Friday, March 2, 2012

Reading in the Classroom: Read Across America & Dr. Seuss's Birthday

We've been busy in the classroom this week (as every week, especially as the state-standardized tests loom in the late spring). Today, however, we took a little break.

Today's lesson plan was inspired by three events:

In order to celebrate, I planned a lesson entirely around these three events. We began by reading Dr. Seuss's The Lorax, which until preparing for this lesson I hadn't ever read. Although the book still encompasses the colorful illustrations and made-up language of other Seuss books, the theme is very much an ageless one. In fact, while children would understand the "love the trees" message of the book, older students can explore deeper truths exposed regarding pollution and industry.

After reading this aptly-called cautionary tale, we discussed the domino-like chain of causes-and-effects in the book. First, the Once-ler arrives. Then, after seeing the truffula trees, he cuts one down. After cutting one down, he creates a thneed. He sells the thneed, which makes him greedy for more sales. He cuts more truffula trees in order to make more thneeds, eventually building a factory. The factory leads to a depletion in truffula trees, which then leads to the extinction of the animals living in the forest. Basically, the entire book lends itself to one long chain of causes-and-effects. 

We then switched gears and talked poetry. We are making a "Poetree," you see. A tree full of poetry -- "to speak for the trees, for the trees have no tongues." We talked about the haiku as a poetry form, and I shared some haiku from the book If Not for the Cat. Then, my students wrote haiku poems inspired by The Lorax. We'll hang these outside on the wall on our "Poetree" next week!

We had short classes because of the storms moving through our area today (school dismissed at 12:30), so only my homeroom got to participate in my last activity. We made truffula tree bookmarks by finger-knitting them. The kids had a lot of fun, and now they have bookmarks for all those Accelerated Reader books they're reading!

Finger Knit Truffula Tree Bookmarks

1 comment:

  1. Really love how you made these activities your own. Thank you for sharing!



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