Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Our Giving Tree

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Every December I read The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein to every library class including electives and we create a new giving tree. All students and staff are encouraged to write a message of loving, caring, giving or sharing to someone special in their life. Someone who is like a tree in that they stand tall for them whether they are perfect or may sometimes make a bad choice... this person is a person that loves you without conditions and loves you as much on a Monday as any other day of the week. The messages stay on the tree until June as a reminder of the people that matter in our lives and are always there for us.
In addition to reading the book, we watch the original movie narrated by Shel Silverstein and a short adaptation of the original. Each year we share something special about the people that love us unconditionally and represent our "tree." We also compare the different media for storytelling and our own different understandings of the story as we grow older. The December 2015 Tree is made with leaves from old maps and represents our library theme this year, Reading Takes You Places. As you can see above, our students are never too old to hug the tree.
Previous trees include the December 2014 tree dedicated to Shel Silverstein on the 50th Anniversary of The Giving Tree done in the illustration style of Silverstein; our multi-colored leave tree from December 2013 dedicated to Nelson Mandela and a traditional green tree from December 2012.

The Invention of Hugo Cabret

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After completing our "Me"dia Poster project, my middle school strand students started reading The Invention of Hugo Cabret.  We are excited to be traveling to Paris, France and started the book by viewing the opening sequence of drawings.

When we return from Break we will be on Chapter 8, Cards. We will be doing a few card tricks ourselves and also summarizing the main characters of the story; Hugo, Isabelle and Papa Georges pictured on this page.

The Making of the Crocodile or How Long is a Crocodile?!

Using egg cartons, students in the strand class created an ENORMOUS crocodile! The best part was making the teeth and everyone had to try opening and closing it's mouth multiple times. Currently on display in the Library, generally several students per class will stop by to "test" the mouth.

Students asked, "how long is a crocodile?" As part of our research we lined 16 12-inch rulers end to end to see the average size of a male crocodile...this was fun!!

The Enormous Crocodile Visits the Library!

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Students in my 3-5 Strand class spent some time learning about real and fictional crocodiles. We enjoyed reading The Enormous Crocodile by Roald Dahl and researched and wrote reports about real crocodiles using information found from online resources and our non fiction texts such as Alligators and Crocodiles by Gail Gibbons.

My students created an enormous crocodile - click here to see more! They also did research reports about crocodiles and alligators.

On The Farm Final Product

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The On The Farm unit took a great deal of planning and organization. It would never have been possible without the assistance of Ms. Jenn, Ms. Loujain, Ms. Ramos, Mr. Garcia, Ms. Davis, Ms. DosReis and Bill Gonzalez.

The K0 class meets every week for 50 minutes and are important users and learners in our library.
Through carefully crafted lessons ALL students are able to access the library curriculum and reach the goals of library at their level, for example;
  • the student is aware of the layout of the library and knows the library teacher(s)
  • is able to sit and listen to a story read aloud
  • understands the routine of the library and responds appropriately
  • knows the location of age appropriate books and knows how to put them away
  • is aware of and attempts/uses the computer
  • is introduced to terminology such as title, author, illustrator, character
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  • is developing their own information likes and dislikes.
Some of the additional texts read in this unit include the following fiction and non fiction titles;

On The Farm Unit with KO!

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Students in my K0 Strand class explored farm life through picture books, nonfiction titles and the arts. As the unit was beginning, the students visited Look Out Farm with their classroom teachers and other Kindergarten classes where they picked apples and pet farm animals. The unit was introduced by reading Big Red Barn by Margaret Wise Brown. There's also a fun musical rendition that you can view with your child. Big Red Barn was our "mentor text." Mentor texts are studied and imitated and that is exactly what we did when we created our on big red barn on the great green field!

Students began by coloring a big cardboard template of the barn.
They covered the barn with red tissue paper. The roof and silo were made in the same way. I covered both with Mod Podge but did not alter their work in any other way.

Farm animals were templates that were colored with markers, water colors and feathers or cotton balls as appropriate to the animal.

Mystery #1 Solved, Students Embark on Second Quest with Ziggy

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Grade Three students have started their second Ziggy and the Black Dinosaurs Mystery, Lost in the Tunnel of Time. We loved reading the first book together and are already enjoying the second. Ziggy continues to make us laugh even while we are learning about serious historical events. Ziggy and his friends live in Ohio near the Ohio River. As the story begins, Ziggy is looking for his homework that he needs to go on the class field trip to visit the Ohio River.

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Students are introduced to some chapters in Lost in the Tunnel of Time with short picture books that highlight the chapters and help them learn about the historical events that Ziggy and his friends are also learning about. Prior to Chapter 2, we read Freedom River by Doreen Rappaport with illustrations by Bryan Collier. This is a "grown up" picture book and captivates the students as I read it. Bryan Collier's illustrations beautifully compliment the serious nature of escaping slavery and highlights abolitionist John P. Parker, an ex-slave that brought many slaves to freedom on the Underground Railroad.

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We read Underground by Shane W. Evans as an introduction to Chapter 3. Mr. Greene has been invited to join the students on their class field trip and he is about to reveal why. Click here for more about the book Underground. When we return from break, students will be summarizing what we have read, checking out new library books and reading Chapter 4 of Lost in the Tunnel of time.  Please encourage your third grade student to READ EVERY DAY... click here for more tips for your third grade reader.

Collecting Words and Sharing Our Collections!

Book Collector!
Rock Collector!
My second graders are almost finished reading Donavan's Word Jar. In addition to reading our novel, we are also sharing our collections, making our own word jars and checking out books. Please make sure your child reads at least 20 minutes a day...here are a few more tips for your second grade reader.

Rock Collector!

Curiosity Lands on Mars!

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In addition to our fictional journey with our Martian friends, my first graders also learned about the Solar System, watched the Curiosity Rover land on Mars and did a fun experiment with Space Sand. You can watch the Curiosity Rover here.

We read the nonfiction text Mission to Mars and learned that Neil Armstrong, who wrote the foreword for Mission to Mars, was the first person to walk on the moon.
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Our space sand experiment was the coolest! The "red space sand" is said to be similar to sand found on Mars. Ask your child what happened when we put the sand in water!