“Hungry Boy vs. Tattooed Biker” Week 7 Fourth Grade
Help Yourself (Fiction, Level 12, Stage 3) by David Hill
All About Bicycles (Non-fiction, Level 12, Stage 3) by ___
The books in this week’s kit were a huge hit in my house. The first, Help Yourself, is about a boy who is so preoccupied with working his paper route and buying yummy treats for himself that he ends up in a big misunderstanding with a biker dude who is tattooed from head to toe, and the boy actually comes out on top. The second, All About Bicycles, is a non-fiction piece about the history of bicycles that is surprisingly written in a way to which fourth graders can really connect. It’s not every week that the books in the fourth grade kits are ones that my other son, a first grader, begs his brother to see (it’s usually the other way around), but this was definitely one of those weeks, and my first grader loved the stories as well.
The activity I want to highlight this week is the Independent Assessment Booklet. This is a rather extensive assessment that comes with a few books every month, and it contains elements that really help students explore the content, context, technical elements, vocabulary, and critical thinking items in the book. It’s no secret that some students love to take tests and complete extensive writing assignments, while these tasks leave others in tears. My son just so happens to be in the latter group, so I am always a bit nervous when I see an IAB in the AlphaSkills kit. I know it’s extremely good for him to do them, but I always dread the look of disappointment on his face when I assign the pages. This week I really saw the value of these little assessment booklets when Elijah started taking shortcuts and guessing on the questions asking about context, and I had to ask him to go back and look up the context on the pages referenced rather than guessing. He got several incorrect, and it really made me think. What if he had kept on thinking that context was just something to guess about rather than take the time to look up and see that word meanings change significantly based on the context?! Moments like these are why I love this curriculum so much!
For more information about the AlphaSkills Read with Sarah curriculum and our family, see the AlphaSkills Blog Introduction.