Sunday, October 22, 2017

Holidays = Prep Time

It was perfect timing to have a day off for the Columbus Day holiday. After chatting with my colleagues last week, I was really excited to have the extra day to do some thoughtful planning for the rest of the month. I felt incredibly refreshed going into the week this week, confident in my plans for the rest of the month.

As mentioned in the last post, kindergartners heard a book about bullying as a tie-in to National Bullying Prevention Awareness Month. Llama Llama is a familiar character to most kindergartners and this book did a great job of opening up discussion at an age-appropriate level. We did a lot of "reading the illustrations" to explain how the Bully Goat was behaving like a bully and predict how the other students were feeling.

1st graders also heard an age-appropriate anti-bullying book, One by Kathryn Otoshi. I have always loved this book for both its simplicity and the focus on how being a bystander can be just as damaging as being the bully. We read the book once through as a group, and then students each got a role and we acted it out as I read it through the 2nd time. They did such a great job listening and following directions - it was really neat to see them in action.

2nd grade heard one of the new books I was most excited for this year, The Legend of Rock, Paper Scissors by Drew Daywalt. His Crayon books are among my favorites so I was thrilled to hear he had published a new one. I began class by brainstorming some of the elements of a legend and we went back at the end to see how many of them were apparent in this story. We also had some fun playing rock, paper, scissors and guessing which character would have the most victories overall. I thought it was interesting that the totals for each were pretty close in both classes.

3rd grade continued our character study from last week. I only recently realized that Ada Twist was loosely based off of Ada Lovelace and Marie Curie, and coincidentally (or maybe not), 2 new picture book biographies of Ada Lovelace were published this year. I found them both at my local public library and we compared and contrasted the qualities of the fictional and real-life Adas.

4th grade saw a video on nonfiction text features and had a chance to demonstrate their knowledge by inserting bookmarks with each text feature on the appropriate page in a nonfiction book from the library. I got the bookmark idea from a fellow librarian's website but created my own version. After printing, laminating and cutting out 20 sets of bookmarks, I realized it would be more helpful to have the definition of the text feature in the body of the bookmark. I won't be rushing to redo them, but when the time comes, I will definitely make that switch. In the meantime, I will definitely create a color-coded anchor chart with the examples and definitions before I repeat this activity next year.

5th graders were introduced to their "Passion Project" - a research project on a topic of their choosing that they will work on piece by piece in library over the next several months. I read What Do You Do With an Idea? to introduce the assignment and then they brainstormed topics they are interested in. I intentionally did not want them to decide on a topic this week; rather, I hoped the gist of the book would resonate with them and they would see where there brains took them between this week and next. But there were definitely some eager researchers who wanted to begin Hopefully, they are still this enthusiastic in March!

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