Sunday, September 29, 2013

If I Were Charlotte....

So we are reading the book Charlotte's Web. If you follow my blog at all, you know I'm a big proponent of reading to kiddos above their grade level. I read a chapter per day---I think it's wonderful for both vocabulary and comprehension development. And I love this book because often times when Charlotte uses a word, my students' hands go up to ask me what it means, and then Wilbur does the same thing. They really got a kick out of the fact that Wilbur had the same questions they did! They are really getting into this story...finally, because previously read-alouds were like pulling teeth. It has become my favorite part of the day again :).

I made cupcakes for them--not my best work, but luckily 6-year olds are not picky when it comes to treats! :)

Anyway, we were to the part where Charlotte revealed that yes, she did have a plan, however we didn't know yet what that plan was. I asked the kids to come up with a plan a spider could use to save a pig, so they wrote "If I were Charlotte, I'd save Wilbur by...."

I'm going to scare the man about putting a web on the tree.

then Wilbur will pretend to be dead (we did have a discussion on opossums the other day :)

...make a robot because I really want to see how it works out.

....asking an elephant to attack. (he did ask me if he could do a funny answer!) biting the man and making a trap for the man by biting him inside throw him in the trap.

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Chalk Dreams

I've read this book as a suggested story to use with the kids on many different blogs. When I saw it in the library and picked it up to read it, I knew my Little Dragons would love it! The first thing I told them was--there are no words! They asked how I was going to read them a story with no words...they found out pretty quickly.

So I asked my students to write about what they would draw if they found magic chalk and knew whatever they drew would come to life. I love the creativity in the first 2 answers:

....a dog because they are not scary.

...words and a dragon. Because I love words and I want to see how a dragon turns out.

...a big giant basketball and big net.

...a horseshoe crab

a flying giraffe

.....a squid that has hair

Honestly not sure what she meant by this, but it looks pretty cool. I know it has hairs and legs and a head and neck.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Comparing Perspectives

We talk a lot about Multiple Perspectives, which is one of Kaplan's concepts of Depth and Complexity. The icon we use when we are writing from another perspective is a pair of glasses. What better way to show what can be seen through those lenses than by actually having them make the glasses and compare 2 different perspectives. We read the books:

I love the vived images these poems evoke! We compared 2 animals-one farm and one wild on a double bubble map. Then I asked the kids to think about perspective and what are the differences in how each animal would see the world. Here's what they came up with:

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Help With An Idea....

I'm always trying to take every opportunity to turn things into learning experiences. Traditionally, I have my kiddos dress up on Halloween as literary characters and we do a performance for parents based on perspective. Been there, done that with this group! :) I needed a new idea. I remembered seeing an idea on the Scholastic site years ago where they had kids dress up as words. Now, loving words myself as I do, I stored this idea away and pulled out that mental file this year. We are going to have a Vocabulary Runway Show for parents that day. So for example, if the word was "dazzling" (they will all wear a Miss America sash with the word) and dazzling would wear: shiny sequins, sparkly sunglasses, etc. I have maybe half the words already-things like eerie, disheveled, zany, bold. The kids are giving me some direction in what kinds of words they want. I'm asking for your help to come up with some more (because you are, of course, some of the smartest people I know and I need 23 of them!). 

So if you can think of any good describing words that someone could easily decorate a costume with and might be new to primary-aged kiddos-will you leave it in the comments below please? I'm excited-I think it will be a fun activity for them and they are already picking up some new vocabulary from it!

Quote Journals

I was on a quest this year to spice up the journals of my Little Dragons this year. I came up with this idea because I would use a quote per day in our reading warm-up. I considered it an oral language activity, they would discuss with each other what the quote meant and then share out. It was higher level for them because often the meaning is one that takes some thought to reall comprehend.

This year we started Quote Journals. Often as a warm-up activity, I have the students glue in a quote and then write the meaning, illustrating it as well. We were off to a bit of a rough start because it is different than the "journaling" they were used to. But I do think some of them are really starting to get it:

Monday, September 23, 2013

Farm Ethics

This is the first writing assignment with ethics I think I have given my Little Dragons this year. We have been learning about farms and farm animals. I asked whether it was right or wrong that we keep animals on a farm and of course, were looking for them to justify that argument. They always surprise me when we do activities like this. These kiddos are very tender-hearted, so I really thought I'd get arguments why it was wrong, but the overwhelming majority thought it was right.

wrong because they could be free so they could be happy all by themselves.

right because they will get cold and not be taken care of.

right because they need food

right because how would we catch them