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Thursday, January 15, 2009

The First Day of Winter Lesson

Photo by MGShelton

I am such a fan of Denise Fleming's work, that every turn of the page makes me giddy when I'm using one of her stories for a read-aloud. Her depiction in The First Day of Winter of the start of the winter season makes me long for snow... and I hate snow... really hate snow! That's how good she is! If you haven't read The First Day of Winter yet, go pick it up at your library. Or you can purchase it at the Literacy Launchpad Store. This book was the center of yesterday's lesson and activities. Our focus this month has been predicting.

During yesterday's read-aloud, the children helped me with a calendar activity that allowed us to practice predicting. I love letting them interact with the story as I read it. Although, depending on the group, the interaction with the story can sometimes be distracting to the actual story itself. We had a little bit of that going on yesterday. I think next time, I might do the calendar activity after the story, and use it to enhance our discussion.

After our story we had a great discussion about winter and snowmen. It was interesting to hear the children's thoughts about winter. Many of them didn't think it was winter here right now. I'm guessing that has to do with the fact that we hardly ever get snow 'round these parts. I wonder if their responses would have differed if we actually had snow on the ground. Hmm... perhaps I need to bring in some books about what winter looks like in various parts of the country, or the world, and go into more depth on that (if only our classes were a little longer)?

When I asked one of my groups where the snowman was going at the end of the story, one little girls told me, "to the winter." Another little boy told me, "to the North Pole."

And when I asked them why the boy's friend in the story gave him all those items that we saw, one little boy told me, "so he could put them on his snowman to protect him so he wouldn't melt."

Since the focus of this lesson was predicting, we also played a predicting game which involved building our own snowman (after we had some predicting fun)! After I hit some snags with this activity with the first group of children, I changed it up a bit for the next couple of groups, and it was awesome. We had so much fun! Lots of giggles and laughs. These kids crack me up!

Oh, and by the way... my detailed plans for each of the original activities and games I do with my students will soon be available for you to purchase (a la carte style) and use with your own readers!

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