Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Global Issues searching, Animal Research, Veggies, and Funny Picture Books

PreK 3 & 4: Guiding Question: What vegetables do we know?

We had a veggie story time, starting off with naming different plastic vegetables. Then, a few stories!

Night of the Veggie Monster, by George McClements

The Veggie Monster appears (much to the bemusement of his parents) whenever a vegetable touches this little boy's lips. The histrionics he goes through are totally silly, and the mixed media pictures are lively and expressive. Most students agree that he's making a big deal out of nothing! What's a few peas, after all?

Little Pea, by Amy Krouse Rosenthal, illustrated by Jen Corace

This a favorite and Amy visited our school last year which was amazing. In this story, Little Pea is a typical youngster who likes to play with friends, snuggle with Mama, and play with Papa. At mealtime, too, he's pretty typical; he doesn't like to eat some parts of his dinner. But the parts he doesn't like are a little unusual - it's CANDY! After some whining and complaining, he eats all his candy and then gets dessert. 

Growing Vegetable Soup, by Lois Ehlert

Did you know that you can grow a soup? This story shows how a father and child plant the vegetables, care for them, harvest them, and then make a delicious vegetable soup. Neon-bright colors in chunky cut shapes grab our attention. Small black text naming each item provides extra information for those children starting to sound out letters.

Kindergarten: Guiding Question - What are some of our favorite funny picture books?

As the end of the year draws near, we focus on read-alouds that are just pure FUN. Here are some favorites from the week.

Mortimer, by Robert Munsch, illustrated by Michael Martchenko

Young Mortimer just won't be quiet at bedtime. Everyone in the family takes a turn marching up the stairs to yell at him to "Be Quiet!" but he just keeps on singing "Bang, Bang, Rattle and Clang" at the top of his lungs. Will he ever settle down for bed? 

This is lots of fun, especially if you can sing his song really loudly! The kids join in and we make a huge racket!

He Came with the Couch, David Slonim

In this bizarre tale, a family goes out to get a new couch and chooses one that already has a strange occupant on it. They try to get him (it?) off, but he won't budge. Since the couch is perfectly good, they work around him and even become fond of him. It seems that there's no way he'll ever get up. But one day, he surprises them all!

A Pet for Petunia, by Paul Schmid

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!

Story: she wants a pet skunk, parents say no because they stink, she vehemently disagrees, and then...doesn't.

Grade 1: Guiding Question - How do we find information about animals?

Grade 1 students are creating a zoo in their classrooms, and they need to be able to tell lots of facts about the animal they're choosing to dress up as. We used PebbleGO, World Book Kids, and this symbaloo of National Geographic digital books to gather information. 

We used this template for our notes. Children drew a picture of their animal in the large box and added one fact in each of the other boxes. On the other side, they added more facts and did a picture with labels. I got the idea for this template here.

Grade 2: Guiding Question - What do myths teach us about human behavior?

In our traditional literature unit, we're reading myths and talking about how myths attempt to explain truths in nature or in human nature.

King Midas and the Golden Touch, told by Charlotte Craft, illustrated by K. Y. Craft

This is a classic retelling of the story of King Midas. We learn of his love for his daughter, his love for his gold, and meet the stranger who forever changes his life by teaching him a harsh lesson. The retelling is full of detail and the illustrations are lush. A beautiful book.

Cyclops, by Leonard Everett Fisher

A chilling story of Odysseus's brush with death, this makes a great read-aloud for grade 2 and up. After being blown off course as punishment by t he gods, Odysseus and his crew end up in the cave of an evil Cyclops. He eats several men and threatens to eat them all. They must find a way out of the cave, but it's always closed in by a huge boulder. When the men come up with a plan, the events take a graphic turn, but their cleverness is the greatest thrill in the story.

Grade 3: Indigenous People Research, Folktales and Books in a Series

Depending on the class, grade 3 students continued their research of their indigenous people group, read folk tales from South and Central America, or practice identifying similarities and differences in books in a series on a venn diagram. With MAP testing and various other programs as we head into the end of the year, the grade 3 classes will each be working on the same skills at different times. 

Grade 4: Check out

Grade 5: Guiding Question - How can we search for increasingly complex information for our Global Issues paper?

Students are past the definition stage of their issue (What IS global warming, What are examples OF animal cruelty, and so forth).
Now, they are exploring CAUSES and SOLUTIONS for their problem.

One search strategy they have been using with great success is the quotation mark strategy: when we want two or more words to be searched together, we put them in quotation marks.

"air pollution" 

narrows to just those articles that show air pollution as set topic.

We also learned to use the minus sign to omit results that we don't want.

"air pollution" -cars 

gives us results about air pollution other than air pollution caused by cars.

As we begin to look for causes and solutions, we can add these key words to our search.

"air pollution" solution*

"air pollution" cause*
The asterisk truncates a word which tells the search to find that word with any ending. In this case, it will find "solution" and "solutions" or "cause" and "causes". This broadens our search (and gives us a chance to talk about word endings and roots!).

Our grade 5 tab has several sites that are kid-friendly for finding out information about these complex topics.

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