Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Inquiry and Frogs

The second grade STEM curriculum includes cycles in nature, and this year I bought several new books for the library to add to our frog text set.  We prepared for the arrival of their classroom frogs with the visible thinking routine "Think, Wonder, Explore."  In the classroom, the students connected to their prior knowledge about frogs, and they wondered and asked questions that began the inquiry process.  In the library, we practiced using Destiny to find library resources.  They explored  books, periodicals, and online resources including PebbleGo, WorldBookKids, and NationalGeographicKids.  We talked about and practiced giving credit to the sources of information.  They were thrilled to share and display their findings in their classrooms.  This routine really fanned the excitement for the arrival of the tadpoles.  I predict that there will be more and more wonders as those tadpoles grow. 

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

New Beginnings

There is evidence of new beginnings all around us in the shelves, new books, new displays, new teachers with new ideas, and excited new readers.  We are starting the new school year with our annual "One Read-Aloud" for kindergarten, first and second grades. All of the classes are reading My Father's Dragon by Ruth Stiles Gannett.  A Newbery Honor winner in 1949, it is certainly not a "new" book, but it is definitely a new favorite for the children who read or hear it for the first time!   This story is packed with opportunities for describing characters (our wordle of Elmer Elevator), making predictions, and creating mental images.  What a great way to launch our new year of reading!
Wordle: Elmer