PreK 3 and PreK 4 - Guiding Questions: What is a "character"? Who are some characters in nursery rhymes? What are some direction words we know?
We learned that characters are the people in a story or poem. We read and watched video clips of Little Boy Blue, Little Bo Peep, Humpty Dumpty, Mary Mary Quite Contrary, and Jack Be Nimble. The clips are here for the duration of our unit. After reading Little Boy Blue, we practiced using prepositions with cut-out haystacks and sleeping boys. (Little Boy Blue is under the haystack....over the haystack...and so forth) The older pre-K students made up their own direction sentences - a great way to practice speaking in full sentences, too!
Kindergarten - Guiding Question: How can we retell a story?
We continue our unit about story strategies by retelling a story. After reading two wonderful books about snowy days, we paired together and tried to retell the key events. Using sentence starters and fill in the blank helped to get the ideas flowing. We talked about how stories resonate differently with each reader, so no two retellings will be the same.
This simple quiet book about the wonders of being home from school during a snowstorm is a modern day equivalent to "Snowy Day" by Jack Ezra Keats. We experience the coziness of a day at home, alone with mother, while all the world seems to vanish. Even the illustrations are muted and restful, a welcome choice for story time at school during the excitement of a snow fall.
This classic still grips us with its graphic style of illustration, attention to detail, and compelling problem: will Katy, the snow plow, be able to get the whole city plowed out during a monster snow storm? Children love the pattern as Katy says "Follow me!" to everyone in town who asks for her help, and we chug along with her as she travels north, east, south, and west to get all the roads cleared.
Grade 1 - Guiding Questions: How does an illustrator work? What are different methods an illustrator uses?
As part of our Caldecott unit, students learn about how an illustrator works and what types of materials illustrators use. For this lesson, we read What do Illustrators Do? by Eileen Christalow, which describes the process illustrators follow. Next, students compared versions of the Noah's Ark story. We started with the Caldecott winner by Peter Spiers and then students paired up to talk about a picture from another Noah's Ark book. They tried to notice the elements of the pictures: watercolor? use of black line? bright colors? amount of detail? The idea for this lesson was inspired by the Caldecott Connections website.
Here's a little video clip of one of their "presentations"
Grade 2 - Guiding Questions: What are the elements of a fairy tale? What is a mind map?
This week we took out some of our fairy tales by the Brothers Grimm and brainstormed ideas about common elements in these and other fairy tales. After looking through the stories and watching the film version of Paul Zelinsky's richly illustrated Rapunzel, we added our examples to an online interactive cluster map (hosted by MindMeister). We'll add to this throughout our unit. You can see our map on the grade 2 page or here. Click each branch to open up more information.
Grade 3 - Guiding Question: How can we use our knowledge of the Dewey system to find topics by browsing?
We learned that we can find books by browsing (looking around on the shelf) instead of by searching (looking for an exact book in the online catalog). To browse, we can find the topic that interests us on this kid-friendly Dewey list, then go to the shelf to poke around in that topic area. Our library signs also help us find topics we're interested in.
In our class, students got cards with different information needs on them. For example: "You need to find out what kind of worm lives in your mother's garden." They found the Dewey section that would help them answer the question using the kid-friendly list, then went to the shelf to see if we had any books about that topic. The cards are called "Dewey Scavenger Cards."
Grade 4 - Guiding Question: What are the categories of the Dewey system?
Grade Four reviewed the Dewey system with a presentation created by Karen Ward (found here under "Dewey") and then took a tour through the stacks to review the main topic areas in our library and compare them to Dewey's original ten categories.
Grade 5 - Guiding Questions: Where can we find copyright-free images? How do we cite images?
After talking last week about copyright text, we moved into copyright and our use of images. Students learned that all images used for school projects must be copyright-free and must be cited to give proper credit. By using advanced search options, we learned how to find copyright-free images. All students created a google document with images posted from three different sites, properly cited using Citation Maker. The lesson directions and links are on the grade 5 tab of our website.
Google Advanced Image search - Under "Usage Rights" choose "labeled for reuse." Under "Safe Search" choose "strict filtering."
Flickr Images - Under "Creative Commons" choose "Only choose Creative Commons-licensed content."
Pics 4 Learning- All images are copyright-free and already include the correct citation - just copy/paste it into your project.