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

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

These kindergarten students knew what they needed

 This is ultimately what it looked like in my library yesterday:

As I said, these kindergarten students knew what they needed - I didn't.  We started a snowy books unit last week. You can read here about how the students learned about the fiction and nonfiction snow-related books in the library as well explored the Caldecott Medal using the book, The Snowy Day.

I was ready to pick right up where we left off.

BUT...It's the Tuesday before vacation. They've predicted a snow storm to arrive midday. They are kindergartners.

After introducing the lesson, I was reading the next book, No Two Alike by Keith Baker, to begin a conversation about wonderings about snow (more of my wonder wall lessons).

I began to feel queasy, akin to being sea sick. I felt almost as if I were at sea because bodies were moving back and forward and side to side in front of me. Seriously, these kindergarten students could not keep their bodies still.

It was #timetoshowsomeflexiblity.

Telling them that I sensed a disturbance in the force, I scrapped part of the lesson and gave the students three options:

1. You may read books on the rug
or, inspired by the book we just read, you may:
2. create a snowy scene using Kid Pix; or,
3. create a snowy scene using pen and paper.

The students happily moved into their choices.

For the next three classes I began with the same introduction referring to last week's lesson, but I moved right into having the students share their wondering about snow.  I explained that we will use our Wonder Wall books to learn more about snow and explore these wonderings after vacation. We have a lot of learning to do in January! 

Seriously, you have to read these wonderings:

"How does snow get made?"

"How does snow get its pattern?"

"How does so much tiny snow cover so much a a lot of trees?"

"Why does snow fall at different speeds?"

"How do animals come out at snow time? How do foxes and owls come out at night?"
"How does the snow keep animals warm underground?""How do snowflakes become snow"

"How does snow melt?"

"How does snow turn into ice?"

"How does snow get fluffy?"

"Where was the first snow?"

"How does nature form snowflakes?"

"How does the sun melt snow when it is freezing outside?"

"How does the sun not melt all the snow because it is so bright and hot?"

I then explained the options for creating a snowy day picture and explained that I was going to read a book that would help inspire them.  I read No Two Alike

The students headed off to browse and borrow and/or create their pictures and/or read. The rest of the morning was fabulously fun.

I was surprised at the breakdown of students and activities.  On the whole, about half the students chose Kid Pix, one quarter paper and markers and one quarter reading books quietly.  it was incredibly cool to watch five-year-olds owning the library, making their own choices, and navigating their options.

One thing that I worried about and that come to fruition for about five students all morning is that they had to browse and borrow first and then go on to the next activity.  These five students went straight to Kid Pix and then wanted to browse as the rest of the class was lining up.  I am thinking that a visual of the choices - almost like a felt board - might be a good idea.

1 comment: