…the wonderful wizard of oz! Along with the new Common Core state standards (the new objectives that will be used across the entire country), there is a list of Common Core exemplar texts (books that are at a level your child should be reading or listening to at each grade level). One of the books on the first grade list for exemplar read-alouds is “The Wizard of Oz” by Frank Baum. Typically I’ve also read the students chapter books after lunch because I feel it was a skill they needed to learn- how to sit quietly and listen to a book with not many pictures, so they could learn to visual things in their heads. This year, I’ve been trying to incorporate more of the exemplar texts into this time of the day. Starting with- The Wizard of Oz!
We started the book the day we got back from winter break, the beginning of January. Each day, we read about half of a chapter, sometimes more and sometimes less, depending on the day, the students attention, etc. We finished the book about the second week of March- whew! It did take us a while and at times I was worried the vocabulary was too high, but the students were actively engaged in the book each day! They could summarize parts and chapters to me and partners. They loved repeating funny lines or parts from the story. And when we were done and I gave them a comprehension test, all of them did wonderful on it! Most of all, I think it was such an enriching experience for them. The words drew us in and started conversations for us. The students got to practice picturing cyclones and Munckins, and Wicked Witches in their heads. I am very glad we read it in class!
After we finished reading the book, we (of course) watched the movie version. While the students loved watching the movie, I loved watching the students! Every time something happened in the movie that had been in the book, all their hands shot into the air! They could make tons of connections between the two. Small details in the movie (like Glina kissing Dorothy goodbye or Oz calling himself a humbug) were BIG parts in the book and the students pointed them out in the movie.
When the movie was finished, we started our opinion pieces about which we liked better: movie or book? For teachers out there, we used this organizer: Wizard of Oz Opinion Projects to complete our projects. The students filled out the organizer with what their opinion was and supported their opinion with 3 reasons. Writing opinion pieces is a Common Core writing skill, so incorporating it into this project was important! The more Common Core we can do, the better prepared the students are!
The next step in the project was decorating it. I wanted to do something that would visually show what their opinion was and something that related to the book. The perfect thing- Dorothy’s shoes! The students each cut out and color Dorothy’s famous slippers and glued them to the tops of their papers. The students who picked they liked the movie better, colored their shoes red- like in the movie. The students who said they liked the book better, colored their shoes silver. Why? Because in the original book, her shoes are silver! Isn’t that funny? Who knew? 🙂
We also attached white strips of paper for her legs. The last step was adding some sparkle.
I had the students bring their papers over and put their papers in the top of a box. That way, the glitter could be contained 😉
Here are two final products, one from a student who liked the book better (silver shoes):
Overall, the experience of reading this book and doing the opinion writing was fantastic! The students worked hard, showed what they had learned, and had fun!