Thursday, March 24, 2011

March Mystery Readers


It was March Madness for our Mystery Readers this month. Today we had Mr. & Mrs. S. dressed up as Vincent Van Dough and Leonardo Da Munchi for the book "The Great Pizza Contest" by Riley Roam. The contest is set in the town of Mozzarella where one thought the dough was more important and the other thought it was the sauce. This was a wonderful book with the theme of conflict resolution. They did an excellent job portraying these two characters.

Last week our Mystery Reader, Mr. M., came dressed as a baseball player and read two baseball books "Casey Back at the Bat" by Dan Gutman. The mighty Casey gets a second chance at bat...what will happen this time? The other book was called "Oliver's Game" by Matt Tavares. This is the story of grandfather who shares his love of baseball with his grandson...and a baseball secret from his past.

And of course, Mrs. R. was our "Lilly's Purple Plastic Purse" by Kevin Henkes imposter and entertained the students with her rendition of that story.
It was a great month for bringing books to life with our Mystery Readers!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Letter Combinations and Blends Chart


We have had several requests for the above "Letter Combination" chart. We alternate this chart with the below "Blends" chart every day. Students chant it as "ay, ey, ai See kids play, etc." They see these letter combinations in their reading and use them in their writing. These two charts are also kept in easy eye-sight for students to refer to as needed. Smaller charts are also put into their writing folders and reading bins earlier in the year to use as reference tools.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Kevin Henkes Celebration Day!

Well, the day finally came...and oh what a great one it was. We celebrated the end of our Kevin Henkes Author Study. Students were welcomed to four different centers by visiting other classrooms. There was "Fun at Lilly's" where they made purple purses, wallets, and ties like Mr. Slinger's. They brought in board games to play at "Chester and Wilson's House." The other two centers were Kevin Henkes bingo and a movie and "cheesy snacks". In the afternoon, they were treated to a mystery reader, "Lilly" who read her book "Lilly's Purple Plastic Purse." Students wore black mouse t-shirts that they made earlier in the week. It was a festive author celebration that all the students thoroughly enjoyed. Thank you to Melanie for the great pictures.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Reader's Theater: A Weekend with Wendell

The students have been practicing their Reader's Theater scripts during Reader's Workshop. Each week they rotate and practice a different story from the Kevin Henkes Author Study with a different group of children. This video is a sampling of the Reader's Theater performances that have been going on for the past few weeks. By acting out these scripts, student's fluency has been enhanced along with comprehension. Also, by knowing these stories so well, they have been writing quality Response to Literature pieces in Writer's Workshop. Enjoy the following performance of "A Weekend with Wendell."

Untitled from Cheryl Dillard on Vimeo.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Our Own "Box Full of Treats"


As our Kevin Henkes Author Study draws to a close, the last week has been devoted to utilizing the small moment stories in "A Box of Treats". This is a collection of five "small moment" stories: "Lilly's Chocolate Heart", "Owen's Marshmallow Chick", "Wemberly's Ice-Cream Star", "Julius's Candy Corn" and "Sheila Rae's Peppermint Stick". In each short story, a treat of some kind is the focus, namely,an ice cream star, peppermint stick and chocolate heart. Each treat represents a different holiday or season. Using these books as our inspiration, students were invited to think of their own "small moment" story and include one of their favorite Kevin Henkes' character. They were reminded that even though this is a small book, it still needs to include a great beginning, details and events with a problem and solution, and an ending that "stays in the moment". The results have been amazing. We now have "Owen's Birthday", "Wemberly's Day @ Disney", "Lilly's Christmas", "Owen Lost His Blanket at the Zoo", "Lilly's Masterpiece" and "Wemberly's Dentist Trip".

The following story is Caroline's treat to all of us -- "Wemberly's Dentist Trip". It is delightful to see how author's craft is used in this piece especially reading the mouse's words in the pictures.

Wemberly's Dentist Trip


One hot sunny day, Wemberly went to the dentist.



Wemberly was worried that Petal won't get her teeth checked.



Miss Caroline called Wemberly in the dentist room. (Can Petal come?)



Then Wemberly forgot Petal. Wemberly was worried that she had cavities.



Miss Caroline said, "Open Wide" to Wemberly. Wemberly was trying to think about Petal. (When is Petal coming?")



Wemberly thought that Petal was lost forever. "I found her," said Miss Caroline.



But Miss Caroline said, "Wemberly has cavities." (What if Petal has cavities?)

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Kevin Henkes Puppets for Retelling


Students had a wonderful time creating characters puppets from Kevin Henkes books for homework. They had the opportunity to pick their favorite characters and retell the story using the puppets they created at home. Children practiced with others for a short time before their presentations. The students know these stories inside out so having their puppets act out their lines was no problem at all. All of the practice with retelling the stories and Reader's Theater presentations have layed the ground work for excellent response to literature writing. There are a few shows we still have to see and are enjoying each of every minute of them.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Read Aloud with our Principal


Principal Phillips is "mad about books" by declaring "March Madness" as the time when she reads aloud to each class a past book of the month. She visited us this week and brought one of her favorite's called, "Apple Batter" by Deborah Turney Zagwyn. This book is a story of perseverance and optimism. The main character, Loretta loves apples and wants to grow them, and her son Delmore loves baseball and wants to become a hitter. The woman can grow many things but not apples and the boy can catch but not hit. Eventually, she plants apple seeds and he continues to practice. "One for the past, one for the present, and one for the future" is a repeated phrase said throughout the book. With time and patience, apples appear and the boy hits the ball. The students loved the book but especially loved seeing and hearing their principal read and make meaningful connections to the story. Mrs. Phillips hit a home run with her reading of "Apple Batter" in Hog Heaven!

Monday, March 7, 2011

Creating Bird Habitats in Science


In Science, we have been working on the 5 E's with the Big Idea "Interdependence".
The Essential Question was "What do animals need to survive?" The standard states,
"Through observation, recognize that all plants and animals, including humans, need the basic necessities of air, water, food, space and shelter." Over the course of a few weeks, student's became engaged and explored a number of animals that live in the air, land, and water. The unit culminated as our scientists made birdhouses that will help meet the needs of birds in our area. They used what they have learned about birdhouses to help guide them. The students worked in groups to create their birdhouses and had made sure their shelter included a water and food area. Their creations were innovative and thought out. Any bird would be proud to live in one of these houses!!

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Reader's Theater - Kevin Henkes Stories


We are now in the middle of our Kevin Henkes Author Study and the students are becoming very comfortable with the characters from his books. They feel strong connections to Chrysanthemum, Lilly, and Owen together with the other very likable personalities in his books. The children have been practicing their parts in Reader's Theater plays for the past two weeks. In the first week, groups were set up and parts assigned for individuals in the play "Chrysanthemum." Each of the groups presented and did a fine job. This week, each group is practicing a different Kevin Henkes books. Groups practice their lines during Reader's Workshop. They are learning to read with fluency and intonation during the readings of these scripts and enjoying every minute of it. Students are learning the importance of following along and to not let the group down during their performance. These practices are taken very seriously and interesting to observe. In a Reader's Theater presentation, scripts are held by the readers and lines are not memorized. The focus is on reading the text with expressive voices and gestures. In this way, comprehending the text becomes more meaningful and fun for the students which is the most important thing!!