Posts tagged ‘responding with wonderment and awe’

64. What a Day it Was at School! by Jack Prelutsky

what a day it was at schoolRetell: A collection of silly school poems on topics such as:  homework, field trips and farting.

Topics: school, homework, field trips, libraries, food chain, history, poetry, partnerships

Units of Study: Fantasy, Authoring an Independent Reading Life

Tribes: mutual respect

Habits of Mind: responding with wonderment and awe

Writing Skills: incorporating rhythm and rhyme

My Thoughts: The poems in this collection are very, very silly–perfect for those ‘just for fun’ read alouds I mentioned yesterday.  I think I’ll read, “I Made a Noise This Morning” (a poem about a student farting in class) when my students need a quick laugh.  Though this collection is probably more suitable for younger grades, a few of the poems could be good hooks for mini-lessons or project launches.  I’m planning on sending home more independent project ideas in Science and Writing.  When I launch this project I may read Prelutsky’s “Homework” which describes a gooey experiment that didn’t go as planned.  There is a cute poem entitled, “A Classmate Named Tim,” that I think I’ll use when introducing partnerships.

August 29, 2009 at 9:00 am Leave a comment

62. “Before New York” by Peter Miller, National Geographic September 2009

Before New YorkRetell: Peter Miller investigates the Mannahatta Project, a group who have analyzed several historical maps in order to create pictures of what Manhattan might have looked like when Henry Hudson spotted the island back in 1609.

Topics: New York, beavers, then & now, New Amsterdam, Hudson, conservation, geography, maps

Units of Study: Nonfiction, Content Area

Habits of Mind: thinking interdependently, responding with wonderment and awe, striving for accuracy

Reading Skills: envisionment, determining importance, questioning

My Thoughts: My eyes lit up when I received my monthly National Geographic magazine yesterday afternoon.  The feature article, “Before New York,” is dedicated to presenting a picture of the landscape of New York City before it was the crowded, bustling town it is today.  If you are a 4th grade teacher in New York I highly recommend going out to your local news stand and picking up a copy today.  The article includes several pictures of ‘then and now’ maps and digital renderings.  I plan on reading this article (or a portion of it) when we do our unit on New York geography.  The article highlights how cartographers pose questions, strive for accuracy and work in groups.  I may just reread the beginning of the article where the author tells the story of a beaver named Jose who appeared near the Bronx zoo.  According to the article beaver haven’t been spotted in New York City in over 200 years.  If you don’t have a subscription check out the National Geographic website.  If you have a projector in your classroom you could share the interactive maps of New York after reading the article.

August 27, 2009 at 9:56 am 1 comment

59. My Ol’ Man by Patricia Polacco

my ol' manRetell: 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.”)

August 24, 2009 at 2:15 pm 2 comments

57. The Dot by Peter H. Reynolds

the dot

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.

August 23, 2009 at 3:53 am Leave a comment

56. What Joe Saw by Anna Grossnickle Hines

what joe sawRetell: Joe is always lagging behind the class.  His teacher and his classmates are always telling him to hurry up.  It’s not until a classmate stops to tie his shoes that he realizes why Joe keeps falling behind.

Topics: school, field trips, discovery, curiosity

Units of Study: Realistic Fiction, Talking and Writing about Texts

Tribes: appreciations/no put-downs, mutual respect

Habits of Mind: responding with wonderment and awe

Reading Skills: interpretation, inference

Writing Skills: using repetition, dialogue

My Thoughts: The main character in this book reminds me of my sweetheart.  When we’re on route somewhere he always stops to smell the flowers on butterfly bushes or picks fruit from trees.  If I’m in a hurry it can be frustrating at first, but most of the time it’s worth it to be a few minutes late.  I appreciate how he makes me slow down and notice the world around me.  What Joe Saw is a good book to read when you want your class to discuss the importance of paying attention to small details.  However, you may not want to read this book to your class just before going on a field trip.  It may be good to read during an interpretation unit.  I can imagine having interesting discussions about the  individual vs. the group.

August 22, 2009 at 2:57 am Leave a comment

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