Our next Reading journey is into the past as I have decided to dip into a little passion project of mine and explore a few selected Native American Legends and discuss and analyze themes, patterns, and literary elements. I am excited to offer a taste of our rich Native history before 4th grade where they embark on some wonderful projects around the life and history of the diverse tribes that occupied (and continue to occupy) this land.
Upon building our familiarity with the legends and the patterns of such storytelling, we worked together to create a list of repeated words, patterns, and themes that come up. We are now using this list to analyze and begin to understand the life and meaning behind such legends. My curiosity is teased with the sometimes unique and contrasting storytelling patterns while also amazed at the connections we are able to make with some of the stories. It turns out that Northwest Native Americans have a legend about a great flood along with other legends that seem to explain the thawing of the ice age through the allegory of "a war with snow".
Upon finishing our structured CIA unit using the historical fiction text, Glory Be, I wanted our next read aloud in our Reader's Workshop to be centered around the development and relationship between characters. Our new read aloud, The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate, has become our medium for exploring how characters grow and change within a story while also having wonderful discussions around the wisdom of Ivan as he makes insightful and interesting observations about humans. To help structure and direct our inferential thinking, we are using discussion questions as conversation starters and to really dive into who these characters are on the inside.
The One and Only Ivan also has a very unique and intentional structure with some chapters just one sentence long! This then lends itself to understanding the power of a few well chosen words and has lead us, as readers to really think about the author's choice and reason for writing Ivan's story in such a way.
Our new Reading Unit is a CIA unit where we will dive into an amazing and important historical fiction story around segregation and Civil Rights in the South! A CIA unit turns us into detectives as we divide the story into quadrants and in each quadrant we have an intentional and specific focus for our reading. The book is Glory Be by Augusta Scattergood and the main character, Glory, is a wonderfully feisty and Brave character that reminds me of many of my students!
Here is our Book Exploration Anchor Chart:
The whole 3rd grade is participating in some exciting books clubs this week! Through a tough selection process we have created groups of 4-5 ready readers to dive into a new book with the support and enthusiasm gained from new faces and friends from the other classes. As teachers, we were impressed with how they have taken ownership of setting group goals on how many pages to read each night along with coming up with their own expectations to have a successful book club! We hope to use book clubs to foster a love of discussing what we are reading and allow us to dig deep into a text in a small group setting.
In conjunction with the beginning of our Harris Burdick stories, we have been reading and studying the craft of a wonderful mystery author, Chris Van Allsburg. The brilliant mind behind the well know Jumanji and Zathura, also has written some quirky, weird, and curious books that all follow in interesting plot pattern. Through listening to many of his stories, we have come up with what he does well to capture our attention and make us ask questions and want to read more in hopes of incorporating such techniques into our own writing.
This first week we are building our reading life and working towards our third grade goal of 40 minutes of uninterrupted adventures in "just right" books! We also are celebrating and sharing the good books we finish and enjoy to help others find new favorites and revisit enjoyable classics! Let's all get lost in our books!
“A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies, said Jojen. The man who never reads lives only one.”
― George R.R. Martin