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Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Press Here!

One of our Iowa Goldfinch Books for the year is Herve Tullet's Press Here.

To celebrate this book, and to get our students to think about the "characters" in the book, we handed out yellow, blue, and red dots so they could act out their characters' parts in the story.

During the read aloud, students rubbed--gently!--their dots, tapped them, and shook & leaned with them. Such fun--and we even read the book twice just like the dots suggest. :)

We also shared the Press Here app with students and some of the 15 different games you can play using it.

Among our students' favorite games were Memory, Inside Goal, and Drawing. Of course, we ended our time with Fireworks so we all could "ooohh!" and "aaahh!" over the app and the book!

Finally, students were able to make their own Press Here books using very basic supplies:

As the authors and illustrators of their own stories, students created wonderful examples of where their imaginations can take them!

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Constellation Star Stories

To piggyback the 3rd grade teachers' work with the stars and planets, we work on a constellation unit that focuses on the stories behind them. We began with a great Vimeo that introduces students to some of the more popular constellations and their stories.

Greek Mythology: Constellation Myths from Brenda Wooding on Vimeo.

Students had a predicting activity that accompanied this video:

With a few stories under their belts, students then brainstormed their own constellation stories and the constellations themselves. Using the iPads, students took pictures of their "constellations," and they will  outline their constellation shapes with stars and write their stories soon!

Stay tuned. . . students' constellations and star stories will be featured in a "night sky" that includes the work from our Iowa Goldfinch book Blackout

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Happy (Chinese) New Year!

In a wonderful coincidence, we read Iowa Goldfinch Book nominee The Runaway Wok, by Ying Chang Compestine and Sebastia Serra on the day of the Chinese New Year.

An online search for related activities yielded a fun game for our students to enjoy after listening to and discussing the story. Many students were eager to point out that the main character acts like Jack from Jack & the Beanstalk when he doesn't come home from the market with rice but instead trades for a "useless" wok. Another student mentioned that the wok acted like Robin Hood--they both took things from the rich and gave them to people who were poor. Great connections, for sure!

This Chinese New Year game is a freebie from Sandy Cangelosi's blog Sweet Integrations. You can access the game documents when you CLICK HERE.

Easy-to-follow directions are included, as are all of the pieces necessary to play. After a quick lesson in how to play the game, students started the dice rolling and the fun ensued!