Monday, October 26, 2015

Monday Motto: Improvise And Adapt

This week is all about animals that live in the orchard. Today was Porcupine Day. I had to do some running around town this weekend in search a book, ANY book, that had a porcupine it it. We didn't have a single one at school. Finding related literature is a little more complicated in Japan than just going to the library with MGT's suggested book list.  There are 2 bookstores that I frequent, which carry English children books, so I scoured the shelves and finally found a cute Leo Lionni book titled WHO? It has a porcupine at the end, but it's not really about the prickly critters.

 Part of my weekend outing involved a trip to IKEA where, wandering the departments, I happened upon a tiny plush hedgehog that I couldn't resist picking up. I have a fondness for hedgehogs since I kept one as a pet briefly when I lived in China as a child. One of students in the upper kindergarten class also has a pet hedgehog. I decided to do a little compare and contrast lesson after we read both WHO? and Apple Trouble. Free hand drawing on a tiny dry erase board is not the most ideal for showing off any sort of artistic talent, but the class thought it was great!

I used the small white boards with magnets for the "-ig" word family cards in the MGT planning guide as a whole group activity. Moving the beginning and ending sounds on separate boards from arms length to mid-line was a brilliant visual cue for my emergent readers. I even had a 3-year-old read the word "fig" all by himself. He was so proud! 

After the whole group activity they had a chance to do it independently 

During small group centers they also had an opportunity for self-directed exploration with the word cards and a variety of letters. M was pretty excited about her word of the day!

I decided it was such an engaging activity that I adapted it for the beginner readers in the upper kindergarten class. They were SUPER excited about the little hedgehog, so each child got to hold her while I read Apple Trouble, and passed it to the next person around the circle each time I turned the page. After MUCH debating (there are 7 very opinionated boys) they finally all agreed to name the hedgehog  とげ (Toge chan, which translates as "thorn").  

The Kinder class has really been picking up on short vowel word families, using a Roll & Write center I found on Pinterest. Using that model, I adapted the "rules" for the MGT word family card game and they wrote the words on the board. The person who rolled a six had the mystery card, so they had to come up with their own word using a new letter not provided. They had so much fun with those 2 activities they decided they wanted to do art like the "little kids", so they painted paper plates to make hedgehog puppets, which will be finished tomorrow. 

The day required a lot of quick thinking and quick gathering of extra supplies, but all in all, it was a pretty great start to the week. Happy Monday! 

The Pokey Porcupine Friends

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