Monday, January 24, 2011

Spiders, Talking 'bout generations, and Perpetual calendar fun

Week 18

PreK 3 and PreK - Guiding Questions: What are nursery rhymes? What spider poems do we know?

We had fun watching and singing along to two spider poems: "Little Miss Muffet" and "Itsy, Bitsy Spider" from - the clips are posted on our library page. Afterward, we made spider counting books. The spider body is made with an inked-up finger tip with legs drawn on afterward. We reviewed our hand-washing skills after this activity! 

Kindergarten - Guiding Question: Can we tell the difference between events that could be real and those that must be pretend?

Continuing from last week, we read two stories that were realistic fiction: stories with events that could really  happen. This was tricky because the kids knew we were reading fiction stories, so we were really focusing on whether the events were realistic or not. We decided both characters acted in a way that a kindergartener could really act. Yes, we had all borrowed something and forgotten to return it, like Becky the Borrower. Yes, we had all made mistakes with following kindergarten rules, like Adventure Annie. Becky the Borrower, by Urdo Wiegland. Adventure Annie, by Toni Buzzeo (a visiting author to our school in March!)

Grade 1 - Guiding Questions: What is a "generation"? What were some defining aspects of the generations in our families?

To finish our biography and timeline unit, we learned about generations and talked about the generations in our own families. Two stories about grandparents helped set the mood, and then we watched quick slideshows embeded in our timeline to show the mood of that generation in the US. This gave students a good sense of their own family's history in relation to some of the famous people we read about. We even looked at when their potential children's generation and showed a futuristic video about the state of disarray on Mars. A mix of good fun and emotions in this lesson.
The Two of Them, by Aliki. In this colored pencil personal narrative, a girl and her grandfather share a special bond from the time she is born until even after he dies. A tender look at an emotional topic.
All the Places to Love, by Patricia MacLachlan. A young boy tells the story of his childhood on a farm and highlights how his grandparents' lives are to his experiences. Realistic oils and rich language make this a picture book for many uses. 

Grade 2 - Guiding Questions: What clues tell us the setting of a story? What animals and birds live in the Antarctic? In Australia?

Our last two continents: Australia and Antarctica are both home to exotic animals and birds, so our stories to show setting focused on these. After reading and discussion time, students learned more about Koalas and Adelie Penguins using information from National Geographic kids. (Also see the grade 2 tab )
Antarctica, by Helen Cowcher, presents three animals of the continent in majestic close-up watercolors. We learn about the nesting habits of Emperor and Adelie penguins, begin to understand how human interaction impacts the birds, and see the impact of natural predators as well: the skua bird and leopard seal. Koala Lou, by Mem Fox, examines the tension older children may feel when young siblings are born and their attempt to regain their parents' love. Koala Lou longs to hear her mother say "I love you" like she used to, and so she plans to enter and win the Bush Olympics. Winning and losing is another theme here, and Koala Lou realizes that her mother loved her all along - medal or no medal.

Grade 3 - Guiding Question: What is the Silver Knight reading program?

Our annual reading program for third graders is designed to expose students to books of various genres at a range of reading levels. Students aim to read five books from the list of over twenty. After completing a book, a student chats with me about the characters, plot, and reactions to the story. It's a treat for me to have one-on-one time with so many students, and students get excited about sharing books with each other, too. Our new tab on the library page includes trailers and author websites about the books on the list.  

Grade 4 - Guiding Question: What is a perpetual calendar and how do we use one?
Students learned how to find the day of the week of any date for 10,000 years. We practiced with a 100 year calendar first, then the 10,000 year one. They enjoyed finding the day of their own birthday and picking days in the future as well. The calendars can be downloaded and printed here. There's also a fun video clip showing a six year old boy who can calculate the days in his head. 

Grade 5
Silent reading, time to choose new books, time to talk to me about their Golden Dragon titles...grade fives enjoying some "chill" time in the library this week.

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