Friday, April 12, 2013

"A person's a person, no matter how small."

A few weeks ago, I finished up my second  First and Second Grade Book Club. Since Dr. Seuss’ birthday was on March 2nd, I chose Horton Hears a Who! as our book, as I felt that the kids could relate to how even though you can be overlooked when you're small, you should still speak up because you're opinions still matter.  Also, Horton is awesome.

I think I mentioned this in my first posting on this topic, but the kids opted to read the book together as a group instead of taking it home to read by themselves, and that format seems to work really well for us. They were very attentive to this story, and they’d often yell out guesses as to what they thought would happen next. 

After we finished reading, I asked them questions that had a definitive answer to gauge their comprehension, and I also posed some questions that were more open-ended, just so they could think a bit more. The kids I work with are very bright, so stepping up my question game was a must this time around. For example, one of the questions I asked was which character they would choose to be and why. Like the kids themselves, their answers were incredibly varied, and these type of questions allowed the quieter kids to feel more comfortable participating, too. I’ll definitely be asking more questions of this nature next time. 

 Our discussion went a bit longer than it did last time, which is absolutely wonderful, so I gave the kids two options for their activity: either we’d make a craft or we could play book bingo. They unanimously voted for book bingo, so I pulled out the pieces and we started playing. I made special Horton bingo boards that corresponded to key words in the text (like ears, Horton, “a person’s a person no matter how small,” etc), and as they covered the clues on their boards, I asked the kids to remind me why each was important. They did a fantastic job remembering everything we talked about, and they were so excited to get their prizes (a few Dr. Seuss books, and for those that didn’t get a book, some other small prizes.) 
My Bingo Board! Try not to be jealous of my super awesome photography skills.

Even though we didn’t have enough time for the craft, I let them take it home with them, and they were very happy about that. I saw various incarnations of Horton crafts around the web, but this one was my favorite, and I knew I had to use it: Awesome Horton Craft. I ended up drawing my own elephant trunk, cutting out the place where the kids would put Horton’s clover in said trunk, and used a pipecleaner, sparkly pom, and a small piece of tissue paper to make the clover. To differentiate it from the original project, I wrote "If you lived on the clover, what would you tell Horton?" across the top, and allowed space for them to write their responses underneath it.
Here's mine. Maybe I should take a better picture of this.

Ultimately, this program turned out really well. The only thing I wish I could’ve changed is simply having more time to get through everything I planned, but I guess this isn’t such a bad problem to have, as too many activities are much better than not having enough. 

I will leave you with this...
The kids get a snack when they come to book club, so I tried my best to make flower cookies. This is how they turned out. A for effort?