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

Monday, December 15, 2014

Kindergarten students create a counting book inspired by Have You Seen My Dragon?

Have You Seen My Dragon? is a wonderful book that asks to be read over and over. Steve Light has provided a detailed urban setting for a magical adventure. After reading it and exploring it, the students and I were excited and inspired to create our own version.  
Here is one of the books we created:
What follows is a description of the unit along with the materials I used to introduce and scaffold the lesson. At the end you will find my version of "out takes," the things that I learned along the way.

Week One: 
We read and explored the book. See above: this was a great experience - we had much fun counting and discovering.

Week Two:
The students created sketches for their page. The students brainstormed places within our school for each page of our book, they then brainstormed objects within that space that could be counted. They then set about to sketch their page in pencil.

Here's is what I created to scaffold the lesson:

Here are the prompts that explained the steps and helped the students brainstorm. To begin the lesson, we spent a few minutes recalling the book and making the connection between the setting of Have You Seen My Dragon? and the setting of our book. The students added to this list of big places and little places within our school.
After brainstorming the places, the students thought about what could be counted within their chosen place.

The last part of this week's lesson involved sketching out their scene. (My apologies for the messiness of this prompt. I renumbered pages and misspelled scene - I will be fixing this.)

The four kindergarten classes come one right after the other, so I had already assigned a number to each child for each of the classes.
Here are a few examples of what they created from this lesson.

Week three:
The students went over their pencil sketches in sharpie and colored in the objects to be counted. In Have You Seen My Dragon? the objects that are to be counted on each page are in color. We spent some time looking at this element in the books and talking about it. I went back through the steps using my examples and showed them this final example:

You saw what they created in the book at the top of this post. They are much better at this than I! We have quite a few students out this week, so we'll have to finish this after the break, but when we do, I will mount, laminate, and bind the books and deliver them to the classrooms.
1. Lesson two should have been two lessons to allow the students enough time to focus on the details of the environment.

2. On the final art, the desire to add color is so strong, that I should have handed the students one sharpie and one marker of the color of their choice.

3. I try not to model too much as it can become too concrete for some students. There were many swings in each of the classes. I am thinking about how I can model this next time without leading students into one perspective.

4. One idea that I am considering for next time is creating a map of the school first and then having the students create the art for each place along the map, such as: one school, two school buses, three doors, four backpacks, five classrooms, six tables, seven...I would also only go to a lower number and make two books, creating twenty one of any once object can be daunting!

*Food for thought - always, always, food for thought*

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