Monthly Archives: May 2013

New Study Tour to Reggio Emilia


A new study tour of the schools in Reggio Emilia is being organized by Angela Ferrario. If you’re interested, here is the information that she sent to me:

Organized by International Study Tours, LLC
November 9-16, 2013

WORLD RENOWNED SCHOOLS The experience of the municipal infant toddler centers and preschools of Reggio Emilia is the subject of interest, research and exchange on the part of students, teachers, teacher educators, researchers, administrators, and political and cultural figures from Italy and throughout the world. The context and history of this community is highly regarded, rooted in choices made following WWII, pedagogical but also political, cultural and ethical choices which would support a new democratic society.

GROUPS WITHIN NOVEMBER 2013 NORTH AMERICAN STUDY GROUP Among the many participants who will register individually or with others from their school or organization, there will also be two distinct groups represented within the November 2013 Study Group – a Five State Study Group and a group of Children’s Museum Teams.

Five State Study Group Representatives from Arizona, California, Illinois, Missouri and New Mexico participated in a 2008 Study Group. Before, during and after that delegation, early childhood educators from the five states studied together, connecting and exchanging challenges and successes. They continue to collaborate at various levels as they apply Reggio principles within their different US contexts. There is a commitment to support each other, seeing each other as resources and developing a learning community among these five states. This North American Study Group is an opportunity for connecting and re-connecting among people from these five states as well as an opportunity for people from these five states to connect with other participants.

Children’s Museum Teams This group of carefully constructed teams is being formed with strategic partners of children’s museums across the US to include higher education professionals, early childhood experts and civic leaders in various communities. Children’s museums hold a unique place in American culture – part educational, part cultural, part social – but all interactive and child and family centered. It is through this lens of the family learning unit in the environments and experiences fostered by children’s museums that their study will unfold. In partnership with local colleagues, children’s museum professionals will learn from Reggio educators and from each other how best to move their individual communities forward on their journey for healthy, vibrant and resilient communities.

Opportunities for dialogue and exchange across the entire Study Group and with educators in Reggio Emilia will offer all participants many possibilities for gaining a deeper understanding of the 50 year history, challenges and accomplishments of the Municipal Infant Toddler Centers and Preschools of Reggio Emilia. Since the establishment of Reggio Children in 1994, more than 200 study groups from 107 different countries (almost 4000 participants every year) have come to Reggio Emilia.

• Walking tour of the town and opportunities to encounter the community from a social, cultural and political context
• Background on the pedagogical, historical, cultural and social aspects of the Reggio Emilia approach to education
• Presentations by pedagogistas, atelieristas and teachers on the principles of the Educational
 Project and essential elements in the daily life of the preschools and infant toddler centers of the Municipality of 
Reggio Emilia
• Concurrent sessions with presentation and analysis of research projects realized inside the Preschools and Infant Toddler Centers
• Discussions groups
 and opportunity to share experiences among participants
• Visits to Preschools and Infant Toddler Centers
• Time at the Loris Malaguzzi International Center to see current exhibitions, the Citizen Ateliers, and the Documentation and Educational Research Center

INTERNATIONAL MEETING PLACE The venue is the Loris Malaguzzi International Center, which opened in February 2006 and now encompasses an International Preschool and Primary School through grade 3 and the newly opened restaurant, “Pause-Atelier of Tastes.”

As described by Carlina Rinaldi, Pedagogista and President of Reggio Children,
. . . . “It was created to give greater value to a strong and distinctive characteristic of Reggio Emilia; the ability to lend listening, visibility and support to the rights and requests of children, young people, families and teachers. The Center is a dedicated meeting place where professional development and research intersect for people in Reggio Emilia, Italy and the world who wish to innovate education and culture.

COST: $2570 or $2,770
The per person amount is based on hotel accommodations in shared double rooms at 3 or 4 star hotels. Supplement for single rooms is $260 (see registration form). North American Reggio Emilia Alliance (NAREA) members receive a $100 discount. For membership information please visit:
Cost includes the program fee to Reggio Children, services provided by Angela Ferrario, US Liaison for Study Groups to Reggio Emilia and by International Study Tours, LLC.
Fee to Reggio Children S.r.l.:
– The organization and presentation of the study group program for the week
– An informational folder for each participant with materials about the town of Reggio Emilia, its municipal infant toddler centers and preschools, Reggio Children and the Loris Malaguzzi International Center
– Private bus transportation to and from the centers in Reggio Emilia when required by the program
– Professional interpreters when required by the program
– Insurance as specified in Responsibility clause below
– Refreshments during coffee breaks each day
– Lunch 3 days during the week at Pause – Atelier of Tastes
Services provided by Angela Ferrario, US Liaison for Study Groups to Reggio Emilia and by International Study Tours, LLC:
– Welcome lunch reception and introductory meeting on Sunday, November 10, 2013
– Arrangement of hotel accommodations for 7 nights
– Registration process and coordination of the study group experience to support professional development, collaboration and collegiality among participants
– Communication with Reggio Children and group participants prior to departure and while in Reggio Emilia
– Credit card services, foreign currency transfer fees and administrative services
– Assistance arranging private transport between airports and Reggio Emilia

To accommodate our group, blocks of rooms have been reserved for 7 nights at 3 four-star hotels and 3 three-star hotels within 15 to 20-minute walking distance of the Loris Malaguzzi International Center. The three-star hotels are: Hotel San Marco Albergo Morandi and Albergo Reggio Annex The four-star hotels are: Hotel Posta, Albergo delle Notarie and Hotel Europa Check-in is: Saturday, November 9. Check-out is: Saturday, November 16. Rates for accompanying non-participants and for additional nights are available upon request. A very limited number of triple rooms are available. Please inquire if interested.
Every effort will be made to honor hotel preferences while the priority is to keep groups from the same school/organization together.

To reserve a space, please mail the Registration Form on page 5 and a $500 check deposit made payable to International Study Tours, LLC to: Angela Ferrario, 15 Beach Street Extension, Milford, MA 01757 no later than August 1, 2013. Confirmation and Invoice for Balance Due will be sent by email to each individual. Balance of payment may be made by check or credit card (Visa or MasterCard) and is due upon receipt of Confirmation and Invoice but no later than September 20, 2013. Please refer to Refund & Cancellation Policy.

All monies are refundable in full minus a $75 processing fee until September 20, 2013. For cancellations communicated in writing to Angela Ferrario via email between September 20, 2013 and October 18, 2013, 85% of Study Group Cost will be refunded. For cancellations received after October 18, 2013, no refund will be due.

Please book your own flights. Airfare is not included. Bologna Marconi and Milan Malpensa are the nearest airports to Reggio Emilia. Participants should arrange to fly on Friday, November 8, arriving in Reggio Emilia on Saturday, November 9 (departure from the U.S. is one day prior to arrival in Italy). Our first group gathering in Reggio Emilia will be the introductory meeting and welcome lunch on Sunday, November 10 at 12 noon. The Program will begin Monday morning and will end on Friday November 15 at approximately 6:30 p.m. Hotel check-out is Saturday, November 16 by 11 a.m.
Please Note: It is recommended to be at the airport at least 2 hours before your scheduled flight departure time. If driving from Reggio Emilia, it takes approximately 2 ½ hours to reach Milan Malpensa Airport and approximately 1 hour to reach Bologna Airport, depending on traffic conditions. Allow more time if traveling to either airport by train and check train schedules in advance.
Assistance with making private ground transportation arrangements between the airport and Reggio Emilia for groups traveling together is available upon request. Cost is additional.

For privacy issues, participants are not allowed to photograph or videotape inside the infant-toddler centers and preschools, inside the Exhibition area and the Ateliers at the Loris Malaguzzi International Center, as well as during the presentations. Reggio Children’s policy allows the possibility to audio record the presentations.

Angela Ferrario dba International Study Tours LLC acts only as the agent for the several hotels and other suppliers providing accommodations and services to participants. International Study Tours, LLC shall not be liable for any cancellation, injury, loss, damage, expense, delay or inconvenience which may be caused or sustained by any participant.
Reggio Children S.r.l is released from any charges and obligations related to possible cancellations or date changes when due to circumstances beyond Reggio Children’s control or for any other reason not directly imputable to the failure of Reggio Children S.r.l. In this unlikely case, Reggio Children S.r.l. undertakes to agree with Angela Ferrario new dates for the Initiative, or if an agreement is not reached, to release Angela Ferrario and thereby participants from all payment obligations. Reggio Children S.r.l. is not responsible for travel arrangements or other planning costs incurred. Reggio Children S.r.l. reserves the right to modify the program according to organizational needs or to Public Authorities’ provisions or measures. Participants are responsible for issuing an individual insurance policy for accidents of any type, which may occur during the Study Group when not inside a municipal institution. Reggio Children S.r.l. will provide insurance for participants for damages caused to people or things inside the municipal institutions.
Travel Insurance is not included and should be secured by the individual participant.

For further information contact:
Angela Ferrario, US Liaison for Study Groups to Reggio Emilia
Phone: 508 473 8001
Email: [email protected]

Reggio Emilia, Italy
November 9-16.2013

NAME _________________________________________________________________________________

ADDRESS _____________________________________________________________________________

CITY ____________________________________STATE _______________ ZIP CODE _______________

PHONE NUMBER____________________ E-MAIL ADDRESS____________________________________
(Please provide an email address that you check regularly as it will be used for correspondence.)

JOB TITLE & NAME OF SCHOOL/ORGANIZATION: ____________________________________________

Professional Bio (maximum 150 words)
As part of the registration process and as a means of introduction please share a brief bio and your main interests in the Reggio Emilia philosophy and approach to education. Please send it as a separate document by email to: [email protected] by September 20, 2013.

Please check yes or no:
I consent to have my professional bio shared with the group in a compiled document. [ ] yes [ ] no
I consent to have my email address shared with the group in a participant list. [ ] yes [ ] no
I am a member of the Five State Study Group. [ ] yes [ ] no
I am a member of the North American Reggio Emilia Alliance (NAREA). [ ] yes [ ] no

Study Group Cost
Per person cost includes double or single accommodations at a three or four-star hotel for 7 nights from check-in on Saturday, November 9 to check-out on Saturday, November 16. North American Reggio Emilia Alliance (NAREA) members receive a $100 discount. If you are a NAREA member check yes above and $100 will be deducted from your invoice. For membership information please visit:
Please check one:
[ ] $2,770 Shared Double Room four-star hotel (cost per person)
[ ] $2,570 Shared Double Room three-star hotel (cost per person)
[ ] $3,030 Single Room four-star hotel (cost per person)
[ ] $2,830 Single Room three-star hotel (cost per person)

Please Check One:
[ ] I have a roommate. My roommate’s name is: _______________________________________________
[ ] Please find me a roommate, if possible.

Food Allergies/Restrictions? (please describe, if applicable): __________________________________


To reserve a space, please mail this Registration Form and a $500 check deposit made payable to International Study Tours, LLC to: Angela Ferrario, 15 Beach Street Extension, Milford, MA 01757 no later than August 1, 2013. Confirmation and Invoice for Balance Due will be sent by email to each individual. Balance of payment may be made by check or credit card (Visa or MasterCard) and is due upon receipt of Confirmation and Invoice but no later than September 20, 2013. Please refer to Refund & Cancellation Policy on page 4.

For further information contact:
Angela Ferrario, US Liaison for Study Groups to Reggio Emilia
Phone: 508 473 8001 Email: [email protected]



I am so proud of these New York City principals for taking a strong stand against unfair and highly flawed high-stakes tests. Here’s their letter to John King:

Dear New York State Education Commissioner John King,

We New York City and Metropolitan Area Principals hold ourselves accountable to ensuring that all of our students make consistent and meaningful academic progress. Although we are skeptical of the ability of high stakes tests alone to accurately capture students’ growth, we understand a system’s need for efficiently establishing and measuring milestones of learning.

We have been encouraged by the new National Common Core Standards’ call for more rigorous work that promotes critical thinking, and many of us have been engaged in meaningful curriculum revisions as a result. We were hopeful that this year’s state exams would better represent the college preparatory-type performance tasks that Common Core exemplifies. Unfortunately, we feel that not only did this year’s New York State Exams take an extreme toll on our teachers, families and most importantly, our students, they also fell short of the aspirations of these Standards.

For these reasons, we would like to engage in a constructive dialogue with you and your team to help ensure that moving forward our New York State Exams are true and fair assessments of the Common Core Standards. As it stands, we are concerned about the limiting and unbalanced structure of the test, the timing, format and length of the daily test sessions, and the efficacy of Pearson in this work.

In both their technical and task design, these tests do not fully align with the Common Core. If one was to look closely at the Common Core Learning Standards ( and compare them to the tests, it is evident that the ELA tests focused mostly on analyzing specific lines, words and structures of information text and their significance rather than the wide array of standards.

As a result, many students spent much of their time reading, rereading and interpreting difficult and confusing questions about authors’ choices around structure and craft in informational texts, a Common Core skill that is valuable, but far from worthy of the time and effort given by the test. Spending so much time on these questions was at the expense of many of the other deep and rich common core skills and literacy shifts that the state and city emphasized. The Common Core emphasizes reading across different texts, both fiction and non-fiction, in order to determine and differentiate between central themes—an authentic college practice. Answering granular questions about unrelated topics is not. Because schools have not had a lot of time to unpack Common Core, we fear that too many educators will use these high stakes tests to guide their curricula, rather than the more meaningful Common Core Standards themselves. And because the tests are missing Common Core’s essential values, we fear that students will experience curriculum that misses the point as well.

Even if these tests were assessing students’ performance on tasks aligned with the Common Core Standards, the testing sessions—two weeks of three consecutive days of 90-minute (and longer for some) periods—were unnecessarily long, requiring more stamina for a 10-year-old special education student than of a high school student taking an SAT exam. Yet, for some sections of the exams, the time was insufficient for the length of the test. When groups of parents, teachers and principals recently shared students’ experiences in their schools, especially during the ELA exams with misjudged timing expectations, we learned that frustration, despondency, and even crying were common reactions among students. The extremes were unprecedented: vomiting, nosebleeds, suicidal ideation, and even hospitalization.

There were more multiple-choice questions than ever before, a significant number of which, we understand, were embedded field-test questions that do not factor into a child’s score but do take time to answer and thus prevent students from spending adequate time on the more authentic sections like the writing assessment. In English, the standards themselves and everything we as pedagogues know to be true about reading and writing say that multiple interpretations of a text are not only possible but necessary when reading deeply. However, for several multiple choice questions the distinction between the right answer and the next best right answer was paltry at best. The fact that teachers report disagreeing about which multiple-choice answer is correct in several places on the ELA exams indicates that this format is unfair to students. Further, the directions for at least one of the English Language Arts sessions were confusing and tended to misdirect students’ energies from the more authentic writing sections. The math tests contained 68 multiple-choice problems often repeatedly assessing the same skills. The language of these math questions was often unnecessarily confusing. These questions should not be assessing our students’ ability to decipher convoluted language. Instead, they should be assessing deep understanding of core concepts.

Finally, we are concerned about putting the fate of so many in the education community in the hands of Pearson – a company with a history of mistakes, most recently with the mis-scoring of the NYC test for the gifted and talented program. (Thirteen percent of those 4 to 7 year olds who sat for the exam were affected by the errors; Pearson has a 3-year DOE contract for this test alone, worth $5.5 million.) There are many other examples of Pearson’s questionable reliability in the area of test design: In Spring 2012 only 27% of 4th grade students passed a new Florida writing test. Parents complained, the test was reevaluated, and the passing score was changed so that the percentage of students who passed climbed to 81%. The Spring 2012 NYS ELA 8th grade test had to be reevaluated after complaints about meaningless reading passages about talking pineapples and misleading questions. (See Alan Singer, Huffington Post, 4/24/13; John Tierney, The Atlantic, 4/25/13.) Parents and taxpayers have anecdotal information, but are unable to debate the efficacy of these exams when they are held highly secured and not released for more general analysis. These exams determine student promotion. They determine which schools individual students can apply to for middle and high school. They are a basis on which the state and city will publicly and privately evaluate teachers. The exams determine whether a school might fall under closer scrutiny after a poor grade on the test-linked state and city progress reports or even risk being shut down. These realities give us an even greater sense of urgency to make sure the tests reflect our highest aspirations for student learning.
So, we respectfully request a conversation about the direction of New York’s Common Core State Exams. As the state is in its early phases of Common Core assessment, we have a wonderful opportunity to align our efforts towards learning that best prepares our children for their future lives. We believe we can do better – and we are committed to helping New York realize the full promises of Common Core.


Ellen Foote
Principal of Hudson River Middle School, I.S. 289

Mark Federman
Principal of East Side Community High School, H.S. 450

Stacy Goldstein
Principal of School of the Future, M413

David Getz
Principal of East Side Middle School, M114

Laura Mitchell
Principal of Young Womens’ Leadership School of Astoria, Q286

Rhonda Perry
Principal of The Salk School of Science, M.S. 255

Kelly McGuire
Principal of Lower Manhattan Community Middle School, M896

Jeanne Rotunda
Principal of West Side Collaborative Middle School, P.S. 250

Ramon Gonzalez
Principal of The Laboratory School of Science and Technology, M.S. 223

Paula Lettiere
Principal of Fort Greene Preparatory Academy, K691

Amy Andino
Principal of The Academy of Public Relations, X298

Maria Stile
Principal of Heathcote Elementary School, Scarsdale Public Schools

Rex Bobbish
Principal of The Cinema School, X478

Elaine Schwartz
Principal of Center School, M.S. 243

Elizabeth Phillips
Principal of William Penn Elementary, P.S. 321

Chrystina Russell
Principal of Global Technology Prep, M406

Giselle McGee
Principal of The Carroll, P.S. 58

Elizabeth Collins
Principal of University Neighborhood High School, H.S. 448

Jennifer Rehn
Principal of Wagner Middle School, M.S. 167

Anna Allanbrook
Principal of Brooklyn New School, P.S. 146

Henry Zymeck
Principal of The Computer School, M.S. 245

Julia Zuckerman
Principal I.A. of Castle Bridge School, P.S. 513

Alison Hazut
Principal of Earth School, P.S. 364

George Morgan
Principal of Technology, Arts and Sciences School, M301

Alicia Perez-Katz
Principal of Baruch College Campus High School, M411

Sandra Pensak
Principal in Hewlett-Woodmere Public Schools

Peter Carp
Principal of Institute for Collaborative Education, M407

Sharon Fiden
Principal of Doris Cohen Elementary, P.S.230

Lisa Nelson
Principal of Isaac Newton JHS for Science and Math, M825

Alyce Barr
Principal of Brooklyn School for Collaborative Studies, K448

Christina Fuentes
Principal of Spuyten Duyvil School, P.S. 24

Naomi Smith
Principal of Central Park East II, M964

Rebecca Fagin,
Principal of John M Harrigan, P.S. 29

Bernadette Fitzgerald,
Principal of The School of Discovery, P.S. 503

Alex White,
Principal of Gotham Professional Arts Academy, K594

Maria Nunziata,
Principal of Hernando DeSoto School, P.S. 130

Lindley Uehling,
Principal of Central Park East I, M497

Christine Olson,
I.A. Principal of James Baldwin School, M313

Robyn S. Lane
Principal of Quaker Ridge School, Scarsdale

Robert Bender
Principal of The WIlliam T. Harris School

Lauren Fontana
Principal of The Lillie Devereaux Blake School

Erica Zigelman
Principal of MS 322

Sharon Fougner
Principal of Em Baker School, Great Neck Public Schools

Kelly Newman
Assistant Superintendent, Great Neck Public Schools

Ron Gimondo
Principal of John F. Kennedy School, Great Neck Public Schools

Lydia Bellino
Assistant Superintendent, Cold Spring Harbor Public Schools

Eric Nezowitz
Principal of Saddle Rock Elementary, Great Neck Public Schools

Arthur Brown
Principal of The Museum School, P.S. 33

Constance Bond PH.D.
Principal of St. Hope Leadership Academy

Once Upon A Time


Once upon a time there were Three Billy Goats Gruff. They wanted to go over the bridge to the other side of the canal to get to the diner that sold some great grassburgers . The first billy goat, the littlest one went trip- trap- trip- trap over the swing bridge.

This script was written and performed by some of my kindergarten students about 14 years ago. We were immersed in a bridge study and had recently visited the three movable bridges that spanned the nearby Gowanus Canal. We also read lots of traditional folk tales that year. Both studies worked their way into this wonderful play that a group of the children wrote during Choice Time. The entire class acted it out for their families during our end of year celebration.

As I reflect on this whimsical production, my mind wanders to the new Common Core Learning Standards and the anxiety that I encounter around these standards when I consult in various New York City schools. I’m not about to defend the Common Core Standards. I really do believe that we can have high standards for our students without having some outside “educators” micromanage every learning point that we are responsible for teaching. However, I do think that we can interpret many of these standards in ways that make sense for young children.

Here are some ideas that I have for implementing a kindergarten folktale study that isn’t planned specifically to address the Common Core Learning Standards but that seems to meet them anyway. This isn’t a checklist of how to do a folktale study and it’s not a teacher’s script. I’m just describing some of the possibilities. The beauty of teaching is often in the excitement of that serendipitous moment when children become intrigued with some part of a story and the teacher and class take time to dig in for a deep exploration. Allowing for, and even encouraging, detours that are driven by a child’s question or observation, are so fundamentally important to creating a vital learning environment. I’ve outlined some possibilities for planning a folktale study but don’t’ forget to listen to the children and enjoy revisiting these tales through their fresh eyesight and youthful innocence.

The Common Core Learning Standards
A Folktale study will address many of the kindergarten common core learning standards for literature. Here are some of the Common Core Learning Standards that might be met by implementing a folktale study:

With prompting and support from the teacher, children will have opportunities to ask and answer questions about key details in a text
With prompting and support from the teacher, children will have opportunities to retell familiar stories, including key details and also identify character, settings, and major events in a story,
• With prompting and support from the teacher, children will have opportunities to ask and answer questions about unknown words in a text
• With prompting and support from the teacher, children will have opportunities to recognize common types of texts (e.g. storybooks and poems)
• With prompting and support from the teacher, children will have opportunities to actively engage in group reading activities with purpose and understanding.
• With prompting and support from the teacher, children will be able to describe the relationship between illustrations and the story in which they appear (e.g., what moment in a story an illustration depicts)
• With prompting and support from the teacher, children will have opportunities to compare and contrast the adventures and experiences of characters in familiar stories.

Some rationales for teaching a folktale study early in the kindergarten school year
A folktale study:
• Introduces young children to the joys of traditional children’s literature
• Helps children develop a rich vocabulary
• Helps build an inviting, appropriate classroom library.
• Provides opportunities for meaningful discussions
• Encourages children to extend their understanding of literature through art, music, drama and play.

Introducing a study of The Three Little Pigs    3rd -little-pigs
• The teacher reads many versions of The Three Little Pigs over the course of one or more weeks
• Posing open-ended questions that encourage children to synthesize the ideas in the book and theorize on possible outcomes facilitates discussions. For example:

-How might you have built your house if you were one of the pigs and you wanted to protect        yourself against the wolf?

-Why would you build it that way?

-What do you think it means when we describe someone as clever? (This might not be a word that children are familiar with and could involve some defining by the teacher after children have a go at figuring it out)

-Have you noticed any examples of clever thinking on the part of the pigs or the wolf in the story?

– Why do you think the mother pig sent the little pigs out into the world by themselves?

-How do you think the little pigs felt about leaving home?
• Children can be encouraged to make connections to incidents in their own lives and in other stories by referring to the pictures in the text for support. When children see the pigs hiding in fright from the wolf behind the door, it could open up a discussion of times when they were frightened and how they handled their fright. When the pigs trick the wolf into going apple picking at the wrong time, it might remind children of tricks that they played on friends or siblings. On the other hand, it might also begin a conversation about times that they, too, went apple picking! Straying from the story plot and remembering a family trip to an apple orchard could be a fairly typical connection for a five-year old to make in response to the apple-picking illustration.

Class Discussion
The teacher’s line of questioning determines the quality of the discussion.

• Initially, simple factual questions might be asked such as, “ What did the three pigs use to build their homes?”
• After asking simple questions, more thought-provoking inquiries could be asked such as “I wonder why the wolf was so easily fooled by the pigs?”

When open-ended questions are posed, the teacher does not expect children to arrive at one definitive answer. A key point here is that all theories are debatable and worthy of discussion. This supports higher-level thinking and richness of language. Open-ended questions can tap into children’s curiosity, sense of wonder and ability to attempt some creative thinking. When the teacher asks open-ended questions, children are presented with a message that says, “I trust you to have good ideas and I value your thoughts.”

Drama and Play
All of these supports inspire children to interact with the text using age-appropriate modes of exploration.

• The teacher can encourage children to refer to illustrations when they are reconstructing the story as they play in the various Choice Time centers. This can be done by adding copies of the book to the dramatic play center and to the block center. A book may also be put in the art center.
• Photocopies of illustrations from the book can also be posted in easy view in these centers too.
• Teachers can make story props available. Small models of animals from the story can be put in the block center.

After hearing many versions of the same folktale

• The class could create a Venn diagram, showing similarities and differences in the various versions of the story. For example, there are always three pigs but perhaps in one story, instead of going to pick apples, they go to pick cherries!
• Children might create personal versions of the story in their writing workshop. Four and five year olds would probably begin with drawings. Children could dictate the text to the teacher, or if they are ready to use invented spelling they could write it themselves.
• These new versions could first be displayed on a bulletin board in the classroom and later turned into class books.
• The teacher could document this writing process by photographing children working on their books and recording brief transcripts of children’s thoughts and comments as they work.
• These photos and children’s comments could be added to the wall display, which would serve as a visible assessment of the learning process.
• At independent and partner reading, children should have time to “reread” the books to each other. At this stage in their literacy development, they will probably be retelling the story using picture clues and the memory of having heard the book read aloud.
• As children read, the teacher sits at the side of a child to engage the student in a book discussion.
• These one-on-one discussions give the teacher the opportunity to hear if the child is using storybook language, following the sequence of the story, speaking in complete sentences and remembering significant expressions from the story (i.e “not by the hair of my chinney chin chin”).
• These conferences provide the teacher with invaluable information for future lesson planning and for differentiating instruction.
• If there is a big book version of the story, this can be used for shared reading.
• A small copy of a folktale book can be used for shared reading by projecting the book onto the wall or Smartboard. If the school does not have a document projector, an overhead projector can be used with transparencies of each page.
• Shared reading gives children opportunities to ask and answer questions about key details in the text, retell this familiar story, including key details and identify character, settings, and major events in the story, with the support of the group.
• Shared reading scaffolds the retelling and reenacting of the story that will take place during Choice Time and independent reading.
• For kindergarten children, singing is a joyful and crucial part of their school experience.
• The class might compose a Three Little Pigs song, using a popular tune or by making up an original tune!
• The teacher could act as scribe, recording the words to the song.
• This class-composed song could become one of the songs that would be sung throughout the year!
• After children know the song “by heart” the song chart can be used for shared reading as they sing along.
• Reciting poetry can be another way to make connections to the story.
• Young children have for generations recited Mother Goose poems. To Market, To Market could first be learned as a playful chant. As children learn the poem the teacher can help them understand some of the unfamiliar vocabulary such as “hog” and “jig”. (The children might also try dancing a jig to some appropriate music!)
• What was first learned as a chant can now be transferred to a shared reading chart. Because children know the poem “by heart”, they will be ready to make connections to some of the significant words that are written on the chart.

To market, to market
To buy a fat pig;
Home again, home again,
Dancing a jig.
To market, to market
To buy a fat hog;
Home again, home again,

• In a shared writing experience, children might dictate a new class version of a folktale (or create an entirely new tale, using the folktale format!).
• Individual groups of children can illustrate each page of the new version of the folktale that the class created, matching their drawing to the words on the page. When these pages are completed, the class will have an original Big Book version of the story. This version can be revisited many times for shared reading and dramatic presentations.
Informational texts that match the story can be read to the children.
• During a study of The Three Pigs, the teacher might read Gail Gibbons’ informative text, Pigs.
• Children could be encouraged to make connections between the attributes of real pigs compared to the pigs in the folktale.
• Some other nonfiction books to read might be “Pigs! Learn About Pigs And Learn To Read – The Learning Club!” and Pigs (First Step Nonfiction Farm Animals) by Robin Nelson
• The introduction of a new folk tale such as The Three Billy Goats Gruff could follow up the study of The Three Pigs.
• Reading a variety of folktales provide a perfect opportunity for comparing and contrasting adventures and experiences of different characters.
• The Three Pigs and the Three Billy Goats Gruff all had to use their creative intelligence to overcome obstacles. How might you describe the similarities and differences in these obstacles? Did you notice any similarities or contrasts in the ways that the bad guys in both stories were outsmarted? The possibilities for discussion are endless!
• Because of all the opportunities for comparisons to be made between the two tales, the conversation would most likely become even more complex than proposed by the Common Core Standards!

“Helping children engage in the drama of reading, helping them become dramatist (rewriter of the text), even critic (commentator and explicator and scholarly student of the text), is how I think of our work as teachers of reading.”
Aidan Chambers
                                                                                                     Tell Me: Children Reading and Talk

“Teaching might even be the greatest of the arts since the medium is the human mind and spirit.”
  John Steinbeck