Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Chicka Chicka Boom Boom

Hey friends! I know it is back to school time for many of you. I still have another week and am enjoying my last few days at home. One of my favorite first week activities always includes the story Chicka Chicka Boom Boom. 
It's a great introduction to letters and the students love the parts of the story with predictable text. After reading the book, I usually do a coconut science experiment. I have students predict whether they think the coconut will sink or float and we graph our results. I try to do this on our staggered enrollment days, so it's more manageable and I can really focus on my students who need help. 
At the beginning of each year, I make a bajillion labels. I print an entire page of labels for each student and any time I need to label something (a folder, school supplies, notebook, etc.) I just grab the students' label sheet, peel off, and viola! I also use the labels for graphing, too. Like - shown above! ;-) It's very helpful and students just stick their label under their correct prediction. 
After we make our prediction, we conduct our experiment! I always pass around the coconut, first, and let students touch it, smell it, shake it, etc. Most of them have never held a coconut! They are amazed. 
Once we figure out the coconut will float, we graph and analyze our results. A prediction sheet and graphing sheet are included in my Chicka Chicka Boom Boom Close Read (co authored by Jennifer Horner and myself)!
We, then, spend lots of time diving into the book and reading closely. Students work together to figure out vocabulary, answer questions, talk with partners, retell the story, etc. All of this (of course) is very basic and introductory because it's at the beginning of the year.
The close reads Jennifer and I have laid out are fool proof. They follow an EASY 5 day lesson plan format and each day really builds upon the next. If you are struggling to get your students to stop, slow down, and read - our close reads are for you! All of our activities have students dive into the text and dig deeper. And, what a better way to introduce those strategies than in the beginning of the year. If you start the year out teaching these concepts, students will quickly get the hang of it and you'll build a classroom of reading investigators. If you like what you see - for a limited time - I am offering this unit at HALF off!!! Grab it here, while you can. 
One of my other favorite activities that accompanies this book, is included in my classroom book unit. It's a Chicka Chicka page! Students write their name, glue a picture of themselves, and add the letters of their name going up the coconut tree. I bind all of the pages into a book and place it in our classroom library for all to enjoy. You can check that unit out here. What books do you enjoy reading to your students at the beginning of the year? Please share. Happy hump day!