The One and Only Ivan

In 4KJ we love to read. At the start of the term we began a class novel titled The One and Only Ivan, by Katherine Applegate.

About the book

Ivan is a gorilla who lives at the Exit 8 Big Top Mall and Video Arcade with his animal companions. While he is very used to this existence in his domain, he makes a change in his life and the lives of others, with the help of his friends. The One and Only Ivan is a work of fiction that is based on a true story.

Mrs Hembree is a teacher librarian in Seattle, USA. She introduced The One and Only Ivan to Mrs Morris and Miss Jordan last year. She recommended it to us because the students at her school enjoyed it so much.

Mrs Hembree made a fabulous book trailer. We watched the book trailer before reading the story to tune us into the text.

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Our reflections

We have been reading a bit of The One and Only Ivan every day this term and we enjoyed it very much. Here are our thoughts and reflections. Please be aware that our reflections contain spoilers!

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What did you think about The One and Only Ivan? Do you have a reflection to add?

What did you think of the characters in this book?

Were there any special messages in The One and Only Ivan?

Can you recommend any other books that the students in 4KJ might enjoy?

What Do You Like To Read?

The two hour literacy block is a popular part of our day for many 4KJ students.

Part of our literacy block involves students doing some independent reading. This is when students spend time practising reading strategies with a good fit text.

When selecting a good fit text, students need to:

  • Know most of the words in the text
  • Be interested in the storyline, theme or topic of the text
  • Understand what is happening in the text.

While independent reading is a quiet and individual task, afterwards we enjoy discussing the books or texts we are reading.

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Many students have favourite authors or a series of books they love to read.

Miss Jordan has always loved reading and had a huge collection of books as a child. When she was young she loved to read books written by Enid Blyton and Roald Dahl. Graham Base picture story books were another favourite.

Miss Jordan has kept a lot of her childhood books and novels, and now they are in the classroom for the 4KJ students to read. It is great to see different generations of children enjoying similar books! Of course there are also many wonderful new authors and books we enjoy too.

Enid Blyton’s classic books are still popular today.

There are many Roald Dahl books in our school libary.

The illustrations in Graham Base’s books are amazing!

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Do you have a favourite book or a favourite author?

What is a “good fit text” for you?

What book series do you enjoy and why?

Do you like reading fiction or non fiction texts?

Idioms

Last week our reading strategy focussed on learning about idioms.

Idioms are phrases that have a different meaning to the actual words in the phrase. For example, if something is described as “a piece of cake”, it is an idiom. It means that something is really easy, it doesn’t actually have anything at all to do with cake.

In class we discussed the literal and the inferred meaning of lots of idioms.

  • The literal meaning is when you imagine the words in the idiom as being the real meaning.
  • The inferred meaning is what the phrase actually means when used in conversation.

Example: To “spill the beans”.

You might imagine someone tipping over a bowl of beans BUT this idiom really means that you have revealed some secret information.

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On Wednesday, each student chose an idiom they liked. They had to draw the literal and the inferred meaning for their idiom. Check out our work and see if you can identify any of the idioms!

Learning about idioms is important because authors often use idioms in books, so we need to understand them in order to understand what we read. Throughout the week we also realised that we use idioms all the time in our conversations!

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Did you guess any of our idioms?

Do you have a favourite idiom?

What idioms do you often hear people say?

Pippi Longstocking

Mrs Morris has recently been reading 4KM and 4KJ the novel, Pippi Longstocking by Astrid Lindgren. This was one of Mrs Morris’s favourite books and movies when she was younger.

Pippi Longstocking is about a nine year old girl with superhuman strength. She lives with her monkey and horse in a cottage and gets up to all sorts of wonderful adventures with her neighbours, Tommy and Annika. Pippi loves to tell stories about her travels around the world. She is great at exaggerating, tricking adults and doing things in an unusual way.

Although this book was written in the 1940s (nearly 70 years ago) it is still fun to read today.

Leo enjoyed reading too!

While reading this book, we have been practising the comprehension CAFE strategy “make a picture or mental image”.

When readers picture what is happening in a story, they can understand and remember more of what they hear or read.

Certain details in the story help us to make this mind movie. Many 4KM and 4KJ students could imagine themselves right there as the story was unfolding. When we return to the book after a break, we can revisit the pictures in our mind to remind us what has happened.

We often need to bring our imaginations and prior knowledge to a text to complete the details and make it our own. Our mental pictures often change as we read.

Sometimes books are made into movies and the picture we had in our minds might be similar or different to the pictures we see in the movie. Here is the trailer to the Pippi Longstocking movie which was made back in 1988.

Does the movie seem similar or different to your mind picture?

What did you think about Pippi Longstocking?

What is your favourite book?

Reading Strategy: Tune in to Interesting Words

Reading is a big part of our day in 4KM and 4KJ.

We use the CAFE model in our Literacy Block every day. Each week we focus on a different CAFE reading strategy in class. CAFE is an acronym for Comprehension, Accuracy, Fluency and Expand vocabulary. All of these areas of reading are extremely important and good readers know they need to read regularly to improve their skills.

Last week our reading strategy was Tune Into Interesting Words. This strategy is part of the expand vocabulary area of reading. Good readers have a great vocabulary, which means they know and understand the meaning of lots of different words.

Tune in to interesting words means you stop and think about words that are new, different or unusual while you read.

Knowing what these words mean helps you in all areas of literacy, as it improves your comprehension while reading and you can use the interesting words in your writing. Understanding interesting words also helps you with your speaking and listening.

Miss Jordan looked through some books on her bookshelf at home and found lots of interesting words. She used Tagxedo to create a word cloud to share the words.

We would love to know what words you have come across when reading. Submit an interesting word you have noticed during reading into our AnswerGarden below.

What interesting words do you know?

Can you write us a blog comment including lots of interesting vocabulary?

What is your favourite reading strategy?

The One and Only Ivan

When Mrs Morris was in the USA in June/July she enjoyed meeting many of her blogging buddies. One of the online friends she spent some time with was Mrs Hembree. Mrs Hembree is a teacher-librarian in Seattle, Washington, USA. She writes the Bulldog Readers Library Blog.

Here is Mrs Morris in San Diego with her friend, Mrs Hembree.

Mrs Hembree kindly gave Mrs Morris a gift to take back to 4KM and 4KJ. It was a copy of the book, The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate. This is a book that Mrs Hembree and her students really enjoyed and recommended.

About the book

Ivan is a gorilla who lives at the Exit 8 Big Top Mall and Video Arcade with his animal companions. While he is very used to this existence in his domain, he makes a change in his life and the lives of others, with the help of his friends. The One and Only Ivan is a work of fiction that is based on a true story.

Mrs Hembree’s posts

Mrs Hembree has written some great posts about The One and Only Ivan on her blog.

  • Mrs Hembree was lucky enough to have the author, Katherine Applegate, visit her school. Read about it here.
  • She has a friend who visited the “real” Ivan at Zoo Atlanta. That post can be found here.
  • Sadly, Mrs Hembree also published a post about the real Ivan passing away recently. You can read about that here.
Mrs Hembree has even made a fabulous book trailer.

Our reflections

We have been reading a little bit of The One and Only Ivan every day this term and we enjoyed it very much. Today we finished the book! Here are some of the students’ reflections.

 

We would like to say

to our friend Mrs Hembree for introducing us to this wonderful story!

What did you think about The One and Only Ivan? Do you have a reflection to add?

Were there any special messages in The One and Only Ivan?

Can you recommend any other books that the students in 4KM and 4KJ might enjoy?

CAFE Strategy: Making Predictions

Each week in 4KM and 4KJ we focus on a CAFE strategy. CAFE stands for

Comprehension
Accuracy
Fluency
Expand Vocabulary

We learn and practice strategies under these four areas as these are the strategies that good readers use.

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This week’s comprehension strategy in 4KM and 4KJ is

When we are reading, we can use the clues, our background knowledge and our imaginations to guess what will happen further on in the text. As we read on, we can see whether our predictions were correct, almost right or way off.

Good readers are always thinking about the story as they read.

We invite students and other blog readers to read the story introduction below and then write your prediction in the comment section.

The door creaked as Sam carefully pushed it open. It took a few moments for Sam’s eyes to adjust to the dark. Her heart was beating rapidly and she could hear herself breathing heavily.

Sam’s mind was racing with thoughts of what she might find inside the small room. She made herself take a step forward. Suddenly, something caught her eye and she jumped…

Leave a comment now and make your prediction!

Reading Day!

Today 4KM and 4KJ had a special Reading Day to celebrate the joy reading.

Mystery Skype Call

We began our day with a special Skype call. The Skype name of the person we called was

We had to ask this mystery person some questions to figure out who they were. They didn’t have their video turned on at first. We thought it might have been the Easter Bunny, an American president or the Statue of Liberty.

It turned out to be our teacher friend, Mr Avery, from Massachussets, USA. He heard that we were having a reading day and wanted to read one of his favourite stories to us.

It was fun to hear this story about a popular American sport and we enjoyed taking the opportunity to ask Mr Avery some questions too.

He is a big fan of The Hunger Games and Harry Potter. Mr Avery also enjoys many of the movies that are popular with 4KM and 4KJ students. We even got to meet Mr Avery’s dog, Oscar.

Favourite Book Show and Tell

Everyone brought their favourite book to school and had one minute to tell the class about it. It was fun to hear some new book suggestions from our friends!

Some popular authors in 4KM and 4KJ are Enid Blyton and R.L. Stine. Some popular series are the Percy Jackson books and The Diary of a Wimpy kid.

Reading Activities Rotation

Our next activity for the day was a reading rotation. We worked in six groups and rotated around six different activities over two hours.

The activities were:

  • Reading big books
  • Reading instructions on an origami iPad app
  • Listening to a story on the iPods
  • Reading stories on the website, Ziptales
  • Making words on a game on the interactive whiteboard
  • Seeing how many words we could make out of the letters in “happy holidays”. Congratulations to our winners Trent, Loren, Thomas and Paige.
Here are some photos from the rotation. Thanks to photographer, Trent, for 4KM’s photos.

There’s Nothing Like a Good Fit Book

The Australian tourism commercial, “There’s Nothing Like Australia”, has been very popular in 4KM and 4KJ this term. Mrs Morris hasn’t been able to get this tune out of her head and thought of the song “There’s Nothing Like a Good Fit Book!”

In 4KM and 4KJ, we love reading good fit books. These are books that we are interested in, can comprehend and include words that are just right for us.

Here we are singing “There’s Nothing Like a Good Fit Book”. We hope you enjoy our performance!



What a Great Day

We finished the day by visiting the library to get some new books for the holidays, reading some blog posts and using some reading websites. Reading Day in 4KM and 4KJ was a big success!

What is your favourite book, author or series?

What did you think of our Reading Day?

Readers’ Theatre: The True Story of the Three Little Pigs

We have been focussing on using expression when reading as part of our CAFE reading program.

Using expression can mean changing:

  • rhythm – saying some parts slow and some parts fast.
  • pitch – making your voice go up and down. When you are asking a question, your voice goes up.
  • tone  – changing the sound of your voice for different characters or different parts of the story.
  • volume – saying some words louder or softer makes them stand out.

Last week we looked at some readers’ theatre performances on Mr Salsich’s class blog. You can find them here. We also read a range of readers’ theatre scripts to practise using expression.

Readers’ theatre is like a play but you don’t have to memorise your lines, you just read them. Instead of using costumes, sets and props to act out your performance, you just use an expressive voice.

The 4KM and 4KJ students liked the way Mr Salsich’s class had performed their scripts so much, they wanted to create their own.

Below is our performance of The True Story of the Three Little Pigs by John Scieszka.

Below is a copy of the script if you want to perform it yourself with your friends or classmates.

The True Story of the Three Little Pigs

If you do decide to perform the script, we’d love you to leave a comment and tell us about it!

What did you think of our performance?

Did you notice the students using expression?

What do you think about readers’ theatre?