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[New Post] Using Leveled Books to Teach Science in Kindergarten: Part 4

Posted by Geraldine Haggard on Mar 31, 2016 4:05:24 PM

GHaggardbiopicThis is a guest blog post by Dr. Geraldine Haggard, who is a retired teacher, Reading Recovery teacher leader, author, and university teacher. She spent 37 years in the Plano, TX school system. She currently tutors, chairs a committee that gifts books to low-income students, teaches in her church, and serves as a facilitator in a program for grieving children.

This is the fourth post in a series of posts on teaching and using leveled books for learning science in kindergarten. To read the first post, click here. To read last week’s post, click here. To read the next post in this series, please check back next week. You can always subscribe to our blog to get our guest bloggers’ new posts in your inbox.

 

Continuing from where we finished last week, the following are a couple supplementary examples of fun classroom activities, using leveled books, to use and introduce to your classroom of young readers, when teaching science. Last week, we discussed science-related classroom activities around 2 particular books, A House for Me and We are Thirsty. This week, we’ll look at 2 different books, namely Who Needs Water?, from the paired-text series Story World Real World, and Baby Food from the series of 150 leveled readers for K-3, the Kaleidoscope Collection.



story-world-real-world-who-needs-water.jpg


Activity 5  |  Book    Who Needs Water? 

In this activity, we are spending time with the book Who Needs Water, from Story World Real World. To begin, opening the book, across pages 4–7 of the title, we both revisit the fact that living things need water to drink — in order to live — as well as are introduced to other interesting uses of water. With your classroom, share these pages (pages 4–7). With your students, look through them and review them, and ask your students to brainstorm other, additional ways that water may be used. Tell the children that you want them to predict what other ways they think they need water — for more than drinking.

Write any of their responses to these questions on the board. The rest of the book can then be explored and shared. After reading the last pages of the text, refer to the predictions made by the children about how water is used. Let them figure out what they predicted, and what they didn’t predict. Before doing this, read the list to and with the students. Discuss how each of these other uses of water provides things that we may need. One example might be “Without water I would have to wear dirty clothes.” Another example you might use: the page with the picture of the dam could be introduced to the classroom by turning off lights in the classroom, and turning them on again. Some of the children may offer the word ‘electricity’. 

Additionally, you may discuss rain, and snow. What have the children done in rain and snow? What happens to their clothes? When snow melts, what does it become? Page 14 answers that question. Page 12 tells us that drops of water are in the air all around us. 

On the following day, the children can start to draw three pictures in their journal that show how they use water in some way. Suggest that they share with two other neighboring students their drawings. Revisit the list of ways to use water from the previous day. Read the list and ask the children to raise a hand if they included that use of water in their drawings. Ask the children which use was the most chosen, and then, ask them why they thought that particular use was the most important.
 

Activity 6  |  Book    Baby Food

For the next classroom activity, using the book Baby Food, from the Kaleidoscope Collection, students can explore the theme of living things needing food in order to survive. To begin, invite the students to write about, as well as illustrate, their favorite foods in their personal journals. Then, ask volunteers to come to the classroom’s author's chair and share their creations. After several students have shared, some example questions that might be used to guide a discussion are as follows: Do you think other members of your family have the same favorite foods as you? Why exactly do you think that? Is there a young child or baby in your family? Do they (the young child of baby) eat in the same way that you do? Are there things you can eat, which a baby cannot eat? Invite those with younger family members to share.


kaleidoscope-baby-food.gif


Next, explain that you are going to read a story, Baby Food, to them. Share the book's front cover with the class, either with a classroom projector or by holding up the book in-front of the class. Invite the children to predict what they think will happen in the story. Some may want to share what they have seen happen to a baby or younger child in their own families. In the story, the character, Big Sister, encourages the baby to eat certain things. Let the children know that you want them to listen, and remember things in the story that they themselves have eaten. As you read try to use different voices for the mother and big sister.

After reading, compile a list of foods from the story that the children have eaten. Talk about why the baby eats his or her in a different way. Ask the students questions, such as “Why do you not eat like a baby?” Then, at a center or the art table, provide grocery ads for the children to cut out pictures of food. Provide baskets or envelopes for children to place their cut-out pictures in. Discuss and talk with the students about the differences between vegetables, fruits, and meats. Provide a large poster or bulletin board for students to place their pictures on. This display can be used as you use the last book later.


This is the end of Part 4 in this series of blog posts on
teaching and using leveled books for science in kindergarten. To read the first post in the series, click here. To read the previous post, click here. To read the next post in this series, please check back next week. As always, you can subscribe to our blog to get new posts in your inbox.
 

~~~


Geraldine Haggard is the author of several books from our Kaleidoscope Collection. To download information sheets with key features about the Kaleidoscope Collection and Story World Real World series, which contain the books mentioned in this post, click the images below.

 

 

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Topics: Real World, Leveled Readers, Reading Activities, Kaleidoscope Collection, Kindergarten, Geraldine Haggard, Science, Creative Activities

[New Post] The Use of Leveled Books in Kindergarten Science: Part 3

Posted by Geraldine Haggard on Mar 25, 2016 12:42:50 PM

GHaggardbiopicThis is a guest blog post by Dr. Geraldine Haggard, who is a retired teacher, Reading Recovery teacher leader, author, and university teacher. She spent 37 years in the Plano, TX school system. She currently tutors, chairs a committee that gifts books to low-income students, teaches in her church, and serves as a facilitator in a program for grieving children.

This is the third post in a series of posts on teaching and using leveled books for science in kindergarten. To read the first post, click here. To read last week’s post, click here. To read the next post in this series, please check back next week. You can always subscribe to our blog to get our guest bloggers’ new posts in your inbox.

 

Let’s begin this post by continuing from where we left off last week, with another set of classroom activities. To view last week’s classroom activity, please click here.


Book Three: A House for Me

To begin, use the book, A House for Me, from the Kaleidoscope Collection, with an Elmo or classroom projector as a read aloud. The front of the book might be used on the Elmo or classroom projector to introduce the title’s characters to the classroom. You can then do a read aloud. In the book, the sentence, “I need a house for me”, is on each page. Introduce the sentence to the children and ask them to repeat it with you each time you read it. Explain to the children that the character, the Spider, does not have a home and visits his neighbors, hoping to find one. Read the book slowly, sharing the pictures and asking the children what each home presented is called. Use a different voice for the spider. After completing the entire story, ask the students who helped the spider and how. After this, the last picture might also be shared on the Elmo or classroom projector. What does the dog call his home? Although the Spider character does not call his home by a name, ask the children if they can tell us the name of the spider's home.


kaleidoscope-a-house-for-me.jpg

After this, in the classroom, use two hula hoops or an enlarged Venn diagram, to compare the dog and the spider. Fill in differences first. (For example: What are their homes called? How large are the two living things? How does each animal get its food?) The center of the diagram can include: is a living thing, eats in home, needs a home. Students may think of other ways the two animals are alike or different. Ask the children why they think each animal is similar or different, and invite all the children to help make the decisions on what to include in the diagram. Inform the children that scientists do this kind of thinking and praise their thinking and sharing.

After class, the students can visit with their parents and talk about their own homes. The next day, in the classroom, provide a sharing time and allow the students to talk about their homes and what they learned about them. Discuss how long each child has lived in his or her home, and what exactly his or her favorite things to do are, while at home. How many people live in the home? Where exactly is the home? Does each of the children know their street address

Introduce the word 'shelter' and invite the children to visit with their families to discuss how their homes provides shelter. Provide an activity sheet for the students and ask them to record examples of how their homes provide shelter and personal needs. The next day, the students can draw a picture on one way their home provides shelter on a sheet of drawing paper. This can be done while you are with guided reading groups. Later, invite them to sit in groups of three or four and share their findings. The groups can then share the group findings with the entire class. Collect their drawings and make a list of ways that homes provide shelter. Create a classroom bulletin board titled, “Why We Need Shelter”, and include the students’ findings as well as some of their pictures. The children can help create the display.

During this part of the study, a museum collection can be displayed by both the children and the teacher. (For example: shells, bird nests, an ant farm, a fish in a bowl, a small aquarium, a web, etc.) Each unique home can then be labeled and either individual children, or groups of children, can write captions for the compiled museum collection. In the captions, include what lived in the home, and where the particular home might be found. The captions can also include the labels of 'living' or 'non-living'.


zoozoo-into-the-wild-we-are-thirsty.jpg

Book Four: We Are Thirsty

For the second section of this blog post, the wordless picture book, We Are Thirsty, from the series, Zoozoo Into the Wild, can be used to introduce the fact that living things need water to drink, in order to live. On the inside of the back cover of this title, a synopsis of the book, for teacher use, can be found. Use the first two activities suggested on the inside of the back cover. Use an Elmo or classroom projector to share the book’s cover and pages. Ask the children to talk about why the zebras, in the book, might be thirsty. Ask questions like: When do they get thirsty? Where do they find water to drink? Where do the children find water to drink? Where do the zebras find water? Why are the zebras living things? Do the children think that all living things need to drink water? Using the pictures of scenery in the book, ask the students where they think the zebras live. How do the students know this? After, revisit the last picture in the book, and discuss how the zebras must have felt after they drank the water.

In the classroom, display two living plants that look alike and similar. Water one plant, but do not water the other plant. On a daily basis, the children can look at the plants and create a record of what they see happening to the plants over a period of time. Ask the children what exact conclusions can be made about the two plants? In addition to this, the children might plant seeds in small containers in the classroom together, bring their plants home, and watch how their own plants grow at home. They can then share what is happening to their plants and possibly record, on a calendar, comments about when they water their plants and what they have observed about their plants.

 

This is the end of Part 3 in this series of blog posts on teaching and using leveled books for science in kindergarten. To read the first post in the series, click here. To read the previous post, click here. To read the next post in this series, please check back next week. As always, you can subscribe to our blog to get new posts in your inbox.

 

~~~


Geraldine Haggard is the author of several books from our Kaleidoscope Collection. To download information sheets with key features about the Kaleidoscope Collection and Zoozoo Into the Wild series, which contain the books mentioned in this post, click the images below.

 

 

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Topics: Leveled Readers, Reading Activities, Kaleidoscope Collection, Kindergarten, Zoozoo Into the Wild, Geraldine Haggard, Science, Creative Activities

Classic Post: Letter Learning Made Fun with Silly Hats

Posted by Greg Smedley on Aug 19, 2014 8:00:00 AM

Today, we bring you a guest blog post from Greg Smedley with fun kindergarten activities for letter learning. It was originally published in July 2013. For more from Greg click here for his other posts and be sure to check out his blog!

Silly Hats!

One of the first academic skills my students learn every year is their letters. I always set a goal that a majority of my students will know all of their letters and most of their sounds by the end of October. I am always pleased at the end of October when my students have met this challenge. Of course, there will be students who need more time and practice with their letters and that’s OK!  I make sure they get plenty of small-group practice, one-on-one practice, and independent practice in centers!

We use art, music, and some flash-card-type drills to learn our letters. Now, I must admit I don’t do anything in a traditional way. I’m what some people would call eccentric! So, for our daily letter review I use a PowerPoint. All upper- and lowercase letters are included and are mixed in a random order that I change every day. I add in a fun sound effect, and we quickly run through the PowerPoint. This is a quick and different way to go over our letters every day. 

When introducing a new letter or sound, I have another trick up my sleeve. This is something that myself and my students have become quite famous for. When we learn a new letter or sound, we always kick off our learning with a silly hat! Yes, you heard me! A silly hat!

hat collage

Here’s how our silly hat lesson works:

hippo hat resized 600Let’s say we are introducing the letter H. H stands for hippopotamus, so we will be making a hippopotamus hat. To get my students thinking in terms of H, we start the lesson with a circle map.  In the middle of the circle I write Hh. The students then turn to each other and brainstorm words that begin with H. After two minutes or so of sharing, they turn back to the chart and we share our H words. After we have shared our words, we use our Letter Buddies book for H to see if we missed any H words.  We add any missing words to our chart. The great thing about the Letter Buddies books is that they often trigger the students to think of more words for our letter! I always make sure that we include the word for our hat! For example, on our H chart, I want to make sure we have the word hippopotamus!

After we complete our chart, I model to the students how to color and assemble their hat. And then the highlight of the morning: I step behind the curtain and slip on my completed hat! I make a big production of revealing our hat! My students love seeing the letter hat on the teacher. And yes, I wear my hat all day! Talk about motivating students! As they get to work on their hat, I can start pulling small groups. The hats serve as a great hook to get students excited about the letter and sound you want them to focus on. The hats act as a great conversation starter when the students are out and about in the building. This allows them the opportunity to share why they have hippo hats on their heads and allows them an opportunity to explain their learning, which is an integral part of the Common Core! These hats are a quick, fun and silly way to introduce letters and sounds to your students!

describe the image  describe the image describe the image

Z for Zipper                                    Y for Yak!                                N for nest!

 

~~~

My name is Greg Smedley-Warren and yes, I am a bit of a rockstar! I am a male kindergarten teacher! It’s true! We are a rare species, but we do exist! I have been teaching for eight years and I have taught 5th grade, 2nd grade and kindergarten. My heart is Kindergarten! I believe that every student can succeed and that it’s my job to give them the tools they need. My classroom is full of energy and fun. We are always singing, dancing, moving, and learning. If you were to appear at my classroom door you would see chaos. But it’s really organized chaos. I am famous for my love of all things glitter, all things mustaches, and silly hats! I also write a teaching blog, Smedley’s Smorgasboard of Kindergarten, which is a peek into my silly and chaotic life as a teacher!

I live in Nashville, TN (Music City USA) with my husband and our Golden Doodle, Butters!

~~~

If you'd like to learn about our Letter Buddies Letter Books that partially inspired this activity, you can download the series highlights below!

 

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Topics: K-2 Literacy, Common Core, Letter Buddies, Greg Smedley, Alphabet Books, Kindergarten, Creative Activities

Getting Kids Excited about Reading with the Book Genie—with FREE Download

Posted by Richard Giso on Jan 22, 2014 8:37:00 AM

Richard Giso 200This is a guest post by Richard Giso, an occasional contributor to our blog. Click here to see his earlier posts, and check back here on our Classroom Literacy blog frequently to see if he's got a new post up! You could also check out his blog, called Mr. Giso's Room to Read, in which he writes about fun classroom activities, behavior management, and classroom management.

A Visit from the Book Genie

Hi again, it’s Rich from Mr. Giso's Room to Read sharing with you a great idea to foster a love of literacy among your budding readers. It’s a visit from the “Book Genie.” To plan a special visit, follow these directions.

    1. Surprise your students due to good behavior, doing their homework, introducing an at home reading program, etc.

    2. Shop for a genie lamp. eBay and Amazon are great online sites to check.

    3. Buy a new book to be added to your classroom library as a book gift from the Book Genie. Wrap the book.

    4. Using my downloadable stationery (available at the bottom of this page), write a letter from the Book Genie to your class celebrating something they did well. Let them know as a whole class reward, the Book Genie has decided to visit and leave a book. Attach the note to the book.

    5. After your students leave for the day, place the Genie lamp with the wrapped book somewhere noticeable. The next morning, act all surprised, read the note and the book.

    6. Add the book to your classroom library. Keep the lamp in your class. Move it around periodically as the Book Genie can come back for a visit any time with a new book! This idea promotes both a love of literacy and offers an incentive for your class to follow rules and act cooperatively as a team.

    Note that you can have a Book Fairy instead of a Book Genie. In fact, my former first-grade colleague and good friend, Jill shared this idea with me a few years ago. She had a fairy statue that she used in her classroom. The children love it. I’d love to hear all about your adventures, should you try this idea.

    ~~~

    I'm a proud teacher with over 15 years of teaching experience. I began my teaching career as a fourth grade teacher at the Bates Elementary School in Salem, Massachusetts. Since then, I have taught fourth grade for eight years. From there, I moved to a job as a reading coach under the Reading First grant. Having missed my true passion—having a classroom of my own—I returned to teaching as a first grade teacher for the next five years.

    Now I've moved to the Carlton Innovation School, also in Salem, Massachusetts, where I am ready to begin my first year as a member of a team of four teachers that teach grades one and two. In addition, I teach undergraduate and graduate students at Salem State University. My courses involve literacy, children's literature, and elementary education. My educational interests include early literacy, effective reading interventions, and positive classroom climates.

    ~~~

    To download the Book Genie stationery, click the image below!

    Book Genie Stationery
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    Topics: Richard Giso, Making Learning Fun, K-2 Literacy, Creative Activities

    Hameray's Critter Corner: Download a FREE Chameleon Coloring Page!

    Posted by Tara Rodriquez on Aug 1, 2013 8:00:00 AM

    critter corner logoToday's Critter Corner focuses on a favorite: LIZARDS! Who doesn't like a scampery, skittery reptile? With a lizard lesson, you can combine the factual with the fantastic! This lesson comes with a FREE downloadable coloring page of a chameleon whipping out its tongue! The lesson can be spaced out over a few days' time, if necessary.

    Lesson Part 1:

    Ask children what they know or believe about lizards. Write the "facts" on the board or on a large piece of paper in the first of three columns. The remaining two will be for when you divide that information into "fact" or "fiction." Some things that they may believe may end up in the "fiction" column at the end of the lesson (e.g., they may believe that lizards are slimy).

    Lesson Part 2:

    Read a narrative text with the children that features a lizard prominently. One book you might choose could be Little Red Lizard, part of the Kaleidoscope Collection. Ask the children questions about things that the lizard does in the book—whether they think lizards will really do those things. Using examples from Little Red Lizard, you could ask whether lizards really come in the house (sometimes!), whether they really eat flies (many do!), and whether they will really sit on your pillow (probably not, unless they are a pet!). You could either have your questions and the correct answers (gathered from the internet) to go with your book ready ahead of time or you could make an activity of looking the answers up together.

    Little Red Lizard inside FINAL 3  Little Red Lizard inside FINAL 16

    Lesson Part 2:

    Read with the children an informational text on lizards, such as the Kaleidoscope Collection's book Lizards. Sample pages from Lizards are shown below, so you can get an idea of the kinds of facts that will be good to collect for your chart. Explain to the children that while, in a fiction book, some things can be true and others can be untrue, in a nonfiction book, everything is true.

    Lizards inside spreads FINAL 6  Lizards inside spreads FINAL 13

    Lesson Part 3:

    Take your facts from both the fiction and the nonfiction book, and your fictions from the fiction book, and add them to the correct column of the chart. You can ask children if they remember which things go in which place.

    Lesson Part 4:

    Make an activity of looking up the information the children suggested at the beginning of the lesson and seeing whether it should fall in the "fact" or "fiction" column.

    Lesson Part 5:

    Let the children complete the coloring page below, either coloring it to match the chameleon on pages 8–9 of Lizards or you can show them some pictures of some brightly colored, fantastic-looking chameleons, and tell them about how chameleons can be pretty much any color, so they can be creative!

    - Tara Rodriquez

    lizard coloring page

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    Topics: Making Learning Fun, K-2 Literacy, Critter Corner, Kaleidoscope Collection, Animals, Creative Activities

    Letter Learning Made Fun! Silly Hats & Greg Smedley

    Posted by Greg Smedley on Jul 10, 2013 8:00:00 AM

    Today, we bring you a guest blog post from Greg Smedley, whose Teacher Spotlight activity was a big hit! He returns today and next week with more fun kindergarten activities for letter learning. For more from Greg, come back next week, and be sure to check out his blog in the meantime!

    Silly Hats!

    One of the first academic skills my students learn every year is their letters. I always set a goal that a majority of my students will know all of their letters and most of their sounds by the end of October. I am always pleased at the end of October when my students have met this challenge. Of course, there will be students who need more time and practice with their letters and that’s OK!  I make sure they get plenty of small-group practice, one-on-one practice, and independent practice in centers!

    We use art, music, and some flash-card-type drills to learn our letters. Now, I must admit I don’t do anything in a traditional way. I’m what some people would call eccentric! So, for our daily letter review I use a PowerPoint. All upper- and lowercase letters are included and are mixed in a random order that I change every day. I add in a fun sound effect, and we quickly run through the PowerPoint. This is a quick and different way to go over our letters every day. 

    When introducing a new letter or sound, I have another trick up my sleeve. This is something that myself and my students have become quite famous for. When we learn a new letter or sound, we always kick off our learning with a silly hat! Yes, you heard me! A silly hat!

    hat collage

    Here’s how our silly hat lesson works:

    hippo hat resized 600Let’s say we are introducing the letter H. H stands for hippopotamus, so we will be making a hippopotamus hat. To get my students thinking in terms of H, we start the lesson with a circle map.  In the middle of the circle I write Hh. The students then turn to each other and brainstorm words that begin with H. After two minutes or so of sharing, they turn back to the chart and we share our H words. After we have shared our words, we use our Letter Buddies book for H to see if we missed any H words.  We add any missing words to our chart. The great thing about the Letter Buddies books is that they often trigger the students to think of more words for our letter! I always make sure that we include the word for our hat! For example, on our H chart, I want to make sure we have the word hippopotamus!

    After we complete our chart, I model to the students how to color and assemble their hat. And then the highlight of the morning: I step behind the curtain and slip on my completed hat! I make a big production of revealing our hat! My students love seeing the letter hat on the teacher. And yes, I wear my hat all day! Talk about motivating students! As they get to work on their hat, I can start pulling small groups. The hats serve as a great hook to get students excited about the letter and sound you want them to focus on. The hats act as a great conversation starter when the students are out and about in the building. This allows them the opportunity to share why they have hippo hats on their heads and allows them an opportunity to explain their learning, which is an integral part of the Common Core! These hats are a quick, fun and silly way to introduce letters and sounds to your students!

    describe the image  describe the image describe the image

    Z for Zipper                                    Y for Yak!                                N for nest!

     

    ~~~

    My name is Greg Smedley-Warren and yes, I am a bit of a rockstar! I am a male kindergarten teacher! It’s true! We are a rare species, but we do exist! I have been teaching for eight years and I have taught 5th grade, 2nd grade and kindergarten. My heart is Kindergarten! I believe that every student can succeed and that it’s my job to give them the tools they need. My classroom is full of energy and fun. We are always singing, dancing, moving, and learning. If you were to appear at my classroom door you would see chaos. But it’s really organized chaos. I am famous for my love of all things glitter, all things mustaches, and silly hats! I also write a teaching blog, Smedley’s Smorgasboard of Kindergarten, which is a peek into my silly and chaotic life as a teacher!

    I live in Nashville, TN (Music City USA) with my husband and our Golden Doodle, Butters!

    ~~~

    Greg will be returning with another guest blog post next week! Check back to see what other fun activities he has in store. If you'd like to learn about our Letter Buddies Letter Books that partially inspired this activity, you can download the series highlights below!

     

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    Topics: K-2 Literacy, Common Core, Letter Buddies, Greg Smedley, Alphabet Books, Kindergarten, Creative Activities

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