Monday, March 11, 2013

Pets, Retelling, and Bloomers!

PreK 3 and 4: Weekly theme - Pets

This week we started a new idea to use with our weekly themes. After the story time, each child takes paper and crayons and draws a picture from something they heard in the story time. We'll save these and gather them into a story time journal for each child to take home at the end of the year. I got this great idea from Kelly Blackwell, a librarian who recently visited me for a job-alike!

A Pet for Petunia, by Paul Schimd

Petunia wants a pet skunk, her parents say no because they stink, she vehemently disagrees, and then she actually runs into a real skunk...and changes her mind.

I give this book an extra star for use of the word "lunkheads" as in, "With such disappointing lunkheads for parents, naturally Petunia MUST leave home." This is picture book perfection: overall design is fresh and crisp, rough pencil sketches with lavender wash have great movement and expression, and the voice of our heroine, Petunia, is classic I-am-six-and-I-know-everything-except-when-I-learn-something-new. I LOVE Petunia!

Whistle for Willie, by Ezra Jack Keats

The boy wants to be able to whistle for his dog, Willie. He practices off and on as he plays in his urban neighborhood. 

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

Retelling is such a hard skill. We try to break it down into a few chunks: who's the main character, what's his or her problem, and how does it end? Another good tool for this is the "Someone, Wanted, But, So, Then" prompt. I find that a bit too much for kinders, however.

To keep the focus on retelling in a short amount of time, we practice with our fingers moving slowly together to show the time running out. We start with our fingers about a shoulder's-width apart and then slowly move our pointer fingers together. When they meet, the retelling needs to be done! We practiced together first with a story from last week: The Carrot Seed, and then children practiced with partners after reading Little Chicken's Big Day, by Jerry and Katie Davis and Becky the Borrower, by Udo Weigelt.

Retelling examples: (move fingers together to show the time running out!)

Little Chicken's Big Day: "Little Chicken keeps getting told what to do and kind of gets tired of it, but then realizes he wants to have his mama nearby, clucking at him."

Becky the Borrower: "Becky keeps borrowing other kids' things, and gets in trouble, but ends up giving everything back."

Grade 1: Guiding Question - Who helped women's clothing change over time?

You Lost Your Skirt, Amelia Bloomer!, by Shana Corey, illustrated by Chelsea McLaren

Miss Bloomer, an American born in 1818, thought that the women's clothes of her day looked silly and impractical. Their dresses were heavy, dragged dirt, and caused them to get stuck in doorways! She popularized the idea of bloomers: light pants worn under a soft skirt (no hoops!)

The Mermaid Queen: the spectacular story of Annette Kellerman, by Shana Corey, illustrated by Edwin Fotheringham

From the catalog:

An illustrated biography of Annette Kellerman, an early feminist who overcame a childhood illness to become internationally recognized for her swimming, invention of water ballet, and introduction of the modern swimsuit for women.

Grade 2: Guiding Question - What's a fairy tale?

DVD of Rapunzel, by Paul O. Zelinsky

We watch for magic, enchantment, the number three.

This is an excellent version from Weston Woods.

Grade 3: Guiding Question - What information can we learn from thematic maps?

Students worked in pairs to apply what they learned from last week about using thematic maps. They answered various questions about Europe using their atlases.

Grade 4: Poetry...continued with other classes. See past couple of posts for google doc poetry terms slideshow and more information.

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