Saturday, October 16, 2010

We're Back!

After a longer than expected blog hiatus, we're back! Just because the kids and I haven't been blogging, it doesn't mean that we haven't been up to our eyeballs in books since starting school last month. We began this school year the same way we begin every school year by reading Bill and Eric's Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? and Polar Bear, Polar Bear, What Do You Hear? (I've read Bill and Eric's books so many times I feel like we're close enough for first names. If you don't know their last names, click over to Books We've Read This Year to find out.)

There's a reason I always start with these books. They're fabulous! The simple storyline and repetitive, predictable text beg my students to participate in "reading" the story. These books are wildly popular, and many children have already read them before starting school. Even if they haven't, they are so masterfully written and illustrated, and so kid-friendly that they immediately feel familiar to these young readers. Besides, the cat is purple and the horse is blue. You aren't going to find a blue horse this side of Oz in many other places. And the teacher has glasses just like mine! In fact, if you're three or four-years old (or if you have any imagination at all) that teacher could be me, and those children staring back at her could be them.

I decided to add a new component to my literacy and math curriculums this year. Each week, the children are voting for their favorite story from among the books read that week. The voting started for EK and PK that first week of school, with the CPG kids jumping aboard the voting train the second week. Here's how things turned out for the bear books:

We went on to read several more Carle classics: The Grouchy Ladybug, The Very Quiet Cricket, and Carle's indisputable masterpiece, The Very Hungry Caterpillar. (I invite you to dispute away.)

But what do the kids think about these books? Would they agree that The Very Hungry Caterpillar represents the apex of Carle's career? We'd find out at the ballot box. (It's actually a pocket chart.) It was a landslide victory in EK for the The Very Hungry Caterpillar. The Grouchy Ladybug ran a distant second, and The Very Quiet Cricket might as well have stayed home.

The PK kids bucked conventional wisdom when they voted The Grouchy Ladybug into the number one position. The Very Hungry Caterpillar didn't know what hit it, as it tied with The Very Quiet Cricket for second place. Or last place, depending on how you look at it.

The CPG kids had their own ideas about which Carle book deserves all the attention. It was a much tighter race that saw The Very Quiet Cricket win by a nose, closely followed by The Grouchy Ladybug, with The Very Hungry Caterpillar limping over the voting finishing line dead last. So much for indisputable masterpieces.

Speaking of indisputable masterpieces, the children tried their hand at cut paper art, Carle's preferred medium. Too bad Eric didn't have googly eyes for his caterpillar.

The kids will be back blogging within the next few weeks. In the meantime, I'll get the rest of the election results posted. We did a Margaret Wise Brown unit that the kids are still talking about!

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