Sunday, January 16, 2011

Mother Goose, President Obama, and landmines

Week Seventeen

PreK 3, PreK 4 - Guiding Questions: What is "rhyme"? How can we count to ten?

We're starting a Mother Goose unit with PreK3 and 4, focusing on a different theme each week and identifying rhyming words each session. This week we read several counting poems and listened for the rhyming words. "One, two, buckle my shoe" we learned by heart.

Kindergarten - Guiding Question: What is the difference between real and pretend?

We're beginning a unit about story strategies and started off with practicing the difference between real and pretend events. Using the classic If You Give a Mouse a Cookie, by Laura Numeroff, we read the story and stopped along the way to talk about what the mouse did that could really happen and what the mouse did that could only be pretend. Students kept track of their findings on a tally sheet (see "Story Strategies"). Afterward, we counted up our tallies and asked whether the story was mostly real or mostly pretend. This time the story was mostly pretend!

Grade 1 - Guiding Question: Who is Barack Obama?

Students have been eager to read about famous people who are still alive! This week, we learned about the current US president by reading Barack Obama, Son of Promise, Child of Hope, by Nikki Grimes. We charted him on our time line and  enjoyed an embedded slide show of photos of President Obama growing up.

Grade 2 - Guiding Questions: What clues tell us the setting of a story? What are some famous places in the United States?

Continuing with our unit about picture books set in different continents, we read Tar Beach, by Faith Ringgold which is set in New York City in the 1950s. In the story, a young girl imagines she can fly over the parts of the city that mean most to her and that she can "own" them to make everything better for her family. The story gives us a chance to talk about the difference between real and pretend and also to continue looking at clues that reveal the setting.

After reading the story, we learned about other famous places in the United States by taking time to explore two websites about US National Parks that told the history and showed videos of the parks.

Grade 3 - Guiding Question: How can a war cause a country to move to "developing" status? What organizations help children affected by war?

To finish our unit supporting the classroom "Rights and Responsibilities" unit, we read the true story Hamzat's Journey, by Anthony Robinson. Students learned about landmines and how dangerous they are to children living in war-torn areas. The main character, Hamzat, tells about the day he stepped on a landmine and about his journey out of his home country, Chechnya, to get an artificial leg. We talked about the organizations mentioned in the story: UNICEF and CCHARM and about our collective responsibility to help children hurt by war and the right of children to be safe. This moving story was an eye-opening, gripping tale of survival for our students.

Grade 4 & 5 - Guiding Question: What is the Golden Dragon reading program and what are this year's titles?

Some of the Golden Dragon books in audio form
Our Golden Dragon reading program begins after the winter break and lasts until the end of the year. The purpose of the program is to expose students to current fiction or nonfiction books of a variety of genres. The books are chosen by four librarians (Yours truly in Budapest, and my counterparts at the international schools in Prague, Vienna, and Warsaw).

Students who wish to participate read at least five books from the list, have an informal "book chat" with Mrs. Ducharme about each title they finish, and then join a celebration of reading at the end of the school year. We vote for our favorite book and compare our choice to those from students at the other three schools.

This week we had the big reveal. See the full list on our catalog or on Library Thing

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