We are in our second week of the book club and things are going well. 5th grade got to discuss what they believe the mystery behind the Grimm collection would be in The Grimm Legacy. 4th grade also had interesting questions about the story behind the original Frankenstein novel and the myth behind Prometheus in their Benjamin Franklinstein book. Third graders read the beginnings of several books to analyze how different stories begin, the favorite being "Once upon a time.." Kindergarten especially enjoyed this week's book, Heckedy Peg by Audrey wood and illustrated by Dan Wood. They were riveted the enitre time and gasped at all the right places; the story being about a witch who turns 7 children into food, their mother has to come to their rescue and guess which child has turned into which food. Bilingual kinder was read Una pesadilla en mi armario by Mercer Myer and La primera luna llena de gatita by Kevin Henkes. With Henkes' book, they speculated much like with Moon Rope (Ehlert) how the kitten would reach the moon. The best suggestion they had was with a rocket!
The upper grades are focusing on biographies, the non-fictional accounts of a persons life. We covered the difference between a regular biography, facts about a person's life, living or dead, while an autobiography is specifically written by the person the book is based on (thus living). We pulled out several books to convey the differences between fiction and biographies. Historical fictions may have many true facts about a person, but is still ultimately a made-up story and may not be a true account of the person's life. An example of a historical fiction book that has many facts but also fantasy is John, Paul, George, & Ben by Lane Smith. Smith's book has elements akin to tall tales
regarding the founding fathers, true facts, but is not a biography book. An autobiography we used was Jon Scieszka's Knucklehead, in which he reveals his penchant for stories began as pinning the blame on his other brothers. We used our new Balloons over Broadway: The True Story of the Puppeteer of Macy's Parade as our fun, regular biography example, the life story of Tony Sarg who created the signature balloons for the Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade.
We read Zagazoo by Quentin Blake for the Pre-K/Kinder levels to discuss family and inadvertently, stages of life. As Zagazoo changes into different animals and creatures (i.e. vulture, elephant, dragon, hairy beast) we guessed animals that we would turn into if we were scared or tired or happy. One person said they would turn into a mouse if they were scared and someone else said they would turn into a big dog if they were angry. Great imagination coming from Pre-K! Even as Zagazoo made all these changes, the kids concluded they were still a family. The biggest surprise was what Zagazoo changed into at the end!
Compare and Contrast