thematic picture books-lschwemlein

July 29, 2008

          The availability of literature to use during math lessons is abundant and enhances the topic of the day.  Three books that will support a teacher’s lessons are Chicka, Chicka 1 2 3 (Bill Martin, Jr., Michael Sampson, Lois Ehlert), Corkscrew Counts (Donna Jo Napoli, Richard Token), and Greater Estimations (Bruce Gold stone). 

     Chicka, Chicka 1 2 3 allows the primary audience to become involved with the reading of the story with a repetitive rhyming text.  The use of brightly colored pages is attractive and appealing. The book works well with lessons related to number recognition and counting.   After several read alouds, some of the class could act out the story with assigned number parts and create large brightly colored number costumes while the remaining part of the class would be constructing an apple tree. Several retellings and the exchange of play parts can rotate from one child to the other.  The story could be extended for the more capable and incorporate the skill of skip counting instead of counting by ones.

     Corkscrew Counts is an adorable fantasy book about a pig and his birthday party and will entertain the children during a multiplication math class due to the fact children love the birthday party scene and animals.  The student’s would initially brainstorm about children’s birthday parties and what occurs and then we would change the guest of honor to a pig discussing events.  The class would then compare and contrast the two types of parties before we actually read the book aloud.  Before reading, post its would be covering the multiplication problems throughout the story so the class would not see the answers.  Children would have a dry erase board and manipulatives (beans, noodles, cubes) to figure out the answers as the book is read.  Additional multiplication situations could be modeled by the teacher and then students could write their own to be shared and solved.

     Greater Estimations would be an excellent book to incorporate during a math lesson on estimation.  The picture book would support the topic which is difficult for many to comprehend.  Students will be mesmerized by the illustrations as the number of items increase on the pages an optical illusion effect is perceived.  As reading aloud the book, clear containers of each increment could be shown in comparison to the pictures in the story.  After reading and discussing estimation vocabulary, stations would be around the classroom for the children to experience hands on estimation with popcorn, cereal, beans, noodles, and buttons.  Extension activities that could be also incorporated into the lesson depending on the capability of the students are estimating length, area, weight, and volume.               

Favorite Picture Books

July 15, 2008

     A picture book that I utilize each school year is Ox Cart Man, a 1980 Caldecott winner, by Donald Hall.  The story is about a family working year round to provide for themselves.  The story portrays the family growing, gathering, and selling items at the market.  Once the father has earned the money, he then purchases necessities for the family.  During the Social Studies/Reading block is an opportune time to incorporate this beautifully written and illustrated book.  The repetitive nature of the events in the story engage the young readers and allow for the children to join in the reading.  The story allows for topics such as producer/consumer, goods/services, and human/capital/natural resources to be examined and discussed.  

     Another wonderfully illustrated and written picture book that I use during the school year is Stellaluna by Jannell Cannon.  The fantasy story is about an adorable fruit bat, Stellaluna, who sadly gets separated from her mother at a very young age.  Stellaluna does not know how to survive like a bat and is adopted by a bird family.  The family of birds teach Stellaluna how to do bird things which adds a humorous side to the picture book.  The picture book is incorporated into our Reading/Science lessons. First, the class investigates varieties of bats by reading non-fictional materials such as books and specific websites to discover this information.  Then, the class presents their findings on the various bats before we actually read Stellaluna.  Literature circles are then created to read, enjoy, and share thoughts about the picture book.     

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July 15, 2008

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