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

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Rainy Day Poetry Celebration with Kindergarten

This rug was full of jumping, moving, and singing kindergarten students.

The were jumping, moving, and signing a song about a rainy day, because today is another rainy Wednesday.

We started this month with April Rain Song, so why not end it on a rainy note?

We've been reading and talking about different kinds of poetry. Today we focused on poetry following a theme and explored a few of them more deeply.

First we connected with how we feel about the rain using this poem:

We talked about how hard it was raining today using this poem:

Next, we talked about what happens when it rains using this poem:

Then we talked about the benefits of rain using this poem:

And moved into rain gear using this poem:

We finished by exploring one of my favorite poems:

With our minds full of rainy days, it was time to jump in the puddles. We finished our Rainy Day Poetry Celebration with a song. A great movement activity on a rainy day. This is Hugh Hanley performing Jump in the Puddles. The students watched it once, performed it with Hugh once, and then did it all without him. 

It's the first song on this video:

If you are looking for more music, this Hugh Hanley Concert at a town library is also fun.

Let's hope these April showers 
bring some May flowers!

Monday, April 23, 2018

ReedALOUD: A Perfect Day

My kindergarten students and I recently read A Perfect Day by Lane Smith

"Cat is lounging among the daffodils. Dog is sitting in the wading pool, deep in the cool water. Chickadee is eating fresh seed from the bird feeder. Squirrel is munching on his very own corncob. Today is a perfect day in Bert's backyard."

At least that's how the day begins. 

I knew my students would love this book. 

We've been exploring books about spring amidst this very non-spring-like spring. (It snowed on the first day of spring!) I was sure that by yesterday the sun would be out and we'd be feeling those warm rays and able to shed hats, gloves, and winter jackets. Not so. It was 35 degrees yesterday. It was very grey and occasionally very wet. So...not A Perfect Day, unless 35 degree rainy weather is your perfect day.

Even though the weather did not cooperate, we pushed on with reading the book and thinking about days that are perfect, a day they they really enjoyed where they were, who they were with, or what they were doing.

This clever and beautiful book captured their attention and hearts. They fell in love with the animals, especially the bird. Lane's mixed-media art is richly textured and engaging. The dog's fur looks as if you could pet it. Lane effectively brings the reader in close and then steps back to give a broader view. 

All along, there's Bert helping to create these perfect days...
and then along comes bear.
"Bear crushes the daffodils, drinks the pool water, and happily gobbles up the birdseed and corncob."

The story shifts and the cat, dog, bird and squirrel's perfect day become the bear's perfect day. 
This perspective within the art and the narrative is fabulous. It WAS a perfect day for those who are looking out on the bear having a perfect day enjoying the things they love.

Along with talking about perspective, I wanted to give the students an opportunity to think about a perfect day and then to think about how that perfect day was no longer perfect. What happened to change it? What could happen to change it? 

How did it go from: "It was a perfect day," to "It WAS a perfect day."

I gave a short example of going to the park and then getting ice cream. It was a perfect day, the sun was shining, the park was full of my friends, we played for hours and then went to get ice cream. I went to take a lick of my ice cream and the scoops fell off the cone onto the sidewalk. It WAS a perfect day.

Before reading the book, the students had shared examples of their perfect days: being at a park, inside reading on the couch, ice skating on a pond, skiing down a mountain, going to the beach, playing board games or doing a puzzle, building blocks or legos, playing a video game, etc.

We went back to these earlier examples and talked about how they might change. How a younger sibling could come toddling onto the scene during the great castle construction and accidentally knock it over. How it could rain and send people home from a park. 

Here are some of their perfect days and how they became a thing of the past....

Monday, April 16, 2018

Langston Hughes helps first grade students learn about using your five senses when writing poetry

My first graders have been celebrating Poetry Month by listening to poems and identifying how the poet used his or her five senses to help the reader feel, see, hear, smell, or taste the experience. 

Starting this unit off with Langston Hughes' April Rain Song (especially during a very rainy April) always engages the students. After listening to and thinking about how he used his five senses to write the poem, the students created an illustration for it. I think their pictures demonstrate the strong imagery he created for them. I am particularly taken with the students that included musical notes within their raindrops, like the one above, but I love all their still pools, and running pools, an sleep songs on the roof at night.