Tuesday, February 18, 2014

2 Lessons I Learned From Runaway Wok

Last week I wrapped up another cycle of Iowa Goldfinch Award nominees with students in grades K-2.  Due to Valentine's Day on Friday, snow day on Monday, and other typical crazy-busy schedule obligations, I am now finally able to blog about last week's amazing book and two unforgettable lessons I learned about this particular Iowa Goldfinch nominee book!


In January, when I first introduced the 2013-2014 Iowa Goldfinch Award nominees to students, I admit there are some books I was instantly excited about, some books I wasn't sure if I would like, and some books appeared to be, well, blah and boring.  You can read about how I introduced the books by clicking here to read Iowa Goldfinch Award Kick-Off. 

I learned two unforgettable lessons about Runaway Wok by Yang Chang Compestine.

1st Lesson I Learned... When I saw this book on the poster and unpacked this particular from the box of Iowa Goldfinch nominee books from Follett, I embarrassingly admit that I wasn't too excited about this book.  The cover didn't scream "this is a must read" or "you will love this book" to me.  Despite hearing the famous quote, "don't judge a book by its cover," I clearly was judging this book by its cover.

As I read the book to students with different voices for the characters, I couldn't help but get more and more into the story.  This story was a pleasant surprise!  Going into it, the book cover wasn't appealing and I wasn't sure if I would like this story or get excited about it.  Well, I can definitely say that this book is amazing and one I highly recommend.  As I read the last sentence of the story to the students, each time, "And to think it all started with a rusty wok with no handle," I couldn't help but think to myself, each time, "And to think I judged a book by its cover, shame on me!"


2nd Lesson I Learned... After reading the story, thanks to Dallas Center Grimes K-8 teacher-librarian Sandi Ellis and K-4 teacher-librarian Melissa White, the students and I enjoyed playing a Chinese New Year's game.  You can read about their delightful experience by clicking on their blog post they wrote about Runaway Wok.

This Chinese New Year game is a freebie from Sandy Cangelosi's blog Sweet Integrations. You can access the game documents when you CLICK HERE.



Not only did I truly learn the meaning of "don't judge a book by its cover," but I also learned quite a bit when teaching, modeling, and having students play this game.  Due to the fact I don't have a paraprofessional this year and a time factor, I had students play the game a certain way.

On the first day, this is what I did...

  • Read Aloud
    • Run-away Wok by Yang Compestine
  • Read Aloud Connection
    • Run-away Wok - Chinese New Year Board Game
      • Resources
      • Teacher-librarian explains and models how to play game
        • How the groups will be assigned
          • Teacher-librarian will assign students to work in groups of 2-3 students
        • Materials needed for the game
          • Each student will have a place marker
          • Each student will receive a paper with coins on it
          • Each group will have a group of crayons to use to color in the coins
          • Each group will have 1 dice
        • How to Play (see attached game rules for further understanding
          • 1st = Each student will roll the dice
            • Highest # will go first > then go around the circle
          • Each student will take a turn to roll the dice
          • Land on…
            • animal = Color in 1 coin
            • horse or coin = color in 2 coins
            • 1st person to palace = color in 2 coins
          • Everyone must travel to the palace
          • Who wins?
            • Person who colors in the most coins WINS

After the first day, I reflected and made changes to improve the game.  Wow, did it make everything so much easier and better after making the changes!

This is what I changed and improved upon, after the 1st day...

        • Teacher-librarian explains and models how to play game
          • How the groups will be assigned
            • Teacher-librarian will assign students to work in groups of 2-3 students
          • Materials needed for the game
            • Each group of 2 will receive a game board (in plastic protector sheet) and an envelope
            • In the envelope, there should be…
              • A place marker for each student
              • A pile of paper coins
              • Each group will have 1 dice
          • How to Play (see attached game rules for further understanding)
            • 1st = Each student will roll the dice
            • Highest # will go first > then the other student
            • Each student will take a turn to roll the dice
            • Land on…
              • animal = Take 1 coin from the large pile
              • horse or coin = Take 2 coins from the large pile
              • 1st person to palace = Take 2 coins from the large pile
            • Everyone must travel and reach the palace
            • Who wins?
              • Person who has the most coins WINS

Just by changing the materials, delivery of materials, and how to play the game, students were able to play more rounds of the game.

Today, Tuesday, February 18, 2014, students came to IC Skills (Library Skills) and immediately asked if we get to play that Chinese New Year's game again.


So, I learned 2 lessons from this amazing book Runaway Wok by Yang Chang Compestine.
1. Don't Judge a Book by its Cover
2. When a teacher reflects upon a lesson, and then makes changes and improvements, it truly is a win/win for both the teacher and the students.


Check out these pictures of students having fun playing Chinese New Year Game.