Monday, September 17, 2012

Resonating Leo

We are reading everything Leo Lionni in my classroom of kindergartners. I love starting the year with Leo. He feels like an old friend every time I open one of his books. When I began intentionally doing author studies I started with his work. I always feel like his stories resonate with every student. One of my favorites is The Alphabet Tree. It covers so many bases in the kindergarten classroom. Letter leaves are blown off their tree and a wise old bug tells them to come together and make words. If they stick together they won't blow around as much. Then an even wiser caterpillar tells them they can really say something if they come together and create a message. Their message is one of peace. 
After reading the story we always make our own alphabet tree and I use "Post-it Note" leaves that can make words. The words then evolve into a message that goes along with our classroom rules.
I have a unique class this year that require students to be very tolerant of each others differences. I am constantly asking myself, "How do I get them to choose kindness this soon? Oh, I make it a rule!"
We have talked about the meaning of fairness and that friendship is about thinking of others. It has been great watching students mature in this necessary format of a classroom. They are still 4, 5, and 6 but they seem to get it better than some adults do at times, and I am proud of each of them. 
Here is our  "Post-It Note" leaf tree. 
Each student places the leaves for me and I magically blow them into words. Together we figure out what "our message" will be. They are always so surprised and excited that the letters suddenly come together to mean something. I think I always am too!
 (We choose to be kind.)

 Here is our rules chart we made last week that has helped us focus on what is most important. 
Choose Kind! (Thanks Auggie).


Maria said...

Ooh, I don't know this Lionni book, but it sounds like one my 3yo would enjoy. Adding it to my library list. Thanks!

Linda at teacherdance said...

I don't know the book either, Betsy. How wonderful about your lesson with the letters and the tree's leaves. Love that reference to Augie, too. What a wonderful book! thanks for all the sharing!

Maureen said...

This is such a magical extension of the book! I love it! What a lovely way to reinforce your classroom rules - and to encourage decoding, how to spell. I have no doubt that your students are so engaged by this lesson.

Robin said...

This is awesome! I wish I had seen it in action! Phenomenal, my friend.