Thursday, 21 February 2013

A Picture Book for Valentine's Day

A Lovely picture book suited to all ages with its poignant message is "How to heal a broken wing" written by Bob Graham.

You can read more about it and the author HERE

We used it together to practice inference skills and making connections to self and the world.

Our action (reader response) took the form of a Valentines Day challenge, fitting in with our Unit of Inquiry for ...
How We Organise Ourselves - Leadership.

Our central idea is: Leadership means living a life of integrity and of inspiring others,
with  lines of inquiry as follows:
Living a life of integrity everywhere.
Leader’s acceptance of others, allows others to accept the leader.
Leadership involves serving others with commitment and sacrifice.
And now for the challenge.

As a class we discussed what Random acts of kindness were and where we have actioned these in the past.
We have now set ourselves the challenge of completing 100 Random Acts of Classroom Kindness over the next 2 weeks.  When students complete an act, they collect a heart to fill out the information on and it's then posted up on our wall.

  Thank you to MyCuteGraphics for the gorgeous Valentine's Day images :)

Here is our wall so far...

...and by the end of the first week...

Well done Rata W...awesome RACK's on our wall   :) :)

Check in to see how we go by the end of next week. So how do you go about encouraging leadership in your students?
Love to see your comments below.

Wednesday, 20 February 2013

Class Novel - Each Little Bird That Sings plus a Freebie

With the new term about to start, I have been scouring the public libraries and teacher blogs in search of mentor texts in the form of cool picture books and novels to share-read with my year 6 students this year. I came across a mention for Each Little Bird That Sings by Deborah Wiles and I am in love !!!

Here we are reminded that life is full of twists and turns. And the biggest one of all is learning what it takes to handle them.
Please read about this gem of a novel HERE & HERE:

As I read it, I quickly saw how well it lent itself to a novel study, and when you read about how the author came about writing this book, well, there was Author's Purpose, right there.

It will also underline the message to your students that good writing comes from the heart - your own life experiences - because these are the things that you can breathe life into so that your audience relates to your message.

Anyhow, here is the 18 page Reader Response Journal that I made for my students. It includes:

3 ‘before’ reading- prediction, vocabulary, author bio
6 ‘during’ reading- author craft, main character, support characters, text-to-self comparison x 2, setting analysis,
8 ‘after’reading - flat/round character, family tree, writing draft & publish for text-to-world, Venn diagram, title hymn.

You will notice that the activities are NOT boring comprehension question-answer worksheets. Instead they are reader RESPONSE style that promotes higher order thinking skills like, analysis, application and synthesis.

Of course, you can manipulate the order of the activities by moving the pages in the PDF document or even just select specific activities. However if you would like to make them up into booklets, the following assembly instructions have been included. 

Journal Assembly instructions:
Print pgs. 1-18 (on 2 per page setting),
Separate out the first printed sheet (front and back covers), Fold each page in half, printed side facing out, and stack in numbered order,
Slip into cover and staple all the pages together, down the left-hand side, creating a spine
Optional - tape the spine to cover the staples, or slip a coloured paper cover over the spine before stapling, for students to decorate.

Or you can watch this assembly video on Reading A-Z that shows this process brilliantly, for visual learners like myself. 

Now for the FREEBIE
These 18 activities make quite a thick booklet already, so I removed the 'Retell the Main Ideas' activity (as this can be as long as there are chapters in your book) and made it a stand-alone one that you can use for any novel that you are reading with your class. It also works brilliantly for students read-to-self novels as an independent follow up (great for developing those summarising skills for both picture and word smart kiddies). You can get this one absolutely FREE by clicking HERE.
Thank you for stopping by. I would love some comments on what you think of this novel and any other class novels that you would recommend for 9-12 year olds.