"Of all the forms of water the tiny six-pointed crystals of ice called snow are incomparably the most beautiful and varied." -- Wilson Bentley (1865-1931)
'From the time he was a small boy in Vermont, Wilson Bentley saw snowflakes as small miracles. And he determined that one day his camera would capture for others the wonder of the tiny crystal. Bentley's enthusiasm for photographing snowflakes was often misunderstood in his time, but his patience and determination revealed two important truths: no two snowflakes are alike; and each one is startlingly beautiful. His story is gracefully told and brought to life in lovely woodcuts, giving children insight into a soul who had not only a scientist's vision and perseverance but a clear passion for the wonders of nature. Snowflake Bentley won the 1999 Caldecott Medal.'
The children learned a great deal about biographies, snowflakes, photography sheer determination, effort and creativity listening to, reading their own student booklets and watching videos about W. Bentley. We completed a GO chart for this book which had different elements of focus ( basic facts, traits, contributions, problems or obstacles he overcame and inventions). They helped by filling out their own GO chart and sharing to add to the class size one.
We will be completing our in class biography book report about Snowflake Bentley using numeorus resources to prepare them for their upcoming bio book report homework.
He was an interesting man! One student noted he had Rock Brain "...but the good kind."
On a regular basis I buy these great biography genre books for the classroom. I read 4-6 of them aloud a year to the class and assign many for book reports. I think reading non fiction an important aspect to my language arts period. So, I make a point of reading aloud and assigning non fiction books, articles etc. to the students. I have found reading aloud books from this seriesinspires and generates curiosity to learn & read more non fiction.
It is my classroom practice to create conditions where my students read silently, aloud, as well as hear text read to them. (read alouds) I read aloud to my class every morning to start the day. It is by far one of our favorite times of the day. I target specific types of questions and maintain an organized G.O. chart as we move through the book.
The kids LOVE this genre and this series of books. Many pick a book from this who was ( or what was) series as their weekly reading log books to take home or read during SSR. These books come in various reading levels, are informative about people they have heard about ( or not), include photographs and side articles about other people of influence. For example, Ghandi was another person who protested peacefully and influenced Martin Luther King who the author's included acbrief section about.
I leave these books out all year and there are always students who try to get through the two bins. I must now have a collection of over 50 books.
This week we finished a new book about Martin Luther King. The discussion was animated and the children expressed a wide range of emotions, asked questions and learned about what civil rights were about. Some cried when he was assassinated and we talked about how his life had inspired so many and still does. Many were surprised at the struggle and courage of so many and how children had been included.
They understood on a deeper level why there was no school on Monday.
As typical we created our large G.O. chart and time line during the read aloud and they blogged each day a response from a prompt. At the end we completed a worksheet where they could refer back to the book, a peer or use the G.O. if needed.