Orchards and Trees: Kindergarten Story Time

I’m “branching out” from apple trees in this week’s kindergarten story time to fruit trees in general. (See what I did there?)

As a callback to our last story time we began our session with the song Way Up High in an Apple Tree by The Learning Station.

 Then I shared the nonfiction book At the Orchard by Bruce Esseltine which depicts a variety of fruit trees and provides a nice opportunity for students to identify different types of fruit.

 That led us into the rhyme A Tree Starts to Grow which I got from Miss Nina’s Weekly Video Show on YouTube. I did not use her video with the students; instead I made a chart of the words and taught it to the children myself. (As you’ve probably noticed I like to alternate sitting still for a story with singing and moving to get the wiggles out.)

 Then I used the Epic! ebook website to share A Tree Grows Up by Marfe Delano, which is a colorful look at the life cycle of a tree. I love the close-up of acorns on the title page, and the fact that the book mentions that acorns are food for different animals as well as seeds for trees.

 I brought in a couple dozen brown and green acorns from my yard, and the last few minutes of our time were spent examining the acorns and describing how they feel. Our “lining up activity” was for each student to place his/her acorn in the correct cup (brown acorns in the brown cup, green acorns in the green cup) on their way to the door. I sent the acorns back to the classroom to be used in the math center for counting and sorting.

Do you have some additional resources to recommend? Please leave a comment!

 

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Apples: Kindergarten Story Time

This week my story time focus shifted from animal farms to fruit tree farms. My theme was apples, and it was a multi-sensory experience for the children.

 I started by reading aloud At the Apple Farm by Rachel Albanese, which is a nonfiction account of a mother and daughter visiting an orchard to pick baskets of apples. I had a real basket with a couple of apples in it for the students to pass around while we reviewed what we just learned about apple farms.

 Then it was time to get up and dance to the song I Like to Eat Apples and Bananas. I used a music video from the Tumblebooks website, but there are also a few versions of the song on YouTube, including the one by The Learning Station.

 Once again I used the Epic! ebook website to share I Eat Apples in Fall by Mary Lindeen. This book shows children of different ethnicities picking and enjoying apples, and it also highlights the different colors of apples, which led into our apple tasting.

 I brought in bags of red (Red Delicious) and green (Granny Smith) apple wedges and gave the students one of each to touch, smell, and taste. We then used paper apples to chart each child’s preference to determine which flavor was the most popular.

The students ended our time by “picking” a paper apple off of a paper tree and placing it in the appropriate basket (red apples in the red basket, green apples in the green basket, yellow apples in the yellow basket) on their way to line up at the door.

Do you use apple books and activities in your story time? Please leave a comment and share!

 

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Old MacDonald and His Animals on the Farm: Kindergarten Story Time

After spending two years at a school that housed 4th and 5th grade only, I’m thoroughly enjoying leading story time for younger students again!

  For the last couple of library visits I’ve been focusing on farm animals.  The first time I used several nonfiction books, along with a spirited rendition of the song Old MacDonald Had a Farm complete with flannel board pieces.

For the second visit I shared three fiction stories:

  Click Clack Moo Cows That Type (by Doreen Cronin, illustrated by Betsy Lewin) This classic book is a crowd-pleaser for children and adults alike which shows how the farm animals work together to negotiate with the farmer for what they want. I’ll probably use some of the sequels during future visits.

  Little Blue Truck by Alice Schertle, illustrated by Jill McElmurry) A rhyming delight AND an opportunity for students to chime in with both animal and vehicle noises AND a sweet message of friendship, all in one book. (There are more books about the Little Blue Truck too.) And it segues perfectly to the next book….

  Old MacDonald Had a Truck (by Steven Goetz, illustrated by Eda Kaban) Instead of focusing on the animals on the farm, this book celebrates the heavy machinery (dump truck, bulldozer, etc) being used for an unusual project on the farm. Most boys will be delighted by the sights and sounds on each page, and girls will probably be pleased to see Mrs. MacDonald partnering with her husband in their exciting endeavor. (It turns out that Old MacDonald also has a boat, if you’re interested in the sequel to this story.)

Do you have a favorite Old MacDonald story time resource?  Please share it in the comments or tweet me @LibraryLoriJune

 

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Saying YES to Teachers

In our back-to-school meeting today at Vance Providence Elementary School, our faculty was asked to choose a watchword for this year. As the morning went on we heard from our principal, our guidance counselor, our secretary, and others on the faculty and staff.  As I listened and made note of the information being shared, the question lingered in the back of my mind: What word will define my attitude for the year? What word will sum up what I want my co-workers to notice about me?  What word can I use to remind myself of what is truly important this year?

The word I chose is Yes. That one simple word represents my desire to assist and support the teachers as I begin my education journey with them. So many times in the past I’ve had to tell teachers “no” when they needed something because my time was completely taken up with conducting Library classes. This year I have a flexible schedule, so I can be there with resources, with ideas, with collaborative teaching plans, and with technology innovations to empower them in their classrooms and beyond.

Whatever a teacher asks me for this year, I want to be able to say Yes to it. You’re having technical difficulties with your document camera? Yes, I’ll come look at it. You need enough folk tales for every student in your class to have one? Yes, I’ll bring a selection to your classroom. You want to use a Promethean flipchart to give students practice classifying different types of rocks? Yes, I’ll help you create that. You’re looking for a website to help students learn more about Greek and Roman mythology? Yes, I’ll find one for you.

Sometimes it will be yes, and … (here’s something more we can include)
Sometimes it will be yes, or… (we could try this idea instead)
Sometimes it will be yes, if… (it depends on someone else doing their part)
Sometimes it will be yes, after… (I need to finish something else first)
Sometimes it will be yes, when… (as soon as I can find the answer/solution)
But always Yes.

Yes, it will be a juggling act at times, but YES it will be worth it to help our teachers accomplish their goals!

What’s your word this year? I’d love to hear about it in the comments.

 

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Text Dependent Analysis in the School Library

  Last year our school implemented a targeted writing program based on the concept of Text Dependent Analysis (TDA) to encourage our students to become stronger writers and more careful readers.  I’m happy to play a role in supporting the curriculum, especially when I can offer students an opportunity to analyze and answer questions about some award-winning picture books, and to incorporate some media literacy instruction as well.

  I always do an author/illustrator study on Mac Barnett and Jon Klassen, so I knew this year that I wanted to use the book Sam and Dave Dig a Hole by this extremely talented duo.  I typed up the text of the book on a one-page handout and made copies for each student, and wrote three simple TDA questions (since this is their first time doing TDA with me) for them to answer.

Students are shown the questions before being given the typed copy of the story so they have some guidance on what to look for as they read.  We answer a sample question on the board together, emphasizing the need to restate the question as part of the answer and write in complete sentences.  We also discuss the fact the students sometimes must read carefully and study the clues in the writing so they can infer the answers if the author doesn’t state the information directly.

The beauty of using Sam and Dave Dig a Hole is that the story is ultimately incomplete without the illustrations.  Barnett’s text does tell a complete story, but the punchlines (and impact) are all dependent on Klassen’s illustrations.  Students are able to answer the TDA questions, but they usually have a slight feeling of letdown because the events seem rather mundane and the ending is quite anticlimactic.  That sets the stage for part 2 of the lesson when I share the book as a read-aloud and show them the illustrations.

It literally gives me goosebumps to hear the shouts of amazement and the groans of frustration when the kids see the pictures and realize what is actually going on in the story!  And it’s the perfect opening to discuss the concept of media literacy with them, and to emphasize how – in good picture books – the text and illustrations work together to tell the whole story.

We conclude with some information about Barnett and Klassen, and the promise that I’ll share more of their books with the students later in the year.

What other picture books do you think would make good TDA texts?  Please leave a comment and share your suggestions!

 

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Donors Choose Makerspace Book Grant

  For the second year in a row, book funding for my library was cut by the district, so once again I turned to Donors Choose to fill a need in my library.

My project this year is connected to the activities I host in my STEAM makerspace area.  I’ve found that when kids engage in hands-on activities like origami, drawing and doodling, designing and building with simple materials like Legos, etc. they often ask for how-to books on those same topics to check out.  As important as it is to me to offer these learning opportunities in my library, it’s perhaps more important that kids voluntarily follow up on theses activities on their own. The need for more of those books sparked my idea for Reading + Doing = Learning!

After determining the most popular makerspace activities, I analyzed my library collection to see where the greatest need for corresponding books was.  That led me to creating a wish list on Amazon that I could plug into my Donors Choose project.

If you support hands-on learning for students after the school day ends, I hope you’ll consider making a donation to this project!

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Labo Leaves App for Leaf Collages

I just found out about Labo Leaves, an app that will fit perfectly into my annual “Fall Leaves” lesson plan!

Fletcher Falling Leaves Lucky Leaf Read Leaf Yellow Leaf Leaf Man

Along with the books Fletcher and the Falling Leaves by Julia Rawlinson and Lucky Leaf by Kevin O’Malley, I always share Red Leaf Yellow Leaf and Leaf Man by Lois Ehlert.  If you’re a regular reader of this blog, you know that I’m drawn to books that feature collage illustrations, and Ehlert is a master of this art form.

In Leaf Man she takes us on a journey with the title character and shows us all the flora and fauna that can be created using different combinations of leaves.

Leaf Man spread

Can you find all four mice in this illustration from LEAF MAN by Lois Ehlert?

At the end of the book, Leaf Man settles down happily with a Leaf Woman, which always wins approval from my listeners.  After we examine Ehlert’s clever cut-paper illustrations, students draw (or trace) and cut out their own selection of leaves and use them to design an original leaf collage.  I show them an example that I created:

1-Leaf GirlThere are always a few students, though, that seem unsure how to begin the art project.  Enter Labo Leaves!

Labo LeavesThis app provides students with digital leaves that they can drag into position to create leaf animals that burst into life when completed.  What a great hands-on introduction to the possibilities of designing with leaves!  See for yourself:

You can purchase Labo Leaves for ios ($1.99) or android ($0.99) and once you download the app you can use it without an internet connection.  You can see other Labo apps here.

Too bad autumn is still five months away!

 

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