“Dinner and Drainpipes” Week 11 Fourth Grade
AlphaSkills Read with Sarah
Week 11 Fourth Grade
What’s for Dinner? (Non-fiction, Level 12, Stage 3) by Virginia King
and Elliot and the Drainpipe Kids (Fiction, Level 12, Stage 3) by Judith McKinnon
Both books for this week help students learn about other cultures in a very interesting way. What’s for Dinner is 47 pages full of recipes and stories about the food in various cultures. These stories, recipes and photographs give students a peak at what it would be like to join a Chinese lunch, an Indian dinner, Italian baking, an Iranian dinner, a Jamaican dinner, and a Thai restaurant. My fourth grader loved reading about the Thai restaurant most because the day we started this book we had just spent a few hours smelling the delicious scent of curry chicken that his daddy cooked for lunch. This gave us a huge advantage with this book because, having just tasted a curry dish himself, he was able to point out how our version of Thai food is different from the real stuff. Elijah also really liked learning about the Chinese lunch because of the word “yum cha.” He and his brother must have said this word a thousand times that day (unprompted by me, of course).
Elliot and the Drain Pipe Kids is a 32 page fiction book about a boy who moves to a new apartment and discovers a whole club of kids who communicate using the building’s drainpipe system, which turns out to be something that saves his life. Amid the exciting narrative of this book are several facts about Egyptian relics, which ties in nicely with the content of What’s for Dinner. My fourth grader Elijah really liked this book because he has always been fascinated with Egyptian culture, and because, of all the places we’ve lived, we have never lived in an apartment building. The thought of meeting new friends through a drainpipe was “pretty cool.” Also, I won’t spoil the surprise, but the end of this book has a twist that is pretty funny.
The activity I want to highlight this week is the Knowledge Chart graphic organizer that asks students to summarize key points from the story, ask good questions about the content, clarify problems that came while reading, and make predictions while checking them along the way. This really helped Elijah grasp the content of both books, and it also pointed to the talent of the authors in that most often we couldn’t predict what was coming next!
For more information about the AlphaSkills Read with Sarah curriculum and our family, see the AlphaSkills Blog Introduction.