Posts tagged ‘art’
Retell: This is the story of Jose Limon, who left his family to move to New York. Frustrated by his poor artistic talent he fell in love with dance and worked to become a famous dancer and choreographer.
Topics: dance, war, family, Mexico, immigration, art, music, English, Spanish, death, New York, California
Units of Study: Nonfiction, Social Issues
Tribes: personal best, appreciations/no put-downs, mutual respect
Habits of Mind: persisting
Reading Skills: synthesis, monitoring for sense, envisionment
Writing Skills: using sound effects, zooming in on a small moment
My Thoughts: This text has multiple teaching purposes. It’s a great text for introducing or reinforcing the habit of mind–persistence. There are many moments in the story when Jose persists. He struggles to learn English but persists despite his cruel classmates. He is determined to become a dancer and shows persistence each day during rehearsal despite sore, aching muscles. During the read aloud we can hope that students understand that successful people, no matter what their focus, work hard and persist, even when they face adversity.
Units of Study: Nonfiction, Content-Area
Habits of Mind: persisting, gathering data through all senses, striving for accuracy and precision, questioning and posing problems, applying past knowledge to new situations
Reading Skills: prediction, synthesis, determining importance, interpretation, empathy
My Thoughts: With the announcement of this year’s Nobel Peace Prize being awarded to Barack Obama, you may want to take the opportunity to discuss the history of the prize itself. It’s a great text for discussing the Habits of Mind. The illustrations are quite large and are particularly vivid–perfect for classroom read alouds.
Retell: Kiri loves to paint and draw. When her Auntie Lu sends her a package of origami paper, Kiri begins teaching herself how to fold a paper butterfly. She gets to a point where her corners are supposed to match up and tears her paper. She attempts the butterfly the next day but she is scared that she will tear one of her beautiful papers. Through practice and persistence Kiri eventually folds a successful butterfly.
Topics: origami, art, paper, diagrams, how-to
Units of Study: Realistic Fiction
Tribes: personal best, appreciations/no put-downs
Habits of Mind: persisting, striving for accuracy, creating-innovating-imagining, thinking flexibly, managing impulsivity, taking responsible risks, remaining open to continuous learning
Writing Skills: including similes, making several drafts before publishing
My Thoughts: I wish I had known about this book years ago when I started a paper crane project with my fourth graders. We read Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes, folded 1,000 paper cranes, and sent them to a school in Japan who delivered our cranes to the peace memorial in Hiroshima. When I had started the project, I didn’t realize how difficult paper crane folding would be for that age. Some students were able to pick it up quickly while others got really frustrated with the process. Kiri teaches us how to deal with frustration. She took a break from the project, practiced with other materials, and tackled the project with new energy. Throughout this book many ‘habits of mind’ are presented. Even if you don’t plan on doing origami with your class, it’s great to read during the revising process of any Writing unit.
Retell: Vashti is frustrated in art class. She doesn’t have confidence in her artistic ability. Her teacher tells her to start with a dot and see where it takes her. Soon she experiments with dots of different colors, shapes and sizes and becomes pleased with the results.
Topics: art, writer’s block, creativity, experimentation
Units of Study: Personal Narrative
Tribes: personal best, appreciations/no put-downs, mutual respect
Habits of Mind: persisting, creating-imagining-innovating, responding with wonderment and awe, taking responsible risks, thinking interdependently
Writing Skills: dealing with writer’s block, revising
My Thoughts: Though this book is about art, readers will make the obvious connection to writing. I love the message of this book—experiment and enjoy the process. If I don’t read this out loud to my entire class, I will definitely use this in small group work to help struggling writers get over their fear of the blank page. I like how at the end of the book Vashti helps another young artist get over his frustration. It’s a good example of how learners help one another.
49. Fireflies in the Dark: The Story of Friedl Dicker-Brandeis and the Children of Terezin by Susan Goldman Rubin
Retell: Learn about the amazing life of Friedl Dicker-Brandeis, who taught art to children in the Terezin Camp during the Holocaust. The book includes several photos, drawings, paintings and writings from her students, many of whom did not survive.
Topics: art, holocaust, ghetto, Terezin, Nazis, school, poetry, drama, resiliency
Units of Study: Personal Narrative, Nonfiction, Content Area Reading and Writing, Social Issues
Tribes: personal best, mutual respect
Habits of Mind: persisting, thinking flexibly, creating-imagining-innovating, thinking interdependently, remaining open to continuous learning
Reading Skills: envisionment, determining importance, interpretation, inference
Writing Skills: launching writers notebook, zooming in on small moments
My Thoughts: One can learn many lessons from this book. I am impressed by Dicker-Brandeis’ devotion to learning. When she discovered that she would be sent to Terezin she chose not to bring items for herself, but art supplies for the children she knew would be in the camp. Through art her students were able to both escape and record the horrors around them. Though I don’t plan on teaching a unit about the Holocaust this year, I may choose to read a portion of this book when emphasizing how writers notebooks can be powerful places to record our memories, our thoughts and our struggles. It is important for our students to realize that their experiences, just like those recorded at Terezin, are important and should be recorded.
Retell: Emily loves to paint. She enters her painting of her dog Thor in the school art contest. After narrowly losing the contest, Emily vows never to paint again. With her help from her friend Emily realizes that she should continue doing what makes her happy.
Topics: art, contests, friendship, school, painting, self-esteem
Units of Study: Realistic Fiction, Talking and Writing About Texts, Social Issues
Tribes: attentive listening, appreciations, personal best
Reading Skills: inference, making connections, interpretation
My Thoughts: I feel like I’m coming across a lot of books about young artists lately (see post on Ish). I’m a big fan of books with illustrations that not only support the text but enhance it. At the beginning of the book the illustrations of Emily are vivid and opaque. However, as soon as she loses the contest, the illustrations of Emily are transparent, conveying the idea that she feels alone and invisible. Another cool feature about Emily’s Art is how the book begins. It reminds me of the Harry Potter films. The story begins with a scene that draws the reader into the story and then like the opening credits in a movie, the title page appears. I plan on using this book early in the year when we do a lot of community-building. It’s a great book for showing how far appreciations can go.
Topics: art, interests, self esteem, confidence, sibling issues
Units of Study: Realistic Fiction, Launching the Writers Workshop, Character
Tribes: mutual respect, personal best
Reading Skills: inference, making connections
Writing Skills: using a mixture of dialogue and description
My Thoughts: A friend of mine who is an art teacher once told me that between the ages of 8 and 10 many kids give up artistic pursuits. Apparently this age group becomes obsessed with making their art look realistic. Many people, myself included, stopped drawing and painting at this age because they lost confidence in their artistic ability. Ish is a story that addresses this issue in an adorable way. During read aloud students can analzye the role of the narrator’s sister who helps encourage him to recognize the beauty in his work. This book lends itself well to a discussion on personal best. Later in the book, the young artist starts a writers notebook making this a great book to launch classroom writers notebooks.