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Book Study of the Month
JANUARY BOOK STUDY: HARRY THE DIRTY DOGPosted by Narishea Parham on 1/7/2019
- Read the title of the book. Then look at the pictue on the cover. Who do you think this story is about?
- In this story, some children give a dog a bath. Draw a picture. Show things you would use to give a dog a bath.
Understanding the Story- Story Questions
- What does Harry look like when he is clean?
- What is the one thing that Harry dislikes?
- What does Harry do with the scrubbing brush? Why does he do it?
- What happens to Harry when he plays in the street?
- What does Harry do right before he plays tag with the other dogs?
- How does Harry get the dirtiest of all?
- Why does Harry decide to return home?
- What does the family think when they first see Harry? Why do they think this?
- How does Harry try to convince his family that he is really Harry? Why doesn't it work?
- How does Harry finally solve his problem?
- How do you think Harry feels about having a bath at the end of the story? What makes you think this?
DECEMBER BOOK STUDY: NOT A BOXPosted by Narishea Parham on 12/3/2018
Before Reading Considerations
● Read the book until you know it.
● Practice reading with expression
● Get students focused prior to reading
● Build excitement (What’s your advertisement of the book?)
● Introduce the author, illustrator, and title
● Plan engagement points – making
connections, predictions and asking
● What levels of questioning will you ask?
● In what ways will you include oral language opportunities?
Before Reading: NOT A BOX by:
● Introduce Title and Author. Pont out that this book won an award.
● Advertisement: “This book is one of my all-time favorite. The main character in the story, the rabbit, is very creative with all the things you could do with a box. The author also wrote the story like we are talking to the rabbit and he is responding to us. On the w hite pages we are asking questions to the rabbit. On the red pages the rabbit is answering back to us. This is going to be so much fun. Sample questions asked before
● What’s one thing you think the rabbit might use the box for?
● Why do you think the title is “NOT A BOX”?
● How many different things do you think you could turn a box into? Show me on your fingers?
During Reading Considerations
●Share the joy of the book
● Read slowly and enunciate clearly
● Make eye contact with all students
● Encourage students to participate in a variety of ways, but be cautious of stopping too much in order to not interrupt the flow of the book and overall comprehension of the story
● Consider lowering your voice to bring readers in and other opportunities for expression
● Encourage visualization
●Extend beyond the literal meaning of the book
● Stop to ask questions
● Include other engagement opportunities such as choral reading repetitive lines
During Reading: NOT A BOX by:
● Whisper, NOT A BOX on the title page.
● Share the dedication page. Think aloud: I wonder why the author dedicated this book to children everywhere sitting in cardboard boxes? Let’s see if we can answer that after we read.
● Read with me, “NOT A BOX.” When I point to you. (oral language & engagement)
● What does the bunny think the box is? “A car.” That’s right the picture clues tell us what the bunny is thinking. What does the bunny think the box is this time? (Model thinking)
● What could this box possibly be? (predict)
● Show me what it looks like to squirt? (Expanding vocabulary)
● Why would he be squirting it? (predict)
● Why would the rabbit wear the box? (predict)
● What do you notice on this picture? Why might the bunny put his hand to his head? Have you ever seen this before? (connect and predict)
● What is the box this time? (using picture clues)
● I think the bunny is getting mad at us asking because this time he said, NOT NOT NOT NOT. (think aloud)
● Maybe we should change the question? (think aloud)
● Hmm…the bunny is thinking. How might the bunny answer this question? (think aloud)
After Reading Considerations
● Thank the author for the wonderful book
● Retell the book
● Share favorite part
● What did you learn?
● How do you feel?
● Connect the story to writing, dramatic play, science, art, math
● Connect the story for family engagement opportunities
After reading: NOT A BOX by: Antoinette Portis
● What do you think the author is trying to teach us in this book?
● Do we have any guesses why the author dedicated this book to all children everywhere sitting in a cardboard box?
● You will notice in the dramatic play area that since boxes can become so many things through imagination, that there are several empty boxes for you to be reactive with and make your own “Not a Box!”
● Create a list of all the things that you could turn a box into. (writing extension)
● Art work – draw a box on a piece of paper and let students color/draw around it their own “NOT A BOX”
● Predict “NOT A STICK”
WHAT CARDBOARD BOXES CAN TEACH KID
Six Learning Dimensions of a Cardboard Box
(Refrigerator or Otherwise)
- SPATIAL AWARENESS. Babies do it. Toddlers do it. Preschoolers too. (And I bet more than once you've secretly wanted to as well.) The first thing little kids do when confronted with a cardboard box is try to get in it. Cute as this is, there's actually an important reason why they do this. It's called Spatial Awareness.
You see, in the early years, little ones spend a good deal of time getting to know their own bodies, and with that comes the necessary question "how big am I?" But they're growing, so the answer to that question keeps changing. That's why kids are constantly testing their own size by crawling in, through, around, over and under things. And cardboard boxes are often the perfect size for this kind of spatial exploration.
- COMFORT & SECURITY. There's also an emotional component to seeking out small spaces. Right from the start, children are soothed by a sense of being bundled up or embraced in mommy's arms. This need for "denning" continues throughout childhood (and I would argue throughout life) because in many ways, it's a subconscious return to the comfort of the womb.
- EMPOWERMENT. Imagine what it's like to always be the smallest person in a room. Everything is sized for big people. In small spaces, kids feel BIG. (Sometimes it's good to be small.)
Likewise, the light-weight construction of a cardboard box enables young children to move and manipulate an object that is bigger than they are. In other words, cardboard yields to their will.
- CONTROL. Cardboard boxes make ideal hiding places. And kids love to hide. Now, I haven't made a scientific study of this, but I believe the hiding game may well be the first experience a child has with knowing something you don't know. And I think this is such a powerful idea when we grow up, as adults we intuitively "get it."
Think about it. The hiding game usually begins with an impish grin as she ducks out of sight. Without even thinking about it, you join the game. "Hmmm. I wonder where Caitlin is? I can't see her. Is she under the pillow? No. Is she behind the couch? No. Hmmm. Is she on my head? No..."
Then comes the big surprise! "Here I am!" And of course, the tone in her voice let's you know she's got one up on you. What fun! And what a powerful role reversal that is!
- ASENSORY PLAY. I've read a lot and I've written a lot about the importance of providing children with rich sensory experiences each and every day. Yet "asensory" experiences play an important role in sensory development as well.
For instance, the humble cardboard box is a great example of an asensory environment. The brown color suggests nothing in particular. The smooth sides infer little. The cube structure defines empty space. The subtle smell lacks distraction. The sound of the cardboard folding is muted and music-less. This very LACK of sensory inputs (or perhaps, more accurately said, the subtle nature of the sensory inputs) is an essential contrast to the more powerful and deliberate stimulation we traditionally think of when we talk about "sensory play."
This relief from the sensory world may explain, in part, why kids find the confines of a cardboard box so appealing. And of course, its very neutrality is the blank-slate upon which children so easily imprint their imaginations...
- IMAGINATION. Much as been written about this, but for my money, the minimalist Not A Box, by Antoinette Portis says all that needs to be said on the subject.
Introducing A Big Cardboard Box
For the record, turning a box into a plaything is an eco-friendly first lesson is waste-not, want-not. So when you have the opportunity, try encouraging preschoolers to think about the concept of reusing things for other purposes. For instance, you might explain the purpose of packaging -- that the box was designed to protect the product so that it wouldn't get scratched. But that doesn't mean that's the only thing you can do with a box. Then wonder aloud... "I wonder what we could do with this big box? What do you think?"
Children's natural curiosity should take over, but if the size of the thing is a bit overwhelming, you might want to encourage a few ideas to get her started, and before you know it, you won't be able to get her out of it!
Big Box Ideas?
If you've got a great big cardboard box idea you've tried with your kids, I'd love to hear about it! Please post your link here in the comments section. Thanks so much.
NOVEMBER BOOK STUDY: INTERRUPTING CHICKENPosted by Narishea Parham on 11/1/2018
Retelling Using Real Life Experiences (Pre-K through First Grade)
The purpose of this activity is to engage students with the text and use a retelling of the story to connect with real life experiences. After reading the story to the children, ask them what the problem in the story from Father’s point of view, illustrating the need for Little Chicken to relax and the desire of Father to finish the story. Then discuss the problem from Little Chicken’s point of view, illustrating concern for the characters and a desire to help. Discuss moments in the student’s lives when a similar situation may have occurred. Ask students to illustrate a time when they felt like Little Chicken and write or dictate as appropriate the story of the event.
Telling a Story through Illustrating (Pre-K through Third Grade)
As a class or small group, examine the illustration in the story. Discuss how the illustrations tell a different story than the words do. Reread the story using only the illustrations. Discuss other wordless picture books such as CAT AND CHICKEN by Sara Varon or ROSIE’S WALK by Pat Hutchins. After studying the illustrations, have children work together in groups, or for younger students work together to create a story using only pictures. Talk about details in illustrating the pictures and how facial features, posture, colors, etc. signify emotions. Share the wordless picture books with younger students or in the school library.
OCTOBER BOOK STUDY: CLOUDY WITH A CHANCE OF MEATBALLSPosted by Narishea Parham on 10/1/2018
The tiny town of Chewandswallow was very much like any other tiny town, except for its weather, which came three times a day—at breakfast, lunch, and dinner! Life for the townspeople was delicious, until the miraculous food weather took a turn for the worse. The food got larger and larger, and so did the portions. The flood of huge food caused chaos, and the people feared for their lives. Something had to be done…before it was too late!
Read the book “Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs" by Judi Barrett. Slow down as you reach the first page about soup and juice falling from the sky instead of rain so that children understand the main idea of the book. Make sure that children understand the ridiculous situation that the people of Chewandswallow are in, as well as why they have to leave. You and your child act out the page that speaks about how the people of Chewandswallow would catch the food that fell from the sky.
- Make a recipe for your favourite meal. What ingredients do you need? How do you make / cook it?
- Plan some healthy / unhealthy meals for the people of Chewandswallow to eat.
Look at the illustration of soup, peas and hamburgers raining on the town of Chewandswallow. Could you make your own picture like this, with different types of food raining over the silhouette of a town below?
SEPTEMBER BOOK STUDY: POUT, POUT FISHPosted by Narishea Parham on 9/3/2018
The Pout-Pout Fish Activities
Discussion topics for before reading: • What do you think the fish is feeling? How can you tell? • Do you have a pet fish? If yes, what color/type?
• pout - to show displeasure by pushing out the lips • dreary - to be lifeless and depressing • glum - to seem gloomy and sad • locomotion - the act or power of moving from place to place • scowl - to make a frowning expression of displeasure • mope - to be in a dull and gloomy state • aghast - to be overwhelmed with amazement • astounded - to shock with wonder or surprise Discussion topics for during/after reading: • Do you think the pout-pout fish will be a pout-pout fish for life? • How does the pout-pout fish think he needs to behave when greeting others? • What different kinds of sea life does Mr. Pout-Pout Fish encounter? Have you ever seen any of these animals in an aquarium? • How does the silent silver shimmer convince Mr. Pout-Pout Fish to stop pouting? Did he change his behavior after the smooch? • Do you know anyone like the pout-pout fish? Do you ever act like the pout-pout fish? What other ways can you cheer up the pout-pout fish? Craft ideas: • Draw, color and cut out sea creatures to create a sea-scape. • Make your own pout-pout fish by using a paper plate. Cut a tail on the bottom half & fold. Draw a smiley fish face on the top half & a frowning fish face on the other side. Fold the tail up to show one side then fold the other way to show the other side. (see sample) Special activities: • Have the children make faces of the various traits used to describe Mr. Pout-Pout. (the traits are listed as the vocabulary words) • Go back and identify the various marine life.