So anyway, now that I am on my summer break, I'd like to fill you in on some of the fun activities we did in my classroom in the last month and a half. I have a post about some writing we did, our Derby activities, and some other end-of-year fun stuff. If I really have some time, I might fill you in on some stuff we did throughout the year that I never got to write about. Whew! Plus, I have some other great stuff planned to do this summer!
The first thing I want to tell you about is a fun, week long reading activity we did with our shared reading.
If your school uses the Rigby Literacy Program (and Literacy By Design, I believe), then you might be familiar with this book:
In this story, the Wolf tells side of the story and tries to prove his innocence. However, his "witnesses" are such shady characters as the Evil Queen from Snow White, Pinocchio, and the Troll who keeps the Billy Goats from crossing the bridge. So last year, I thought it would be fun to read this story and have the kids decide if the wolf was guilty or not. Of course, there was a slight problem with this: the students were unfamiliar with some of the stories! You'd think they would know Snow White or Pinocchio, but they didn't! They really had a hard time thinking about those characters and making a decision on whether or not the wolf was guilty or innocent. So this year, I came up with a plan to get the students to think about the other characters and decide if the wolf was as innocent as he said he was.
Enter: The Evidence Files.
In order to get the students to really think about these unsavory characters, I created a packet that each student could use to write down their observations about each character and make judgments about that character based on their actions. We wrote down 3 actions of each character, determined some character traits for each character, and decided on which character trait we thought best described each character. At the end of the week, we decided if the wolf was guilty or innocent, and wrote our opinion and reasons why before voting as a class.
The kids LOVED IT.
I put up some signs around the room to build up some anticipation. They were very intrigued to find out why all these things were hanging around the room. But I wouldn't tell them until it was time for reading!
They were so excited when I explained that we were going to help solve a horrible crime. I handed each of them their packets and we began by reading The Wolf's Story. Then we read original Three Little Pigs story and collected evidence about the pigs. The kids were surprised to read about some of the "bad" things the pigs did. Then, each day, we read a different book about each character in the book, and collected our "evidence". We also chose character traits for the character and listed them on a chart. The kids also added some new words to our chart, but they had to be able to tell why the character demonstrated that character trait. We started out with a few words I wrote down to get started, and doubled the words on the chart by the end of the unit! So cool!
Here they are, collecting their evidence. (I had a few Kinder friends in here this day, so they didn't have a packet. They just followed along.) I love how each of my first graders was engaged in their work!
Here is an example of a few of the sheets from the book. There were 2 pages for each character. They could write down 3 things about each character on the first page, and then list some descriptions for that character and choose 1 major character trait for that character on the second page. I wanted them to really think about the characters before deciding on their verdict.
On the last day, we took one last look at our "evidence", which I hung on my word wall board.
And then the students decided if the wolf was guilty or innocent.
After we wrote our verdict, we voted.
So... was the wolf guilty?
This was SUCH a fun activity. The kids had a great time, and so did I. I can't wait to do it again next year. I have some great ideas to make it even more fun. :-)
Does anybody else teach Rigby or Literacy by Design and absolutely love this book? I think it is such a fun way to get kids to think about characters, and I really love fractured fairy tales anyway, so it's perfect for me!
What is your favorite thing to teach during shared reading? This is probably up there as one of my favorite shared reading books, and I had so much fun. Anything that gets my kids engaged is fun to me! :-)
Hope you all are having a great summer!