Chocolate Milk, Por Favor {Celebrating Diversity with Empathy}

Strength lies in differences, not similarities. 
{Stephen R Covey} 
We are all diverse people. And celebrating our differences, as well as our common interests, helps unite and educate us.  Maria Dismondy, an award-winning author, specializes in books about challenges children face. A topic close to her heart, Maria's own childhood experience inspired her first book, Spaghetti in a Hot Dog Bun.  Maria's dedication to empowering children with courage and confidence has reached new heights, touching the hearts and hands of children the world over.  Grounded in her belief that all children deserve a voice, Maria's latest book, Chocolate Milk, Por Favor, drives home the important message of celebrating diversity with kindness, inclusion and empathy.
Link to Amazon by clicking book image. 
My classroom is a melting pot of cultural differences.  I, as the teacher, have to facilitate and educate my little bits on how to appreciate and understand other perspectives.  Knowledge is the key to tolerance.  As we navigate through the year and face challenges, I guide my student's in gaining a new perspective on the lives of others in our classroom and the world around us.  Maria's newly published book, Chocolate Milk, Por Favor opened up great discussion as many students could relate to the character, Gabe. 

Johnny is a big fan of school but that all changes when the new kid, Gabe arrives.  Gabe doesn't speak any English, and that doesn't stop Johnny from going out of his way to be unkind.  But what will Johnny do when Gabe starts to make new friends?  Will he join in the fun of making a new friend or turn the other way?  Johnny realizes a powerful message in this story where student differences are celebrated.  Read to find out how chocolate milk plays a major role in the discovery of the real universal language.
I encourage you to take a moment and watch the trailer.
As a sought-after speaker, Maria spreads her message by presenting at schools and conferences across the country.  She holds degrees in education and child development.  Maria lives in southeastern Michigan with her husband, Dave, and their three book-loving children.

Stay in touch with Maria Dismondy. 

CHOMP! Themed Learning with a FREEBIE!

Happy Sunday, Friends!  I hope you are staying afloat as we officially begin to countdown the days until summer! 
This is the time of year where engagement is lower due to exhaustion!  Students are easily as tapped out as teachers!  To ensure engagement with rigor, I set the stage for an underwater adventure and raised the bar with the content taught! My kids rose to the challenge!

A few party streamers and a couple of inflatable sharks made such an impact!  I'm aware many schools are unable to hang from their ceiling due to monitoring systems.  I get it!  I was at a school for nearly 10 years and had some of the same challenges.  I'm blessed to be in an environment where this is no longer the case!  Each time the AC kicked on, the streamers blew as if the seaweed began to travel with the tide! This elicited such an amazing reaction from the kids!

Over several weeks, I guided students while researching sharks.  With a class full of English learners, I feel it's important to instruct on ONE topic until there is an understanding of how to gather information.  The kids will have a chance to write individual reports on a topic of their choice with a follow up report. 
I prepared a complete unit on sharks!
Click to Link
To ensure a successful adventure exploring sharks, I linked digital resources in the above file.  My favorite website is Jonathan Bird's Blue World TV!
Throughout the two weeks, my students were exposed to a variety of fiction and nonfiction texts about sharks. 
One of my kids absolute FAVORITE fictional reads was The Three Little Fish and the BIG BAD SHARK!!!  They were enchanted with the familiar story. 

At the start of the shark unit, we began with a KWL.  While kids completed their own graphic organizer, I charted their background knowledge and questions. 

Each of my lessons began with an introduction to vocabulary.  In the above unit, I provided vocabulary cards, a vocabulary book, and/or interactive pages.  I used reading and science to introduce vocabulary on the first day of sharks.

This unit provides a diverse amount of vocabulary.  Not all words have to be instructed.  Select the ones that work best for your class needs.  Divide the words into different lessons.  I used the above words in my reading instruction.
Following vocabulary instruction in reading, I shared Jason Bird's introductory video on sharks.  This 10 minute underwater adventure provided my students with a concrete example of the previously instructed words! 
The above set of words were used in science.  The vocabulary featured helped explain some of the sharks' super senses and assisted in their diagrams.
For the remaining reading lessons that week, I used fictional stories about sharks.  This allowed practice with comprehension strategies.  You can review previously taught strategies or instruct on the strategy that aligns with your learning progression.

For the remaining science lessons that week, I introduced each shark featured below. I included a poster for each shark and a page with three facts for each of the following: anatomy, habitat, pups, diet, and fun facts.  All facts and poster fit perfectly on one chart paper. 

During the second week of instruction, we practiced our vocabulary with the informational reader provided in the above unit.  I projected the color copy on the screen.  A copy of the vocabulary words are displayed on the board underneath.  Each of the vocabulary words were underlined in the text.  A blackline was provided, too.  I printed a copy for each student to read independently throughout the week and for small groups to guide my littlest learners!   

During the second week of science instruction, I read What If You Had Animal Teeth?  This story was a perfect way to instruct adaptations.  My students quickly identified the story had a fictional and nonfictional component. 

For the follow up activity, my students used construction paper to create themselves and added sharks teeth!  

The kids were terribly excited to hold and examine shark teeth!
We read and explored a few books on food chains and food webs during science.  My favorite book to teach ecosystems is What If There Were No Sea Otters?  This story gives a wonderful explanation of the loss that can be experienced when one component of the food chain becomes extinct. 
To follow up, we created our own food chain with the marine images provided in my unit.  The chain became another decoration for our underwater experience.  I simply attached their images to the party streamers already hanging in the classroom. 

The following lesson dove into food webs.  I hung each of the marine images from my unit on yarn and placed around my students' necks.  The kids were positioned around our instructional rug.  I handed a ball of yarn to the top predator of the food chain.  He tossed the yarn to prey.  We continued to toss the yarn down the food chain. Each student held on to the yarn tightly. I cut the yarn and handed it back to the top predator.  He tossed the yarn to different prey, creating a new food chain.  The yarn became a tangled mess but a fantastic visual example of a food web.

For the follow up activity, the kids created a marine food web. I'm aware the arrows go in the opposite direction, I decided to have the kids draw arrows from predator to prey.  If you recall, I instruct a group of first grade English learners.  Many are working to understand the vocabulary.  The visual needed to represent our lesson with yarn!

During dismissal each day, I used a book of guided drawings to assist students in creating a tropical reef for our back cover of the published books. Learn to Draw Sea Creatures was purchased at Michaels!

We began writing about sharks during the second week of our themed unit.  During readers, I used many of the non fiction texts and reviewed all the text features previously instructed and introduced captions. 

I allowed students to determine their heading, but without my support there was mass confusion, so I provided the heading for each day.  The kids used their fact sheets, books, and their informational reader to assist in writing their own paper. 
Example of  Medium Level Vocabulary


Example of  High Level Vocabulary

I purchased the colors for the cover in one fabulous pack from Michaels.  The template for the craft is provided in my unit!

To conclude, we had a shark celebration.  I invited a third grade class to visit.  The kids shared their smarts as they helped define the vocabulary used in our unit, read their books to a third grade partner, and passed around a 4D model of the shark.  It was fun watching the kids become a teacher and explaining content.

I sent my darlings home with a shark picture, shark tooth necklace, and remarkable memories!

To follow up, my kids will create a non fiction paper independently on a topic of their choice. I created an editable freebie to assist students in writing expository papers. Provided are four animal groups with 12 animals in each group.

Aquatic: crab, crocodile, dolphin, duck, fish, frog, octopus, sea horse, shark, toad, turtle, and whale

Farm: billy goat, chicken, cow, cat, dog, duck, horse, mouse, pig, rooster, sheep, and turkey

Forest: bear, beaver, deer, fox, gopher, hedgehog, owl, rabbit, raccoon, rat, skunk, and squirrel

Wild: elephant, flamingo, giraffe, hippopotamus, kangaroo, lion, monkey, penguin, rhinoceros, sloth, snake, and zebra

The file has writing papers like the ones from our shark reports above.  It's filled with text features. The editable file includes a title page, table of contents, headings, captions, bold print words, diagram (labels), map, and a glossary. Also provided are tools for students to write with proper conventions. Two checklists will assist students in editing their papers.

Whew, congrats on making it through my extra long post.  This file will remain on sale for a short time.  I sure hope you enjoy the freebie!  Best wishes on a success week!