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Wednesday, February 12, 2014

30 Read Alouds to Integrate Science, Social Studies, and Literacy Skills

After an exhausting weekend of being chauffeur, family photographer, and social event coordinator for my own kids, I stood in the middle of the children’s section at a major bookseller hoping to find a quick and easy solution for the modeled reading section of my pollution lesson for Monday.   I needed a book that introduced pollution. With this curriculum crunch we’re in, it needed to be down and dirty with the easy details, too…or so I thought as I stood half-heartedly staring at the search menu on the store’s computer. My search for pollution books turned up two (seriously only two at this major retailer): The Berenstain Bears Don’t Pollute (Anymore) and The Magic School Bus and the Climate Challenge.  Since I wasn’t eager to cover the global warming debate, it left one lazy option: The Berenstain Bears.

Fortunately, for my students’ sake, I texted my colleague, Meagan, and ran that clunker of an idea by her.  I could justify it.  Every kid should experience the Berenstain Bears, and the book would quickly teach the problem and solutions of pollution.  But Meagan texted back, “Use the Chris Van Allsburg book…the one where he’s in the bed seeing the way the earth is changing. No bears, please!”  She was referring to Just a Dream, Allsburg’s book about a young boy that dreams of a future negatively impacted by pollution.  I happily picked the book up from her classroom before school started the next day.  That was a quick and easy no-brainer.

*Every teacher needs a Meagan in your life to shake you back to your senses and hold you to high standards!

Matching our science and social studies content to a modeled read aloud every single day for every single lesson is challenging. But the literacy rewards are off the charts when we take the time to make it happen.  I ended up using Just a Dream for our modeled reading on Monday.  I focused on the literacy reading standard CCGPSRL.3 on character traits.  We charted the change in perspective of Walter, the main character, throughout the story.  I pulled in our word study on shades of meaning, and the word choice on our chart was outstanding…unreliable, cantankerous, sketchy, shady, changing to dependable, trustworthy, and compassionate.  Yep!  Third graders used those words on their own.  We followed it up with a shared reading on the types of pollution.  Students then completed a partner task sorting the events in Just a Dream into the four categories of pollution.  It was way better than a trip down memory lane with Brother and Sister Bear.

We all need support finding modeled reading selections that promote critical thinking skills and integrate science and social studies content.  Below, you’ll find 30 fantastic science and social studies themed books that I’ve used in my classrooms during Modeled Reading:

Just a Dream by Chris Van Allsburg
Character Traits/ Change in Perspective
Flute’s Journey by Lynn Cherry
Text Structure: Sequence/Temporal Words
About Raptors: A Guide for Children By Cathryn Sill
Animal Traits
Text Structure Organization: Description
Teeth By Sneed B Collard
Text Structure: Compare & Contrast
Aliens from Earth: When Animals and Plants Invade Other Ecosystems
 By Mary Batten
How plants and animals affect ecosystems/ Interdependence
Text Structure Organization: Cause and Effect
When the Wolves Returned: Restoring Nature's Balance in Yellowstone
By Dorothy Hinshaw Patent

Human Impact on Ecosystems / Interdependence
Text Structure Organization: Problem and Solution
The Great Kapok Tree by Lynn Cherry
Human Impact on Ecosystems / Interdependence
Main Idea and Details / Inference / Plot & Conflict: Somebody, Wanted, But, So / Figurative Language
A River Ran Wild: An Environmental History by Lynn Cherry
Natural Resources /Pollution/Consumers & Producers
Text Structure: Cause & Effect Relationships / Using Illustrations & Maps to aid Comprehension
Who Is  Jane Goodall? by Roberta Edwards
Novel Study – Multiple Literacy Standards / Biography
Hoot by Carl Hiaasen
Human Impact on Ecosystems
Novel Study – Multiple Literacy standards / Fact & Opinion / Theme / Figurative Language

Fossils/Rocks and Soils
National Geographic Kids Ultimate Dinopedia
Text Features
Dinosaur Named Sue: The World's Most Complete T. Rex
 By Relf, Pat
Text Features
Magic School Bus Inside the Earth
Rocks and Minerals
Monitoring Comprehension-  think marks, fix-up strategies, jotting thinking in the margin or on post-its, connections
Dirt: The Scoop on Soil by Natalie Rosinky
Monitoring Comprehension-  think marks, fix-up strategies, jotting thinking in the margin or on post-its, connections

The Lemonade War By Jacqueline Davies
Economic Concepts – excellent for teaching economic vocabulary
Monitoring our comprehension through questioning/Main Idea/ Inferencing/Context Clues
Pancakes, Pancakes!ir?t=choiceliterac-20&l=ur2&o=1 By Eric Carle
Resources / Production

Colonial America/Democracy/American Revolution
Blood on the River By Elisa Carbone  (4th grade +)
Colonial America
Novel Study – Multiple Literacy standards / figurative language/ theme/ character traits and change
Homespun Sarah
By Verla Kay 
Colonial America
Poetry – rhythm & rhyme / Illustrations support comprehension
Tattered Sails
By Verla Kay
Colonial America
Poetry – rhythm & rhyme / Illustrations support comprehension
You Wouldn't Want to Be an American Colonist!: A Settlement You'd Rather Not Start 
by David Salariya

Colonial America
If You Lived In Colonial Times 
by Ann McGovern

Colonial America
Katie's Trunk by Ann Turner
Revolutionary War
1st person POV, text dependent questioning, figurative language, shades of meaning of words
George vs. George: The American Revolution As Seen from Both Sides by Rosalyn Schanzer (4th Grade+)
Revolutionary War
Text Structure: Compare & Contrast / 1st Hand Accounts / Quotes /

Revolutionary War on Wednesday by Mary Pope Osborn (2nd and early 3rd Grade)

Revolutionary War
Narrative Elements
Redcoats and Petticoats by K. Kirkpatrick and R. Himmler
Revolutionary War
Text Structure: Compare & Contrast / Reading for Detail & Evidence
Buttons for General Washington by Peter Roop
Revolutionary War
Content Vocabulary, Context Clues, Inference
And then What Happened Paul Revere? by Jeanne Fritz
Revolutionary War
Sequencing, Visualizing

Shh! We’re Writing the Constitution by: Jeanne Fritz and and Tomie dePaola

Constitution/Branches of Government
Sequencing historical events/ visualizing /opposing viewpoints/ Content Vocabulary

Water Cycle/Weather

I Survived Hurricane Katrina by Lauren Tarshis
Novel Study – Multiple Literacy standards / flashback / figurative language / historical events
Hurricanes! by Gail Gibbons
Text Features /Content Vocabulary/ Main Idea and Details

Sunday, February 2, 2014

4 Weather Days = Curriculum Crunch Time... AND a Reminder That Teaching Is About More Than Just Curriculum

"TEACH ON, WARRIORS. You are the first responders, the front line, the disconnection detectives, and the best and ONLY hope we’ve got for a better world. What you do in those classrooms when no one is watching-  it’s our best hope."  -Glennon Doyle Melton,
If our weather experiences this week in metro Atlanta have reminded us of anything, it's that as teachers, we are more than just deliverers of curriculum. On Tuesday afternoon in metro Atlanta, teachers calmed students' nerves as it slowly began to sink into even the youngest that things weren't all right.  Buses weren't being called, the snow was accumulating, and the computer games and bonus movies were no longer interesting. When the intercom would buzz a room for a student to leave, you could see the relief on that child's face, and then heard the sobs of those still waiting.  What transpired over the next few hours was unimaginable...students and teachers sleeping at the school, parents walking miles in the snow to pick up children, and students stranded on buses for hours without food, water or bathrooms.  

What is not a surprise, though, are the heroics of teachers. When it comes down to it, we teach because we are on a mission to change lives. We teach because we want to strengthen the weak, motivate the disconnected, enrich the imagination of all, and believe in each child so that they may believe in themselves.  Most days that means we focus on delivering a curriculum that builds the collaborative, problem solvers of the future. But some days, it simply means being present with the kids with reassuring pats on the back, whispered messages that it will be OK, and being a safe presence in the midst of uncertainty. To all of my colleagues at Hillside ES that spend every day balancing curriculum and presence, thank you for being such dedicated teaching warriors!

Curriculum Crunch: 5 Literacy Stations to Tackle Multiple Standards Quickly

When we return on Monday, we’ll be faced with a bit of a curriculum crunch.  So, in keeping with my belief that teachers need to share good teaching ideas, below you’ll find the tweaks I’m making to my reading and writing workshop to tackle standards through integrating science, social studies and language skills into our workshop model.  Special thanks to Meagan Eastman (4th Grade Hillside teacher) and Kelly Moynihan (Hillside ES CST) for several of these ideas, as well as Jen Jones with Hello Literacy for the Shades of Meaning Vocabulary center.

I use a weekly reading contract to communicate with my students about the academic expectations for the week.  Students keep the weekly contract in their Reader's Notebook.  They are free to decide in which order to complete the activities, and with whom to partner. Several of the activities are leveled, and all produce a product of work.  For the next few weeks, I have decided to combine my reading and writing workshop into one large block of time.  Students will be working on informational research and writing through a biography project, and conventions work connected with "reading as a writer" stations.

*More pictures and document resources will be posted of each station throughout this week.

Reading for Information Station:
EQ: What strategies do strong readers use?
Standards: Close Reading of a Leveled, Complex Text
Task:  Students "read with a pencil" using our 3-2-1 Think Marks strategy. Each Think Mark is summarized in the margin.  Students then answer the text dependent questions, highlighting evidence in the text using colored markers.
                                      3* IMPORTANT DETAILS
                                  2! SURPRISING STATEMENTS
                        1? QUESTION YOU HAVE ABOUT THE TOPIC

Research Station
EQ: How do I integrate information from several texts to write about the topic?
Standards: Georgia Social Studies 3rd Grade American Heroes, Comparing Multiple Text, Reading complex text, informational writing
Task:  Students will create a biography-based Trading Card for each American Hero in the 3rd grade curriculum, including Paul Revere, Frederick Douglass, Eleanor and Franklin Roosevelt, Susan B. Anthony, and others. Students will use books placed in the research center and informational websites linked through Edmodo to read multiple sources on the lives of these Americans.  Students will then create a Trading Card detailing important contributions of each person. (Thanks to Meagan Eastman for this fantastic activity!)

*Note: This station is one of the major changes I'm implementing.  With the loss of instructional time, this allows me to continue teaching science, while pre-teaching and reviewing our Social Studies standards.

Word Work Station
EQ: How can I use reference materials to determine the meaning of unknown words?
Standards: applying known strategies to unknown words, affixes,  context clues, reference materials, antonyms, synonyms, speaking and listening, shades of meanings of words
Task: This activity is from Jen Jones' Hello Literacy, and it's called Shades of Meaning. You can purchase it on this link.  Working with a group, students sort and rank 8 similar words in order.  For example, they are give 8 words that describe the affix -"able." Words include clever, powerful, capable, talented, etc.  Students must  justify the order the words are placed in between "most able" and "able."  If the group does not agree, continue to discuss reasons and opinions until a decision is made.  For example, a group of students in my room were debating whether clever or powerful should be ranked higher.  One boy used the example  that "a president is powerful.  He's able to do whatever he wants.  But, it doesn't mean he's clever. So, powerful should come first." I loved listening to this debate! Students use classroom dictionaries and the tablet to look up word meanings, as well as their own schema for examples.

Reading as a Writer Station
EQ: How does understanding punctuation influence reading fluently? How did the writer organize the text?
Standards: text structure (description, cause/effect & compare/contrast)fluency, impact of punctuation on a written piece
Task: In the Big Book Center, with a partner, students read the informational text aloud.  Students practice reading the words smoothly, pausing after punctuation, and adding expression in the right places. Next, the partners will work together to deconstruct the text structure organization and complete a main idea/detail graphic organizer, based on the text structure.

Work on Writing
EQ: How does a writer uses punctuation for effect? How do text features in a magazine article help me understand the author's message?
Standards: punctuation for effect, informational writing, author's purpose, text features
Task: Students Buddy Read a non-fiction article from our collection of Scholastic magazines.  Students use a Think Dots task card to respond to text dependent questions on the author's use of punctuation and use of text features. Students then complete a graphic organizer on punctuation used in the article.
*I'm working hard to integrate more "reading as a writer" into both our reading and writing workshops.  Students have to explore modeled text before they can truly generate quality written work of their own.

Students will also work in guided reading groups throughout the week.  More posts on guided reading groups and our Poem of The Week task coming soon. It's almost Super Bowl time, though, so I'm signing off for a while.

I hope everyone has a wonderful week of teaching!