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: Dear Benjamin Banneker

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!

Dear Benjamin Banneker, by Andrea Davis Pinkney

You can preview this book on Google Books.

I wanted to highlight this as a book of the week because I know many grade-level teams have planned a unit highlighting interesting and inspiring Americans, and I wanted to make sure we have enough resources to support this unit.

Benjamin Banneker was a freed black man living in the late 1700s who ran a successful tobacco farm, published a successful almanac, and told off a young Thomas Jefferson for his hypocrisy in owning slaves.

Well-known books like this already have a bunch of full lesson plans available online, so there’s no real need for me to redo them. If you’re looking for a more in-depth project, you might want to take a look at:

Additionally, this book used to be an SFA text, so 30 copies are available for use as a shared text. If you use multiple bags of books, please make sure you check out each bag from the bookroom. There’s also an SFA teacher’s guide with vocabulary and comprehension questions.

We have enough of a collection of books by Andrea David Pinkney / Brian Pinkney that you might want to consider an author’s study of their work. See me if you’d like help putting this together!

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

Comprehension

  • Recognize literary elements (theme). Especially if this is part of a larger unit on inspiring Americans, you might want to explore some of these universal themes:

    • Persistence in the face of challenges
    • Standing up for what you believe in
    • A full life is well-rounded and allows you to develop your passions
    • Privilege plays a role in what individual determination can achieve (how would Banneker’s life be different if he hadn’t been born to a freedman? If he had been born closer to the civil war? If he was born in the South during the civil rights movement?)

  • Compare and contrast within and between text. The SFA skill focus for this book is compare and contrast. Please refer to the teachers’ guide in the book bag for more details.

Accuracy

  • Use the pictures… Do the words and pictures match? More complex words like observing, plotted, astronomy, and eclipse make sense in the context of this book. It would also be interesting to use this book with the Astro Adventures science kit, because students would already be primed to be more aware of sky-and-space related terms.

Behaviors that support reading

  • Select and read good-fit book. Benjamin Banneker taught himself astronomy! Amazing. The level of self-motivation he must’ve had is amazing. Our students need to strive to find topics and issues that interest them so they too can be motivated to take a lead role in their own successes. Use this book to reinforce the strategy of IPICK.

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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More rad weather information

Tracking down more interesting goodies for our weather unit!

Information on how to become a meteorologist from the TV weather pros.

The NOAA folks are amazing. All sorts of information from their education program is available here.

This is incredible — I’d LOVE to be part of this program. Researching at sea?! No way!

I’m also interested in attending a Skywarn Weather Spotter training. My dad went through it a billion years ago, and I was always jealous that he knew what was going on before a storm.

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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Book of the Week: Dear Rebecca, Winter is Here

Every Monday, I highlight a book from our school bookroom along with lesson plan suggestions.

Dear Rebecca, Winter is Here, by Jean Craighead George

I suppose this post has a bit of a Christmas in July feel, seeing as how most of the country is crazy-hot and humid. If you need to cool down, you can preview the book here at Google Books. As you’ll learn, winter actually began June 21, according to Grandma’s character.

This book is written in a letter format, and I could see it working well with The Gardener, by Sarah Stewart. I also received a great tip from Ohio teacher Ms. LaCrosse that Jean Craighead George books are a pretty great resource for folks looking to integrate science into their literacy block.

Scholastic has leveling information, and a quick search brings up all sorts of resources connecting this book to the winter solstice.  I plan on using this with our weather unit this fall. There’s a Reading Rainbow episode called Snowy Day: Stories and Poems, and a good supplemental lesson plan with several other suggested books can be found here.

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

Comprehension

  • Check for understanding. If you’ve been teaching students to stop every paragraph or page or so to check for understanding, this could be a good book to help them refine the strategy. The whole book is one letter, so you can’t really stop all the way at the end of the letter (this would be contrast to the multiple letters in The Gardener, because you CAN pause and check for understanding at the end of each letter in that book). But at the same time, if you stopped EVERY page, meaning could actually be LOST because there’s not much text on each page and you’d be pausing in your reading an awful lot.
  • Use text features (titles, headings, captions, graphic features). George has her author’s note right at the front of the book rather than buried at the end. Why do students think she made that choice? The author’s note is brief, clear, and interesting, so copying it for students for a shared read might be a good idea. There’s a master copy of the author’s note already in the book bag if you need it.
  • Use main idea and supporting details to determine importance. About once sentence is on each page, and each section of text is accompanied by a small image. How did the illustrator choose what creature or scene would be featured in that small image? Does it relate to the main idea of the page, or does it illustrate a supporting detail? Maybe break students into pairs and give each pair a different page of the book.

 

Please add any lessons or supplemental materials to the book bag so future teachers can utilize your good thinking! You can find this text in the red bookroom bucket labeled realistic fiction or narrative nonfiction.

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

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Weather Site AND Potential Field Trip!!!

Hey there!

I’ve been continuing to plan our first science unit, and I’m uncovering some neat stuff!

Take a look at this website! In addition to great information on weather, it actually tells you how you can improve your skills at predicting the weather!

I’ve also discovered there’s an atmospheric research department at the University of Washington, and I’ve contacted them for information on perhaps visiting them this October! Ahhh, so exciting! The trip should be about $5 to cover the cost of the bus. Start saving!

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