Monday, June 3, 2013

Machines, Traditional Lit Voting, and "Funny but Dark" Picture Books

PreK 3, 4, Kindergarten, Grade 1: Storytime Theme - Machines

I Stink, by Kate and Jim McMullan

A book about a garbage truck? What could be more fun for little boys? Everyone loves this one about a stinky garbage truck and all of the yucky trash he likes to "eat". We watch him get loaded up, then learn how the parts inside the truck compact all of the trash. The highlight is an alphabetical list of refuse that includes items like "Puppy Poop" and "Ugly Underwear" - good for giggles.

I'm Dirty, by Kate and Jim McMullan (DVD by Weston Woods)

The DVD version of this book adds lots of sound effects and movement. It's the story of a backhoe bucket loader and the work he does to clean up an empty lot. When he's done, he enjoys a mud bath...he loves being dirty!

Demolition, by Sally Sutton, illustrated by Brian Lovelock

This is a brand-new book in our library, and it's beautiful! In this rhyming story, we watch a building get demolished by various types of machines, each with its own specialty. All along we're wondering why the building has to be destroyed, but there's a super positive outcome when it's all gone and the rubble is sorted, cleaned up, and used for other things. 

Double page, full bleed illustrations really bring us up close to the action. 

The text is packed with onomatopoeia to give us a sense of the noise involved.

Grade 2: Guiding Question - What is a fable? What were our favorite types of traditional literature and titles we read?

After reading today, students voted on their favorite genre within traditional literature and their favorite book in the unit. Add your vote below! It's set to see the results.

The Town Mouse and the Country Mouse, retold and illustrated by Helen Ward

Another new book to our collection, this retelling of the classic Aesop's fable has gorgeous pictures. 

Country Mouse becomes envious of the life Town Mouse describes - one of hustle and bustle and action. He decides to go visit Town Mouse to see what it's all about. While he's there, he experiences some of the fun of the city but also comes to appreciate aspects of his home that he truly misses. We have good discussion afterwards about taking risks and being happy with our choices.

Mouse & Lion, by Rand Burkert, illustrated by Nancy Ekholm Burkert

This is another beautifully illustrated retelling of a classic fable. 

Mouse meets Lion and asks for his freedom and promises to help Lion someday. Lion laughs at the idea but lets him go. And wouldn't you know...he does end up needing Mouse's help. The African landscape features prominently in the pictures, done in finely detailed colored pencil and watercolor.

Grade 3: Guiding Question - Can a book be funny and also a little bit...dark?

I Want My Hat Back, by Jon Klassen

This is best read, not talked about. The surprise is so dramatic, I don't want to ruin it!

A bear is looking for his hat. He asks many animals but none have seen it. He does end up solving his problem, but that's all I can say. Just read it!

This is Not My Hat, by Jon Klassen

A companion to "I Want My Hat Back", this story is told from the thief's point of view. A fish readily admits to stealing a whale's hat. He's not planning to return it and justifies the reasons why he should keep it. We are included in his escape plan, but we are also privy to what's happening behind him. As events unfold, we feel complicit in what happens. We know what is bound to happen...but can't stop it. 
As in "I Want My Hat Back" this sparks lots of discussion about ethics. (Note: This the 2013 Caldecott winner for best picture book.)

Goldilocks and the Three Dinosaurs, by Mo Willems

Goldilocks is lured into the house of three dinosaurs (one of whom is just visiting from Norway). Love the dramatic irony as we watch to see what will happen. Fun surprise endings, as in all Mo Willems books, don't disappoint. This is a good read-aloud for grade 3 and up. Younger kids will enjoy it but may not appreciate the sardonic tone.

Grade 4: Check out

Grade 5: Guiding Question - What are some fast ways to create a list of citations?

Grade 5 is wrapping up its global issues research. Now that the outlining is done, they know which sources they're using in their paper, so it's time to create formal citations.

We use EasyBib and BibMe. These are both generators that allow us to plug in the site URL (carefully saved in a google doc as we gathered our information). The tool puts the elements of the site into the correct order, we add the date accessed and any other details the tool didn't find, and Voila! a citation in perfect format.

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