Tuesday, May 10, 2011

World Legends, Funny Books, and Text Feature seek-and-find

Week 32

PreK 3, PreK 4, Kindergarten: Funny Book Week #3

Bark, George, by Jules Feiffer
George is a puppy who barks out the wrong animal sounds! When his mother takes him to the vet we quickly discover the problem: he has a duck, a pig, and a cow in his stomach! Will George be able to bark properly after they're removed? Fun surprise ending!

Good Boy, Fergus, by David Shannon
Expressive illustrations match with text that seems to jump off the page to show the relationship between an owner and his dog. Even though Fergus is loveable but naughty, his owner is ready to spoil him silly. Fergus runs away - owner begs him to come back. Fergus pees on every object in the street - owner says "good boy!" and so it goes until we realize that this owner is completely smitten with this spunky Highland terrier. And, by the end, so are we!

Marley Goes to School, by John Grogan
Marley feels lonely when little Cassie goes to school for the first time, so he decides to go to school too! What a ruckus he causes in his eagerness to find her, however. Crashing into trays of hot dogs in the cafeteria, photocopying his face in the teachers' room, and skidding through the hallways sets everyone on a hunt to catch him. Happily, he finds Cassie and she's so happy to see him that all his misbehavior is forgiven. The bonus of this book is the cute factor: Marley is adorable!

Grade 1: Guiding Question - What text features can we identify?
This week we put our learning about text features into practice with a seek-and-find using different nonfiction books. Students found headings, bold words, the index and glossary, table of contents, labels, and captions - all organizational tools that help us decide which parts of the book have the information we want. We talked about how these help us skip around through the information, as contrasted to chapter books which need to be read from start to finish.

Surprising Sharks, byNicola Davis
This feels like a picture book but gives good basic information about sharks. The premise is that not all sharks are big, mean, and dangerous! We learn about different types of sharks, some of their unusual talents, how endangered they are, and what products use shark parts (face cream!). A lively informative look at the much-maligned shark.

Grade 2: Guiding Question - What is a legend?

Students practice their summarizing skills and apply our definition of a legend to the stories on this site: Folktales and Legends Around the World. We define a legend as a story told over time that contains a grain of truth but cannot be proved. It is not as exaggerated as a tall tale, has human characters, and less magic than fairy tales. Many stories are given the label "legend" but we will apply our definition to see if we agree.

Grade 3: Guiding Question - What questions can we ask an author?

In Mrs. Ducharme's absence this week, grade threes watch an interview between Jeff Kinney (Diary of a Wimpy Kid author) and Jon Scieszka. Scieszka asks great questions and so we learn how Kinney got his ideas, how his work progressed and grew, about the technology he uses to create his drawings, and a bit about his personal life. This interview should get us ready to form questions for our visiting skype author: Eric Wight, creator of Frankie Pickle!

Grade 4: Guiding Question - What similarities and differences do we see between two authors?

Last week's study of Patricia Polocco's work is now compared and contrasted to the work of Allen Say. After whole group and pair practice, students study the same elements (illustration, author's style, and story structure) but now analyze independently. To introduce the new author, each group read one of Allen Say's books.

Grandfather's Journey, by Allen Say
The perfect third-culture picture book, this personal narrative traces a man's journey away from his home in Japan, to his travels and subsequent love for a new country, and the wrestling with homesickness for the old country, and back again to the longing for the new country. Beautiful watercolor paintings and simple language create a melancholy tone that resonates with anyone who has ever felt the loss of a sense of home.

Erika-San, by Allen Say
An American girl dreams of a life in Japan, but it takes her a while to find just the right spot in which to settle. She ends up on a remote island and devotes herself to learning the art of tea ceremonies. Gorgeous watercolors enhance a thoughtful story.

Grade 5: Poetry Practice
5D: Students rotated among three tables full of poetry books, tabbing poems to include in their poetry books. Mirror, Mirror - a book of poems based on well-known fairy tales written from opposing characters' viewpoints was a clear favorite. Also popular, any poetry by Langston Hughes.
5B: Students did a first read-through of the witches scene for their Arts Night, an evening focusing on poetry. Mr. B brought the black light and fluorescent "blood" made from highlighter ink. Creepy fun!
5K and 5W: Book check-out. These classes are in-process with poetry raps.

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