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Friday, March 22, 2013

Meeting Instructional Needs with Literature

Books can be problem solvers! Have a problem with bullying in your classroom? Read a book! Trouble with making inferences? A book can help! Need to grab their attention for a new math or science concept? Grab a book!

Let's just discuss a few examples of this today.

Bullying - When my students aren't being particularly nice to one another, I pull out The Hundred Dresses. This Newbery winner is a heart-warming story about a girl who knows bullying is wrong but does nothing to stop it.

Making Inferences - This year I have a handful of students in my advanced reading class who still struggle with comprehension, particularly making inferences. I found that A Long Way from Chicago provides an opportunity to make inferences in every chapter. This novel about two kids who visit their free-thinking (and many times rather inappropriate) grandmother each summer is appropriate for upper elementary and middle school students.

Math - I wish I could find a great book for every math topic I teach! Opening with a short book really hooks the kids into the lesson. A Fly on the Ceiling is a fanciful story about Rene Descartes and how he may have developed Cartesian Coordinates. Betcha introduces estimating. And Spaghetti and Meatballs for All explores multiplication, division, and perimeter.

Science - Even for my bigger kids, Ms. Frizzle in the Magic School Bus series is great for introducing and/or reinforcing science topics. Well-known stories, such as "Jack and the Beanstalk" can really get kids thinking scientifically. (For example: Are any bean stalks strong enough to hold a human's weight? What is the maximum height of a bean plant? How quickly does a bean germinate?)

With that said, I need to pull more literature into my classroom! This weekend, my computer and I have a date. I'll be googling "books about cells for kids" and "books about algebra for kids" and much more! Why don't you join me?