Book of the Week: Too Much Noise

Every Monday, I highlight a book from our school bookroom along with lesson plan suggestions. I hope you find this useful, and please leave a comment with any suggestions or additions!

Too Much Noise, by Ann McGovern (illustrated by Simms Taback)

You can take a look at this text on Google Books. A video of it is also available below.

You might recognize Taback’s art from his Caldecott-winning Joseph had a Little Overcoat, and this book would pair nicely with it. Taback seems to gravitate toward cumulative stories (see here and here), which could prompt conversations for a good genre study (I know “cumulative stories” isn’t really a genre, so please help me if you know a better label). If you DO have a cumulative story study, make sure you include class favorite Drummer Hoff!

Oooh! Or even better! You could study this book along with fantastic cumulative story The Mitten! Use any version you prefer. I like the original by Alvin Tresselt or the adaptation by Jan Brett (clicking on the afore-linked link will take you to some rad Brett-designed animal masks so you can perform the book).

Here’s a math lesson with the same title as the book, but it’s actually totally unrelated. It aligns nicely to 2nd grade standards, though, so I figured I’d pass it along.

I wonder what it would be like to use this book at the beginning of the year to prompt a conversation about appropriate levels of noise at different times in the classroom.

There is a CAFE menu included with this mentor text, and I’ve highlighted these as suggested lessons:

  • Tune in to interesting words. In my vocabulary lessons with my students, we often talk about the idea that “interesting words” don’t necessarily need to be the longest, most unusual words, they can also be short words or any words that are extremely effective. There aren’t any particularly striking words in this text, but the repetition of phrases in the text is important. This might be a good book to connect the strategy of using interesting words to the writing strategy of varying sentence length and structure.
  • Use pictures, illustrations, and diagrams. In a primary or heavily ELL class, discuss how the pictures support students connecting the new word introduced on each page (usually an animal) with an animal addition to the house. I usually use the example of “it’s a lot harder to read the word ‘elephant’ if you’ve never seen an elephant before or heard the word out loud.”

Please add any lessons or supplemental materials to the book bag so future teachers can utilize your good thinking!

Comments and constructive feedback are always welcomed. Please let me know if these lessons were useful in your class!

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Book of the Week: A Cool Drink of Water

Every Monday, I highlight a book from our school bookroom along with lesson plan suggestions. I hope you find this useful, and please leave a comment with any suggestions or additions!

A Cool Drink of Water, by Barbara Kerley

You can see a preview of this book here, through Google Books. The title of the book might be taken from the poem “No No No No” by Maya Angelou, which contains the line used as the title of the collection the poem is featured in, Just Give Me a Cool Drink of Water ‘Fore I Diiie. Depending on the students you teach, you might or might not consider the poems in this book appropriate for discussion in your class, but I definitely encourage you to take a look at them. The book was written in 1971, and nominated for the Pulitzer Prize in 1972.

National Geographic and the Smithsonian do a pretty bang-up job of providing high-interest, gorgeous nonfiction texts for students.

The text in this book is very basic, only a few words per page, which would make it perfect for primary read alouds. But the end of the book has individual stories about all of the places featured in the photographs. It would be pretty remarkable to have each page displayed around the room on multicultural night, then have each student be an expert on explaining information from one of the pictures. Wow! If Ms. Koyama puts together a multicultural night for us this year, I’ll TOTALLY do that!

There is a CAFE menu included with this mentor text, and I’ve highlighted these as suggested lessons:

  • Compare within and between texts. As mentioned above, have students select a photograph to become an expert on. Randomly have students partner up and give them two minutes to find a similarity and a difference between their subjects’ situations. At the end, debrief and notice if you noticed any common themes.
  • Determine and explain author’s purpose. If students have brainstormed theme ideas, discuss how those are similar to and related to what the author was trying to achieve in writing the book. Often, students will say that a nonfiction author wrote a book “because he/she liked ______” (whatever the book was about — like cats or ponies or tornadoes). But in this case, it seems kind of silly to say the author wrote the book “because she liked water.” Use this example to push students’ thinking further.

  • Skip the word then come back. Before you read the book, put small Post-it notes over some of the words in all capital letters. Often these kinds of activities are done with rhyming words covered up, but the support of the pictures should make the activity doable despite a lack of rhyme.
Example page for "Skip the word and then come back." You could also keep the first and/or last letter of the word uncovered.

Please add any lessons or supplemental materials to the book bag so future teachers can utilize your good thinking!

Comments and constructive feedback are always welcomed. Please let me know if these lessons were useful in your class!

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Book of the Week: It’s Catching — Head Lice

Every Monday, I highlight a book from our school bookroom along with lesson plan suggestions. I hope you find this useful, and please leave a comment with any suggestions or additions!

It’s Catching: Head Lice, by Angela Royston

Look what I discovered in the library office! A book ALL ABOUT LICE! And wait, it gets better! We have THREE COPIES of this book, so an entire grade level team could use it as a mentor text! I can’t wait to hear if this sparks any powerful conversations at collaborations this week. I can’t wait to bring it up at MY collaboration TODAY! Haha.

I ALSO can’t wait to see if we have any of the other books in this series (featuring warts, eczema, etc). Back in our school’s SFA Roots days, this book was originally paired with The Very Quiet Cricket by Eric Carle. (You can watch a video of The Very Quiet Cricket here) I think the pairing of those two books is awesome for several reasons:

  • The discussion of the differences between fiction and nonfiction.
  • Talking about why publishers choose to use photographs or illustrations.
  • Pondering why bugs in some books are seen as cute and in other books it seems like they’re included for the gross factor.
  • Discussing the positive and negative roles insects and bugs play in our lives.

Honestly, this is getting me very excited about our upcoming Insect science unit later this year. WOO!

Can’t get enough sweet books about lice? Check these out! Do you love Rookie Read-About Books? You Have Head Lice! is perfect for you. Interested in a spiritual exploration of lice? Try Head Lice… What Do I Do Now?? Looking to not be limited by lice? Learn more about other icky ailments in Tapeworms, Foot Fungus, Lice, and More: The Yucky Disease Book.

There is a CAFE menu included with this mentor text, and I’ve highlighted these as suggested lessons:

  • Practice common sight words and high frequency words. Chances are, students have never read a book on head lice before. Despite this, there are probably plenty of words in the text that they already do know. Talk about the idea that knowing a good number of sight words is particularly important in nonfiction text, where your comprehension energy will probably be spent learning new information.
  • Adjust and apply different reading rates to match text. If sight words aren’t a classwide concern, you might want to take this opportunity to slow down when you learn new information. Chances are, students who go to school are probably familiar with lice in a general way, but model and talk about slowing down and/or pausing when encountering new, surprising, or interesting information.

Behaviors that Support Reading

  • Work quietly. Head lice are pretty gross. Chances are, your students probably had a vocal or physical response to share while you were reading the book. Discuss and brainstorm examples of how students can express their emotions or reactions appropriately while they work independently so they don’t feel stifled, yet they don’t interrupt students around them.

Please add any lessons or supplemental materials to the book bag so future teachers can utilize your good thinking!

Comments and constructive feedback are always welcomed. Please let me know if these lessons were useful in your class!

I have been itching my head throughout the entire time I’ve been working on this post, but let me affirm that I have NEVER had head lice. Additionally, HEAD LICE is the reason, ladies and gentlemen of my classroom if you’ve read down this far, that students cannot wear hats at school but teachers can. Students have a tendency to share hats, but teachers usually do not.

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Book of the Week: Rechenka’s Eggs

Every Monday, I highlight a book from our school bookroom along with lesson plan suggestions. I hope you find this useful, and please leave a comment with any suggestions or additions!

Rechenka’s Eggs, by Patricia Polacco

Watch the Reading Rainbow episode for Rechenka’s Eggs:

You can find this book and other texts by Patricia Polacco in the red book box labeled “Favorite Authors.” If you’d like to help expand our school’s collection of Polacco books, you might want to consider helping support this Donors Choose project.

There is a CAFE menu included with this mentor text, and I’ve highlighted these as suggested lessons:

Comprehension

 Behaviors That Support Reading

  • Select and read “Good Fit” books. If students like this Polacco story, they might also enjoy one of the dozens of other books she’s written. This might be a good choice for a student who avoids chapter book series, but is ready for more challenging text.

Please add any lessons or supplemental materials to the book bag so future teachers can utilize your good thinking!

Comments and constructive feedback are always welcomed. Please let me know if these lessons were useful in your class!

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Book of the Week: Rachel Parker, Kindergarten Show-Off

Every Monday, I highlight a book from our school bookroom along with lesson plan suggestions. I hope you find this useful, and please leave a comment with any suggestions or additions!

Rachel Parker, Kindergarten Show-Off, by Ann Martin

Chances are, if you are of a certain age, Ann M. Martin means Baby-Sitters Club. Although she ended the series in 2000, she actually remains pretty active online, posting updates every few months to her Scholastic site. The biography posted there says she’s currently interested in writing books set in the 1960s.

If you’re interested in reading gearing-up-for-kindergarten books, you might want to touch base with Sarah Stock, because I know she’s been reading up on them lately. Plenty of great ones exist, but not many talk about someone moving to the class in the middle of kindergarten.

Conversely, plenty of books about students moving deal with the acquisition of new friends (including this year’s Battle of the Books novel Allie Finkle’s Rules for Girls: Moving Day), but it’s a bit more rare to find one that looks at it through the lens of shifting classroom dynamics because of the addition of a new personality.

Last I checked with Bev, our transient rate has decreased to somewhere around 25-30 percent, but new class members is something bunches of our students can relate to.

There is a CAFE menu included with this mentor text, and I’ve highlighted these as suggested lessons:

Comprehension

  • Predict what will happen, use text to confirm. Older students who may be familiar with the basic “Happy about new kid, disappointed about new kid, BFFs with new kid” structure could be encouraged to go deeper in their predictions. What will their fall-out look like? How will the reconcile? How will they move forward with their friendship? How will their relationship impact the class at large?
  • Infer and support with evidence. Neither Rachel nor Olivia admit that they’re jealous of each others’ talents and home lives, but their actions and dialogue reveal they feel otherwise. This might also be a good point to talk about a reliable narrator — how do we know that some of what Olivia says is actually exaggerated or incomplete?

 

Fluency

  • Use punctuation to enhance phrasing and prosidy. This is one of those rare picture books where there’s actually paragraph indentation, especially indents due to dialogue. It’d be useful to point this out during a shared reading passage, or to use a passage in a writing workshop conversation about conventions.

Please add any lessons or supplemental materials to the book bag so future teachers can utilize your good thinking!

Comments and constructive feedback are always welcomed. Please let me know if these lessons were useful in your class!

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Book of the Week: Arctic Babies

Every Monday, I highlight a book from our school bookroom along with lesson plan suggestions. I hope you find this useful, and please leave a comment with any suggestions or additions!

Arctic Babies, by Kathy Darling

Start typing here

There is a CAFE menu included with this mentor text, and I’ve highlighted these as suggested lessons:

Comprehension

Determine and analyze author’s purpose and support with text. When we’re reading nonfiction, I’ve often noticed my students will inevitably decide that the author wrote the book because they were interested in the topic they wrote about. That makes sense, after all, haven’t we been teaching them to write about what they’re interested in? But this could be an interesting book to dig a little deeper into that idea. The author is Kathy Darling, and the photos are by Tara Darling. Are they related? Do they visit the Arctic together? Tara Darling has photographed animals all over the world. You can find out more about the duo here. Tara has a Facebook page, too.

Compare and contrast within and between text. The format of this book makes it perfect for copying a few pages and giving them to students for a shared reading or working with a partner to compare and contrast two animals.

Please add any lessons or supplemental materials to the book bag so future teachers can utilize your good thinking!

Comments and constructive feedback are always welcomed. Please let me know if these lessons were useful in your class!

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Book of the Week: Max Found Two Sticks

Every Monday, I highlight a book from our school bookroom and I include a few mini-lesson ideas. I hope you find this useful, and please leave a comment with any suggestions or additions!

Max Found Two Sticks, by Brian Pinkney

Brian Pinkney, like his father, the legendary Jerry Pinkney, has illustrated a ton of books. We have several in our school library if you’re interested in setting up an author study. Jojo’s Flying Side-Kick, Dear Benjamin Banneker, and Happy Birthday, Martin Luther King are all available, and if you check with our interventionists, we should have several copies of Jojo’s Flying Side-Kick from the Soar to Success program.

Holy cow, there are a ton of resources available to help students with this book. I find the choices overwhelming, quite frankly. This site has tools to help students with phonics, writing, comprehension, spelling, and vocabulary. If you’re someone interested in hard copy work, plenty of blackline masters are available here.

Additionally, if you want to use this book as part of the 3rd grade Sound science kit, that could be doable. There are a few other books on music in the bookroom in the bucket labeled Fine Art, and there are a bunch of leveled readers as well. (that will be a future post)

Drum vibrations

There is a CAFE menu included with this mentor text, and I’ve highlighted these as suggested lessons:

Comprehension

  • Recognize literary elements. The book follows a pretty traditional three-tries story structure (Max bangs on the bucket, the hat boxes, the garbage can, and then receives the marching band drummer’s sticks). Talk about why so many stories, particularly traditional folk/fairy tales follow this pattern. This is a good place to start if you want to explore patterns in literature. Here are the 36 dramatic plots identified by Georges Polti.
  • Compare and contrast within and between text. Use this strategy in conjunction with the one explained above!

Expand vocabulary.

Please add any lessons or supplemental materials to the book bag so future teachers can utilize your good thinking!

Comments and constructive feedback are always welcomed. Please let me know if these lessons were useful in your class!

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