Posts tagged ‘Kenya’

90. Bringing the Rain to Kapiti Plain by Verna Aardema

bringing the rain to kapiti plainRetell: In this Nandi folktale a man is worried about the drought that is turning the plains brown and making his cows hungry and dry.  He decides to make an arrow and shoot it into a storm cloud which brings the much needed rain.

Topics: plains, drought, weather, Kenya, folktales

Habits of Mind: thinking flexibly, managing impulsivity

Reading Skills: envisionment, monitoring for sense

Writing Skills: incorporating repetition, rhyme and rhythm

Thoughts: Like “The Little Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly” and “The House that Jack Built” (also see The House That Crack Built) Bringing the Rain to Kapiti Plain is a cumulative rhyme.  The words are composed in a way that it’s easy to find a rhythm when you read.  In addition to being a nice Social Studies read aloud, it’s a great text to use with readers who need help with phrasing and parsing.

September 26, 2009 at 10:28 am Leave a comment

75. 14 Cows For America by Carmen Agra Deedy

14 cows for americaRetell: To the Maasai people the cow is life.  In June 2002 Wilson Kimeli Naiyomah returned to his Kenyan village with a tragic story from New York.  Kimeli presented a cow for blessing, in honor of those who died during the attacks of September 11th.  13 others offered their own cows for blessing.  The cows remain in Kenya but they continue to be a symbol of hope and compassion to people around the world.

Topics: September 11th, Maasai, Kenya, compassion, cows, hope

Units of Study: Character, Social Issues, Talking and Writing About Texts

Tribes: mutual respect

Reading Skills: envisionment, inference, monitoring for sense

Thoughts: The tone of my classroom during this short first week of school has been so positive.  Students are making new friends, and seem excited about school.  I now approach planning my read aloud for the third day of school which happens to also be September 11th.  It feels weird to start a discussion about tragedy and terrorism on the third day of school.  I don’t want to spend a lot of time discussing frightening details of that day but on the other hand I don’t want to ignore the day altogether.  I’ve decided to read 14 Cows For America because it focuses more on the idea of compassion rather than tragedy.  I’m hoping that the last line of the book will prompt an interesting discussion:  “Because there is no nation so powerful it cannot be wounded, nor a people so small they cannot offer mighty comfort.”

Thanks Beth for recommending this fabulous read aloud!

September 10, 2009 at 9:05 pm Leave a comment

24. Owen and Mzee: The Language of Friendship by Isabella Hatkoff, Craig Hatkoff, and Dr. Paula Kahumbu

owen and mzeeRetell: This sequel continues the story of Owen and Mzee, the beloved baby hippo and the anti-social tortoise, who were brought together during the aftermath of the tsunami of 2004.

Topics: tsunami, hippos, tortoises, wildlife, preservation, Kenya, friendship, biology, animal habitats, narrative nonfiction, biography

Units of Study: Nonfiction, Personal Essay, Content-Area Reading and Writing

Tribes: mutual respect

Reading Skills: monitoring for sense, determining importance, inference

Writing Skills: using transitional phrases, using quotation marks that note unusual usage

My Thoughts: Be ready for a chorus of “ahhh”s if you choose to read this book aloud to your students.  Every photograph is absolutely adorable.  A lot can be learned from this pair.  I plan to use this book during my Content Area Reading and Writing units.  Owen and Mzee includes both narrative and expository text making it a good teaching text during the Nonfiction unit as well.  One could even use this during a biography unit since it’s telling a life story.

July 20, 2009 at 7:53 pm Leave a comment


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