Saturday, March 29, 2014

Tails Scanned and Projected

Book:  What Do You Do with a Tail Like This    
          by Steve Jenkins & Robin Page
Puppets:   none
Props:   none
Technology:  Scanned images and PowerPoint
Presenters: one
Audience:  K-2

We've been doing our "K-2 Book Adventure" program for four years now, so we're able to repeat themes we've used a couple years ago, which saves a bunch of time.  We rarely repeat the program exactly, though, because it's just a little more fun if you add at least one new thing.  For the 2014 version of our "Caldecott Celebration"  (we also did it in 2012), we wanted to add a non-fiction book to the mix.  The obvious choice was Locomotive, the 2014 Medal book, but it's still too popular: we need to have at least 8 or 10 copies available for checkout.  So we decided on the 2004 Caldecott Honor book, What Do You Do with a Tail Like This?

Since the illustrations are so excellent, we scanned selected images and projected them.  We also wanted to convey the clever design of the book, but also make it work well for a large group.   A two page spread shows five tails neatly arranged.  So we showed that, then added an arrow that would point to each tail as we clicked:

We asked the kids to identify the tail, and of course K's, 1's, and 2's did that pretty easily.  We had a few "snake" for the "lizard" (actually a skink, but we accept lizard) and one or two "lobsters" for "scorpion," but most got them right.  Then we click again to show the tail image again, opposite the illustration from the following page which shows the animal using its tail with a brief explanation:

We did that for all five "tail" examples.  Again most kids were able to guess the purpose of the animal tails, but that's not a bad thing with a group presentation of a book like this.  They get to show how much they know, but at the same time the book is intriguing enough that they still want to check it out.  And most (but not all) were stumped by the skink, whose tail breaks off, then later can grow back.  

After going through this pattern with all five tails, we clicked to a page from the back matter, where Jenkins & Page provide more details about each animal:

It would be fun to go through the whole book this way, but we were using more of a booktalk approach, showing them just enough about it to get them hooked, but leaving plenty more for them to discover when they check out the book.  So we ended by just telling them that "tails aren't the only thing this book is about....for example:  What do you do with feet like these?:

And that's where we ended it.  It was a fun and easy booktalk to do, and successful:  all twelve copies got checked out, so it did just as well as This is Not My Hat, A Ball for Daisy, and the other books we featured.  

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