Common Core- Meet Inquiry Based Story Time!

 

In a recent Open Book Blog entitled Compare and Contrast with the Common Core in Kindergarten, http://networkedblogs.com/TcvVz Jill Eisenberg compares the 8 page level A reader MEAT PIES by Celenia Chevere and Patricia M. Hubert (about a boy who makes Empanadas with his grandmother) with the 8 page level C reader TIME FOR TACOS by Carla Golembe  (about a boy who makes tacos with his dad.) Eisenberg describes how to dissect these two stories in order to meet the common core curriculum of comparing and contrasting.  Can I make another suggestion?

Story time is an excellent opportunity to compare and contrast text. There are tons of terrific picture books just begging to be used in a ‘compare and contrast’ manner!

Have you shared HOW COLD WAS IT? by Jan Barclay, yet?Image http://books.google.ca/books/about/How_Cold_Was_It.html?id=jy2XbiWp5cEC&redir_esc=y

 Imagine the fun of comparing the scenes with such extreme weather contrast, when you then share her story, HOW HOT WAS IT?  Imagehttp://www.amazon.ca/How-Hot-Was-Jane-Barclay/dp/1894222709

I guarantee you’ll not only cover your common core literacy comparison and contrast, these two picture books will spark conversation, exploration and inquiry into temperature that will cover many math and science strands as well.

I love to compare and contrast different versions of folk and fairy tales. I’ve started with the classic Little Golden Book, LITTLE RED HEN by Diane Mudrow,Image http://www.amazon.com/The-Little-Red-Golden-Book/dp/0307960307

and then introduced another version of the storyImage

http://www.amazon.ca/The-Little-Red-Paul-Galdone/dp/0899193498

The children love identifying the similarities and differences of each version.  And they become very excited when yet another version is discovered.Image

http://www.harpercollinschildrens.com/books/Little-Red-Hen-Byron-Barton/?isbn13=9780060216757&tctid=100

I’ve invited children to look through their fairy tale collections at home and bring in a version if they have one. We’ve charted the differences in the versions told (ie, sometimes the little red hen has chicks, sometimes she doesn’t. Sometimes her friends are a dog, cat and rat, sometimes they are a duck, pig and dog etc.) And with all this talk about bread- we just had to bake bread one day!  So not only are you covering your common core comparison and contrasting of the key ideas and details of each story, the structure, and the relationship between illustration and print in each story, you are adding the language, math and science exploration of reading the recipe and baking the bread.

And can you imagine the excitement when we found a version where the Little Red Hen and her friends live in a high-rise apartment in the middle of the city, and she’s making pizza!Image

 http://www.amazon.ca/The-Little-Red-Makes-Pizza/dp/0142301892

We were going to town, comparing the ingredients of these two items. (and the pizzas we ended up making were delicious!)

Introduce some felt pieces to your felt board, some puppets to your theatre, and suddenly children are telling (and eventually writing) their own creative version of the Little Red Hen.

 

If your children like the latest Jon Klassen story, THIS IS NOT MY HATImage

http://www.amazon.com/This-Is-Not-My-Hat/dp/0763655996

about a tiny fish who has swiped someone’s hat, they will have a blast comparing and contrasting that story with Klassen’s  original, I WANT MY HAT BACKImage

http://www.amazon.ca/I-Want-My-Hat-Back/dp/0763655988 which has the same visual dead-pan humor but is told through the eyes of the ‘victim’, as apposed to the ‘perpetrator’.

Part of our job, as educators, is to be greats story tellers. We need to guide children through stimulating conversation regarding the stories they hear. (Think of yourself as the leader of your very young book club.) When we invite children to make connections and identify comparisons in a picture book, we provide an opportunity for each child to make a deeper connection with the book. This does so much more than cover curriculum; this plants the seed for a lifelong love of reading.

Top 3 Snowman Stories

 

Our playground was covered with perfect snow! The sensory bin was just begging to be filled with it! Our children soon discovered that mittens made things much more comfortable!Image

And they created this…Image

 

So it was the perfect opportunity to read one of my favorite picture books, SADIE AND THE SNOWMAN by Allen Morgan, and illustrated by BrendaClark.

Imagehttp://www.chapters.indigo.ca/books/sadie-and-the-snowman/9780919964785-item.html

This book has that perfect combination of rhythmic words and wonderful pictures to tell the story of Sadie’s attempts to her onto her beloved snowman throughout the winter and into the spring.

 

 

My other favorite snowman book is SNOWBALLS by Lois Ehlert.Image

http://www.amazon.ca/Snowballs-Lois-Ehlert/dp/0152020950

Children delight in seeing different members of the snowman family being creatively put together with ‘found objects’.

 

 And then I introduced the class to Caralyn Buehner’s story SNOWMEN AT NIGHTImage

http://www.amazon.ca/Snowmen-at-Night-Caralyn-Buehner/dp/0803730411

I love this terrifically illustrated rhyming tale that reveals what really happens to snowmen at night.

I asked all interested children to tell me what their snowman would do at night. Some black construction paper, white paint and round sponges, Q-tips, and white chalk were provided. The children set to work creating and writing about their snowmen (my favorite was playing the xylophone!) Image

Baby it’s Cold Outside!

Baby It’s Cold Outside!

If I have to leave my house in -40 weather, at least I get to spend my day surrounded by young children. Mine is the best job! Daily, I’m the eyewitness to the moment a child discovers something new! To watch a child engrossed and excited about learning is one of the biggest perks to being an ECE in Full Day Kindergarten. And as I enter the classroom each day, I’m never quite sure where the adventure will take me.

We’ve evolved from our ‘theme based’ planning (I shared a giggle with a kindergarten teacher as we noted her stacks of Theme-a-Saurus Books placed high on a shelf, that were, at one time, a preschool, kindergarten teacher’s bible.) We no longer tell children what their activities will focus on- we let them tell us what they are interested in.  This type of ‘non-planning’ keeps educators on our toes for sure. Just when you think you’ve got an idea where the week (or even the morning) is going to take you, someone walks into the class on a fall day holding a snail they found on their way to school. So you drop your plans and go with it!

  • We need a group of researchers. What is in a snail habitat? {FDK science and technology curriculum}
  • We need a survey question, ‘What should we name our snail?’ {FDK language curriculum}
  • Someone needs to tally the results of our survey {math curriculum}
  • …and share with the class…..{Personal, social development}

But, although we are flexible in our focus, educators can take cues from things like the time of year and the weather to indicate a child’s recent experience and interest. So when I woke up last week to an extreme cold temperature alert, I knew I’d waited for the perfect day to read one of my favorites! HOW COLD WAS IT? by JaneBarclay Imagehttp://books.google.ca/books/about/How_Cold_Was_It.html?id=jy2XbiWp5cEC&redir_esc=y

This is the best book about a cold day! You will use it every year in your class! (And you’ll be so happy to put it away when the weather finally warms up!)

After the book we tried an experiment. We wet a mitten and put it outside for 5-minute increments. ImageWe were all amazed at how the soggy mitten so quickly turned white and rock hard. So with the predictions made beforehand, the measurement of time we calculated the experiment, and the documentation and sharing, we covered most of our kindergarten curriculum bases (and it wasn’t even snack yet!)

And you can’t do an experiment about a mitten without reading the story, THE MITTEN by Jan Brett. Imagehttp://www.scholastic.com/teachers/book/mitten#cart/cleanup

This story is a definite go-to if you are looking for a catchy story that makes a great re-tell. It’s just begging for puppets and a large white mitten that children can use to re-tell their version of the story over and over again.

Because many of the children had some experience with the icy conditions of the recent ice storm we discussed the danger of ice and how we could make it less slippery. A kindergarten teacher in the next class was teaching a ‘walk like a penguin’ technique of trekking safely over slippery ice. Which leads to the absolutely irresistible new penguin story by Patricia Storms NEVER LET YOU GO. http://www.scholastic.ca/titles/neverletyougo/Image

 

We did some research online about the effects of salt on ice and we were ready for another experiment. We had placed a bucket of water outside that afternoon. The next day it was a block of ice. Image

The children sprinkled colored salt on the ice, and watched the effects. Very cool!Image

Image

I was confident I knew where this week was taking me, as the children were engaged in our activities. But that night- the lights went out! I, like many of the children in my class, had lost power for several hours. The next morning the room was a buzz with talk of the power failure. So I put my “How to Make Frost From a Can” experiment on hold and we constructed a survey- Did You Lose Power Last Night? Yes or No. I scurried to the library for a copy of Andrew Larsen’s IN THE TREEHOUSE,Image http://www.amazon.ca/In-Tree-House-Andrew-Larsen/dp/1554536359

about a boy’s adventures in his tree house during a black out.

The children who did lose power helped me construct a list of items that did not work in their homes. They shared this list with the class and we had a lively conversation about electricity.

It was interesting to relate the cause of the power failure to the build up of ice- which the children had some knowledge of because of our discussions in the previous days.

Our creative art area had been set up with white paper and blue pencil crayons so the children could draw the effect of frost on our window, but we quickly added black construction paper and white chalk in case anyone wanted to draw the effects of the blackout.

It had been a very cold week, no doubt about it. But the weather had definitely sparked lots of curiosity, lots of exploration and lots of great stories in our kindergarten class!