Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Creativity, Genre comparisons, and Retelling

Week 22

It's been a super chilly and snowy week here in Budpest, but that didn't stop us from having our usual fun in the library.

PreK 3 & PreK 4: Guiding Question - How can we tell a story using shapes?

We practiced retelling the same Mother Goose rhyme flannels from last week to see what we could remember. Using visuals really helps! We know "Little Miss Muffet", "Little Boy Blue", and "Little Jack Horner."

Kindergarten: Guiding Question - How can we retell a story?

We used simple folk tales by Harriet Ziefert to practice using our new "Someone, Wanted, But, So" cards.

These starter words help us focus on the essential action of the plot of a story. For example: Someone (Red Riding Hood) Wanted (to bring cakes to her sick grandmother) But (the wolf ate the grandma and Little Red Riding Hood) SO (the woodsman came and rescued them).

We practiced with happy ending stories and sad ending stories (for example, The Gingerbread Boy and Henny Penny) For the sad ending, we turn our card upside down to show the frowny face.

Grade 1: Guiding Question - What are two types of creativity in Caldecott books?

We talked about two kinds of creativity this week: artistry and ideas.

 The first type focused on the choices the artist makes about his or her materials and the overall design of the book. For example, in Joseph Had a Little Overcoat, by Simms Tabak, the artist uses multi-media and die-cut pages. 

Multi-media is any combination of materials such as fabric, photographs, paint, and pencils to create an illustration. After reading, we examined the pictures to identify the different media used. 

Next we looked at the careful decisions Tabak makes when using die-cut shapes for each new piece of clothing Joseph sews. Behind each cut-out, he chooses a color to make it visible or not, depending on the scene. On one page, the die-cut scarf looks like a window, so Tabak lines up faces on the following page to look like they are peeking in. On other pages, he doesn't want the cut-out to show, so he has to be sure the color on the following page is the same as the cut-out page. We loved examining all of these details!

Second, we read Flotsam, by David Wiesner. As we learned from his reflections on his book Tuesday, Wiesner's ideas do not necessarily come from "somewhere" but rather spring from his own rich imagination. We began to grasp the concept of this amazing book and its wild depiction of life under the ocean and found many examples of creative thinking at work. The style of illustration (watercolor) is straight-forward but the ideas he paints are wildly creative.

Grade 2: Guiding Question - What picture books tell about festivals?

We read two fiction picture books that give details about the traditions of two holidays: the mid-autumn Moon Festival in China and Eid in the Islamic faith.

Nabeel's New Pants: An Eid Tale, by Fawazi Gilani-Williams, illustrated by Proiti Roy

The spirit of the Eid holiday comes through in this folksy story about a father and his family. He brings each woman in his family a gift and buys himself a pair of pants. Unfortunately the pants need to be hemmed and no one is free to do it. They're all preparing for the holiday, and we hear about their traditions along the way. When they each decide to surprise him by hemming the pants, he ends up with a super short pair and all have a good laugh. Paintings in blues and browns complement the Islamic scenery.

Thanking the Moon, by Grace Lin

This pretty picture book explains the objects and rituals associated with the Chinese moon festival as a Chinese-American family celebrates it. A full description of the holiday in the back matter is necessary since the book itself gives little detail, highlighting the family's togetherness and the mood of the evening instead. The illustrations in rich jewel tones show how the family blends their Chinese traditions (clothing and foods) against the backdrop of their US culture: station wagon, cooler, plaid picnic blanket. A lovely addition to a collection of world holiday books.

Grade 3: Guiding Questions - What are the elements of fantasy? What are the similarities and differences among fantasy, traditional literature, and science-fiction?

For our third genre study, we examined Fantasy. I used a prezi created by a fellow librarian and adapted it slightly to match our collection. It tells about the elements of fantasy and also includes some book trailers. It's found here and on the grade 3 tab of the library website.

We also made an online Venn diagram to help us see the similarities and differences in the three genres we've looked at so far. Using Read.Write.Think, we brainstormed the elements of each genre and then chose which circle to put them in. Here's an example of one we made.

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Grade 4 & 5: Check-out and International Day decorations.

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