PreK 3 and PreK 4 - Guiding Questions: What are some Mother Goose rhymes about stars and night time?
We read from Tomi dePaola's Mother Goose this week about night time: "Wee Willie Winkle", "Star Light, Star Bright", "Twinkle Twinkle" and several others. Then we played a memory game: star concentration. Cut out stars of different colors. Place stars on the table and ask students to remember the colors. Have them close their eyes, take one star away, and ask them to guess which color is missing. Then we learned to draw stars. This is harder than it looks for three and four year olds. I made up a five-pointed star dot-to-dot to get us started (see wiki under "Early Childhood" for the worksheet).
Kindergarten - Guiding Question: How can we identify the problem in a story?
An important part of our story strategies unit is being able to identify the conflict in a story. This week we continued to enjoy kindergarten school stories by watching the wonderful Weston Woods version of Chrysanthemum, by Kevin Henkes, narrated by Meryl Streep. After watching, we talked about who the main character is (Chrysanthemum), what problem she faces (she is teased about her name), and how it gets solved (the much-admired music teacher is named "Delphinium" which makes all the others envy her). Here's a clip:
Grade 1 - Guiding Question: What are Caldecott books? What do we mean by "good" illustration?
To start off our Caldecott picture book unit, we brainstormed ideas about what we think "good" pictures are. Students in all four classes came up with these ideas: Details (may be lots or may be just right), Match and/or extend the story, Creative (not the same as every other book), Color.
Kitten's First Full Moon, by Keven Henkes - shows how details can be minimal but are "just right" to show the kitten's expression.
The Biggest Bear, by Lynn Chad - shows realistic illustrations with creative use of white space
Jumanji, by Chris Van Allsburg - shows pencil/charcoal illustration with creative use of perspective
The Invention of Hugo Cabret, by -- - shows pencil drawings with graphic elements to enhance a novel-length text
Make Way for Ducklings, by Robert McClosky - shows brown pencil drawings with ducks in heroic "close-up" view, creative for the time period.
Grade 2 - Guiding Question: What are fairy tales? What fairy tales do we know by Hans Christian Andersen?
To start our new unit about traditional literature (fairy tales, folk tales, legends, myths, and tall tales) we began by talking about the fairy tales we know and what elements fairy tales often share such as magic, faraway places, transformation, and lesson for young children. We talked about the Brothers Grimm and Charles Perault, but the focus of the lesson was fairy tales by Hans Christian Anderson. We watched the Weston Woods version of The Emperor's New Clothes, read Jerry Pinkney's version of The Little Match Girl and talked about other famous HCA stories: The Ugly Duckling, The Steadfast Tin Soldier, and The Tinderbox.
Grade 3 - Guiding Question: How are books in the Dewey section organized?
Grade Three has covered all of the aspects of finding fiction books on their own in the E, I, and jF sections. They're ready to move on to finding books independently in the Dewey section. We learned about Melvil Dewey and his system for organizing books by subject. There are two good presentations that give an overview: The Prezi below and the "Dewey Decimal Classification ppt" found on my wiki under "Dewey".
Grade 4 - Guiding Question: What is historical fiction?
One fourth grade class examined the elements of historical fiction this week. I presented a Prezi about the genre and then we did some "speed-dating" with a cart full of historical fiction books. Speed-dating is a great way to spend a bit more time with a book before deciding whether it's just right or not. Everyone left with a historical fiction novel for pleasure and classroom reading!
Grade 5 - Guiding Question: What is copyright law? How do we credit sources?
As grade fives begin to explore issues related to their Millennium Development Goals, research skills will play a big part in their class work. This week we learned the basics of copyright law, the law that states that an author's work cannot be used without permission and without proper credit given. In grade five, our focus is on rewording the information we find and citing its source. We began with this presentation, then practiced citing a book and a website using a citation maker. These resources are also currently found on our grade five tab.