Here are some concepts to explore during small group and one-on-one readings of Rah, Rah, Radishes: A Vegetable Chant:
Colors and shapes. Engage young readers in discussing what they observe about vegetable colors and frame colors. Study other qualities such as bright, dark, and shiny.
Patterns. Quantities. Are the vegetables dumped straight onto a table? Are they organized in any way? How? Why do you think they are in boxes, piles, and small groups? Who do you think organizes them and why?
Different and the same. Which vegetables are the same? Which are different? Which show up in several parts of the book? Be a vegetable detective!
Vegetable identities. Are there any vegetables your students cannot identify? Research to find other photos of them and compare to the chant photos. (See other books and websites such as the author’s for additional photos.) Even better, bring in the real veggies for hands on study, cross section, drawing, and tasting. Encourage students to use all their senses!
Vegetable math. Encourage readers to count the vegetables. Advanced students might calculate or discuss how much it might cost to buy three baskets, four boxes, and other amounts of vegetables in photos that have prices.
Vegetable art. One of the best ways to know something is to draw it. Why not bring in some live vegetables for children to draw so they can study vegetable colors and shapes?
For garden, harvest, and vegetable book pairings and activities, see the
“In My Garden” handout prepared by children’s librarian Heather Acerro of Allen County, IN.
I’d just been to Seven Hills-Lotspeich. How could another school day be just as fun? Well, if you’re at the other Seven Hills Campus—Doherty. It can! This Cincinnatti school just percolates with life. If I were going to be a teacher, I’d want to work in one of the Seven Hills Schools.
Why? Because excellent schools need faculty that care for one another, that lunch together, that chat and exchange ideas. This school has it on both campuses. Education can be joyous when staff share that passion for helping students. But left alone in classrooms, teachers can grow isolated, like stay-at-home moms who love their kids but need some grownup time now and then. Staff development makes it sound all technical. That is helpful. But the core of the best schools I have seen is a caring staff community: community that nurtures creative teachers and does not squash them. You could see it at work, hear it at work during my lunch with some of the Doherty teachers.
Seven Hills also has another community that uplifts the place. The parents. Wow. They pitch in for all kinds of things. At the whirling center of joy is librarian Linda Wolfe who I had the pleasure of spending the day with.
She is a dynamo who knows children’s literature inside out. She created wonderful activities to go with my books. Just look at what they did with Vulture View. She found some kind of scratch paper that is black with silver underneath. The students cut out vultures and scratched through to make the beautiful silvering of the feathers.
She describes how she introduces Trout Are Made of Trees to her students. To celebrate the book, she used a scale/math/art activity. She gave kids large photos of the aquatic insects. Then the children had to draw them, as accurately as possible, on the tiny pieces of paper. It’s a good thinking project. You can just imagine how many neurons fire when trying to duplicate but shrink an image.
In the halls were more art projects to celebrate If You Should Hear a Honey Guide; Dig, Wait, Listen; and other books. Penguins for Antarctica. Maps of South America. There was art of many kinds.
Among my favorites was an organizational project done by Mr. Schmidt’s class. They took my books and graphed them in various ways to show the content and relationships in the books. It’s a good way to prepare for writing books of their own.
I saw and experienced all of this in one short school day at Seven Hills Doherty. Just imagine what a student could learn in a school year of being with these hard working, creative educators.
I was greeted by a parking sign, marching ants, and the wonderful Marcia Snyder, librarian at Seven Hills—Lotspeich in Cincinnati, Ohio. The classrooms had done dioramas of undersea scenes for Turtle, Turtle, Watch Out! and even made a 3-D pasta machine and listed their own desired “suprpwrs” in celebration of Noodle Man: the Pasta Superhero.
This was the first time I’d seen activities for the new Turtle, Turtle, Watch Out. There were turtle shape poems which looked like ancient, beautiful style art. What about these wild pine cone birds for Bird, Bird, Bird? Extraordinary.
What a lovely school. The science teacher, Ms. Wildfong, showed me the science building. They have lots of animals. It really feels like a science-in-action place.
The music teacher, Ms. Wilson, shared the use of Bird, Bird, Bird: a Chirping Chant. She was teaching kids the half and quarter notes and how to use the staff by getting them to sound out and choose among a few notes to set this book to music.
The art teacher, Ms. Knoop was a wonder. Love her! She’s made a creative space, complete with old plastic toy color wheel, great supply drawers, and projects galore. She partners with another teacher to do a whole big unit on fibers. Ms. Knoop brings in wool from her sheep and they dye it with natural plant dyes and spin it. Wow. Hands on science and history and art all at the same time.
Thanks, Seven Hills, for an inspiring day. Your students and staff are great! Lunching with with these joyful, dedicated educators was a pleasure. Their ideas popped like popcorn. Really, it was like being in some of the great creative meetings I had at National Geographic. You walk away uplifted and refreshed.
4K is Kindergarten with 4-year olds. Just look what a creative educator can do with this group and my book, Hush Little Puppy. Mrs. Weed came up with all sorts of activities at Lake Murray Elementary. Continue reading “Hush, Little Puppy and 4K”
Here’s a link to a blog that asks Kate Endle about her art, including the art she did for our book, Trout Are Made of Trees. Hooray, Kate!
Blush about them calling me a nonfiction goddess 🙂
One of the things I talk about a lot in presentations is scale. Here’s a fun art project to look at crocodile scale. Oh, and the food is not for the crocodile. The Hamilton students were collecting food for the hungry. They were stacking around the length of the building in order to reach their goal.
These Hamilton Traditional School students explored what they knew about turkeys and turkey vultures.
From Hamilton School, some extraordinary art and thought!