Spot Goes to the Beach, by Eric Hill
We can't get enough of Spot! In this story, he heads to the beach with his family.
Along the way, we lift the flaps to see what he'll get to buy at the souvenir shop, whose towel he borrows, and who's buried under the sand.
Beach Ball, by Peter Sis
In this wordless book, we follow a beach ball as it blows down the beach. Each page shows a different section of the beach and there are things for us to notice around different themes: shapes, colors, numbers, and so forth.
Sis is known for detailed illustrations, and this is a wonderful book to sit with for a while.
Beach Day!, by Patricia Lakin, illustrated by Scott Nash
This simple silly story shows four friends who head to the beach on a hot day. During the trip, they get distracted and play at a playground instead.
Will they find the beach eventually? When they do, will it still be fun?
Bats at the Beach, by Brian Lies (DVD by Nutmeg Media)
This story in rhyme shows bats at a beach and all of the activities they like to do. They mirror typical beach events: flying kites, having a bonfire, putting on lotion - but they have their own twist. They use "moon tan" lotion, roast "bug-mallows" instead of marshmallows, and fly their own little ones as kites.
Grade 1: Guiding Question - What are some funny picture books?
The Paper Bag Princess, by Robert Munsch, illustrated by Michael Martchenko
Elizabeth is a princess who's set to marry Prince Ronald. But when a dragon comes and steals Ronald away, she goes off to find him. She confronts the dragon, cleverly finds a way to defuse his powers, and gets Ronald back. But Ronald's response is less than satisfactory. She firmly puts him in his place and we all cheer for her self-assurance.
The Seven Silly Eaters, by Mary Ann Hoberman, illustrated by Marla Frazee
This is probably my favorite story in rhyme. The rhyme scheme and rhythm are perfectly done, and the story it tells is hilarious! A mother dotes on her children so much that she makes them each a homemade version of their favorite food...every day. Eventually, she starts to really resent it - with seven kids and seven meals to prepare daily, no wonder!
Will she ever get a moment's rest? This ties up in a fun way that suits everyone in the family and the reader, too! Marla Frazee's detailed watercolor illustrations complement the tale perfectly.
Grade 2: Guiding Question - What are "folk rhymes"?
This is the House that Jack Built, by Simms Taback
Jack builds a house and the first item in it is a piece of cheese. In each new verse, an animal or person is added until the house is bursting with activity. So is it any wonder why the house is still for sale?
Multi-media illustrations are Taback's signature style and they are a great fit for this book. There's a folksy, disjointed feeling throughout, and it's fun to read together as kids understand the cumulative pattern of the story.
Three Little Kittens, illustrated by Jerry Pinkney
This retelling of the Mother Goose rhyme highlights the playful antics of the kittens. We add the sounds "meow" and "purr" when they appear in the text to add an engaging touch. Pinkney's watercolors illustrate the kittens in close-up view, tumbling about, acting contrite, and doing their best to behave. Classes loved the last line, when the kittens have found and washed their mittens but then ask, "May we go out to play?" We know they'll be in the same predicament if they do!
Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star, by Jerry Pinkney
This gives the full lyrics to the well-known lullaby, enhanced by Pinkey's signature watercolors. A chipmunk is the star of this largely wordless tale to find out what the winking star really is. We can sing along chorus of the familiar song and follow a little chipmunk on some woodland adventures.
He enters a kind of dreamland, floating up into the night sky in a boat, flying with birds, then tumbling down and swimming with fish. He finally comes to rest on the back of a downy swan and we sense he's finally going to be able to sleep.
This must have been a trick to illustrate since the words in the song don't offer much to represent in pictures. Pinkney's version is highly imaginative but not directly tied to the words.
50 Nursery Rhyme Comics, forward by Leonard Marcus
50 nursery rhymes illustrated by 50 well-known picture book illustrators in comic form. We talk about how illustration brings new meaning to some of these poems.
In "Hickory, Dickory, Dock", for example, the mouse is running up the clock because it's his job to ring the bell. Brilliant!
Grade 3: Guiding Question - How would the world's population look as a percent of 100?
If the World Were a Village, by David Smith
This book appropriately wraps up the work grade 3 has done this year. Units about "rights and responsibilities" and "indigenous peoples" bring lots of global understanding to the year, and this touches on these themes.
The concept: If the world were a village of 100 people, who would be in it? How many people would there be from each continent? What languages would be spoken? How many of the people in the village would have clean water? a roof over their heads? a computer?
Grade 4: Check out
Grade 5: Guiding Question - How can we organize the information we've found?
Once we gathered COPIOUS notes, we needed to get it all organized. Here's our process:
|My sample color-coded notes|
(for example: Causes of water pollution, Health effects of water pollution, Global impact of water pollution, Solutions to water pollution)
Step 2: Give each category a color
Step 3: Highlight each fact according to the category it fits into
Step 4: Strike out facts not highlighted; these will be cut from the paper. They don't fit anywhere.
Step 5: Each category becomes a topic sentence for a body paragraph in an outline
Step 6: Each fact gets typed into the outline under its matching category/topic sentence
With a completed outline, we're ready to write our ideas in paragraph form!