Hameray Classroom Literacy Blog!

Reading About Weather

Posted by Sally Hosokawa on Apr 18, 2017 3:14:00 PM

Spring has sprung! Because spring is a transitional season, the weather outside often changes drastically from day-to-day—even if it’s sunny and pleasant today, it could be windy and raining tomorrow. Unpredictable weather fluctuations might be frustrating for your students, who are ready to play outside on the playground. On the other hand, though, since it’s possible to experience a vast range of weather during a short amount of time, the spring is the best time of the year to teach lessons about the weather.

Hameray offers a multitude of books, both narrative and informational, that discuss the weather and the changing seasons. On a rainy spring day, keep students engaged by reading narratives about puddles and umbrellas from the Kaleidoscope Collection:

  • In Puddles, a young boy frolics outside in the rain by jumping into puddles—he even sees a rainbow!
  • Whose Umbrella? traces a rabbit’s quest to find the owner of a lost umbrella.

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On a sunny day, teach your students about the importance of sunlight with these titles from Fables Real World:

  • The Sun describes how the sun is so hot that “nothing can even get close to it without melting”!
  • Sun and Wind Energy discusses how the weather can be used for sustainable energy and for generating electricity.

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On windy days, mix up the genres with one informational and one narrative book:

  • Wind, from Fables Real World, discusses the different words that we use to describe wind (breezes, gusts, gales, hurricanes, tornadoes, and blizzards). Students will be enthralled by the power of wind!
  • Hurricane Dog, from Kaleidoscope Collection, follows a dog that looks for a new home after a disastrous hurricane hits his town.

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Selecting reading materials based on that day’s weather keeps your lessons relevant and engaging. Happy spring!

 
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For more information about the Kaleidoscope Collection and Fables and the Real World, click the images below.

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Topics: Leveled Readers, Kaleidoscope Collection, Science, Fables and the Real World, Weather

Guided Reading to Support Textbook Reading, Part 2

Posted by Geraldine Haggard on Mar 7, 2017 3:34:00 PM

GHaggardbiopic

This is a guest blog post by Dr. Geraldine Haggard, who is a retired teacher, Reading Recovery teacher leader, author, and university teacher. It is the second post in a series about using guided reading activities to support content-area textbook reading. To read the first post, click here.

In today's post, I'll give examples of how to provide textbook reading support for science lessons in the lower elementary grades.

PREPARATION OF TEXTBOOK SUPPORT 

There are several tasks to complete before you can formally support readers in using content area reading texts.

First, you should explore available materials and select diverse reading materials that support the standards for the unit of study in the content area:

  • Formal textbook content that is up-to-date and appropriate
  • Books in classroom libraries and school libraries
  • Books for guided and shared reading during language arts lessons
  • Computer sites that are available and approved by your district. 

If you find a formal textbook to use, select the appropriate sections of the textbook and consider how much assistance they will need to read the text. It is important that all students are given support for two aspects of textbook reading: content-specific vocabulary and informational text features.

NEW VOCABULARY

New vocabulary can present challenges: pronunciation, words with multiple meanings, and a lack of prior knowledge about the word and how it is used in new content. The following activities can help prepare the students for their introduction to new vocabulary:

  • A short video that introduces the unit of study and contains some of the new vocabulary
  • Reading books that introduce the topic
  • Teaching the students how to use a glossary
  • Helping students hear word segments by clapping the syllables in a new word. (As a fourth grade teacher, I used a bulletin board to divide the words into syllables and play riddle games. We also played bingo that enabled them to practice writing the word and remember its definition.)

Remember that students must understand the meaning of a word as they hear and see it. Writing the word can help the word become a part of their mastered vocabulary.

INFORMATIONAL TEXT FEATURES

Introduce students to the informational text features that provide tools to help understand new topics and vocabulary. Project a copy of Fantastic Frogs from Hameray’s Real World collection or use guided reading copies.

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Front cover:

  • Discuss the information that the cover provides, including the title, author, and publisher.
  • Why do you think there is a picture on the cover?
  • What does “fantastic” mean?

Title page:

  • How is the title page similar to the front cover? How is it different?
  • Do you think the picture is fantastic? Why?

Pages 4 – 5:

  • What is the title or subject of these two pages?
  • Study the pictures. How do they help the student’s understanding of the text?
  • Ask the student to do shared reading while reading the pages. Slowly pronounce the two bolded words. Ask the students to use the glossary to identify the words.
  • Invite the students to discuss why frogs might need to adapt. Can you think of other amphibians that live on land and water?

Make sure to note that every word in the index was also included in the glossary, which explains content-specific vocabulary.

Next Tuesday, I’ll discuss how to apply this reading support for higher-level social studies curriculum. Make sure to subscribe to the blog in the right-hand toolbar to receive my new post in your inbox! 

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Geraldine Haggard is the author of several books from our Kaleidoscope Collection. 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. 

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Click the image below to learn about Story World Real World, which features the book mentioned in this post. 

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Topics: Real World, Informational Text, Geraldine Haggard, Science, Guided Reading

Using Joy Cowley in Science Lessons

Posted by Sally Hosokawa on Mar 2, 2017 2:34:00 PM

Joy Cowley’s stories are famous for teaching “literacy through laughter” and are specially written for young students who are developing their reading skills. Did you know that Joy Cowley’s narratives could also be used to teach content subjects? By pairing her books with supplemental informational texts, you can use Joy Cowley in all your lessons, all day long!

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In ­Wishy-Washy Mirror, Mrs. Wishy-Washy's animals encounter a mirror for the first time. The cow peers into the mirror and sees a picture of a cow, but the pig sees a picture of the pig (34). Discuss with your students why the animals can’t agree on the mirror’s content. What happens when your students look into a mirror?

The Next Generation Science Standards expect first-grade students to understand that light waves can travel in many ways, including by bouncing off of reflective materials (1-PS4-3). To teach students exactly how mirrors work, introduce Mirror Magic!

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Part of the Story World Real World series and leveled at Guided Reading level L, comprehending the entire Mirror Magic book may be challenging for many first-grade students. However, they can focus solely on pages 6–7, which trace the path of a light when it reflects off of a mirror. Of course, you as a teacher can read the rest of the book aloud and try the cool mirror tricks in class!

Although more implicit in content, What Is a Cow? from Joy Cowley Early Birds is also relevant for science lessons. The title of the book poses a research question: “What is a cow?” In the story, Little Rabbit and Chickie set out to answer this question by observing a cow outside. Both characters draw upon their own knowledge to describe different features of the cow, such as “A cow has four posts” (4) for its legs and “a cow has a rope” (5) for its tail. This process of asking questions and observing real-life evidence for answers parallels the Scientific Method introduced by Aristotle. Reading this story will help your students think like scientists!

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Joy Cowley doesn’t need to be confined into your literacy lessons. You can incorporate her lovable stories into your science lessons as well!

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Click the left image below to learn more about Joy Cowley Early Birds, which includes Wishy-Washy Mirror and What Is a Cow? Click the right image below to learn more about Story World Real World, which contains Mirror Magic.

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Topics: Joy Cowley Early Birds, Real World, Science, First Grade

Guided Reading to Support Textbook Reading, Part 1

Posted by Geraldine Haggard on Feb 14, 2017 2:42:00 PM

GHaggardbiopic

This is a guest blog post by Dr. Geraldine Haggard, who is a retired teacher, Reading Recovery teacher leader, author, and university teacher. It is the first post in a series about using guided reading activities to support content-area textbook reading.

The blog will demonstrate why students need explicit guidance when reading textbooks. Textbooks are often the backbone of content area classrooms, but can pose many challenges for a budding reader.

CHALLENGES OF USING FORMAL TEXTBOOKS

First, let’s examine the characteristics of formal educational textbooks and the challenges they present:

  • Textbooks are often written at a reading level above the students’ grade level.
  • The authors of textbooks have no conception of how much—or how little—prior knowledge their readers bring to the text.
  • An enormous amount of new vocabulary must be acquired if the child is to read with full comprehension. Students need very strong strategies, such as letter knowledge, for decoding these unfamiliar words. 
  • Many vocabulary words in content area-specific textbooks are not part of the everyday language. Students must read words that they have never heard before, making comprehension difficult.
  • Long paragraphs and passages, packed with new information, can overwhelm readers. The teacher needs to sort through and focus only on the information needed to master a specific concept.
  • Sometimes, students are asked to read silently without knowing the goals of textbook reading. Many students do not know how to independently set goals when reading formal texts and how to monitor their comprehension. The student may be led to think that they need to memorize the entire text.
  • Some textbooks are outdated and contain old information. The teacher must study the textbook carefully and only use sections that remain relevant and accurate. Additional sources of information should be used to support the textbook, adding opportunities for critical thinking and synthesis skills.
  • Good textbooks include specific features to help the reader. The reader needs to learn how to use the table of contents, index, glossary, diagrams, charts, and maps.

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Research shows us that student average comprehension percentiles become lower and lower as the students go into higher grade levels. We know that reading content area material is more difficult than reading narratives because it demands a more specific and sophisticated level of comprehension.

Intermediate, middle school, or high school teachers report that many students do not enjoy content area reading and have difficulty with textbooks. The joy that we often see in our younger readers as they learn about the world is not always present in the older reader.

Clearly, teachers of all grade levels need to provide verbal and guiding reading support for content area reading. Teacher can interact with students in small groups, large groups, and individual settings.

My next blog post will introduce guided reading activities and ideas for teachers to incorporate content area activities into the classroom.

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Geraldine Haggard is the author of several books from our Kaleidoscope Collection. 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. 

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Topics: Geraldine Haggard, Science, Guided Reading, Math, Social Studies

Groundhog Day Science!

Posted by Sally Hosokawa on Feb 2, 2017 3:12:00 PM

Happy Groundhog Day! Punxtsutawney Phil saw his shadow today, which means that we still have six more weeks of winter...or do we?

Groundhog Day is always filled with anticipation, so children are always disappointed when they learn that the custom has no concrete meteorological reasoning. Although the groundhog’s shadow might not accurately predict the arrival of spring, you can teach students that we can actually shadows on the ground to tell the time!

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What’s The Time? from the Story World Real World series explains different ways in which humans can measure time. Before reading, discuss that shadows occur when an object blocks light. If your students have already learned about opaque and transparent objects, this discussion will review the concept that only opaque objects create shadows.

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  • Read about the relationship between the sun and a shadow. When a groundhog sees its shadow, where is the light coming from? (The sun.)
  • If you have a portable projector or another movable source of light in your classroom, use it to demonstrate that when the light source moves, the shadow moves, too. 
p. 5:
  • What is a sundial? Ask students to point to the shadow in the image. This exercise teaches that images illustrate and support key ideas in the text (CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RI.1.6).
  • How does a sundial look similar to the clocks you see today? How is it different?
p. 6–7:
  • If it’s sunny outside, make a class sundial as shown in the book. All you need are stones or chalk and a tall stick. You can make a sundial with snow on the ground, too, as long as the sun is in the sky!

 

Groundhog Day itself doesn’t have scientific credibility, but you can teach real science lessons about shadows and time instead. Students will be thrilled to turn off the classroom lights and watch shadows move! Make sure to read the rest of What’s The Time? to learn about egg timers, hourglasses, and other clocks that don’t use shadows.

 

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Click the images below to learn more about Story World Real World, which contains the book featured in this post.

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Topics: Real World, Informational Text, Holiday, Science

Connecting Literacy, Science, and Current Events with the Brazilian Rainforest

Posted by Sally Hosokawa on Aug 11, 2016 3:30:00 PM

In my previous post, I demonstrated how to incorporate the Summer Olympics into a lesson for improving literacy skills. Did you know that this year’s Games can also be seamlessly tied into a lesson about biodiversity? The Rio de Janeiro Olympics marks the first time that the Games take place in South America, home to the famous Amazon Rainforest. Brazil itself has one of the richest biodiversity in the world. By reading informational texts about the rainforest habitat, students can improve reading skills, extended scientific understanding, and learn how to create connections between the classroom and current events! 

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The New Generation Science Standards for second grade require that students understand the following concept: “There are many different kinds of living things in any area, and they exist in different places on land and in water” (2-LS4-1). The ZooZoo Animal World’s Rainforest Habitat Set provides a compelling glimpse into the millions of species that live in the rainforest. In addition to detailed photos, each book also contains an animal vocabulary list to enrich the students’ repertoire of scientific words.

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Begin the lesson by contextualizing it within current events:

  • Where are the Summer Olympics happening this year?
  • Can anyone find Brazil on a map?
  • Introduce the Amazon Rainforest, a tropical forest that provides home to one-tenth of the planet’s species. More than half of the Amazon Rainforest lies inside Brazil! 

In addition to the suggested talking points featured inside the books, below are some fun facts to enrich your lesson:

Bat

  • Vampire bats, which can be found in Brazil, are the only mammals that feed exclusively on blood. These bats make a small bite and lick the blood of other animals—they don’t actually suck or drink human blood like vampires.

Butterfly

  • The blue morpho butterfly lives in the Amazon Rainforest. With a wingspan of five to eight inches, they are one of the largest butterflies in the world. All butterfly wings, however, are actually clear and covered by tiny scales—we just see different colors and patterns based on the ways that light reflect off of the scales.

Crocodile

  • Crocodiles can close their ears so water doesn’t enter while they swim. They also have great hearing, and can even hear crocodile babies calling from inside their eggs!

Snake

  • Brazil is home to the heaviest (and second longest) snake in the world, the anaconda. Although they aren’t poisonous, they always swallow their prey whole—imagine that!

Gorilla

  • Although gorillas only live in the African rainforest, they’re still fascinating to explore. Despite their intimidating body size, gorillas are herbivores!

Students are sure to love reading about the unique animals in the ZooZoo Animal World: Rainforest Habitat Set. By fulfilling Common Core ELA and Next Generation Science Standards at the same time, it’s a win-win lesson for everybody! Happy Olympics!

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Click the image below to download an information sheet with key features about ZooZoo Animal World, which contains the books featured in this blog post. Check out our website to learn about ZooZoo Mundo Animal, the Spanish version of the ZooZoo Animal World series!

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Topics: Leveled Readers, Zoozoo Animal World, Science, Olympics, Sally Hosokawa

Nurturing Science Skills in the Early Childhood Classroom

Posted by Lily Erlic on Jul 26, 2016 3:30:00 PM

This is a guest blog post by Lily Erlic, a preschool and daycare teacher. Today, she shares creative classroom activities to bridge literacy and science in early childhood.

For preschool and kindergarten teachers, teaching science in the early childhood goes hand-in-hand with developing students’ reading skills. Using From Seeds and Farmers Grow Food from the My World: Growing Things series, I will share my ideas for teaching science in the early childhood classroom.

Book One: FROM SEEDS

From Seeds provides photos of seeds and what grows from them. For example, the first page says, “From these seeds, carrots grow”. From page to page, it shows children the marvel of the seed and what it can produce.

Encourage the children to answer this question:

  • What kinds of seeds were in this book?

For a supplemental activity, provide a tray of different seeds with labels on them. Tape the seeds to the tray so they do not move around. Show the children pictures or provide the vegetables for the children to touch and feel. Ask them if they have tried all the vegetables. Ask: What is your favorite vegetable? 

MyWorld_FromSeeds.jpg

 

Book Two: FARMERS GROW FOOD

Farmers Grow Food depicts what happens on a farm to grow food. The first page reads, “Farmers grow food. Farmers plow fields.” It is a thorough and vivid account of what farmers do for us. The “Suggestions for Teachers and Parents” section also gives helpful tips for classroom use.

Ask the students this guiding question:

  • Where do you think our food comes from?

For a supplemental activity, create an activity sheet with vegetable drawings. Ask the children to color it with crayons. Ask them to write their own names on the paper. Display the sheets on a bulletin board and label the board, “FARMERS GROW FOOD.” 

MyWorld_FarmersGrowFood.jpg

Extended Activities:

  • Draw vegetables on the board and ask the children to identify the vegetables. You can also paste photos from books onto the whiteboard or from books. Ask them if they have eaten any of them for meals.
  • Provide the children with an activity sheet that states, “My favorite vegetable is _____________.” Print the word for each child and ask him or her to draw it.
  • Action Rhymes: Children like to participate in creative movement. They can learn about food while having fun, too! Finger Rhymes for Manners by Teaching and Learning Company includes food rhymes that would supplement the two books above. Another book, Finger Rhymes Content-Connected Rhymes for Science, Math and Social Studies, also lists food action rhymes under the fruit section.

I would recommend From Seeds and Farmers Grow Foodwith their colorful photos, they are great for teaching preschool and kindergarten students about science!

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Lily Erlic is a preschool and daycare teacher in Victoria, BC. She is an author of many books like Blue Bear Makes Blueberry Pie, Finger Rhymes for Manners and more. Her recent e-book is a science fiction book called The Golden Sphere.

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To learn more about the titles mentioned in this post and browse more titles with the Growing Things theme, click the image below and download an information sheet about the My World series.

My World Series Info Sheet 

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Topics: Leveled Readers, Reading Activities, Kindergarten, Preschool, My World, Science

[New Post] Using Leveled Books to Teach Science in Kindergarten: Part 5

Posted by Geraldine Haggard on Apr 7, 2016 4:06:18 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 fifth 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. As always, you can subscribe to our blog to get our guest bloggers’ new posts in your inbox.

 

Today, we will be going over our final reading activity in this series about using leveled books for kindergarten science. Last week, we outlined and discussed two reading activities, based on two leveled books for kindergarten, Who Needs Water and Baby Food. During the reading activity for this week, we’ll be exploring a new book, Snack Time, from our series of 150 leveled readers for K-3, the Kaleidoscope Collection.



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Teaching Kids About Food  |  Kindergarten Reading Activity #7

This activity will be based on the book, Snack Time, from the Kaleidoscope Collection. To start, with your students, take out and display the cover of the book, and introduce the story’s two characters, Kylie and Max. Share with the class that both Kylie and Max are very hungry.

Tell the students that both Kylie and Max know that they need food to eat, and that one of them is going to make good choices, while the other one is going to learn a lesson about making good food choices. Ask the question to your students, "What do you do when you make a choice?"

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Kylie and Max are making choices on the foods that they want to eat. As you read the story with the children, decide which child learns a lesson and what exactly that lesson is. Gather the students around you, and read this book as a read aloud.

Read slowly, and provide time for the children to make spontaneous comments. After the story is completed, ask the students to sit in groups of three to decide which child learned a lesson about eating food. Pose the question, "What did he or she learn?"

Put the names of the book characters on the board and, as the children supply the names of the foods that each ate, record those foods by the character's name.

The following series of questions may be used for group discussion:

  • How did Kylie feel at the end of the story? How do we know this?
  • How did Max feel: How do we know that?
  • Which character learned a lesson?
  • What lesson was learned?
  • Even though you are a living thing and need food, does that mean you should eat just anything?
  • What are some good food choices for you to eat?


In conclusion, tell the students that they need to eat foods that help them grow, and stay healthy and happy. Tell the students that it is okay to occasionally eat candy and cookies, but that they need to eat the good, nutritious foods also.

After these questions have been asked, the school cafeteria menu for the day might be studied and talked through. Ask the students, “Does it sound like good choices were made as the school menu was prepared and created?” In addition to this, a cafeteria person might be invited to visit with the children, to talk about and discuss food choices, as well as answer any questions that the children might have about eating food, and about food choices.

This is the end of Part 5 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. As always, you can subscribe to our blog to get new posts in your inbox.

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Geraldine Haggard is the author of several books from our Kaleidoscope Collection. To download information sheets with key features about the Kaleidoscope Collection, which contains the title mentioned in this post, click the images below.

 

 

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

[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.



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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.


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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.
 

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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.


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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'.


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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.

 

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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

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