Sunday, October 3, 2010

Alphabet games, our bodies ourselves, and a few tears...

Week Six

PreK3 & PreK - Our Amazing Bodies! and time with Nurse Chris
Nurse Chris was with us this week, continuing our health and nutrition unit. We read a fun nonfiction book about our amazing bodies called My Body, Your Body, by Mick Manning. 
We learned about our voice boxes and felt our voices vibrate. We learned that we have different kinds of teeth for tearing and chewing. Now we know that our rib cage protects our heart and lungs and that we have 650 muscles in our bodies...the biggest muscle is our bottom! We examined the little hairs on our arms, stuck out our tongues, and tickled our ribs. We also measured our height and weight to start tracking how much we'll grow this year! (Let's hope only the children grow...Mrs. Ducharme is really hoping to shrink instead!)

K - Amazing Authors and Friendship
This week we continue reading picture books from the list: Top 100 Picture Books Every Child Should Know. There are lots of lists out there, but I like this one since it polled librarians to come up with the results.

Since Kindergarteners are discussing friendship in their classrooms, we read the story Officer Buckle and Gloria, by Peggy Rathman. It's the hilarious story of a police officer who gives safety talks at local schools and his dog, Gloria, who gets the kids' attention with funny stunts. The expressions on the characters' faces are perfect and Gloria, the dog, is an absolute comic genius. The final lesson: "Always stick with your buddy" and the idea that sometimes friends might have an argument made for great discussions points.

Grade 1 - Alphabet book and games
We read A is for Salad, by Mike Lester. No boring alphabet books here! This one is a hoot because each letter is matched to the wrong part of the picture, so students have to "fix" it by finding the right match. So "A" is not for salad, it's for alligator! And the matches are creative ones that get us learning some new vocabulary such as narwhal, vulture, quail, iguana.

After the story, students played three games to help them practice alphabetical order and letter recognition. The highlight was Bembo's Zoo in which each letter represents a zoo animal and the letters of the animal's name dance around to create the animal's shape. Very cool and good reading practice for students, too! (This would be fantastic on an iPad or iTouch by the way)

Grade 2 - Author Study and Personal Narratives
Well, we had a few tears this time (mostly from me!) since we read Nana Upstairs, Nana Downstairs by Tomi dePaola
Tommy loves his grandmother and great-grandmother and enjoys spending time with both of them: his "upstairs" grandmother who is too old and weak to use stairs, and his "downstairs" grandmother who cooks the family dinners. But when grandmother "upstairs" dies, he struggles to understand that she is gone. Tear-jerker alert!

Our second story, The Art Lesson by Tomi dePaola, features some of the same characters from Tommy's family, but the focus of this personal narrative is on Tommy's struggle with art in school. He knows from an early age that he will be an artist, so he's anxious to have serious lessons. Lessons that won't emphasize copying from the teacher, lessons that allow him to use all of his 64 Crayola crayons! 

After reading the two stories, we looked at Tomi dePaola's author site.

Grade 3 - Alphabetical Order story and games
Grade Threes enjoyed an alphabet guessing story: Q is for Duck by Mary Elting. 

Each alphabet letter is linked to something else not starting with that letter, and students have to find the link. Some letters were easy (Q is for duck because a duck Quacks!) Some were harder: "V is for chameleon. Why?"

Next, students played two games to help them practice putting words into alphabetical order. (you'll also see some wild video clips about snails there!)

We talked about how knowing alphabetical order helps us in the library. Next week, we'll look at other uses of alphabetical order systems.

Grade 4 & 5
Library Thing is running smoothly for grade 4 and 5 classes. Students are adding books to their libraries, posting reviews, tagging, and working with their settings to show their collection in the best style. They may use Library Thing at any time in the library and of course from  home as well.

Next week we'll talk more about adding reviews to our library catalog (grade 5 only) and adding friends to our profile so we can share our books with each other. Web 2.0 in grade 4 and 5 is moving forward!

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