Week by Week series – Week 19

This week was a fun one for me. I got to do one of the things I most enjoy – helping elementary students learn the joys of research. I also got to share Caldecott books with my elementary classes.

My second graders visited the library to research – their first time to do so. The teacher had assigned them a short “paper” on koala and sloth and wanted the students to learn how to use the chrome books and how to safely research their topics. Several years ago I found this clickable pdf for online animal research from The Library Patch on Teachers Pay Teachers. It is a free resource and I added it to my library web site. It is so useful and I have used it every year since finding it. So that they did not become overwhelmed, we told them they could only use the top two resources – SanDiego Zoo Kids and National Geographic Kids. We encouraged the students to put just one fact per page which will make organizing notes for their “paper” easier. We also required them to put their source on each note card. At this level we are just requiring the name of the web site but as they get older they will be required to provide full bibliographic information. The class visited twice and the the teacher told me the second time that the students were so excited to come to the library to work on this project. I hope this joy of research continues.

Fifth grade also came to the library twice to research. Friday is usually more of a “fun” research day and the teacher had originally planned to do more dragon research on Friday. However, the class started their body projects this week and mid-week the teacher decided they needed more research time for that so we switched gears for Friday. For the body projects, the students are divided into groups of three and assigned a body system. The teacher provides each group with a list of questions they must answer and body parts they must include in their system. The project consists of a life-sized drawing of the internal organs of their systems as well as a written report answering their questions. For this project I pull our anatomy books from the shelves, both elementary and secondary. The teacher also brings books from her collection. Because of their age, the reproductive system is not one of the systems assigned. The teacher also goes through her books and paperclips together graphic images which would cause fits of giggles rather than effective research.

The unit I am working through now with my elementary students is one of my favorites. With the Youth Media Awards being announced soon, I always to a Caldecott Unit right after Christmas. We discuss the Caldecott Criteria in general as well as specifically for the book I share with them during the lesson.

My kinder classes looked at Click Clack Moo Cows that Type.img_1011 For their activity they watched a YouTube video on how to draw cows. I show the video numerous times, starting and stopping to allow the students to draw with the video. Their cows are now posted on the library walls. It is really interesting to see the difference in abilities of the students.

We read Where the Wild Things Are in first grade. After the reading we used this activity purchased from Teachers Pay Teachers. We did the activity together – the students matched sentence strips to story parts – main character, goal, problem, solution, ending. It is actually a good exercise in following directions.

How I Learned Geography was my second grade read aloud. In third grade I read Mirette on the the High WireOur Caldecott book for fourth grade was Locomotive. With each of these groups we discussed the Caldecott criteria and then completed my “Do You Think This Book Should Have Won?” worksheet. A copy of this worksheet is available for signing up for my mailing list.

In fifth grade we read The Right Word and since Thesaurus Day fell on January 18 we did a Thesaurus activity in addition to having the students complete the same Caldecott worksheet as grades 2-4. I got the thesaurus activity from Library Sparks when it was still being published. Thankfully their resources are still available online.

Amazon Affiliate links for books mentioned in this post:
Click, Clack, Moo Cows That Type
Where the Wild Things Are
How I Learned Geography
Mirette on the High Wire
Locomotive (Caldecott Medal Book)
The Right Word: Roget and His Thesaurus

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