K-2nd grade

All posts in the K-2nd grade category

Humphrey the Lost Whale, by Wendy Tokuda

Published November 3, 2015 by Dagmar

humphrey whaleI love to take my first graders on journeys around the world on library planes, boats and rocket ships.

Each year, I teach them about whales, and we read the fabulous book, The Snail and the Whale by Julia Donaldson. I promised them last week that we would get on our boat again and visit Humphrey, the humpback whale.

This is the true story of Humphrey the Lost Whale, a humpback whale that swam under the Golden Gate Bridge one day in 1985, right into San Francisco Bay. As wonderful a sight as it was, having a humpback whale as big as a city bus right there in the Bay, there was trouble ahead. Instead of swimming back to the ocean, Humphrey went the wrong way, through the Delta and up the Sacramento River.  The Sacramento River is fresh water. Whales need salt water to live.  Even more troubling, Humphrey squeezed himself under a very small bridge to a place in the river where the water was shallow and narrow.

Everyone banded together, scientists, the Coast guard and citizens. They made loud noises underwater to scare Humphrey back down the river to the Bay and the Pacific Ocean. Humphrey, tired, lonely and hungry headed back down the river, only to stop in front of the small bridge.  He couldn’t get through it. So, once again, his rescuers worked to help him, digging a bigger space for him under the bridge. Humphrey saw the hole and started to swim through, only to get suck in the pilings under the bridge. With a twist of his body, he got through the bridge and moved back toward San Francisco Bay and finally the ocean.

Humphrey came back to the San Francisco Bay several times after his dramatic rescue, one time requiring another rescue. This book combines just the right amount of suspense for young students. My students were waiting with baited breath to see if Humphrey could be saved and all cheered when he made it to the ocean again.

 

My Teacher is a Monster!, by Peter Brown

Published November 1, 2014 by Dagmar

teacher monsterPeter Brown, author of You Will Be My Friend and Children Make Terrible Pets, has written a new book that was a big success with my kindergarten students.

Running into your teacher outside school can be fun.  Or, if you think your teacher hates you, it can be “a terrible surprise.”

Ms. Kirby is always yelling at Bobby, especially when Bobby flies paper airplanes in class.  Ms. Kirby stomps, and she roars.  Ms. Kirby even looks just like a monster.  Bobby runs into Ms. Kirby sitting on a bench reading a book.  Not knowing quite what to do, and feeling awkward, Bobby sits next to her on the bench.  Suddenly, a gust of wind blows Ms. Kirby’s favorite hat off her head.  Bobby runs to catch Ms. Kirby’s hat.    Ms. Kirby is so grateful to Bobby that she thanks him and then shows him how she likes to quack with the ducks at the park.  Bobby decides to show Ms. Kirby his favorite part of the park.  Sitting at the top of a hill in the park, Ms. Kirby has an idea.  She pulls out a piece of paper and gives it to Bobby.  Bobby quickly folds it into an airplane and launches it.  It’s the best paper airplane flight ever.   Bobby and Ms. Kirby each decide the other is not so terrible.  In fact, Ms. Kirby starts looking like an actual teacher, instead of a monster.  It’s a great resolution…until Bobby throws a paper airplane in class.

I love Peter Brown’s dedication, “To misunderstood teachers and their misunderstood students.”  Have fun with this one!

North: The Amazing Story of Arctic Migration by Nick Dowson

Published April 19, 2014 by Dagmar

northNorth is a beautiful book describing seasonal changes in the Arctic and Arctic migration.

North begins with winter in the Arctic and its year-round residents, the polar bear and arctic fox.  When spring arrives, algae blooms, plants grow and the tundra turns green.  Animals and birds begin their migration to the Arctic, beginning with the gray whale, terns, bar-tailed godwits, snow geese, white cranes,  caribou, walrus, narwhal whales and more.  The text describes each creature’s journey, including what they eat as they travel.  By May, the ice sheets are cracking, opening new sea lanes for the migrating animals.  In summer the Arctic is lush flowers and grass, feeding the many animals that are now living in the Arctc.  When September arrives, the animals and birds begin to prepare for their journey south again.

It’s a wonderful way to introduce students to migration.  I read it to my 3rd grade students who really enjoyed the book.