Sunday, April 14, 2013

Learning about Ducks and Details!

We were " crazy for ducks" this week!  We started off reading lots of duck books, fiction and nonfiction.  I used to always start with Seven Diving Ducks, but I have found others that I like and use more now.  That book seems sort of mean and sad the way little duck doesn't "measure up" and isn't included with the other ducks.  :(  It ends well, but these are others that I like MUCH better now and use instead:
We listened to this book on Tumblebooks on the Smartboard .  It is a great introduction to a word family game for the "uck" chunk.  I usually read this book along with Where is my TRUCK  by Karen Beaumont, which I love for the "uck" chunk.  I have my Word Family Word Roll Game out with my "ack," "ick," "uck," and "ock" chunks that day.

Here is a neat word family sort for short u  word families at Holly Baker's TPT store.   Thank you, Holly!

 I also liked this Ducky Colors book for morning work from Kinderpillars TPT store.  Thank you, Kinderpillars!

This is a great story for conversations and discussions about helping each other.  We make connections with other books  for instance in both Farmer Duck and Little Red Hen one animal is doing most of the work, but Farmer Duck is different because it focuses on sticking up for friends and helping each other, where the "friends"  take advantage of the Little Red Hen.   We did an interactive writing activity about different ways the children can help others at home or school after we read this story.

I love this book because the friends in the book make inferences and predictions about what has happened to duck using information they find in the soup (a feather!).  We discuss how sometimes things turn out differently than we think they will and sometimes our predictions are not right.  It is also a great story about friendship.   I use this story for sequencing and retelling,  as well, because it divides easily into a beginning, middle, and end. 

After reading a few fiction books about ducks, we make our "April Shower" ducks to hang up over our lockers. We also have our "May Flowers" around our door, so we cover all of our bases! When I first told the class the saying, "April showers bring May flowers," one little girls said, "Maybe you should write that down, so people know that happens." I love that she thought that I came up with that clever saying.  

(I cut up my extra "sparkly border" to use for the raindrops.)

My new favorite nonfiction book about ducks is Just Ducks, by Nicola Davies.

We read this book through one time, reading all that the little girl in the book knows about ducks.  The second time through, we read the smaller print with more facts about ducks.

After reading this book, we do a Science activity to demonstrate how ducks waterproof their feathers. In Nicola Davies book, she explains how ducks have a special oil gland right above their tail, and when they 'preen' or clean themselves with their beaks, they spread this oil all over their feathers and they become water proof. I usually have the children cut out a duck pattern from a paper grocery bag to use for this activity. But this year, I found a great freebie here  by Jaclyn McCullough at her TPT store. I printed out this page on cardstock and the activity worked well, plus the children could label the parts of the duck on the paper before we did the activity.

After the children label the duck's parts, I have them dab a bit of vegetable oil on the duck's back.  Then, they spray water on the duck with a spray bottle and see that where the special oil is, the water beads up and doesn't soak through the duck like it does where there is not the special oil. I let the children tape on a feather to their duck just for fun.   I staple a little paper onto the duck with an explanation of what we learned about how ducks' special oil glands help them become waterproof when they preen, so parents can help the child remember the process when the child explains it at home.
Thank you, Jaclyn, for this duck! 

Now for the details!

The children have been doing very well adding details to their illustrations. Now we are working on adding details in writing.  I tell them that a detail gives the reader more information, and 'information' is something that the reader knows. For example, I could say, "I am thinking of a number." I ask what number I am thinking of, and of course,  the children come up with 17 different answers.   Then I say, "I am thinking of a number that you write with a one and a zero, that rhymes with 'men.' "  All hands go up with the right answer! (Hopefully! :)    They "turn and talk " to teach a friend what a 'details'  are and what 'information' is.
We play 'The Detail Game.'  If a detail applies to the student, he/she stands.  I start by saying, "I am thinking of a person," so everyone is standing.  Next I may add a detail like, "This person is a girl."  Then, "This girl has short hair," "This girl has a pink striped shirt," etc until only one student is standing because I have given so many details that we figured out who I was describing.
Next, I  have the children close their eyes and picture the sentence that I say.  I say, "I see a tree."  I ask several students what they pictured in their heads, and all are different.  Then I have them close their eyes again and describe several scenes with details:  "I see a Christmas tree decorated with colored lights, lots of candy canes, and a bright gold star on top." or "I see a tall maple tree with read and yellow leaves blowing in the fall wind on a sunny day."  You get the idea.  ;)  We talk about how with more details everyone can make a picture in their mind that is similar.  They  love this activity.  Then, you can choose a student to try telling a descriptive sentence for everyone to visualize. 

We do a similar activity that combines using details in  illustrations and writing, where the students illustrate the sentence, "I see a dog,"  and we have lots of variety in our illustrations.  Then on the back of the paper,  they illustrate the sentence,  "I see a small white dog with black spots sleeping on a blue rug by his toy bone,"  just to see how much more similar our illustrations are with more detail. 
Our "Duck Detail" writing is one of my favorite lessons!  Eric Carle's book 10 Little Rubber Ducks is a perfet introduction to the lesson. 

This story was written based on a newspaper article that Eric Carle read. Here is a link I found that tells a little about the article that inspired him.   A load of bathtub toys fell off a cargo ship and ended up floating all over the world, so it inspired Eric Carle to write this book.  This book is great for teaching numbers to 10, ordinal numbers, and direction words. It is wonderful for retelling a story, since you can have cut out, numbered ducks and the children can tell what happened to each duck, or each child could be a certain numbered duck and retell his/her part. Here is a Smart Exchange Lesson for retelling this story!

 I have lots of these rubber ducks, so we can do a lot of word problems with addition and subtraction with the ducks to go along with this book.  I think the writing is my favorite lesson we do with the book.
I found lots of these little rubber ducks at a garage sale and I put eight out for the children to choose to describe. 

They will choose one duck to write about and add at least two details to describe the duck they choose.  I try to have similar ducks, like the ones with the blue books, so they need to also describe the hat color or another characteristic to help us pick the right duck!

(I also do this activity using  different balls I have in the classroom and put up front- so if two of the balls are red, one is spiky and one is small or something like that for extra details!)

I give the children a paper folded in half with only several lines on it for writing.   I tell them we will make the illustrations in our heads just using the words they write.  This helps them to understand how details help you form pictures in your head. 

After they write, I let them turn the paper over and draw a detailed illustration so that we can double check our answer with the picture!

Next, we share the written descriptions using the Elmo on the Smartboard.  We read a description, and I  have one student come up and choose the duck that has been described.  The kids are so proud of their details- and it also is a great opportunity to point out the beautiful capital letters, spaces between words, neat printing, and punctuation marks!

Here are some examples of our activity:

Here is how we double check! 

Thank you for visiting!  Happy Teaching!

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