Teaching Kindergarten With Clark the Shark
- Grades: PreK–K, 1–2
There are a lot of adjustments for students who are entering pre-k, kindergarten, and first grade classrooms. Each year brings new expectations that students have to quickly master in order to be successful. Of course every teacher has tricks to help new students adjust. One of my favorites are read-aloud books. I love children’s literature and am constantly looking for new books to help my students become eager life-long learners. This year, my new best friend is Clark the Shark by Bruce Hale. Here is the who, how, and what of this great new addition to my classroom library.
Who is Clark the Shark?
I’m going to state the obvious here, but I promise to delve deeper. Clark is a shark. Clark has what I call a “big personality.” He has a good heart and is very rambunctious. He acts impulsively and when we meet sweet Clark he doesn’t really have control over his body. Does that sound like any students you know? All I have to do is replace the name "Clark" with any number of kids I’ve had the privilege of teaching. It’s unbelievable how much he sounds like my students.
How Can Clark Help Teach 21st Century Learners?
Clark is a great example when you need a student to find his or her own solution to a problem. When I teach with Clark, I'll tell my students, "Remember when Clark came up with his own answer? I know if you think about it you can come up with your own answer too!" His story inspires creative problem-solving and helps to create independent thinkers.
What Are Some Clark the Shark Activities?
- Clark struggles in three different areas of school. After reading the book, have your class create rules for all three of the different areas. Different rules apply in each area offering kids a great opportunity to learn what is appropriate in different scenarios.
- Another great activity is Find the Fib. This is a natural introduction to the terms fiction and nonfiction. Download this Find the Fib PDF for an extension activity that also helps your students get to know each other.
- When reading this book for the first time, there are several natural places to stop reading and ask students to make predictions. One “LOL” prediction my class made was right after Clark ate the other students’ lunches. They thought he was going to eat all the little fish in the school!
- Read the book a second time the following day and ask students to fill in the last word of each of the rules that Clark creates. This is a good way to introduce rhyming words.
A new Clark the Shark book called Clark the Shark Dares to Share is set for publication in January of 2014. I'm looking forward to when my students and I can meet our favorite shark again later in the school year. As I mentioned earlier, I love finding new books to help me teach a topic but with Clark the Shark, I think I found a new friend. The best part is, my friendship with Clark is one that I will revisit in the first days of school with each new group of kindergarteners for years to come! You can purchase Clark the Shark when you log in to the Scholastic Reading Club.
I can’t wait to see you next week.