What do these things have in common? They are things I enjoyed sharing with students this week (after the TEST was over).
Daisy Head Maysie is the book I share with third graders every year when we celebrate Dr. Seuss. I read it with three classes this time. Of course we talked about fame and riches versus friendship. I guess we need to give them a break- they’re third graders- but a lot of them still want the fame and riches, even after hearing the cautionary tale. We also reviewed the concept of countries, states, and cities (and even continents when someone offered that as an answer to the question What about Boston and Rome? as we tackled the long list of places mentioned in the story). We named the parts of a flower. We predicted and checked our prediction about whether a daisy would have an even or odd number of petals to give the hoped for “loves me” answer when love is in doubt. (All three classes predicted even and were shocked when we drew a daisy with eight petals and they chanted “loves me, loves me not” and ended up on “loves me not.” They started shouting, “We meant odd, draw seven!” so we tried it again. We had fun.
I introduced a class of fourth graders to the Wonderopolis website. We looked at the wonder about palindromes. It always amazes me how kids love activities like matching words and definitions and answering quiz questions when they are doing it on a computer (they actually asked to try it again after we did those two activities). But the real fun was when they started to think of more palindromes. At first they came up with words that would still be a word if spelled backwards and were puzzled when I would say “nope” and point them back to the definition and examples on the website. When they finally “got it,” several came up with more than 15 examples. More than one boy pointed to the word “poop” on his papers with a silly grin. And, sign of the times, many had the word “kik” on their lists. We watched the short video over and over, trying to figure out the flipbook palindrome- it eluded us. We added a little class to the whole experience by listening to Haydn’s “palindrome symphony.” And now they know a great website to go to find answers to some of their “wonders.”
In fifth grade, we read Ivan, the Amazing True Story of the Shopping Mall Gorilla, talking about the writing and how it made the author point of view clear in an interactive read aloud. Then students wrote about their own opinions. And it was amazing! Some tried out the craft moves Katherine Applegate used or talked about how certain lines really touched them. All 20+ students except for one who only wrote a summary clearly stated and defended their opinions. One student said it gave him a strong feeling when the author said “Burma died.” Another student expressed regret for “every animal she ever saw in a zoo.” Another wrote about how much she wanted to find the chapter book The One and Only Ivan so she could read it. And this magic all happened in just 30 minutes.
Slices of the Teaching Life can be so exciting!