Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Caldecotts, Dewey wrap-up, and Skippyjon

PreK 3 and 4: Guiding Question - What nursery rhymes did we learn?

To wrap up our Mother Goose unit, we reviewed all of the different flannel stories we learned, and then gave them to students to retell to each other. There was time for everyone to tell all of the rhymes as I went around and listened. What a lot of words we learned!

Kindergarten: Guiding Question - What's the difference between "real" and "pretend"?

Using the book What Mommies and Daddies Do Best, by Laura Numeroff, we talked about how the book relates real feelings and ideas with illustrations of pretend characters. How do we know they're pretend? They're animals wearing clothes!

Next, we read Chimps Don't Wear Glasses and Dogs Don't Drive Cars, both by Laura Numeroff. These silly stories get us ready to create our own pretend scene. 

Grade 1: Guiding Question - Who is Skippyjon Jones?

Skippyjon is learning Japanese!

We met Skippyjon, the Siamese cat who thinks he's a Chihuahua. This is a super-fun read aloud, but I needed to practice ahead of time to get the timing and rhythm right. We also took at look at Skippyjon's website.

Grade 2: Guiding Question - How can an illustrator use black and white illustrations creatively?

Black and White Caldecotts
Focusing on black and white dispels the idea that pictures have to be colorful in order to be engaging and "good." We discussed reasons why each of these might have been chosen as a Caldecott winner, emphasizing layout, expression, and creativity. 

Grade 3: Guiding Question - How does understanding the Dewey system help us find information?

Student completed their Dewey unit with a culminating activity designed to emphasize the idea that our information needs drive our use of the library. Each pair was given a set of cards with information they needed to locate in the Dewey section. They needed to choose a Dewey location, find a book that might help, and write its title and call number. 

Grade 4: Author's Craft

Students each chose a favorite author to study. With their teacher, they will be looking at writer's craft, specifically effective description, voice, and dialog.
Author's Craft titles

I helped choose some passages as models.
The entire first chapter of Danny, Champion of the World exemplifies a powerful opening in which we meet Danny and his father and picture the gypsy caravan where they live.

In Fantastic Mr. Fox, we meet the three farmers and understand in very few words exactly how each one is distinctly horrible, a good example of characterization.

For a verb hunt, they'll use Amos and Boris, Stieg's classic picture book which uses barely a "was".

And, for voice, the mouse and fox set the tone in Dr. DeSoto to convey their emotions (longing, hunger, fear, alarm).

For description of setting, several passages from Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone work well; I picked sections from the Diagon Alley chapter, Harry's first look at the dining hall at Hogwart's, and his first trip up the shifting stairways.

For snappy dialog and good use of interspersed description, the end of the first chapter of Skinny-bones is a hoot, when our main character tries to get out of a lie regarding spilled kitty treats.

Grade 5 learned about our new Kindles!

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