Sunday, May 27, 2012

Miss Amy preparations, week 2

Week 33

PreK 3 - Grade 2: Guiding Question - What books do we know by our visiting author, Amy Krouse Rosenthal?

This week we all focused on the story Plant a Kiss since it's tied into an event school-wide. Post on that coming soon. 

Plant a Kiss, by Amy K. Rosenthal, illustrated by Peter Reynolds
Simple and sweet: a girl plants a kiss, waits for it to sprout, and spreads it around even though it's very rare and special, When it's all gone, she's delighted to find that instead of dying it's actually grown many times greater. This is the base for our "random acts of kindess" week. We talk about the act of being kind and sharing as a way to feel good about ourselves as well as a way to help others. I love the illustrations by Peter Reynolds - genius use of white space and expressive characters rendered in a few seemingly effortless strokes. He and Amy K Rosenthal are a perfect match.

This Plus That, by Amy K. Rosenthal, illustrated by Jen Corace
Amy Krouse Rosenthal + children = magic! This is another joyful book celebrating the good things in life: friendship, art, love, birthdays. Items are added up (or sometimes divided or multiplied) to equal that special feeling. For example: somersaults + somersaults + somersaults = dizzy! My favorite is: tall + coffee = grown ups. Another fun one: anything + sprinkles = better. Sweet watercolor illustrations with plenty of white space are a great design match.

Duck! Rabbit! by Amy K. Rosenthal, illustrated by Tom Lichtenheld
A short and sweet (and funny) way to spark a discussion about varying viewpoints, different perspectives, and tolerance for another point of view. Here two characters argue (respectfully) about whether the animal is a duck or a rabbit. It would be fun to cover up the title and ask students what they see before beginning the story.

Grades 3, 4, 5: Guiding Question - What do we know about Miss Amy's beliefs?

Miss Amy is very open about her personal belief in the power of human kindness. To understand a bit about her passion for this ideal, we watched some of her videos. Her core belief seems to be captured in the video "Kindness Thought Bubble." This was a selected Best Animated Film at 2011 Peace on Earth Film Festival.

We also watched "Money Tree", a film about a social experiment to see how people would react to a tree filled with dollar bills.

"GraFEETi" is about one of Amy's many random acts of kindness in which she puts inspirational notes in strangers' shoes.

Some grade 5 classes also saw her longer video, "Beckoning of Lovely" which was the first of several videos showing how Amy builds community, even among a large group of strangers. All of Miss Amy's videos are found on her website and on our library home page.

Grade 4: 
Author Study, Guiding Question: What similarities and differences do we notice among picture books by Amy Krouse Rosenthal?

This lesson spanned three periods. We began by modeling picture book analysis, breaking down the parts of a book into three categories: design, story elements, author's style. 

Using The Relatives Came, by Cynthia Rylant, we talked about different aspects of each category. 

Since some of Amy's books are concept books, we also looked at Rylant's Dog Heaven to show an example of a concept vs. story book.

Materials - types/colors of paint? pencil? other?
Layout - effect of placement of words? full-bleed, half or full page, boxed?
Style - realistic? cartoony? 

Story elements:
Book's structure - how is the story organized? flashbacks? chronological?
Theme - meaning, lesson, purpose?
Point of View - who is telling the story?

Describe author's voice, mood, tone of writing

After analyzing one book together, students worked in small groups with a set of Amy's books. The teacher and I put books together thematically and asked students to find similarities and differences among the titles.

Group 1: Little Pea, Little Hoot, Little Oink, Bedtime for Mommy
(theme: assumptions, kids in control)

Group 2: The OK Book, It's Not Fair, Yes Day!
(theme: child's-eye view)

Group 3: This Plus That, Cookies: Bite-Sized Lessons, Cookies: 
(Theme: life lessons)

Group 4: Spoon, Chopsticks, Duck! Rabbit!
(theme: seeing something from a different point of view)

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