I teach 2 blocks of 4th grade Balanced Literacy. My students are at- or above-grade level. We use the Lucy Calkins units of study. Our first unit is Building a Reading Life.For Lesson 1, I chose to use the book The Bee Tree by Patricia Polacco. During this lesson, students reflect on what makes reading wonderful for them. They think back over their lives as readers and identify pitfalls and peaks. In this book a young girl would rather be outside running than sitting inside reading. So her grandfather takes her on a journey to find a tree where bees make honey. Several people join their adventure along the way. Students learn that reading is as sweet as honey, but it takes hard work, support from other people, and some stickiness to become a successful reader.
At the end of the book, grandfather puts a drop of honey on the girl's book to remind her that reading is sweet. Right before I got to that part, I put a drop of honey on each child's finger. I told them not to do anything right away...I told them they would feel what to do when the time is right. They all started licking their honey as I read grandfather's words to the girl...perfection! The smiles and head nods told me they understood! For my Teach Like a Pirate colleagues, this Chef Hook was certainly a hit. I hope these students will always remember that reading is sweet.
During Independent Work Time, students made jottings about a time in their lives when they discovered that reading was sweet and wonderful. I keep the blocks' sticky notes different colors so they each have their own identity.
Here are some of their jottings: