PreK 3 and PreK - Guiding Question: What does it mean to be "safe"?
Nurse Chris joined us again this week to talk about safety. We learned about the difference between feeling safe and feeling afraid or worried. We talked about what we can do to stay safe: wear helmets, seat belts, and trust our feelings in new situations. Nurse Chris used dolls and stuffed animals to show us the difference between "good" touch and "bad" touch. She explained that the areas of our bodies that would be covered by a bathing suit are areas that should not be touched by others. Students demonstrated their understanding and practiced a good strong "no!" and "I don't like that!" to use when they feel unsafe around someone.
This fairly heavy topic went over well with the youngsters; they enjoyed talking about how their mommies, daddies, and teachers take care of them and sharing stories of some of their own boo-boos and ouchies.
Kindergarten - Guiding Question: What is a quality that can hurt a friendship?
How about bossiness?! No one likes being bossed around, but kindergartners in particular have experience with this! In the classic picture book Monty, by James Stevenson, three friends take advantage of the kindness of a fourth friend, an alligator. These three expect a daily ride to school on alligator's back but complain and shout commands to him along the way. Finally, alligator takes a vacation from his committments and in his absence the three friends realize how terribly they've treated him. Of course, there's comedy along the way as they try to figure out how to cross the river to get to school on their own. This wonderful comic-style story is even better heard twice: once read aloud and again viewed as an animated film.
Grade 1 - Guiding Question: Who was Amelia Bloomer? When did she live?
You Forgot Your Skirt, Amelia Bloomer!, by Shana Corey, is another biography that looks more like a picture book. We learned that Miss Bloomer, an American born in 1818, thought that the women's clothes of her day looked silly and impractical. Their dresses were heavy, dragged dirt, and caused them to get stuck in doorways! She popularized the idea of bloomers: light pants worn under a soft skirt (no hoops!) Following the story, we looked at real pictures of Amelia Bloomer and charted her life on our interactive timeline.
Grade 2 - Guiding Question: What two factors determine a book's setting? What clues tell us a story's setting?
We are learning that setting is determined by the time and place of a story, and we indentify clues in a story that reveal the setting. This week we read The Story About Ping, by Majorie Flack, a classic picture book that takes place in China. Ping lives on the Yangtze River with his family and always rushes home when he hears his master's call. But one day, he doesn't hear the call and decides to hide in the bushes so he won't get a spanking. This turns out to be a bad choice: he gets lost, gets caught and almost cooked for dinner. When he finally finds his own boat, he accepts his punishment, happy to be home again.
Following the story students enjoyed two interactive websites on the grade 2 tab: One shows the mountains of Europe on a topographical map, the other gives basic information about China in photo, narrative, and video form.
Grade 3 - Guiding Question: What rights do animals have? What is our responsibility toward animals?
Dakota is rescued from a dismal dog shelter by the warm and kind Emma, a woman who nurses him back to health. Emma finds a good home for the dog with Sweetie. Sweetie has a childhood cancer and has lost all of her hair. She and Dakota are both in rough shape but, thanks to Emma who brings them together, they help each other heal. This wonderful heart-warming story is a great way to talk about the rights of animals and our responsibility to help them when we can.
After reading about Dakota, we reviewed the parts of a nonfiction book by answering questions using the glossary, table of contents, index, and bibliography using books in the Dog Heroes series. These are a hit with students who love hearing about some of the amazing skills these dogs have: finding people lost in the woods, alerting owners to danger, sniffing out bombs and more.
Grades 4 & 5