Sunday, 10 March 2013

A Stranger at Home

This coming Thursday, my class is very fortunate to have the authors of the book, "A Stranger at Home" come to Charlie Lake School.  Christy Jordan-Fenton is the daughter in law of Margaret Pokiak-Fenton.  This book is the second memoir of Margaret as she recalls growing up and attending a residential school.  

Annick Press says:
The sequel to the unforgettable memoir FATTY LEGS.

Traveling to be reunited with her family in the arctic, 10-year-old Margaret Pokiak can hardly contain her excitement. It’s been two years since her parents delivered her to the school run by the dark-cloaked nuns and brothers.

Coming ashore, Margaret spots her family, but her mother barely recognizes her, screaming, “Not my girl.” Margaret realizes she is now marked as an outsider.

And Margaret is an outsider: she has forgotten the language and stories of her people, and she can’t even stomach the food her mother prepares.

However, Margaret gradually relearns her language and her family’s way of living. Along the way, she discovers how important it is to remain true to the ways of her people — and to herself.

Highlighted by archival photos and striking artwork, this first-person account of a young girl’s struggle to find her place will inspire young readers to ask what it means to belong.

_________

Last year, most students in my class were read the first book, "Fatty Legs".  So, I am focusing on the second book with them.  These books are a very powerful piece of Canadian history, and tie in so well to the grade 4 Socials curriculum as well as into Health and Career because of how Margaret struggles to belong.  They are short novels, taking me only about 45 minutes to read personally.  I suggest that if you haven't read them, you do!   

If you are a parent of a student reading this, please feel free to join us on Thursday morning (approx. 9:00 am) if you'd like to sit in on the discussion! 

Sunday, 3 March 2013

Listen to Reading Response



Audiobooks have traditionally been used in schools by teachers of second-language learners, learning-disabled or -impaired students, and struggling readers or non-readers.  In recent years, with the improvements in technology and the availability in classrooms, listening to reading has become more and more popular.

Audiobooks can be used to:
  • Introduce students to books above their reading level
  • Model good interpretive reading
  • Teach critical listening
  • Highlight the humor in books
  • Introduce new genres that students might not otherwise consider
  • Introduce new vocabulary or difficult proper names or locales
  • Provide a read-aloud model

The foundation for reading development.

Reading aloud to students, regardless of their reading ability, provides them with the understanding that print has meaning and can tell a story. Young students can become familiar with the phrasing, expression, and flow of sentences in stories or texts that are read aloud to them.
A student's listening level, the level of text that he or she can understand when it is read aloud, is far above the reading level until about eighth grade. When students listen to a text that is above their reading level, they comprehend more difficult and interesting material and broaden their vocabulary. Fourth-grade students can understand texts written on a seventh-grade level, and these texts are most often more interesting and complex than those students can read on their own. For example, five- and six-year-olds usually enjoy listening to Charlotte's Web, even though it is written on a fourth-grade reading level.

I've been pinning numerous Listening to Reading response sheets lately.  The problem was, although they had many great ideas, they were too basic for my grade 4s.  They all came from K-2 classroom teachers.  My students enjoy listening to reading, but I wanted something to help them be accountable during this time.   Currently, they do a variety of tasks on lined paper (assigned by me for the week), but they all had just one focus.  So, after looking at many others, I've created this one to try out with my class tomorrow.  This sheet is a summary of many things we've discussed so far this year. 

The best part for you - you can click the picture below to download your copy free!  If you download and use, please leave me some feedback to tell me how it worked for you.
Click to download the free response sheet!
Click the picture to download for *free*!

If you're after more reading ideas, check out my Pinterest board.


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Friday, 1 March 2013

Using Picture Books to Teach Figurative Language

Teaching Figurative Language Using Picture Books

For the past two weeks, my class has been learning about figurative language and how to use it to enhance writing.  We worked through 6 elements of figurative language: similes, metaphors, hyperboles, idioms, personification, and onomatopoeia.

Here is a listing of picture books I used to teach figurative language and the activity we completed for each piece of language:


Using Picture Books to Teach Figurative Language

My lovely student teacher started off with a T-Chart on the board with "like/as" in the center.  She had a variety of pictures and words on magnets.  Students came up and moved the pieces to create similes such as "busy as a bee" or "cool as a cucumber."  She then read the class "Crazy like a Fox."  Afterward, she brainstormed with the class characters and a plot to create a class simile story. Pairs of students were assigned a page and had to write a few sentences, including one .".  They are currently working on finishing off the illustrations. 





Using Picture Books to Teach Figurative Language

 This story is great to read to your class even if you aren't teaching figurative language!  It's all about a boy who can't help but shout out and the strategy he learns to stop it from happening.  I didn't do much beyond read the story as the students were able to easily understand having done similes first.  






Using Picture Books to Teach Figurative Language

Again, I LOVE this story!  There are two sequels as well: "More Parts" and "Even More Parts."  They are quite funny.  The entire book is an exaggeration, but there's also some idioms in here as well.  




 
Using Picture Books to Teach Figurative Language

I started off this lesson by having students wash their hands.  They were so intrigued just from that!  When they returned to their desks, there was a bowl of Alpha-bits cereal on each table group.  I gave them 5 minutes to make as many words as they could.  After, I told them "Eat your words."  :)

I explained that in this situation, I actually meant "eat your words", but that's not what the saying really meant.  Only one student has actually heard the saying before, so they explained it to the class.  As I read "Amelia Bedelia's First Field Trip" (you could read any Amelia story, they are all full of idioms) the students munched their snack and were on the lookout for other things that sounded one way, but actually meant something else.  They were able to find them all!





 

Using Picture Books to Teach Figurative Language

 I didn't use a book for this one.  We talked about onomatopoeia earlier in the year when working on "great grabbers" for writing.  A student did tell me that Batman comics would be really useful for teaching this though. 




Using Picture Books to Teach Figurative Language



I heard about this book on my favourite website - Pinterest.  I ordered it off Chapters website and am very happy I did.  The little red pen has a whole lot of marking to do, and none of the other school supplies want to help her.  But, when she falls into the Pit of No Return (the garbage can) the supplies get together to help her out.  I started off by making a chart with all the supplies as headings.  I also had an actual red pen, stapler, eraser, push pin and green highlighter.  I had the students describe the items.  After reading the story, we added more to the chart based on how the books are in the story.   I called a student up to circle any "alive" words.  


It was at this point I introduced the term personification.  Students made their own chart that had the headings: noun, verb and adjective.  The added at least 5 items under each.  From there, they could create personification sentences such as "the wind tapped softly on my window" or "the car grunted as it slowly climbed the hill".

What books do you use for teaching figurative language?  Leave me your suggestions in the comments!