My Mission Statement

I write to serve, to unite, to educate. I write to share literature and flesh out ideas that may be of interest to others. I write to document an emotion, experience, or a blip in time. My mission is to write in such a way that the reader is reminded that we can find humor in all situations. It's one of the great blessings of life.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Common Core Curriculum Kindergarten Unit 6 WONDERS OF NATURE: Plants, Bugs, and Frogs

We now enter the last unit of the Common Core Curriculum for Kindergarten Language Arts.  What a run ride it has been!  It ALMOST makes me want to teacher kindergarteners again.  (Almost.   Kindergarten, IMHO, is the HARDEST YEAR EVER to teach.  The cuteness factor is a total I applaud all the great kindergarten teachers out there --with a special shout out to June Proctor, Jennifer Bass, Lisa Leary, and Lori Willis).

When I read the title of this unit, I thought, "FINALLY!"  The other units have all been terrific and can certainly be applied in a way that appeals to all students, but this title is the first one that I KNOW would excite my boys.  What a wonderful way to end the year and start off a summer of self-exploration and independent play!

My boys have always loved nonfiction, from the very beginning, and this unit gives ample opportunity for children to fall in love with nonfiction.   Of course, there are PLENTY of fiction tie-ins with "Plants, Bugs, and Frogs", as well.  Teachers will reinforce CAUSE AND EFFECT and COMPARE AND CONTRAST---what better lesson to do with plants?  Students will begin to 'dictate a narrative', re-tell through writing and/or artwork.  Students begin to read more books independently while teacher continue to share read-alouds.  This age is GOLDEN for picture books, and PB writers everywhere know that.

So what kind of books will the teachers need for this unit?

**NON-FICTION books for 5-6 year-olds to read INDEPENDENTLY.  Librarians and teachers have long told me that there is a huge shortage in this category.  The Common Core Curriculum will demand even more non-fiction texts geared toward our younger set.  The opportunities abound for a nonfiction picture book that includes any aspect of 'Plants, Bugs, and Frogs'.  The possibilities are endless.  I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE  this 'need', and I have a half-dozen ideas swirling around even as I write it.  I KNOW my boys would have loved more books in this genre.

**FICTION (especially read aloud) books that include 'Plants, Bugs and Frogs', especially if the characters demonstrate some valid characteristics of the creature.  For example, I'm sure it's fun for a frog to hang his clothes on a froggy clothesline.  However, couldn't we come up with something that is instructional and fun?  (and with a bit of authenticity?)  Instead of 'fried rice' for lunch, couldn't a frog enjoy some 'fried lice'?  It's a tiny thing, but it provokes curiousity, giggles, and even a bit of recall about the eating habits of a frog.

**NON-FICTION poetry.  I love this genre.  I think a rollicking, rhythmic poem peppered with facts and details about ANYTHING is a great way to learn.  I'm a big fan of memorizing poetry, and wouldn't this unit be an awesome place to do it?   This category is another one I can't wait to try.

Yahoo!  We've now finished KINDERGARTEN!!!  The Common Core Curriculum for Kindergarten exploded with needs and ideas for savvy writers.  I hope you're taking notes and brainstorming because opportunity abounds!

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