Monday, October 17, 2011

Halloween, Traffic Light Paragraphs, and Cat the Cat!

Week 8

PreK 3: Guiding Question - Can we memorize a Halloween poem?

Five Little Pumpkins, by Iris Van Rynbach

We read the story, retold it with flannels, and practiced again with a handout and printed booklet to color. By the time we finished, yes, we had it down!

Printables and clip-art from DLTK 

PreK 4: Guiding Question - What are some fun Halloween counting books?

We read several counting books with a Halloween theme. See this week's Book Talk Tuesday post for full write-ups about  these and more Halloween counting books.

Kindergarten: Guiding Question - Who is "Cat the Cat"? What makes a "series"?

We're continuing to talk about character and met another fun new friend this week.

We're enjoying Mo Willems books so much, we continued with another one of his series: Cat the Cat!

This is another set of early readers with lots of humor and funny surprises. After reading three "Cat the Cat" books, we played a few games with her.

Grade 1: Guiding Question - What countries and cities can we match to alphabet letters?

'Paris' photo (c) 2010, Moyan Brenn - license:
We're making an alphabet movie! This week we created a list of places that start with each letter of the alphabet. Next week, we'll film each child in front of the green screen saying "A is for..." and the locations will show in the background. Stay tuned for the finished product.

We also practiced our alphabet song: ABC to the tune of "Mary Had a Little Lamb" - one letter per note: not as easy as is sounds!

Grade 2: Guiding Question - What is a personal narrative?

This week, we finished up with reading models of personal narratives. Next week, we'll make VoiceThread presentations to show what we know about the elements of this genre.

Picnic at Mudsock Meadow, by Patricia Polacco

Everyone in town fears the swampy patch of quicksand at Mudsock Meadow; it is rumored that the ghost of an old miner surfaces and glows eerily at night. But the Halloween carnival is held there in any case, and William is not going to miss the fun just because of a ghost. What he really wants is to win some of the games to show that pest, Hester, that she's been picking on the wrong guy. Alas, every activity seems to go wrong for him and his mistakes give Hester more reasons to jeer and make fun of him. How can he show everyone that he's got something to offer?

A longer story illustrated with Polocco's signature bright splashy watercolors, this makes a good blend of personal narrative and Halloween for the fall.

Grade 3: Guiding Question - What can we do with our library accounts?

Grade 3 students were excited to get their library accounts started. Beginning in grade 3, we talk about keeping our private information safe and about developing ethical habits on the computer: we log ourselves out of programs and check to be sure we are never working within someone else's account.

When logged in with their username and password, Grade 3 students can:
- See which books they have checked-out
- Create lists of books for various purposes (to-read, for a project, finished reading...)
- Hold/reserve up to five books that are currently checked out.

Grade 4 & 5: Check out and use book-choosing tools introduced last week.

Also, I worked with some classes in grade 4 about recognizing the signs of a well-organized paragraph using a traffic light metaphor.

A basic paragraph starts with a "green light" sentence to introduce the topic, continues with "yellow - keep steady - sentences" that fill in the supporting details and examples, and closes with a "red light" sentence to give the reader a clear signal that the paragraph is over.

We used level 4 "Step Into Reading" nonfiction books to practice identifying these types of sentences in published paragraphs, then we wrote our own.

The PowerPoint and handout are on the lessons page of my wiki under "Poetry & Writing." The idea for this lesson is from Education World.


  1. Sarah,
    Your blog is INCREDIBLY helpful to me!!!!! I am in my second year as an elementary librarian and you have given me wonderful information to use in my own lesson plans! Please continue doing what you are doing! Your blog is one of my most favorite library blogs. :)

  2. Amy, thank you so much for your comment. It really makes my day!