Posts tagged ‘attentive listening’
Topics: kindergarten, growing up, babies, sharing
Units of Study: Authoring an Independent Reading Life, (This could be used during the editing process of any unit of study.)
Tribes: mutual respect, attentive listening
Writing Skills: using past tense
My Thoughts: I almost dismissed this book as being too young to be used in a fourth grade classroom. Though I probably wouldn’t read it aloud to the entire class, I would read it to a small group of writers who struggle with past tense. When the main character is looking back to her life as a baby and as a “little kid”, she uses only past tense verbs: “I wore diapers. I took two naps…Sometimes I had a hard time.” When she reflects on her current behavior she uses present tense verbs: “I can make up stories! I can listen to my friends tell stories, too.” This book has inspired me to dig deep into the libraries of my lower-grade colleagues to search for more grammar read alouds.
Retell: Officer Buckle often visits Napville School to give presentations about safety. Unfortunately, most people do not listen to his advice. As a result, the accident rate is very high. When Officer Buckle partners with a show-stealing police dog named Gloria, suddenly his audience sit up and pay attention.
Topics: safety, assemblies, dogs, police
Units of Study: Character, Realistic Fiction
Tribes: attentive listening, appreciations/no put-downs
Reading Skills: reading bold and italicized words
Thoughts: Each year I try and use read alouds to review the agreements of our school. (These are Tribes agreements plus one we call ‘personal best’.) It seems that there are many books about mutual respect, but not very many about attentive listening. Officer Buckle and Gloria is a read aloud I’ve been using for the past two years. The illustrations are great for showing two types of audiences: an audience who does not listen and one that shows they are listening. It also shows how people feel when they are not listened to. There are many bold and italicized words throughout the book. When reading the book aloud you may want to ask students to pay attention to how your voice changes when you come across bold and italicized words.
Retell: Sarah Hartwell is nervous about going to her new school. She hides under the covers while Mr. Hartwell urges her to get out of bed. Luckily the students, the principal and the staff are friendly to Sarah and she eventually feels ready for the first day of school. It’s a good thing because Sarah isn’t a kid–she’s the teacher.
Topics: first day of school, nervousness, teachers
Units of Study: Realistic Fiction,
Tribes: mutual respect, personal best, attentive listening
Habits of Mind: perseverance
Reading Skills: making connections, making predictions
Thoughts: I can’t believe tomorrow is the first day of school! I’m surprised by my own first day jitters. Last year I looped with my class. The night before the first day of school I remember feeling more relaxed because I already knew my students. Tomorrow I will be starting with a new batch of 4th grade learners. Though I’m not starting at a new school like Sarah Hartwell, I still feel anxious. I can only imagine how my students feel. I hope that after reading this book tomorrow my students will think of ways to help each other fight the first day jitters.
Welcome back to school everyone!
Topics: school, rules, behavior, bathroom, calling out
Units of Study: Personal Narrative
Tribes: mutual respect, attentive listening, personal best
Writing Skills: using memories to generate notebook entries
Thoughts: Here is a just-for-fun read aloud for the first day of school. It’s a great read for beginning a discussion about rules, agreements and norms. If you have access to Guys Read you may want to share David Shannon’s story about how he created the David books. The anthology has cool original pictures of the young version of his other book No, David!
Retell: When she was growing up, Patricia Polacco spent the summers with her father and her grandmother. In this charming book, Polacco tells the story of the time they found a magical rock that helped them cope with hard times.
Topics: divorce, summer, dads, grandmothers, storytelling, layoffs, magic
Units of Study: Personal Narrative, Memoir
Tribes: attentive listening
Habits of Mind: responding with wonderment and awe
Reading Skills: prediction, monitoring for sense
Writing Skills: using commas in lists, crafting meaningful introductions
My Thoughts: Patricia Polacco is one of my favorite authors and I often read several of her books during the Personal Narrative unit. Most of her books are inspired by moments, people, and places in her life. In the beginning of My Ol’ Man, there are authentic photographs from Polacco’s childhood. This book would be great to read as you are teaching how writers use artifacts to generate notebook entries. When writing about people, my students often make lists of what they like about a person. This book will be great to use as a mentor text to help students move from list writing (“My dad likes tacos. My dad takes me places.) to narrative writing (“One time my dad brought out this book of stamps. I’ll never forget the time when my dad took me for a ride in his 1947 GMC truck.”)
Retell: Sonny is worried. His mom just lost her job at the fish market and is worried that they may not make rent. Sonny meets the musician Smilin’ Jack who comes up with a solution that turns out to be both profitable and entertaining.
Topics: New Orleans, rent, money, jazz, parties, music, community
Units of Study: Social Issues, Historical Fiction
Tribes: personal best, attentive listening
Reading Skills: envisionment, interpretation
Writing Skills: using commas to tuck in details
My Thoughts: Great books teach us something new. Rent Party Jazz not only tells a story of Sonny and his family, but tells the story of the origin of rent parties throughout African-American communities in the South. The book will be great to read when your class needs to be reminded of the power a strong, supportive community. Even something as bleak as not being able to pay rent can be conquered when people work together.
Retell: Sugar and her mama share the same birthday. Sugar enjoys listening to her mother’s stories. She especially misses them now that her mother is in prison. Her mother finds a way to share her stories even from far away.
Topics: mothers, families, prison, stories, birthdays
Units of Study: Social Issues, Personal Narratives, Realistic Fiction
Tribes: attentive listening
Reading Skills: interpretation, questioning, empathy
Writing Skills: writing with a balance of description and reflection, keeping a writers notebook
My Thoughts: This is a moving story about a girl who is dealing with the fact that her mother is imprisoned. There aren’t many published stories like this in the world. It’s a great model to use when you teach your students to write about stories you wish belonged in the world–the ones that show aspects of your life or struggles you are going through. The author never reveals what the mother did to land her in prison which I think is a nice touch. The book isn’t about the mother, but about how much her daughter misses her.