Here's what we are starting and where we're going for the next month:
In Kindergarten we started our New Things Unit and read Neville.
We talked about the experience of moving and the newness of things in life in general. If you have not read this book with students before, you must. By the time we are all calling for Neville, the library is full of such beautiful noise. The students that don't make the connection love the surprise ending. After reading the book, we likened Neville's new neighborhood to this new year (yet same school year) and the surprises that lie ahead.
In First Grade, we started the Biography Unit. This is a collaborative unit with the classroom teachers. I outlined the unit, explaining how the next few weeks would look. We went through a few slides from this presentation:
I then read, Thomas Edison, Inventor, Scientist, and Genius, and used examples of the text to reinforce the elements from the presentation.
This book worked well for this purpose. There are four specific people that the classroom unit explores and he is one of them, so this was also a good introduction on him. The lesson finished with a quick message as to where biographies are located and how to identify them (orange sticker in our library). For the next few weeks, the students will be exploring biographies in both their classrooms and in the library. In the classroom, they will be reading biographies about Jane Goodall and Rachel Carson and talking about character traits. Next week, the students will use PebbleGo Encyclopedia and the Capstone Pebble First Biographies to learn about a person who made a difference. They will be taking notes and asking questions. The following week, the students will finish up this activity and begin drafting a picture related to their person. The third week, they will craft that picture in KidPix and record themselves sharing information about their person. Each class will see the final slide show, which will also be shared with other first graders that we connect with virtually.
In Second Grade, we started our Mock Caldecott Unit.
These second graders are experts as they served on our Mock Caldecott Committee last year. The students and I recalled last year's experience, reviewed the criteria, and then got a preview of the six books they will be considering. Next week, we will three of the books: Josephine, Viva Frida, and Sam & Dave Dig a Hole. The following week, we read Beekle, The Right Word, and Draw. The third week, we meet, discuss, rank, and finally, vote!
In Third Grade, we also started our Mock Caldecott Unit. These third graders are experts as they served on our Mock Caldecott Committee for the past two years. We recalled the last two year's experiences, reviewed the criteria, and then got a preview of the six books they will be considering. Next week, we will three of the books: Josephine, Viva Frida, and Sam & Dave Dig a Hole. The following week, we read Beekle, The Right Word, and Draw. The third week, we meet, discuss, rank, and finally, vote!
The Fourth Grade started their Biography Unit. This is a collaborative unit with the classroom teachers. We reflected on what the students know about biographies and went through the presentation above, but all the way to the end and with more discussion. (It must have been successful because many biographies went out today!) We'll be building on last year's project. For the next few weeks, the students will work in pairs to explore the biography genre. They will: choose and read a picture book biography; use TeachingBooks, Encyclopedia Britannica and BrainPOP to read and learn more about their person; write a Haiku about their person; design a Wordle and Tagxedo to visually express their person's character traits; and, create an Animoto with the Haiku and character trait images (choosing a theme, music, and images that reinforce the the information about their person). Finally, they will present these to each other (and anyone who might read this blog). I can't wait!
The Fifth Grade started the Colonial America Unit. This is a collaborative unit with the classroom teachers. We are starting by exploring the eBooks that support the Colonial America Unit. The students are adept as using our online encyclopedias and print resources, but don't have experience using eBooks for research. Next week they will participate in a scavenger hunt using the eBook and the week after that they will practice crafting think and thin questions using an image from the eBook. As a culminating project we will read John, Paul, George, and Ben and create our own Colonial America book with a "Ye old true or false" section at the end of the book. (Sadly, there is no time for these students to participate in a Mock Caldecott Unit, which is doubly sad, if you read their reflections from last year.)
So, that's it! A great beginning to this next part of our school year.