Kindergarten classes will begin the year with an an author study of Peter Reynolds. I have six different books that we will read together. The focus will be to see what the kids can discover about this author's style, what the stories have in common, and any connective threads that can be found in all six titles.
1st grade classes will be reading an alphabet book by Chris Van Allsburg, my favorite author, titled The Z Was Zapped. This story requires a lot of inferential thinking and gives me a lot of feedback about how the first graders can think deeply about a book. The classes will also be making their own pages for the book in the coming weeks.
2nd grade classes will begin an author study of Chris Van Allsburg. His books never give the whole story away, allowing readers to think deeply about what the message of the story is, what the theme is, and who different characters truly are in the tales. I will be sharing several of his books with the kids, and we will conclude with a writing project using his book The Mysteries of Harris Burdick.
PA in grades 3-5 will all be creating an "I Am" statement that will be displayed in the windows of my classroom on Monday. It's a way to reflect at the beginning of the year on what is really important to each student.
3PA will begin to explore one of the major themes in the PA curriculum this week, change. What kinds of change are there, what different categories can we group change into? The kids will work in groups to try to identify the different categories of change that we will use to do deeper into the texts we explore this year. Once they have identified the categories, we will begin reading a short story by Cynthia Rylant titled "Shells" about a boy and his aunt who are experiencing lots of different changes. Teams will be making webs about the theme of the story with examples from the text to support their thinking.
4PA will be learning about different literary elements we will be exploring all year long. Things like imagery, theme, mood, metaphors, symbolism, and tone will be defined and discussed. The class is going to read a Native American poem titled "Birdfoot's Grandpa" to apply their understanding of the different literary elements. We may have time to begin reading another poem, "Famous" by Naomi Shihab Nye, to continue our work. The students will all be writing their own version of this poem as well.
5PA begins the year with one of my favorite picture books, The Collector of Moments by Quint Buchholz. This book takes about four hours to read, it is layered with symbolism and metaphors, and will set the tone for our year. It is a story about the music that comes out of paintings, finding that one unique and invisible path, and why none of the kids in PA can ever be a deaf horse. Trust me, it will all make sense next week. Teams will create a color, symbol, and an image that illustrate the theme of the book.