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Third Grade Common Core
Sevilla Primary Common Core Implementation

Cultivates a Community Connection

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Critical thinking, communication, collaboration and creativity were celebrated as Sevilla Primary third graders devoted 2 weeks to the extended text, Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes. Teachers build a schema for the setting of the book by building students’ background knowledge on the history of Japan. Students located Japan on maps and globes and used thinking maps to brainstorm ideas about Japan from 1943-1955. Students examined historical photos and images to help them visualize the culture of the Japanese during this time. A history lesson on the 1944 bombing of Hiroshima further developed understanding and helped students make the necessary text to self connections needed to relate to the main character of the text, Sadako.

The focus question that unified the unit was, “How can traditional family stories inspire and give us hope in difficult times?”

In this story, the main character, a little girl named Sadako, is stricken with Leukemia. Sadako is inspired by a cultural legend that says folding 1,000 paper cranes will produce a miracle. Even as Sadako’s condition worsens, she never gives up hope and she continues to fold paper cranes.

Students spent 10 days reading about Sadako and her devastating illness. Throughout the book students summarized chapters, made predictions, and cited rich textual evidence to support written and spoken responses. Students also used context clues to determine meaning of the figurative language the author used all throughout the text. Students recorded ideas on their thinking maps and really perfected the skill of citing textual evidence to support many higher level thinking questions that were asked of them throughout the text. Students engaged in many class and team discussions that stretched their vocabulary and language skills. Students really connected with Sadako and were able to make many text to self and text to life connections. Students were able to extend class discussions about the theme of this story by sharing times they had to find ways to stay hopeful. Many teachers felt inspired hearing how students connected to this story.

Students were given the opportunity to visit with the Make a Wish Foundation. The speakers explained how their organization gives sick children hope. Ms. Wegner’s son, spoke about his personal experience with the Make the Wish Foundation and how it allows him to stay hopeful each day he battles his illness. Students left the assembly with a new perspective and a deeper connection to the overall theme of the text.

Students participated in a very exciting cumulating activity after reading Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes. Banner Boswell Hospital was searching for a class to paint some ceiling tiles for some examining rooms for a new wing they were constructing. They were surprised when the whole third grade of Sevilla Primary asked if they could each paint a ceiling tile. The hospital sent over the ceiling tiles and the third graders got busy. They painted over 420 ceiling tiles. They used inspirational words and pictures to make their ceiling tiles bright and colorful. Banner hospital picked up the dried ceiling tiles and they are currently hanging in the hospital’s new examining rooms.