|"Grandfather Tang's Story" Book Cover|
Hello, everyone! Do you ever get the feeling that if there were just two more hours in the day, you could get everything done? I've been feeling like that a lot lately. I want to be the best mom, the greatest wife, the most fantastic teacher, and a terrific blogger at the same time. I feel like pulling out my hair! I don't know how some of you amazing people can blog every couple of days. I really wish I could. I'm sorry. That was my rant for the day.
Today, I read this fabulous treasure, Grandfather Tang's Story by Ann Tompert, with my kindergarten students. They really made a lot of connections to Transformers. Using tangrams, a grandfather and his granddaughter make different animals out of shapes to represent a story about fox fairies that can change their forms. The boys in my class, especially, were really psyched over the chase scenes in this story. The interesting thing is a lot of the children thought that the two fox fairies would make up by the end of the book. I asked them why they thought that, and a few said "Well, because they're friends, and sometimes friends just fight for a little while." It's interesting that they don't realize this when they're arguing, but they can realize it when you're reading a story to them. Hmmm.
I made a paper with tangram shapes on it, which you can use with your students if you don't have real tangrams to use. What I did was print this out on different colors of printer paper (yellow for goldfish, green for turtles or crocodiles, blue for bluebirds, orange for lions, etc.). Then my students cut out the shapes, arranged them for about ten minutes, then glued them in the animal form that they liked. "Did this activity work?", you might ask. Well, I have to be perfectly honest. For most of my students, I'd have to say yes. There were a few who kept saying "How do I make a fox?" or "How do I make a bunny?". I kept telling them it doesn't matter if it looks like the animal in the book. Just make it the way you want your fox to look. I think if I would have started by having them play with the shapes, and then read the book second, it might have brought about more creativity than the children trying to replicate what was in the book. If any of you have done this, or something like it, with your students, please let me know how to reach those few students who say they can't do it without help.