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Thursday, March 31, 2011

The Measure of a Good Book!

Some of my favorite books to share with children are the ones that cause them to gasp out loud and shout, "WHOA!" My kindergarten classes have been amazed by the book Actual Size by Steve Jenkins. Its large format is the perfect showcase for his illustrations: animals both big and small created at "actual size". Many animals are tiny enough to be shown whole, but the pages that feature the largest animals can only accomodate a face, or even just an eye! (Did you know that just the eye of a squid can be 12 inches in diameter?!)

The children have been learning about inches and measurement in Mrs. Smith's class, so this seemed like the perfect time to share this remarkable book. I gave each student a ruler to hold while I shared the book, and we stopped lots of times so they could take turns measuring the animals on each page. (Yeah, they also spent some time measuring themselves and each other!) One ruler wasn't long enough to show the length of the Alaskan brown bear, so we figured out that 13 students could stand up and hold their rulers end-to-end! (I asked the students if it would be okay to overlap our rulers since that made them easier to hold, but they said that would make our line too short.)

The saltwater crocodile, at 23 feet long, posed an even bigger problem. (Heehee - pun intended!) We didn't have 23 students to show how long this monster reaches, so we measured a length of string instead.

They were so enthusiastic, I waited to collect their rulers until after their book selection time!