learners, a little too easy for grade 4 and too long (though not too hard) for grade 2. But, my assessment was informal: at the end, students were asked if they found a space in the library that they didn’t know about…and 95% of students answered YES. Success, even if they didn’t complete the hunt.
Students did the hunt with a teacher-selected partner. The reasons partners are teacher-selected are many, but the big ones are: 1 – it eliminates fretting over “who will be my partner?”; 2 – it keeps kids focused on directions, as they’re not fretting about finding a partner; 3 – students who need specific partners (a strong reader with a student who struggles; a student who speaks Italian with the student who speaks multiple languages) can be placed together and not left out.
Full procedures for how to do the hunt are found in the Pokemon link above, including a timeline of how it looks in a 40 minute class.
This year there was a bonus question: if students finished early, they were to think of a clue I could’ve asked. There were some great ones: where the family photos are hanging, where the daily directions are found, a cozy spot with a rooftop. These are all places in our library that they found important and meaningful. I’d also include the E section (who knows why I left it out!), poetry, and more nonfiction.
Questions? Wonders? Please ask. Cheers, y’all! –arika
4th grade: Booktalks (10 of them!). More on how I booktalk in a few days. Then – students chose which book from 2014 they wanted to hear before break. One class voted The Adventures of Beekle, the other voted The Book with No Pictures. Everyone was happy after hearing a great story (and choosing great chapter books for #winterbreakreading)!
A shorter week for me. J-girl had no school on Thursday (conferences); therefore, I took the day and was off with her.
Kindergarten: New author! Peter Brown! YAY!
We talked a lot about perspective using Brown’s illustrations, especially when Chowder was using the far-out sellarscope to look at the animals in the Critter Corral. This was also a good story to talk about problem and solution – specifically, the problem when Chowder was stuck in the tree and the possible solutions.
Nonfiction connection: 600’s = pets. The K’s do love their doggie & kitty books!
Students also worked as a class at locating Brown’s books on the library shelf. A tricky skill, but something to work on (and on and on).
2nd grade: WCCPBA nominee Sea Otter by Suzi Eszerhas
A nonfiction, narrative book detailing the life of a baby sea otter.
Our thinking question of the week was a real conversation-starter: What challenges would a baby sea otter face if it lived in an aquarium (or zoo)?
Students listened very carefully to the story and had to assimilate and apply information to make a sound statement. They came up with 4 reasons, each supported with evidence from the text. Nice!
4th grade: NW Coastal Peoples and Myths
A quick recap of our lesson last week – with a reflection ticket – to assess if the story/lesson had impact began the lesson. Three yes/no questions later = students shared library learning at home over Thanksgiving break! Students also got to watch the Flipgrid videos after check-out.
THIS WEEK started with the reading of a few student summaries from the Kids Discover magazine articles that highlighted the importance of storytelling and myths in the NW culture. Then, two movie clips: one that explained the purpose of myths in the NW culture, the other being a full myth. Each video was about 5 minutes each. This lesson is extending/supporthing the SS/Literacy work in the classrooms! Students will continue this work next week with another NW creation myth.
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.