Friday, August 10, 2012

10 for 10 Picture Books

Thank you Cathy and Mandy once again for organizing Picture Books 10 for 10! I love reading everyones titles to get good suggestions for my classroom.

My list includes titles that were all highly engaging to third grade students last year. These are all titles that got us talking and thinking!

I Want My Hat Back by John Klassen was a book that I read with my class at least 10 times. We did shared reads of this short and hilarious book and laughed and laughed every time. We debated on whether we were on "team rabbit" or "team bear". This book became a community builder as it was an "inside class joke" all year long. I love it and will read it again with my new group.

Queen of the Falls
 by Chris Van Allsburg was a favorite. (As is almost every book this author writes!) We had great conversations about the main character Annie and her perseverance towards her goal. Great book for character study, theme and inferring. I did it as one of my very first read alouds and it was great to build our reading community to practice jotting and sharing our thinking about what we read,  

 by Patrick McDonnell was another books I fell in love with. It is the story of Jane Goodall. My class was inspired at how Jane worked towards her dreams and didn't let anything stand in her way. She was dedicated to her passions. 

 by Nic Bishop ignited a passion for great informational text in my classroom. I hadn't planned to do an author study on Nic Bishop but after reading this book we kept going with several of his others. We had great conversations about his "author's fingerprints". We were able to try out many thinking strategies using his books. We determined importance for chunks of text. This book has no headings so we thought about each section and discussed what heading might make sense to sum up the main ideas. We were able to determine important vs interesting information. Nic Bishop does a great job of including both in his books! I was glad to have found a new non fiction favorite author. 

That Book Woman
 by Heather Henson made my list last year as I read it last summer. It makes the cut again because the conversations we had about this historical fiction tale of a pack horse librarian and a boy who couldn't read were so lively and engaging. This is a great tale to stop, think, and discuss. This year I will follow the story up with non fiction about Appalachia and the Pack Horse Librarians who brought books to their community.

Gold! Gold From the American River! was a great non fiction read about the California Gold Rush. It was a great text that was right at their level to understand and think about this time period in history. We spent many days reading, jotting, thinking and discussing this text. We compared many changes in daily life from this time period to today as well. 

When Marian Sang is a fantastic biography about the life of Marian Anderon. We read this during a genre study of biographies. We worked on sequential text structure but also again were able to infer and discuss often what we thought about what was happening in this story. Marian inspired our class to believe in our dreams and to endure when times get tough or things stand in our way. After reading we watched real clips of Marian singing opera on You Tube which enhanced our learning. 

Balloons Over Broadway
by Melissa Sweet was one of my favorite non fiction books I read last year. I never knew the history behind the Thanksgiving Macy's Day parade! It had our whole class thinking about this parade in a way we never had before. This is what readers do when they read non fiction... they understand the world they live better! 
Soar Elinor! was another great biography based on the true story of Elinor Smith the first woman to fly under four bridges in New York. My kids did not want me to put this book down. The tale of Elinor's rise to greatness was both exciting and inspirational. We were able to do some deep thinking about what motivated the people in the story, inferences and questions we had, as well as finding the theme. We looked at photographs from Elinor Smith's actual flight. 

Dark Emperor & Other Poems of the Night
 was a favorite poetry books that I read often during poetry transitions. (This is a good way to squeeze in some poetry as kids move from place to place!) After each poem about a nocturnal animal was a non fiction paragraph that gave more detailed information to add to the reader's schema. Poems have a lot of good vocabulary to stop, notice, and determine meaning of.

Sidenote: Almost all of these books I picked up at the Jr. Library Guild sale in Columbus. Great $5 hardcover books!!

Monday, August 6, 2012

First Read Aloud


      I think I have found my first read aloud...through the influence and power of Twitter! I watch for recommended titles from the many educators I follow. This summer I ordered three great young adult books because I kept seeing the titles pop up again and again and again. 

      I read Wonder by RJ Palacio. I won't read it to my third graders but it helped me think deeply about how to inspire students to choose kindness.

     I read The Fault in Our Stars by John Green. I have never cried harder through a book. I think because I read it through the eyes of a mother and it made me think about life. This is for middle school students but I am so glad to have read it.

     Finally, I read The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate. I think my third graders will love it. More importantly I think it will get them talking, wondering, feeling, inferring, in other words...thinking deeply about text.

     I'm choosing this as an anchor text to show the importance of book partnerships or book clubs understanding making meaning through talk. Every ending chapter or section sentence made me want to grab someone and talk about my thinking. I'm hoping these section endings make my students want to pause, talk, listen to one another, learn from one another and understand. My goal through this read aloud will be setting the stage for the importance of talk while using the text as an anchor to return to.

     I think boys will like the book as much as girls.

     I think students will find character empathy as they explore Ivan's setting and his relationships.

     A theme I didn't expect to find was the idea of a fixed mindset vs a growth mind set. An important event changes Ivan's belief about his destiny. This is an important beginning of the year theme.

     This book was also based on a true story about a gorilla who lived in a shopping mall. Maybe we will squeeze in some non fiction articles to deepen our understanding:)

     What will your first read aloud be???