Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Ant and Grasshopper Teaches a Valuable Life Lesson

We just wrapped up another cycle with another amazing 2013-2014 Iowa Goldfinch Book Award nominee!  This cycle the students and I enjoyed learning a valuable life lesson from Ant and Grasshopper by Luli Gray!

This was a great book to follow after Runaway Wok by Yang Chang Compestine, another 2013-2014 Iowa Goldfinch Book Award nominee.  You can read about how much the students and I loved discovering how delightful this book is by checking out last week's blog post! http://outrageouslywildwonderfullibrarian.blogspot.com/2014/02/2-lessons-i-learned-from-runaway-wok.html

Before we read The Ant and Grasshopper by Luli Gray, I showed the students a good old Walt Disney cartoon titled as "A Walt Disney Silly Symphony - The Grasshopper and the Ants!"  You can watch this fun cartoon by clicking on the video picture icon!

I do my very best to promote that a book is 9 times out of 10 better than the movie, because that is what I truly believe.  In this lesson, I decided to show the cartoon and then read the book.  As I planned this book and its supporting read aloud connection, I asked myself the following questions.

  • By showing the cartoon first, would students be "begging" me to read the book as soon as the cartoon ended, or possibly even sooner?
  • If I were to read the book first, would students be "bored" with the cartoon, something I didn't want to to happen?

As I planned this lesson, I wondered, what would capture the students attention and create an opportunity for students to possibly make this particular book a possible front runner of a favorite Iowa Goldfinch Book Award nominee?  As I introduced each nominee during the first day of the Iowa Goldfinch Book Award unit, students declared their "favorites," even before I have read any of them during library skills classes!  For example, Press Here and Pete the Cat are two books that students immediately shouted out that they wanted them to win, as I introduced them during that first lesson.  I haven't even read those two books yet.  So, I try my best to promote EVERY book with the same consistent enthusiasm, but, I have to admit that it can be challenging when some of the books are clearly favorites of mine! ;)

As students watched the cartoon, before reading the story, I was completely mesmerized by how the students were engaged and drawn into the cartoon.  Even students who are restless and busy, sat still for the entire cartoon!  Check out these pictures to see how they were enthralled with the cartoon!

Even after actually showing the cartoon first, and then reading the book, and feeling like it was a success, I still contemplate (even as I write this blog post) as to whether I should have read the book and then show the cartoon, or cartoon first, and then book, as I had done in the lesson.  Why am I still reflecting on how I presented this lesson?!  After all, the students were on-task and fully engaged the entire time!  In addition, the students and I had wonderful, in-depth discussion after viewing the cartoon and reading the book.  I was quite pleased and excited to hear students use different reading and comprehension strategies they have learned from their classroom teachers in our discussions!  It could be that I am wondering if I would have gained the same results if I would have read the book first and then showed the cartoon!

Either way, The Ant and Grasshopper by Luli Gray was a delightful book!

And, what valuable life lesson did we learn from this book?!  Work before play goes a long way!