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January 31, 2017

Teaching With Groovy Joe: Ice Cream and Dinosaurs

By Shari Carter
Grades PreK–K

    If you love Pete the Cat, then wait until you meet Groovy Joe! You and your students will absolutely flip over this charming story! Groovy Joe: Ice Cream and Dinosaurs features a fun-lovin’, guitar strummin’, ice cream-eatin’, doggy named Joe — who just so happens to think it is AWESOME to share!

    Using children’s literature to teach social skills such as sharing is an invaluable tool for teachers. When woven into an engaging story such as Groovy Joe: Ice Cream and Dinosaurs, positive behavior becomes more understandable and meaningful to students who often gain practical knowledge how to replicate these skills in their lives. To get this book on a shelf in your own classroom library, click here or on the image below of my sweet student sharing her new favorite book. Read on for ideas and activities to get the most out of Groovy Joe: Ice Cream and Dinosaurs.

    Interactive Books to Engage the Reader

    Some of the best books I’ve ever read to my students are the ones that are interactive. Interactive books require participation of the reader — and my kindergarteners LOVE to help me read a story. As much as I would love to pick up and read a book to my kinders without interruptions from them, I am keenly aware that reader interaction is vital to the progression of the story. Interactive books engage and pull students into the story.

    Groovy Joe is a wonderful example of an interactive book series and Eric Litwin has a knack for knowing exactly what kids love in a book. “Eric Litwin is the innovator of Multi-Learning Books. His books interweave traditional reading methods such as sight-words and phonetics with music, singing, movement, rhyme, rhythm, call-and-response, and repetition. This gives the emerging reader many ways to read, succeed, and fall in love with books!”  

    My Excitement for Groovy Joe!

    I couldn’t wait to get my hands on a copy of Groovy Joe: Ice Cream and Dinosaurs! I ordered it on my very first Scholastic Reading Club order, and the best part was — I didn’t even have to pay for it. I love the Reading Club and am always excited to use my bonus points to get great books for my classroom. When the book arrived, it did not disappoint. I was not sure if Groovy Joe could live up to Pete the Cat, but it did! I love it and my kids love it too — it is one of those books in my classroom that just never seems to stay on the bookshelf.

    Reading Groovy Joe by itself is a ton of fun, but what I love about this book is that there are many different themes that you can focus on with this story. The possible themes that come across my mind are dinosaurs, ice cream, dogs, and of course, sharing. Because I teach kindergarten and I LOVE ice cream, I decided to focus our activities using an ice cream theme with a little sharing mixed in. I hope you and your students have as much fun as we did when you try out some of these activities in your own classroom!

    Guided Reading

    A single reading of a good book is never enough! My kids were beyond excited to find out that they would be reading Groovy Joe once again during our guided reading rotations. Because the book has so much rhyme, repetition, and predictability, it is a perfect choice for kids to read with teacher guidance during small group instruction. Each group had so much fun reading (and singing…) during their time at the teacher table that the rest of the kids could barely wait their turn!

    Groovy Joe allows opportunity to read with prosody and expression — something that beginning readers need to practice. For me, the best part was watching them patiently wait for all the kids to turn the page so they could roar like the dinosaurs, or sing, “Love my doggy ice cream!” They were so cute, I had to stop and take a few pictures to capture the joy and excitement on their faces as they read! A good book has the power to elicit those feelings and for me, that is a very important goal that I constantly strive for.

     

    Word Work

    Word families in kindergarten are a big deal and we work on them a lot. This week I decided to focus on the -ice word family because I knew it would couple well with Groovy Joe. We got out the dry erase boards (which my kids always love) and together, came up with a really good list of -ice family words. I was super impressed that one of my kindergarteners came up with the word “advice!” After brainstorming -ice words, the kids had fun building an -ice word family ice cream cone!

    Math

    What’s your favorite kind of ice cream? Well ask a kindergartener that question, and you’ll have instant engagement! It only took a couple of minutes to construct an ice cream graph and record the data on it. The kids were so excited to see the results, wanting, of course, their flavor to win. Just picture tons of cheering and counting as each child excitedly comes up to place their scoop on the chart. After all the kids were done, we analyzed the data. We counted how many votes each flavor got; talked about less, more, and equal; and lastly, we discussed the difference between the flavors. I love when lessons are related to the real world!

    Letters and Sounds

    What a fun way to practice the sounds the letter “I” makes. Before the kids made their ice cream letter “I,” we talked about long and short vowel sounds, and we even talked about how the Magic “E” makes the vowel say its name (long vowel sound). My students were super-proud of their creations!

    Science

    My students would fire me if I didn’t do anything with REAL ice cream after reading, Groovy Joe: Ice Cream and Dinosaurs! And, I am one to never miss an opportunity to bring cooking (or ice cream-making) into my classroom. The kids love it, I love it, and it is just fun! If I could figure out a way to teach my students everything they need to know through cooking, I’d do it! But seriously, we made our very own ice cream — and, we made it in a bag!

    It was relatively easy and the kids had so much fun sharing and taking turns as we turned our liquid ingredients into delicious vanilla ice cream. The recipe was simple and the students enjoyed helping me measure out the ingredients. We made four bags of ice cream, one for each group to shake and pass around. I was even able to tweak the recipe just a bit so that my student with a dairy intolerance could eat it too. For her bag, we substituted organic coconut milk for the half and half. She was so happy to have ice cream and said it tasted great!

     

    When we were done eating our ice cream, we cleaned up — and yes, it makes a little watery mess as the ice melts away — and then we had a wonderful conversation about the liquid changing into a solid. I love hearing my students come up with their very own scientific explanations for why and how the liquid became a solid. Whenever we do things that get them thinking — I mean really thinking — it makes this teacher’s heart extremely happy!  

    If you don’t have a have a copy of Groovy Joe: Ice Cream and Dinosaurs yet, I urge you to put it on the top of your list of must-haves for your classroom. You won’t regret the purchase and soon you and your kids will be singing and roaring as you read this charming book!

    While I was at the ILA conference this summer, I learned that Eric Litwin was coming out with a new book series. I am a huge fan of Pete the Cat (also written by Litwin) and have loved reading his books to my children for years! I had the privilege to meet him at the author dinner cruise on the Boston Harbor at the conference. I was completely giddy and worked hard to contain my excitement when I realized he was one of the authors onboard. I am sure he gets pestered by fans like me all the time, but he was gracious about our meeting and even indulged me with a photo opportunity. I treasure that picture and it was so much fun to show it to my students. They think it’s pretty cool that I got to meet him —and so do I!

     

    What Fun Activities Are You Doing This Month?

    I would love to hear all about the fun things you and your students do with your favorite stories. Please use the comment area below to share your thoughts and activities.

    Thanks for reading and I hope your day is as sweet as ice cream!

    Hugs,

    Shari

     

    Check out my other blog posts!

     

    If you love Pete the Cat, then wait until you meet Groovy Joe! You and your students will absolutely flip over this charming story! Groovy Joe: Ice Cream and Dinosaurs features a fun-lovin’, guitar strummin’, ice cream-eatin’, doggy named Joe — who just so happens to think it is AWESOME to share!

    Using children’s literature to teach social skills such as sharing is an invaluable tool for teachers. When woven into an engaging story such as Groovy Joe: Ice Cream and Dinosaurs, positive behavior becomes more understandable and meaningful to students who often gain practical knowledge how to replicate these skills in their lives. To get this book on a shelf in your own classroom library, click here or on the image below of my sweet student sharing her new favorite book. Read on for ideas and activities to get the most out of Groovy Joe: Ice Cream and Dinosaurs.

    Interactive Books to Engage the Reader

    Some of the best books I’ve ever read to my students are the ones that are interactive. Interactive books require participation of the reader — and my kindergarteners LOVE to help me read a story. As much as I would love to pick up and read a book to my kinders without interruptions from them, I am keenly aware that reader interaction is vital to the progression of the story. Interactive books engage and pull students into the story.

    Groovy Joe is a wonderful example of an interactive book series and Eric Litwin has a knack for knowing exactly what kids love in a book. “Eric Litwin is the innovator of Multi-Learning Books. His books interweave traditional reading methods such as sight-words and phonetics with music, singing, movement, rhyme, rhythm, call-and-response, and repetition. This gives the emerging reader many ways to read, succeed, and fall in love with books!”  

    My Excitement for Groovy Joe!

    I couldn’t wait to get my hands on a copy of Groovy Joe: Ice Cream and Dinosaurs! I ordered it on my very first Scholastic Reading Club order, and the best part was — I didn’t even have to pay for it. I love the Reading Club and am always excited to use my bonus points to get great books for my classroom. When the book arrived, it did not disappoint. I was not sure if Groovy Joe could live up to Pete the Cat, but it did! I love it and my kids love it too — it is one of those books in my classroom that just never seems to stay on the bookshelf.

    Reading Groovy Joe by itself is a ton of fun, but what I love about this book is that there are many different themes that you can focus on with this story. The possible themes that come across my mind are dinosaurs, ice cream, dogs, and of course, sharing. Because I teach kindergarten and I LOVE ice cream, I decided to focus our activities using an ice cream theme with a little sharing mixed in. I hope you and your students have as much fun as we did when you try out some of these activities in your own classroom!

    Guided Reading

    A single reading of a good book is never enough! My kids were beyond excited to find out that they would be reading Groovy Joe once again during our guided reading rotations. Because the book has so much rhyme, repetition, and predictability, it is a perfect choice for kids to read with teacher guidance during small group instruction. Each group had so much fun reading (and singing…) during their time at the teacher table that the rest of the kids could barely wait their turn!

    Groovy Joe allows opportunity to read with prosody and expression — something that beginning readers need to practice. For me, the best part was watching them patiently wait for all the kids to turn the page so they could roar like the dinosaurs, or sing, “Love my doggy ice cream!” They were so cute, I had to stop and take a few pictures to capture the joy and excitement on their faces as they read! A good book has the power to elicit those feelings and for me, that is a very important goal that I constantly strive for.

     

    Word Work

    Word families in kindergarten are a big deal and we work on them a lot. This week I decided to focus on the -ice word family because I knew it would couple well with Groovy Joe. We got out the dry erase boards (which my kids always love) and together, came up with a really good list of -ice family words. I was super impressed that one of my kindergarteners came up with the word “advice!” After brainstorming -ice words, the kids had fun building an -ice word family ice cream cone!

    Math

    What’s your favorite kind of ice cream? Well ask a kindergartener that question, and you’ll have instant engagement! It only took a couple of minutes to construct an ice cream graph and record the data on it. The kids were so excited to see the results, wanting, of course, their flavor to win. Just picture tons of cheering and counting as each child excitedly comes up to place their scoop on the chart. After all the kids were done, we analyzed the data. We counted how many votes each flavor got; talked about less, more, and equal; and lastly, we discussed the difference between the flavors. I love when lessons are related to the real world!

    Letters and Sounds

    What a fun way to practice the sounds the letter “I” makes. Before the kids made their ice cream letter “I,” we talked about long and short vowel sounds, and we even talked about how the Magic “E” makes the vowel say its name (long vowel sound). My students were super-proud of their creations!

    Science

    My students would fire me if I didn’t do anything with REAL ice cream after reading, Groovy Joe: Ice Cream and Dinosaurs! And, I am one to never miss an opportunity to bring cooking (or ice cream-making) into my classroom. The kids love it, I love it, and it is just fun! If I could figure out a way to teach my students everything they need to know through cooking, I’d do it! But seriously, we made our very own ice cream — and, we made it in a bag!

    It was relatively easy and the kids had so much fun sharing and taking turns as we turned our liquid ingredients into delicious vanilla ice cream. The recipe was simple and the students enjoyed helping me measure out the ingredients. We made four bags of ice cream, one for each group to shake and pass around. I was even able to tweak the recipe just a bit so that my student with a dairy intolerance could eat it too. For her bag, we substituted organic coconut milk for the half and half. She was so happy to have ice cream and said it tasted great!

     

    When we were done eating our ice cream, we cleaned up — and yes, it makes a little watery mess as the ice melts away — and then we had a wonderful conversation about the liquid changing into a solid. I love hearing my students come up with their very own scientific explanations for why and how the liquid became a solid. Whenever we do things that get them thinking — I mean really thinking — it makes this teacher’s heart extremely happy!  

    If you don’t have a have a copy of Groovy Joe: Ice Cream and Dinosaurs yet, I urge you to put it on the top of your list of must-haves for your classroom. You won’t regret the purchase and soon you and your kids will be singing and roaring as you read this charming book!

    While I was at the ILA conference this summer, I learned that Eric Litwin was coming out with a new book series. I am a huge fan of Pete the Cat (also written by Litwin) and have loved reading his books to my children for years! I had the privilege to meet him at the author dinner cruise on the Boston Harbor at the conference. I was completely giddy and worked hard to contain my excitement when I realized he was one of the authors onboard. I am sure he gets pestered by fans like me all the time, but he was gracious about our meeting and even indulged me with a photo opportunity. I treasure that picture and it was so much fun to show it to my students. They think it’s pretty cool that I got to meet him —and so do I!

     

    What Fun Activities Are You Doing This Month?

    I would love to hear all about the fun things you and your students do with your favorite stories. Please use the comment area below to share your thoughts and activities.

    Thanks for reading and I hope your day is as sweet as ice cream!

    Hugs,

    Shari

     

    Check out my other blog posts!

     

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