Currently reading: Delirium by Lauren Oliver
Tuesday, March 26
This was my third day at Madison Elementary. I can’t believe how fast this semester has gone by! Today we did a “seeds and trees” activity with PreK students, as part of a unit they have been doing. To begin the lesson, Ms. Hefner read them a nonfiction book about pine trees, oak trees, acorns, and pine cones. Then she introduced the activity, which involved organizing information graphically. I loved that she told the students that they were going to be “scientists” and “organize the information” they gathered about the trees and seeds. She always introduces new vocabulary to students during her lessons, and never acts as if a word is too long or too complex for them to understand. I love that! Students were given a large piece of construction paper which had been divided into three sections, and were asked to place images of oak and pine trees, the words “acorn” and “pinecone” and seed”, and images of acorns and seeds into categories. This was a great way to introduce the students to the concept of categorizing and organizing information. An especially fun aspect of the activity is that each student was also given an actual pine cone (gathered from my grandparents’ farm in northern Louisiana), a real acorn, and a real apple seed that they could take home. They loved feeling and studying these things, and that tactile experience is a great teaching tool. It is one thing to tell a child what something is, or to describe it, but to give him or her the opportunity to experience it for themselves is so much better. I loved working with the younger children on this activity, and thought they did a great job of categorizing the trees and seeds! If you’re curious, I have a funny quote from today: When asked what kind of tree was in the image, a little girl answered “a popcorn tree?!”…don’t you just wish!
I spent the rest of the morning working on a project for Ms. Hefner in preparation for the genre read-around that is taking place Thursday. The event will be a good reminder for the students of the definition of “genre” and what aspects of a book identify it as a particular genre. In order to prepare, I made lists of each genre’s defining characteristics and pasted each list on a piece of green paper. Then…I laminated them! This was my first time to use a laminator. I know it probably doesn’t sound like a big deal, but it made me feel a bit more like a teacher. Ms. Hefner will make flip charts for the third through fifth grade teachers so that they will have a resource to turn to when reviewing genres with their students.
Thursday, March 28
Today was my last day at Madison, and was filled with more projects in preparation of things Ms. Hefner is doing with classes. The first project had to do with genres, just like Tuesday’s project. I gathered 25 books from each genre from the fiction collection so that Ms. Hefner can use them during an activity next week. Next, I photocopied reviews from Student Library Journal and Booklist. She will use these to teach third graders how to write their own book reviews. I love that she is always introducing students to these kinds of things! Then, I pulled books from the nonfiction collection about Oklahoma (history, famous Oklahomans, the OKC bombing, animals, etc.). These activities helped me to learn more about the collection, which was good. Near the end of the day, I was able to watch Ms. Hefner do a story time with a biography on Jim Thorpe. I haven’t seen a librarian do a nonfiction story time with a nonfiction book before, and I learned something from her technique-she reads the next page while turning it so that the story flows easily from spread to spread. Brilliant! I plan to practice doing it the same way she does.
Next week I will be working at the Instructional Services Center with Buffy, and going to the Oklahoma Library Association conference in Ardmore.