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

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

"Do ducks have an egg tooth like chickens?"

Today, amidst the reality that only 19 days remain in this school year, I sought comfort in books.  I am a Teacher Librarian so it's no wonder that books would provide the reassurance that we are all still here as a community in this school year and that some things never change. I needed this reassurance and I thought my kindergarten students needed it too.  

I decided to review fiction and nonfiction (or imagination and information, or wander and wonder books). This was a classic, "Don't judge a book by it's cover" lesson with 
Just Ducks! 
written by Nicola Davies 
and illustrated by Salvatore Rubbino.

The students and I  returned to our discussion about how to identify books in our school library (spine label stickers) and the difference between the book neighborhoods. The students shared ways to identify books, like the one's below.

"Look at the sticker on the spine  to tell which kind of book it is."

"You will know because of where you took the book off the shelf."

Once we identified the book as an information book from our wonder wall, the students shared some wondering questions about ducks. They wondered about things like:

"Can baby ducks swim right away?"

"Do ducks have an egg tooth like chickens?"

"How many eggs do ducks lay?"

"How many times do ducks lay eggs each year?"

We then read Just Ducks!  The kindergarten students and I kept track of all the pieces of information we were learning.  The book carries a narrative, that allows for breaks to read and discuss the information on mallard ducks. The illustrations quickly engage the students and reflect the information in the text, such as demonstrating dabbling versus upending. The students used the picture clues to understand the ways ducks gather food. They also then used math skills to determine how many ducks were eating in each manner.
After reading the book, the students took a moment of think time and then pair share a piece of information they had learned. We then shared whole group.  I kept track of the number of pieces of information shared and could then say that we had ten (or that class's number) new things we knew about ducks. 

"Male ducks are called drakes."

"Female ducks are louder quackers"

"Mallards build nests on the ground."

"Female ducks are brown so they can hide on the nest."

"Don't feed ducks bread."

This book didn't answer all of our wondering questions, but that's just an opportunity to pick up another book! 
This is a wonderful book - a complete package of narrative and information wrapped up in beautiful and engaging illustrations. This is the second time I have used it with kindergartners and I would pull it out again in the future. You can read about the other experience reading this with kindergartners: Don't Judge a Book by it's Cover.  I am grateful for books like this at times like these.

As for the questions above, like the one about having an egg tooth, we'll be looking at this book next week to try to answer those questions.

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