PreK 3, PreK, K
Guiding Question: How can new stories be inspired by existing ones?
In our final lesson of the Mother Goose unit, we read several versions of the "Hey Diddle, Diddle" nursery rhyme, including variations using the same characters and concepts in new ways.
We just talked about the pictures in this longer story about what happens when the dish and the spoon don't return after their evening adventures with the cow and the little dog. Lots of Mother Goose characters appear in the story, such as Little Boy Blue and Little Miss Muffett, so it's a fun review of some of the poems we've read.
The dish and the spoon run away together and discover they have a talent for vaudeville. They make lots of money and Dish finds herself enjoying a life of luxury. When Spoon robs a bank to keep the cash coming, he gets caught (of course!) and has to serve time. He mourns the loss of his life with Dish. Will he ever see her again?
Guiding Question: What are examples of creativity in a picture book?
We continued our unit about Caldecott books with an examination of two books by Simms Tabak. His use of cut-outs to reveal objects in his circular folk tales is a fun and creative way to pull readers through the story.
"You can always make something out of nothing" - so goes the saying, and Joseph proves it as he makes use of every scrap of material from his old overcoat. As the pieces of material get smaller and smaller, we see the new object he makes though a cut-out section of the page. And when the final itty-bitty scrap is gone? He makes the experience into a story!
An old lady swallows a fly and attempts to catch it by swallowing increasingly larger animals. Readers wonder how long she can continue...will she end up with the entire barn in her stomach? This incredible tale (also a folk song) is cumulative, so it's a good story for increasing memory. It's also fun to see how the creatures appear in her stomach through larger and larger cut-out sections.
Guiding Question: What are examples of creativity in a picture book? How are folk tales important in our understanding of a culture?
This is the story of how trickster tales (or Anasasi or Spider stories) came to be. We talked about folk tales being core parts of a culture because they are told orally over many generations, and they carry with them some of the values of the culture. In the case of Anasasi stories, the value of creative thinking versus strength is more important to the African culture. The story is a Caldecott winner due to its creative use of block print and painted illustrations.
Guiding Question: How did the US begin its manned space program in the Space Race of the 1960s?
Grade Three students just completed a wonderful drama presentation about the race to put a man on the moon in the 1960s. To follow with that theme, we read the story of Ham, the first living creature to travel into space successfully. We learned about Ham's training, his mission to space, and his years after he left NASA. Ham was a pioneer in space travel because he proved that it was possible to survive and return safely. Painted illustrations add to the charm of Ham's story; we fall for this plucky fellow who helped us learn so much.
Grade 4 & 5
Guiding Question: What is "Golden Dragon" and why should I care?
The Golden Dragon reading program has begun! Golden Dragon books are ones chosen by the international school librarians in our region for their excellence. The aim of the program is to encourage students to read a variety of genres and try books they might not normally choose. In this class, I talked about each of the titles. See the list here.
After a student reads any Golden Dragon book, he or she talks to me about it. We keep track of how many books each child has read. A minimum of five books completed earns the child an invitation to the Golden Dragon ice cream party, a t-shirt, and a chance to vote on the best book of the year.