"I have always imagined that Paradise will be some kind of library." ~ Jorge Luis Borges

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Boost Your Brain with Summer Reading

Summer is on the horizon!

We are still in the thick of learning here (we have 22 days of school left in this year) and there is the usual buzz of activity as projects wrap up, but it is not too early to talk about summer reading. I feel like the years when I have left the conversation until mid-June, the students are already into summer mode and not as excited and inevitably the brochures and papers and email get lost in the end-of-the-year shuffle. The programs and lists get more attention when delivered now.
I created this year's bulletin board (with the help of my daughter), with a simple message about the importance and value of reading over the summer. 

The public library sends librarians to meet with our third, fourth, and fifth graders (I run the lesson for the kindergarten through second graders). 

The public librarians talk up the summer reading programs and book talk books off of the summer reading lists. The students then have time to explore the books. It's always a great visit. 

Second Graders Create Poems Inspired by their Study of Butterflies

This is a fun time of year to be in second grade. The students have many interesting science units going on in their classrooms - ramps, plants, and butterflies. A few years ago, the classroom teachers and I collaborated on a poetry project related to the ramps unit. This year, I decided to focus on the butterflies and give the students a chance to share what they had observed and learned over the last few weeks.  

We began the unit by reading Small Wonders about Jean-Henri Fabre, a French scientist who observed animal behaviors and changed the study of insects with his approach. The students then learned about different styles of forms of poetry. One of the books we used was Wet Cement : A Mix of Concrete Poems by Bob Raczka:

We then explored poems about animals for inspiration, such as The Book of Nature Poetry.  

This week, the students had the opportunity to share and show what they had seen or learned about butterflies.  Before sending them off to create, I shared some butterfly poems that I created, followed by a group brainstorm session about words, concepts, and terms related to the butterfly unit. Having watched the students create their poems, I think that the ramps unit provided more material for the students and will likely return to that subject next year.  Still, there is some great thinking going on here. This is a two week project, so these are still works in progress, but I have learned quite a bit already!  

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

5th graders find poetic inspiration on the written page

I brought my fourth grade lesson on blackout poetry to my fifth graders this week. I am incredibly impressed by their creativity. Check out their poems:

Read this one by color...