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World War II Trioramas

Mrs. Kelsey Zimmerman's fourth grade reading group has been reading stories about World War II. The books included Don't You Know There's a War On? by Avi, Number the Stars by Lois Lowry, and Great Escapes from World War II by George Sullivan.

Groups of students worked in literature circles with the book they were reading. During literature circles, each child had a different job to complete for the group meeting time. The jobs included:

a "Discussion Director" who led the discussions,

  • a "Word Wizard" who found unusual or new words in the story,
  • a "Passage Master" who read parts of the story outloud again for fluency,
  • an "Artful Artist" who illustrated a part in the chapter, and
  • a "Connector" who had to connect parts in the story to his or her life or another story.

When they were finished with their books, each group made a triorama using the beginning, middle, and end of the story for the sections in their triorama, which was made of construction paper.

Students learned that childrends who grew up during WWII did not watch TV like kids do now -- they listened to the radio. The class listened to an original George Burns and Gracie Allen radio episode and then performed their own radio play. The plays were performed over the intercom for the other fourth grade reading groups. The radio plays performed were Weather, Whether You Like It or Not, a tall tale about weather, and Name That Character, a game show where the contestants guessed famous book characters.

"The students had a blast performing their radio plays," Mrs. Zimmerman said. "They liked using the sound effects and voice accents the best."