Last week was our first week of library classes during Picture Book month. I'm choosing which books to read based on topics from the Picture Book Month calendar.
For each book, we'll use Wonderopolis to extend our thinking about the topic.
Do you know Wonderopolis? It's an amazing site (on the home page of our library site) that gives us a new question to think about every day. The answers are engaging and sometimes include video clips.
Wonderoplis can be like CNN for kids - something they check every day to learn
PreK 3, 4, Kindergarten: Guiding Question - What are similarities and differences between two versions of "Goldilocks"? What do we know about polar bears?
We read The Three Bears, by Byron Barton to refresh our memories of the classic "Goldilocks."
Then we read The Three Snow Bears, by Jan Brett. In this version, set in the Arctic, a young Inuit girl comes across the (igloo!) home of three polar bears. She tries out their soup, their boots, their fur blankets.
Afterward, we looked at Wonderoplis and talked about polar bear fur. Why is it white? What color is the skin underneath? How does white fur help them?
Grade 1: Guiding Question - What do we know about farms? Where does dirt come from?
This is the Farmer, by Nancy Tarfuri
A chain reaction begins when the farmer heads off in the morning to do his chores, and along the way we meet all of the farm animals as they inadvertently help the farmer get to his stool to milk the cow.
The large format, full-page illustrations, and oversize text make this a good story time book.
Farmer Duck, by Martin Waddell.
Poor duck has the bad luck to live on a farm with a lazy farmer. The lazy farmer makes duck do all of the work, calling out to check on him all day long: "How goes the work?" and duck answers, "Quack!" every time. This oft-repeated exchange gives us a chance to show variety in vocal expression and students love to anticipate it. The watercolor illustrations show exactly what chores the duck must accomplish. Eventually, duck gets fed up with doing all of the work, so cow, sheep, and hen come to his aid with a plan to get rid of the farmer. A simple story that engages young children.
Next, we popped over to Wonderopolis and learned about compost. We realized that composting is what happens naturally in the woods all the time, as fallen leaves, dead logs and branches, and animal wastes decay and turn into good rich dirt.
Grade 2: Guiding Questions - How can we use clues to infer the setting of a story? What continents do we know?
We're starting a new unit: "Picture Books Around the World." It ties into the grade 2 "Communities" classroom unit.
In this unit we identify the setting of each picture book we read by using clues in the story. We identify the continent and the country, practice naming continents and countries with fun computer games, and talk about story elements.
This week we began with a classic folktale: Strega Nona, retold and illustrated by Tomi de Paola. Clues to infer setting? "grazie", pasta, and red-tiled roofs.
Grade 3: Guiding Questions - What is "responsibility"? How do illustrations impact a story?
We're starting a new unit in grade 3: "Rights and Responsibilities." In their classrooms, students will learn about the rights of a child and in the library we'll read picture books that spark discussion about the responsibilities that accompany these rights.
This week we read one of my favorite picture books, How to Heal a Broken Wing, by Bob Graham.
It's the story of a boy who sees a hurt bird in the middle of a busy city and decides to help it. Told mostly through powerful illustrations, this story requires us to slow down and examine the way the text and pictures spark our emotions.
My final question: "Is it the boy's responsibility to help the bird?" is not an easy answer for some.