Monday, June 25, 2012

Number the Stars: Favorite novels for 5th grade

Some of the best teaching I do all year is with some very special novels. When we begin reading Number The Stars by Lois Lowry I like to keep track of what we learn about the main characters in chapters one and two: Ellen, Annemarie and Kirsti. Here is a picture of a poster I use. The kids add information about each character on the stickies.

An important foreshadowing clue comes up at the end of chapter three.

Annemarie admitted to herself snuggling there in the quiet dark, that she was glad to be an ordinary person who would never be called upon for courage.
Later on in the novel we will see that Annmarie is called upon to do several courageous things. The first one is when she rips the Star of David necklace off of Ellen's neck. I like to go back then and have the students find the foreshadowing clue.

It then becomes apparent that courage is a theme in the novel. Here are some of the pictures that I have previously posted regarding Number The Stars. Christine
Here is a word sort that could be done after chapter 10
This character report card should be done near the end of the novel
This is a story map that can be created after reading chapter 7
A two word summary created together after reading the novel

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Common Core book picks

The appendix to the Common Core has an interesting  list of books you could use to teach the new standards. I really liked this nonfiction pick: Toys! Amazing Stories Behind Some Great Inventions. by Don Wulffson. I used Youtube videos to introduce a few of the the different inventions: the slinky, magic rocks, and Mr. Potato Head. These are posted at the bottom. After reading each individual story I had the students work on this worksheet I created:
They had to record the name of the invention, the inventor, when and where they invented it, what inspired him/her, and a problem the inventor encountered. The last block was a place to record a trait or characteristic we noticed that the inventor had. For example: creative, hardworking, intelligent. Most of the stories in the book Toys! follow this pattern. Later on in the week we worked in groups to prove that inventors have common characteristics.
I used those large stickers to have the groups  record text based evidence of inventors showing that they were smart, persistent, creative or hardworking. The kids really liked this book. The stories are short. You could read 2-3 in a period. They could also be easily summarized.
  • RI.4.1. Refer to details and examples in a text when explaining what the text says explicitly and when drawing inferences from the text. (We had to infer common traits of inventors)
  • RI.4.2. Determine the main idea of a text and explain how it is supported by key details; summarize the text.
  • RI.4.3. Explain events, procedures, ideas, or concepts in a historical, scientific, or technical text, including what happened and why, based on specific information in the text
RI.4.7. Interpret information presented visually, orally, or quantitatively (e.g., in charts, graphs, diagrams, time lines, animations, or interactive elements on Web pages) and explain how the information contributes to an understanding of the text in which it appears. ( Some of the info from the Youtube video on the invention of the slinky conflicted and/or added to the information we learned from the text)
RI.4.10. By the end of year, read and comprehend informational texts, including history/social studies, science, and technical texts, in the grades 4–5 text complexity band proficiently, with scaffolding as needed at the high end of the range.

Mr. Potato Head

Richard T. James the Slinky Inventor --