Friday, April 1, 2011

Toot and Puddle, Springtime, and Sylvester

Week 27

PreK 3 & 4: Guiding Question - How do we know that spring is here?
We talked about the signs of spring and read two stories that highlight the season. We also learned some springtime words using these pretty flashcards.
Old Bear, by Kevin Henkes, tells the sweet, simple story of a bear who falls asleep in the winter and dreams of all of the things he loves about each season.  When he wakes up, it's like he was never asleep, and he walks out into a beautiful spring scene.

Could it Be?, by Joanne Oppenheim, is a pattern story which asks who woke up the sleeping bear? What springtime sounds could have woken him: the ice cracking, the birds singing? Other animals hear, but not the bear - he's sleeping underground. Hand motions add to students' engagement and eventually everyone is "reading" along. This is an older book that turned out to be a real gem.

Kindergarten: Guiding Question - What is a "character"?
Fun with Toot and Puddle!
Characters are the people or animals a story is about. We talked about how thinking about a character's personality can help us focus on the story. We can ask, "Is this character like me? Or like someone I know?" To explore the idea of character, we read two Toot and Puddle stories: Top of the World and Charming Opal, by Holly Hobbie. We read the stories using little plush versions of Toot and Puddle, to show when each character was talking and to highlight the differences between the two friends.

Grade 1: Guiding Question - What's a Caldecott book that tells a wonderful story?
For a mix of heart-wrenching emotion and silly fun, there's no Caldecott better than the classic Sylvester and the Magic Pebble, by William Stieg. We read for pure enjoyment this week and loved it so much, we clapped when the story ended. 

Sylvester finds a magic pebble, and mistakenly wishes to turn into a rock to avoid being eaten by a lion. Helpless to change back into his real self, he sits though the seasons of the year feeling hopeless. We see his worried parents and the total anguish they experience as they begin to realize he's not coming home. Through a kind of happenstance that makes complete sense, parents and child are reunited and realize they don't need a magic pebble to make their lives any more complete than they already are.

After the story, we played Caldecott Concentration using cards we made from old Follett posters. Children tried to match the covers and had fun recognizing many titles they know.

Grade 2: Guiding Question: What countries have trickster tales? 
Trickster tales are found all over the world. We looked at several titles and located their countries of origin on a world map. We read the following one from the Amazon. 

In Jabuti the Tortoise, by Gerland McDermott, Jabuti, is usually the trickster, but this time he gets tricked by Vulture. He falls and cracks his shell into pieces. Thanks to birds who patch him back together, he gets the trademark patterned shell we know him for today. Illustrated in McDermott's signature bold colors (practically neon this time) and geometric style, it makes an excellent read-aloud.

We also watched two video clips of other trickster tales from Story Cove, and I pointed out the video of Gerald McDermott showing his writing and illustration process (video also found on the grade 3 tab).

Grade 3: Guiding Question - What are some cool topics in a Dewey section?
Grade threes continue to find ways to make their assigned Dewey section appealing to their peers. This week they enjoyed finding sounds: a race car for the 700s, a cricket chirping for the 500s, a spaceship for the 100s. They are collecting their findings on cork boards at

Grade 4 & Grade 5 - Reading workshop!

book sale lootphoto © 2010 Ginny | more info (via: Wylio)
Sometimes teachers and I decide that the best use of library time is to browse and read at students' leisure. I structure it to be sure the session ends with some silent reading time, and sit with my own book to help everyone get settled. There is nothing like reading together in total silence to build a sense of a community of readers.

In other news, the grade 4 student now have loads of links that connect to their Middle Ages unit on the grade 4 page of the library website. 

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