Sunday, September 19, 2010

Wild About Books!

Week Four

PreK 3 and PreK, K, and Grade 1
Guiding Question: What are the parts of a book?

We reviewed the parts of a book, practiced turning our pages from the corners, and showed what we learned by playing "Simon Says." When Simon says, "find the title page" or "touch the spine label" we do what he tells us, but if he doesn't ask, we stay still as statues. This is a fun way to practice and we can make it a little silly, too!  Each group read a different story afterward.

PreK 3 and PreK 
Clifford the Big Red Dog, by Norman Bridwell
We read the very first book in the Clifford series. It was fun to compare the way Clifford was first drawn to how he looks in later volumes. (see the difference?)
In this first story, we meet Emily Elizabeth and hear about how her big red dog Clifford is a bit different from other pets. When he needs a bath, he uses the swimming pool! His doghouse is larger than the family's home! But no matter what, Emily Elizabeth thinks her dog is the best. And what adventures they have together in the many Clifford books that follow.

Arthur's Nose, by Marc Brown
We read the very first book in the Arthur series with Kindergarten classes. Students were so surprised to see how much Arthur's look changes from the first book through the series. We talked about the age of books: Arthur's Nose was written in 1976 so it's over 30 years old! We noticed that Marc Brown is the illustrator throughout the series, but that he changed the style of Arthur over the years.
In Arthur's Nose, we learn that Arthur the aardvark is not happy with his nose. It's so long it bumps into a girl in front of him at school. He can't play hide-and-seek well because his nose always sticks out. And he's sure that his friends would like him better if he had a different nose. After trying on lots of different noses (beaks, horns, and whiskered varieties) he realizes that he's just not himself without his nose.

As we looked at these covers, we realized that the feature that changed the most was, in fact, Arthur's nose! If Kindergartners could understand irony, I would have surely had a great lesson, but as it was, we just remarked that it seemed strange that the one feature Arthur was uncomfortable with ended up vanishing from his face in later versions of the story.

Next time, maybe we'll discuss marketing strategies?  :)

Grade 1
Wild About Books, by Judy Sierra; illustrated by Marc Brown
I must have been having a thing for Marc Brown this week. Without even realizing it, I chose another of his books for the first graders. No series comparison lesson with this grade. We just talked about books and how "wild" we can become when we love a new book.

In this story, a librarian drives her bookmobile (new concept there!) into a zoo. Imagine the fun that follows when all of the animals become "wild" about books! This rhyming story is fun to read aloud because there are lots of details to talk about in the drawings and because many different types of books, characters, and titles are mentioned. For example, "the otters can't go to bed without their Harry Potters."

Grade 2
Guiding Question: How do we choose books?

Sometimes our teacher will ask for "just right" books, meaning books that are not too easy and not too hard to help us learn new words .
Sometimes we might choose a book that's easy because we want to read something just for fun. Sometimes we might choose a book that has lots of hard words but we love the pictures or we are very very interested in the topic.
My point: we need to know WHY we are choosing our books, and be sure that we look inside them before taking them home so we're not disappointed in our choice.

This week, every grade 2 student read out loud to me from a book. I loved hearing all of these great readers and am looking forward to more "read to me" time with each child.

Goldilocks and the Three Martians, by Stu Smith and illustrated by Michael Garland

Since we were talking about the concept of finding something "just right" we read a twisted version of the classic "Goldilocks and the Three Bears." In this story, Goldilocks is weary of her mom's overly strict expectations, so she jets off to find herself a new planet to live on.  Well, sure enough, none of the planets is "just right" - except for Mars.  This silly story told in rhyme with vivid painted illustrations has plenty of chills and thrills and new vocab to keep the discussion lively. (ogling, slither, alien, trusty...)

Grade 3
Guiding Question: How can the catalog help us choose "just right" books?

We talked about choosing books for various reasons (see grade 2 above) and about how we can use the library catalog to narrow down a list of titles by interest level. Using the slider on the left sidebar, we can limit titles to our grade (between grade 2/3 and grade 4/5 is good) to show only titles that are geared toward children in that age-range. We can also narrow by reading level, (3.1 = first month of grade 3, 3.2 = second month of grade 3, and so on), but at our school we use Fountas and Pinnell leveling tools, so I recommend to students that they narrow by interest level instead of reading level. Some of our books show a Fountas and Pinnell level (such as J, K, L) but it will take time before all of our 25,000 books are leveled that way.

The best way to check for reading level? READ the first page or so, use the five finger test to keep track of words we don't know, and tune in to our own interest level to make a good choice.

The Incredible Book-Eating Boy, by Oliver Jeffers

Since we talked about choosing books we're interested in, we read a story about a boy who loves books so much, he eats them! For a while, that seems to make Henry smarter, but eventually it's not good for him or anyone else, especially the librarian! This book is illustrated using mixed media, or various materials. We talked about the illustrations and tried to identify all of the techniques used: layered paper, paints, pencils, and the effect of collage.

Grade 4 and 5
Grade four and five students have all completed their personalized library maps! We are now moving on to practicing with call numbers and finding their locations in the library, and some classes are using Library Thing to create online libraries of the books they've read.

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