Sunday, February 9, 2014

Chilly willy!

Primary cuties have been celebrating our Chi-berian Polar Vortex in the library with a Penguin-and-Polar-Bear-Palooza, as we explore the differences between the North and South Pole and fiction/nonfiction, all in glorious black and white.  We learned lots of amazing facts, like polar bears are actually black and penguin daddies feed their young with milk from their throats.  We visited live penguins via PenguinCams mounted at Sea World in San Diego and The Monterey Bay Aquarium,  and learned that there are many different kinds of penguins (the Macaroni Penguin is the favorite, though we were disappointed to learn it was named for its flamboyant style, not for its love of pasta and cheese).

Favorite books in the library unit have included Polar Opposites by Erik Brooks, Tacky the Penguin by Helen Lester, Plenty of Penguins by Sonia Black, The Emperor's Egg by Martin Jenkins,  Polar Bear Night by Lauren Thompson (the kids also loved looking at photos of the real Aurora Borealis) and Polar Bears by Mark Newman.  We were not actually able to make a year's worth of penguins as depicted in Jean-Luc Fromental's 365 Penguins, but we gave it the college try.   Integrated study of the chilly poles continue in the classrooms. 

We've also been crafting up a snowstorm, inspired by the endpapers in Eileen Spinelli's wintery picture book Cold Snap, and exploring illustrator focus, perspective and technique via the Caldecott-winning classic The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats. We've decided you can't grow mittens on trees like in Steven Kellogg's The Missing Mitten Mystery (though we had fun trying), but you can build a gigantic snowperson like in Margery Cuyler's Biggest, Best Snowman, even if you're still little.  Some second-graders made bold text-to-self connections via the great adventure Brave Irene by William Steig in which a little girl weathers a blizzard in order to make an important delivery.   As you read picture books with your children, occasionally ask them if a picture is a double-page spread.  Primary students are learning lots about the nuances of illustration and the parts of a book.  Please invite them to show you and you can show them, too, as you share books on these cozy, wintery days!

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