Friday, January 18, 2013

Mural, Mural on the Wall

Peep, peep, peep, we've got that beat!

My new favorite read aloud is Farmyard Beat by Lindsey Craig. It's got a fantastic beat so it really promotes reading with fluency. We've had some fantastic interactive read alouds and shared readings with it.

We've been rocking to the beat for 2 weeks now. We started by reading it during reading workshop as a shared reading. We worked on our fluency and reading with expression (and of course just our general reading-love). Then we transitioned into answering those essential 'wh' questions that fill everyone's IEP.

"WHO is in the story?"
"WHERE did the story take place?"
"WHEN did the story happen?"
"WHAT happened first? Second? Last?"

Thanks to our amazing donors choose donations we were able to retell the story with objects. We have the toy barn to give us a visual for where the story takes place, and we have the toy farm animals to give us physical objects to answer who is in the story. It's a perfect story for answering when questions because it clearly takes place at night. The story line itself is pretty good for retelling- first the chicks wake up because they have the beat, then the other animals, and when everyone is dancing Farmer Sue wakes up. They have a huge dance party until they all fall asleep, at which point the rooster, who somehow slept through all of this, wakes up and shouts "Cockadoodle do, I've got that beat!"  (OK, my kids don't actually retell the ending that way, but since I read this story 3-4 times a day between school and home I'm pretty good at retelling it myself.)

It went into the retelling center so our kids could act out the story with the physical objects (the barn and toy animals).

Then we moved the story into writing time and we started to make our mural. We worked on interactive drawing to make the barn, and used interactive writing to add our words. I find interactive writing to be one of the most meaningful forms of writing instruction and I've realized that this year I have not done enough of it.
In just writing the words "peep, peep, peep" on the paper we were able to discuss saying words slowly to hear the sounds, matching sounds with letters, matching similar sounds (what else says p?), using spaces between our words, letter formation, one to one matching, not to mention the message that writing contains meaning, which is why we do it.

Our interactive writing was divided between two days because one sign a day is about all my kiddos can handle.

We also added a math element when we made our animals. We worked on identifying shapes- circles, squares, triangles, and rectangles to make the animal bodies. Then we talked about halves and we cut our circles in half to make the chicks. We were able to practice using the language big and small as we followed directions to put our chicks and cows together.

During another lesson we used 'mat man' to work on drawing our self-portraits that we could add to our mural. Many of my students don't see a purpose to drawing, or independently will not draw a recognizable image. Mat Man guides them to include all the aspects of their bodies- the head, the body, the legs, arms, eyes, ears, etc. We've been using Mat Man since around November and we've seen an amazing improvement in their drawing ability. Their self-portraits for our mural were fantastic.

I think what I love the most about this is that no matter how much I try to squeeze from this book the kids don't ever seem tired of reading it. There is nothing like sharing a good book with a class that goes across curriculum areas.

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