I hate winter. I really just don't like being cold, dressing in all those puffy clothes, wearing gloves, scraping ice off my car, or playing in snow. I do like a snow day, but only when school is cancelled and I get to stay home in my PJs with a warm cup of coffee in one hand and a book in the other.
So, it is no surprise that as our weather begins to change this time of year, I get pretty excited about sharing some spring books with kiddos. I recently purchased the beautiful Peter Brown picture book titled The Curious Garden and have been saving it for some type of lesson with gardening. I found my perfect moment this past week with our kindergartners.
If you are unfamiliar with the book, it basically chronicles the planting of gardens in the city of New York. Liam, the central character, rescues dying plants on some old train tracks and the garden comes to life and spreads throughout the city. Not only do new gardens pop up, but new gardeners too! It is a lovely book.
I first did the read aloud and then had the students talk a bit about gardens and plants. We then talked about the tools Liam used in the story. To do this, I brought some of my own tools (and bought a few new ones so they would look better) and held each one up for the students...think show-and-tell.
We named each tool. The students easily named the hose and the gloves, but had more trouble with the trowel (they called it a shovel) and the cultivator (they thought it was a rake). It was a lot of fun listening to them shout out the answers and talk about what each thing was used for in a garden.
I then asked them if they wanted to play a game and of course, they said yes! I had them partner up and sit at the tables. Each pair got a baggie with cards. These cards had a picture set and a word set. We talked about beginning letter sounds and sounding out the words. Then, they got to work!
To make the cards, I found the free print out on a website called Home School Creations. I printed them on colorful card stock in different colors so that pairs of students sitting near each other would not mix up the sets. I also laminated these for durability. Some groups worked really fast and only had trouble with the cultivator and trowel. Some groups had problems with the dirt and the seeds, but self-corrected or followed a hint given by myself or the classroom teacher. Some groups needed more help than others, especially students with learning challenges or special needs. Overall, the activity went well and most kids were able to complete the matching game in an appropriate amount of time. And they had fun! They talked about the tools and remembered parts of the story, so it was fun to hear them chatting about it.
This lesson really didn't take that much prep work and was an age-appropriate lesson. Next week, I want to expand on our gardening and plant theme, so it will be fun to see what I can come up with! Happy Gardening!
I don't share many of my kindergarten lessons, mostly because this is the area where I feel the weakest as a media specialist new to elementary. I never feel like my kindergarten lessons ever really turn out all that special. However, this week I hit GOLD when a kindergarten teacher shared with me that students were studying community helpers. I thought about sharing a little lesson on the community helper that I know best....the librarian, of course!
I set to work pulling any books on libraries or librarians in my collection. Keep in mind that 60% plus of my collection is out-dated (I'm weeding y'all...just takes time), so there wasn't much to pull from. But I did find a few things. The best was a cute Cloverleaf book titled "Meet the Librarian". It is a cute and fairly modern take on what the job of a school librarian truly is. So, that was my read-aloud.
At the beginning of the lesson, I asked students to share which community helpers they were learning about and they did a great job. They were very eager. Then, I told them I would be sharing my favorite of all community helpers....the librarian! I was wearing my professional badge on a lanyard as usual, so I told them to think about my "uniform" and guess which thing I wore every single day. They guessed and then I told them they would be librarians for the day and proceeded to give them lanyards to wear. They absolutely LOVED this!!! And these weren't anything special I made for the lesson, but are the very same lanyards I use for my library workers each morning! Easy peasy!
I did my read aloud and we reviewed the many jobs of a librarian. I then took the students on a little tour of librarian-ish things in the library....like the book cart.....which is unbelievably exciting to kindergarteners! It was so cute! Then, if time allowed, we had an activity sheet that was called "What belongs in the library?" and they had to color items that belonged and circle items that did not. It was so fun to see them identify the cute librarian, sitting at her circulation desk surrounded by books! (Although we all know that we rarely get to just sit at the circulation desk!) The coloring is always a big favorite of kinders.
And that's all folks. It was that simple. Not flashy, but effective. And the teachers seemed pretty happy that I was able to tie the library lesson in to what they are working on in class. It doesn't always happen that way, but when it does, it is pretty sweet.
This is the final post in a series for lessons in October 2017. To read the previous post, click HERE. To read the initial post, click HERE.
Where has the time gone? October has flown as fast as a goblin on Halloween night! This week wraps up (no mummy pun intended) the final week of not-so-scary library lessons and it was a great week! There will be two days of lessons next week to get us through Halloween, so I'll be sure to include those plans at the end of this post. Hope you have enjoyed the series and have gained some inspiration for some spooky fun in your library!
You must be living under a rock if you've not heard of The Creepy Pair of Underwear by Aaron Reynolds. It has been all the rage on Instagram and when it showed up in our Fall Book Fair, I knew it would be a big hit for this month. With the fantastically ghoulish, greenish glow in the illustrations by Peter Brown, this book was a HUGE hit with students of all ages! Just look at their faces!
I started the week by reading this story to my 1st and 2nd graders during story time and they loved it so much that I took the chance to use it with older students later in the week. Remembering that I have only 30 minutes with my younger students, I only read to them and then did book checkout. With my older students, grades 3 and 4, I chose to include a creative writing and art activity.
I found a great little packet on TpT by Moonlight Crafter that was both cost effective and simple to access. I decided that I like the handout that included both the blank undies to color and a writing section. For the writing, students described an imaginary pair of underwear that would scare them and told how they would "get rid of" them! This opened the door for lots of discussion about describing words (adjectives have been a big topic for 3rd grade this month) and for making connections to the story (I gave students the opportunity to make predictions as I read the story aloud to them).
With the illustration part of the worksheet, students were only allowed to use pencil and a green crayon or green colored pencil. We talked about Peter Brown's choices in using black and white illustrations with the neon green accents and how those choices increased the "creepiness" of the underwear. We had such a blast sharing our thoughts about these illustrations!!! I just love anything Peter Brown does....right?!
The students were so creative with this worksheet....I was tickled by how clever the illustrations and descriptions turned out. And when I overheard one student saying, "This is the best thing ever!" as he worked on his drawing, I knew I had a hit. Days like this are what make my job the best job in the school!
To wrap us this week, I can't forget to include my Kindergarten and PreK students. I brought back a favorite character from the beginning of the school year....Splat the Cat! His adventure with his Halloween costume and jack-o-lantern turned out to be just right for the younger students....lots of giggles with this read-aloud. Once we finished our story, students practiced reading a library book of their choosing (from a pre-selected table display) in a space of their choosing.
Another little side note that made this lesson work really well is that it was Red Ribbon Week and we had a "Crazy Sock and Crazy Hair" dress up day. I took full advantage and wore my eyeball socks, Halloween librarian shirt, and googly eyes headband. It really made the Splat lesson more festive.
As promised, I want to share what I will be doing on Monday and Tuesday of next week since they are the last two days of October and one of them is Halloween. Students who come into the library on these days will get to do a Flashlight Fun Day....I will cover the windows with black paper, have inexpensive flashlights at the ready, and greet students in a dark library. I'm thinking I will hang a few string lights around our story carpet to keep things Not-So-Scary. I plan to read I Want to be in a Scary Story by Sean Taylor and then will have the students get their own flashlights to do book selection and silent reading. I will post pictures to my social media accounts, so if you aren't following those, look for the links in the right-sidebar of the blog.
Last but not least, my 5th graders did not have library with me this week because I was attending a conference....so, they will present their Monster Buncees on Wednesday. We might turn the lights out for that lesson too! Happy Halloween!
This is the second post in a series for October 2017 library lessons. Read the previous post HERE.
I have my first week of "Not-So-Scary" lessons under my belt and wanted to share them with you! My week starts with all first and second grade classes on Monday. I only see these students for 30 minutes, so when you include book circulation, that leaves me about 15 minutes for a lesson...not a lot of time!!! I decided to use a video recording from Storyline Online to kick off our monster month. The book is I Need My Monster by Amanda Noll. It is a cute story about a boy who requires a monster under his bed so that he can sleep. He is visited by substitute monsters when his very own perfect monster goes fishing. It is such a cute story and all of the students really loved it! If you've never used Storyline Online, I highly recommend it. Since this particular story video lasts 12 minutes, that was it for the lesson for 1st and 2nd grades. But I connected it to the book check-out time by telling students that we needed to search out monstrously good books just like the little boy searched out the perfect monster. It worked.
Kindergarten classes visit on Tuesdays and I decided against reading a book this week. I was inspired by the "Five Little Pumpkins" poem that many students learn this time of year. I re-wrote the lyrics and created my own poem "Five Silly Monsters," complete with hand motions. I created a Google Slide using the same free monster clip art I mentioned in the preparation post and had it up on the interactive board. Students learned the words and motions and we had such fun! It got them moving around and that was great.
Since I am only in my fourth week with kinders, I am still focusing on basic library procedures. I spread books about fall, scarecrows, apples, and the like on a big table. After we did the poem, I told them that just like the silly monsters went looking for a library book, we were going to do the same thing. We practiced walking with our hands behind our backs and looking with our best googly monster eyes first. Then, students were allowed to select a book and find a carpet area to read. Obviously they were reading the pictures, but it was a great way to practice book selection and book care.
My third and fourth grade students are in the library for 45 minutes, so I can do so much more with them. I shared the same Storyline Online video with them as I did with first and second graders, but we followed it with a writing activity. We brainstormed adjectives and adverbs we heard in the story describing the different monsters that visit the main character. Then, I posted the directions for our writing activity on the interactive board.
The third graders had trouble getting started, so upon the suggestion from a teacher, I also gave them some sentence starters and typed up the words they offered up. I placed those on an additional slide and we used them during the writing activity. I think the fourth graders enjoyed the creative writing more than third graders did...not sure why.
And finally, the fifth graders....I mentioned a few posts back that I spent two weeks teaching these students how to use Buncee. I introduced their first Buncee assignment this week...monster research! They viewed my instructional Buncee presentation and asked questions. (I have posted it below so that you can see the directions and also so that you can see how versatile Buncee is! Flip through the slides to see the list of monsters we are using, as well.) Then, they spent the rest of our lesson time (45 minutes) deciding which monster they wanted to research. The kids are so excited about this project!
So, that's the first week recap. Basically, I was able to use the same story for all grades and then do little spin-off projects from there. It worked pretty well. The only grades that didn't get the story were kindergarten and fifth. And I was able to share the eyeball guessing game guidelines with each class. Kids are already making their predictions about how many eyeballs are in the jar! Now to work on next week's lessons...
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