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Wednesday

April 2014

23

Cushing students encounter Willy Wonka Extravaganza

Cushing third-graders took time out recently to celebrate the completion of the Wisconsin Knowledge and Concepts Examinations (WKCE) through an exercise using an interactive read-aloud to demonstrate active thinking and reading strategies.

This work was wrapped around the first-ever Willy Wonka Extravaganza and supported Steve Page and Megan Sayas' introduction to the next unit of study, Following Characters into Meaning. Using "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory," an all-time favorite story from Roald Dahl, the combined third-grade classes shared their understanding of literature.

One strategy focus was envisioning.

"We envisioned while Mrs. Sayas read aloud, making a movie in our mind about the setting and characters," said third-grader Savanna Lemke.

Students created their own images of what the story looked like in their minds and then compared those images to the movie. "I envisioned the Oompa Loompas being much smaller," reported Amalie Larson.

After studying the characters, setting and exciting events in the book, students returned to school in the evening to watch the movie "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory" in the Cushing Activity Center. Students and parents came wearing pajamas and snuggled into sleeping bags while snacking on popcorn and Willy Wonka candy of course. The learning and fun with family has prompted Page and Sayas to consider other events outside of the school day to celebrate student achievement.

After the Willy Wonka Extravaganza, the classes took some time to discuss the similarities and differences between the book and the movie.

Max Levine suggested that, "the end of the book described things so much better than the end of the movie."

The movie and discussion that followed was an excellent opening to the Following Characters into Meaning unit.

"We thought about what characters did and how it affected them. Charlie didn't give up when he didn't get the golden ticket," commented Molly Garvin. Page and Sayas said they look forward to continuing their team-teaching approach with upcoming units of study and making sure to take the time to celebrate student learning in many different ways.

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