Oh my. It's been quite a while since I posted. I have good intentions. I even have some ideas to share. It's just a matter of sitting down and getting those ideas out that I'm struggling with. Ya'll, the struggle is real. There's just never enough time to get everything done on that to-do list. Sometimes I just want to sit and do nothing. But I can't even manage to do that!
This is how I feel at the end of every day:
and this is how I feel by Friday:
Today I'm sharing with you some books and activities for teaching children how to make connections with literature. As an adult, this is an easy task. But for children, especially those with a limited vocabulary and experiences, it's often a difficult task to comprehend. As a teacher, right from the beginning, we have to model this skill for our students. As we bring their attention to what we are looking for, the majority of the children will naturally pick up this skill. For those children that still aren't understanding, more modeling and practice will be needed in small groups.
Today I want to share with you 2 books that can be used for teaching students how to make connections. First up is Wemberly Worried.
Let me just say first that I love Kevin Henkes books. I love that you can use them for teaching so many different skills. As a young child, and an adult, I can totally relate to Wemberly. I tend to worry ALL the time. And at the beginning of a new school year, I think that all children worry a little bit about something. That's why this particular book is a such a great choice for teaching children how to make connections. Prior to reading, you can set the stage by reading the title and asking the children what they think the word "worried" means. After hearing all of their answers, you can then clarify their answers with your intended answer and give an example.
"Boys and girls, today we are going to read a book about a little mouse who always worries. When we worry about something it means we are a little bit afraid of what might happen to us. For example: When I was little, I was worried about starting back to school because I didn't know if any of my friends would be in my class. As you listen to me read this book, I want you to think about a time when you were worried about something."
Throughout the book it will be very important to stop and model how to make those connections with the text. On one page, Wemberly looks up a huge tree and says that she is worried that it might fall on her house. I can model how to make a connection with that page by saying, "This reminds me about a time when I was little. There was a big tree outside of my bedroom window just like the one in the book. When it stormed I always worried, like Wemberly, that the tree would fall on my room." After modeling a few times, you will have lots of children ready to share lots of their very own connections! At the end of the book, you can even have the children "turn and talk" with their partner about a time they worried about something.
To finish up, I created a little flip flap book for students to respond to the story with. My children love flip flap books and they are a great way to engage students with what they have read. All they need to do is fold the paper in half (I tell my kids to make a hamburger fold), make a tent with the folded paper (so they won't cut both sides of the paper), and then cut the line up the middle. Easy peasy. You can click here to download this freebie.
I also created some conversation starter cards that you can use to prompt students when talking about making connections with the text. You can click here to download them.
Another great book for teaching children how to make connections is Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day.
We all have bad days, no matter how old we are. And children can relate very easily to Alexander and all of his troubles! Again, with a little teacher modeling, students are sure to make those connections with the text. Pairing children up to "turn and talk" also allows for those who may be a little shy to share to open up and talk about their connections without fear of making a mistake or being wrong.
After reading and discussing the book, you can follow up with a response sheet. You can click here to download it for free.
Hope you are enjoying this first weekend of Fall. It has done nothing but rain here for over a week now. The weather forecast shows no sign of relief either. We've still got more rain coming our way for the beginning of the week. Fun. More inside recess. Gotta love it!