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

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

"I really like that Tad Hills."

"I really like that Tad Hills."

I'm into the second lesson of a Tad Hills author/illustrator study with my first graders and that was the best comment of the day.  It was said as if the author was someone she had recently met. 

Let me just say that there is nothing more fun than watching students' faces light up when they are enjoying a story.  I didn't work with these students as kindergartners, so we are still getting to know each other.  This Tad Hills author study is giving me good insight as to who they are and great year that lies ahead of us.  I saw faces alight with joy and recognition, both today and last week.  These students are clearly identifying with the characters in the book and enjoying the journey with them.

Last week I read, Duck and Goose.  I needed to begin with a shorter story and this seemed the perfect place to start.  We read the book and started to frame our discussion.  Learning to talk meaningfully about books is a skill that we are just starting to practice.

When they came back to the library today, we recalled the previous week's story and reflected on it, then the students practiced having a conversation about the book.

Actual conversation today:

Student 1: "Have you read, Duck and Goose?"

Student 2: "Yes!"

Student 1: "Tell me about the book." 

Student 2: "It was hilarious.  I liked how Duck and Goose thought the egg was hatching, but it was really the bird kicking the ball."

Two other favorites were, "I think the full color illustrations bring you into the story," and "It's a story about friendship." Another student shared that he liked the juicy words in the story. Seriously, children are amazing and can often see the big picture, even when they are rooted in the literal.

After a few students modeling this, we read How Rocket Learned to Read.  They loved the scene where Rocket writes in the snow.  Funny.  I wonder if that scene would resonate with children from Florida?

After the story, we briefly reflected whole group. I decided to try out Voicethread and see how that changed their willingness or interest to share their thinking.  The line to my "recording studio" aka "the hallway" was out the door.  I understand why, but still want to find ways, beyond a think, pair, share and/or whole group share to empower more students to take risks and share what they are thinking.

I couldn't fit all the students into the time that I had, but you'll get the drift.
 They loved the book.The conversations are in the order of my classes.  I must have read the book with a different emphasis the second time because a majority of the comments relate to when Rocket is left with the bone-related cliff hanger by the little bird. Interesting.

Also interesting for me is that more students wanted to share their thinking via Voicethread, but they were far less specific  or articulate using this tool.  I am eager to watch their growth using this and other tools to express their thinking.  

Have your students read the book?  We'd love them to join our conversation!

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