Monday, November 13, 2017

Two Weeks for the Price of One...

Life is busy! I just sat down to blog about the PD I attended today and realized I am 2 weeks behind with my weekly updates. So, first things first!

Week of October 25

For the most part, we stuck with the silly/scary theme of last week.

I took a page from last week's 1st grade success stories, and did a repeat for my Kindergartners - The Little Old Lady Who Was Not Afraid of Anything. This one is definitely a classic for a reason - so much fun and one to keep in my repertoire for next year.

1st grade heard The Perfect Pumpkin Pie by Denys Cazet. I brought in a little STEAM by creating a class graph of their favorite kinds of pie. The finished product came out pretty cute, and the kids were pretty engaged with helping plot out their index cards.

Apple the big winner!

2nd and 3rd grades heard selected stories from Scared Silly. This was a suggestion from one of the other librarians in my district and I was excited that my order came from Amazon in time to use in my classes this year. I read 3 stories for each class and then divided them up to have them illustrate a story of their choice. By far, the most popular was Mabel's Gable (hint: there's a diaper in the climactic event of the story). Hopefully, I can perfect my storytelling skills by next Halloween - I had to rely a little too much on the text - #librariangoals

4th grade were the (lucky?) recipients of my newfound knowledge of Britannica School which I learned by taking part in a webinar last week. The expectation for the webinar was that we create a lesson plan for an actual class in our school so I reached out to my 4th grade team, as some of the atlas elements of Britannica are really cool (particularly the ability to see inside buildings across the world). We settled on creating a class postcard for their Global Read Aloud schools, so I demo'd the site with that end goal in mind. They were really excited, even though they pretty much all just ended up searching for their houses :)

Inside view of the Massachusetts State House 
5th grade continued on the path of Building Background Knowledge for their Passion Project. I am sensing a theme that they are frustrated with the process already and many are wanting to jump ahead to the creation phase. As I am trying to impart, putting together slides with facts isn't research, but I have a feeling this will be an ongoing discussion I have over the next few months.

Week of November 1 

With Halloween behind me, I have a renewed focus on some of the key skills I want to be sure my students are familiar with by the end of the year.

For Kindergarten, I put together an anchor chart of the 5 W's to help guide our understanding of our read alouds over the next few weeks. I was very impressed that they instantly recognized that a) all the words began with W and that 2) they all ended in a question mark. We read one of my favorites - Click Clack Moo - and stopped throughout to check for understanding.

My Student Learning Goal for this year is centered on Fiction/Nonfiction in the 1st grade. I introduced this concept with my 1st graders this week with some general questions to get some baseline data. We began to explore the differences between fiction and nonfiction with a reading and examination of Stellaluna and a nonfiction book on bats. We discussed three initial elements: storytelling vs. information-giving, illustrations vs. photographs, and letters vs. numbers on the call number. We'll expand on this as the year goes on.

2nd and 3rd graders were introduced (or re-introduced, in the case of 3rd grade) to genre through the reading of Joe Bright and the 7 Genre Dudes. The publisher had some great ideas for activities to go along with this book which I took advantage of. We matched our dudes with their genre and then brainstormed what makes each genre unique. 3rd graders had the added challenge of using dictionaries to help flesh out our definitions. More genre study to come in the next several weeks.

4th grade continued down the path of building our postcards with images from Britannica School. This project has been a very enlightening exercise in how to manage projects and time with this age group. I made some assumptions about their familiarity with working in shared documents which weren't completely realistic, so I have been doing a lot of adapting from class to class. I hope to have finished products to share soon!

As I alluded in last week's recap, I am sensing some frustration from 5th graders regarding the pace of our research for the Passion Project. However, after hearing from multiple people that they were "done" with their research, I realized I needed to reset a bit. We reviewed the concept of Think/Thin Questions and read one of the library's new books Fur, Fins, and Feathers about Abraham Bartlett, founder of the modern zoo. As I read, students wrote down examples of thick and thin questions and we discussed at the end of the story. Fingers crossed that this exercise will inspire them to think a bit more deeply about their own research questions. We'll see!

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