I have had a very nice day. The weather is beautiful, we had a blast planting plants, all the children exercised simultaneously for Project ACES, and I am spending the evening with my real life and blog world friend Jessica and Rose. Rose is brand new to blogging, but is already a huge hit. You should stop by to check out her ideas at Rosie's Rambles.
Now, what better way to wrap up my wonderful Wednesday, than to link up with Jivey for Workshop Wednesday?
I must confess that I had a hard time figuring out what book to share for this theme "Favorite Reading Group Book," since I use Scholastic leveled readers with my groups and none of those are very exciting. However, I did think of one that I used recently that was very useful and enjoyable.
When searching through the bins for new reading group books, I came across two versions of the classic Aesop's Fable, City Mouse Country Mouse. One was a level F; the other was a J. I decided to pull both to use for character study focused reading groups.
Although I am sure that most of you are familiar with this story, I will give you the basic overview. Basically, Country Mouse invites his friend City (or Town) Mouse over for a meal. He works hard to prepare and serve a nice meal, but City Mouse is a bit snobby and does not appreciate the simple, rustic surroundings. He invites Country Mouse over to have dinner in the city to show off his house and food. However, Country Mouse is overwhelmed by the lavish surroundings and in one version, has a terrifying encounter with a cat. He ends up going home and appreciating his quiet life and humble surroundings.
For reading groups, I had my kiddos describe City Mouse and Country Mouse's character traits before comparing them to each other. They discussed what was the same and different about the two mice and their lives. Then, they talked about the lessons both mice learned. Both my lower and higher groups had meaningful discussions. My higher level thinkers even begged to complete an H map to compare the characters. They love using this handy graphic organizer and I am happy to give it to them. It's been a very useful tool to encourage the kids to dig deep in the text for evidence and to guide deeper discussions of similarities and differences. Plus, it's much easier to use than a Venn Diagram!
Here's a free H map template to use for this book. Click the picture to download it.
I hope that you will enjoy using some version of this classic tale. It really is a fun one that sparks great conversation. Plus, since there are so many versions out there, you should be able to find one that works well for your kiddos.
Well, that's it for my Wednesday!