Saturday, January 28, 2012
Past, Present and Future?
We culminated our unit on past and present this week with some special visitors! Parents brought in some really cool items from the past (and yes, I feel old when I can remember when there were no remotes to the TV!), as well as students bringing in things such as 45 records and a french fry maker! My brain was not quite with it during the first part of the week (we had PALS this week!), but I managed to get pictures for the later part of the week.
Another focus this week was friendly letters. We started with the basal story from our Harcourt Trophies, Dear Mr. Blueberry. Before we read, we measured out 30 meters from the window in our classroom and on down the hall to see exactly how big a blue whale is! It's quite a ways! In the story, Emily writes letters back and forth to her teacher (Mr. Blueberry) because she thinks there's a blue whale in her backyard pond! The kids loved predicting whether it was really one, as well as learning about blue whales. (There was quite a debate in my room if this story was fiction or not....some said it had too many facts in it to be fiction, so it brought on a great discussion of what "informational fiction" is!). I have a wiki page for each of the Harcourt Trophies stories we've done so far with literacy center ideas, as well as activities to do while reading (we use this series for our Monday read alouds). I'd love for you to go and visit!
I love using this story to introduce friendly letters. With the inspiration of Pinterest (there's a great "body" poster on there to use!), as well as a song I've used for years (sung to the tune of Head, Shoulders, Knees, and Toes), we explored the different parts of a letter. We then wrote letters to our parents about what we had learned about blue whales and if we could have one in our backyard. :)
The rest of the week for read-aloud, we read the "Ike LaRue" books to explore more letters. If you're not familiar with this picture book series, please go to the library and pick it up! Ike is a dog (his owner is Mrs. LaRue) and the books are hysterical! He writes to Mrs. LaRue in one because she put him in obedience school. In another story, he is on the hunt for missing cats and clearing his name, and in a third, he travels across the country (great way to explore the difference between postcards and letters).