Saturday, May 12, 2012

Miss Amy preparation, week 1

Week 32

PreK 3 through grade 2: Guiding Question - Who is Amy Krouse Rosenthal?
We began the "Miss Amy immersion" process this week by reading lots of her books. She's coming to our school May 22, 23. Win a signed copy of one of her books by entering here.

One of the things I love most about Amy Krouse Rosenthal's work is her keen perception of how children must feel in an adult world. Two titles deal with this directly: Yes Day and It's Not Fair. We also enjoyed looking at the similarities and differences in the illustration style of three titles, all done by Tom Lichtenheld. Finally, we read and watched Little Pea, one of Amy's most well-known books. 

Yes Day, by Amy Krouse Rosenthal, illustrated by Tom Lichtenheld
Imagine a day when every answer is "yes" - a child's dream come true! The illustrations in this are fun, and the timing of showing the results after a page turn add drama. The boy asks mother, "Can I please [love the manners] have pizza for breakfast?" *page turn* to picture of boy eating pizza! Kids loved this one and we had fun sharing what we'd ask for if we had a "yes day". Many students asked for expensive items, but we could refer back to the story and see that the things the boy wanted were really small treats and time with friends and family: a friend for supper, eating lunch outside, choosing his own breakfast cereal. When we really thought about it, students were able to come up with some more realistic ideas.

It's Not Fairby Amy Krouse Rosenthal, illustrated by Tom Lichtenheld
A list of gripes about perceived slights: as we move from common ones (he got the bigger cookie) to downright silly ones (a stool complains that the chair gets an extra leg) we get the idea that fairness is a matter of perspective. The kiddos had quite serious faces at times during this reading. I played up the unfairness of some familiar situations, such as missing one's turn to stir the batter, by using a teary voice. Afterward, we talked about times that are really unfair (and how to handle them with a deep breath and moving on) and about times when we're just complaining (such as the pig who wants wings).

The OK Bookby Amy Krouse Rosenthal, illustrated by Tom Lichtenheld
In these high-pressure times, I LOVE the message of this book: it's OK to just be okay at things, especially for children who are learning and experimenting. The child-like illustrations (stick person that spells out O.K.) are a perfect fit, and there are just the right number of examples. Each picture shows the child trying something ("I'm an ok pancake flipper") and shows the evidence that s/he's missed the mark a bit (pancake on the head not on the plate). Kids will relate, but it's also a great reminder for parents and teachers that our little ones are eager to participate in everything, even if they're not 100% successful at it.

Little Pea, by Amy Krouse Rosenthal, illustrated by Jen Corace (also on Tumblebooks)
Little Pea has a happy childhood, but there's one thing that makes him unhappy. He has to eat candy for dinner every night, and he really hates it! He finally eats all the candy parents require in order for him to have dessert, and we are as anxious as he is to see what the dessert will be. A must-read for picky eaters! This is such an original story, sweetly and simply executed. The design, illustrations, and voice of the text are in perfect harmony. A classic.

Grade 3: Guiding Question - What constitutes a series and why are series books good for us as readers?

We talked through this prezi about different types of series books, about different ways a series can be structured (for example: same characters, same setting, same genre), and about the benefits series-reading has on our growth as readers and writers.

Afterward, students rotated among three stations stacked with different series books. Each student chose one, then found its companion on the shelf (practicing spine label matchin). Everyone left with two titles in a series. After reading, they will use an online Venn diagram to compare similarities and differences between the two titles.

Grade 5: Guiding Questions - What strategies can we use to quickly determine if a website is good for us? How do evaluate a website?

Grade 5 is working on self-directed research about various global issues. They took a week to read broadly using news websites selected by their teachers to get a sense of their interests. Then they narrowed their topic and formed small groups or pairs with others interested in the same thing. They're now on the searching and resource-selection stage.

The problem: Students are often so excited to find a website that looks promising that they quickly bookmark it and move on to find another. They're not skimming and scanning it to get a sense of the information, and are not being critical of the content on the site....yet!

Use pre-reading strategies to get an overall sense of the website:
Scroll all the way down the page to see the scope of the article. 
Scan the sidebars and tabs to see its "table of contents" or categories. 
Skim the headings to see which ones match the question

Evaluate the site using these questions 
We practiced with some poor quality sites for contrast. Seeing bad examples can help us distinguish between quality and questionable sites.

Next week: "deep reading" and note-taking!

1 comment:

  1. I'm excited for your students to meet Amy! We are pretty proud of her here in Chicago!

    I like the Quick guide you shared for evaluating information. I am going to share that with my colleagues.

    Thank you,