Wednesday, January 13, 2010

More with Shapes and Tangrams

I'm realizing as I put together these posts that you might not wish to use the books in this order! It's probably best if you introduce and then revisit shapes and how they can be combined to make "things" before moving on to the concept of tangrams...

Perhaps it would be best to use today's review of Dayle Ann Dodd's The Shape of Things alongside Stuart J. Murphy's Circus Shapes and save Grandfather's Shape Story to use after reading Three Pigs, One Wolf and Seven Magic Shapes! Of course, it's up to you! You know what where your kids are and what they need!

Dodds, Dayle Ann.
The Shape of Things.
Candlewick Press.
Guided Reading Level H.
Review copy borrowed from local library.

Another wonderful book to introduce and review the basic geometrical shapes (square, circle, triangle, rectangle, oval, diamond), The Shape of Things, is a perfect book to incorporate at the beginning of a thematic unit focusing on tangrams and geometry! Throughout the story, these shapes are introduced in simple, everyday objects that your child(ren) will certainly be familiar with.
A square is just a square,
Until you add a roof,
Two windows and a door,
Then it's much, much more!

A circle's just a circle,
Until you add some lights,
Chairs high and low,
Round and round they go.
Not only is the use of shapes in everyday life an important theme of this book, equally important is the concept of using your imagination to visualize the shapes that make up those everyday objects! Imagination is greatly used throughout any theme focusing on tangrams, so this is definitely book I'll be using!

Reading/Learning Activity:
  • Provide your child with a large piece of construction paper. Using the handout that can be downloaded here, have your child create a scene (picture) using only the shapes provided! Allow them to be creative in what they create and encourage them to use color on the shapes to help make the picture more visual!
Maccarone, Grace.
Three Pigs, One Wolf and Seven Magic Shapes.
Scholastic, Inc.
Guided Reading Level: K
Review copy borrowed from local library.

As in the original telling of The Three Little Pigs, Maccarone's three little pigs set off to seek their fortunes, each setting off in his/her own direction! However, rather than meeting a man, each of these three little pigs meet up with a different animal - a duck, a rabbit and a swan. Rather than in the traditional tale, these pigs are each given the same material (seven magic shapes - the tangram puzzle). They don't quite meet up with the Big Bad Wolf, but rather his very good friend, Big Brad Wolf! While each of these pigs does create a structure with his/her seven magic shapes, only one is once again able to outwit the wolf.

In this unique take on the tradition tale of The Three Little Pigs, Grace Maccarone uses a very familiar tale to teach children about tangrams in a fun, unique manner! It's sure to be a hit by children, as they'll readily pick up on the familiar story with a twist!

Reading/Learning Activity:
  • Hit on two skills in one with this book! Download the tangram puzzle square here. Have your child cut apart the puzzle, and then, using the pieces, retell the story of Three Pigs, One Wolf and Seven Magic Shapes. As they are practicing the act of retelling the story, challenge them to use their tangram puzzle pieces to recreate the animals who provided the pigs with the magic shapes and the objects that the pigs constructed with the shapes! If your child(ren) need help with this, encourage the act of retelling and then, once they have retold that portion of the story, allow them to see the object made with tangrams and copy it using his/her own pieces! This acts great as a reading comprehension strategy and also integrates math into the activity!

If you're interested in finding out more information about any of the books reviewed or if you'd like to purchase the books, click the cover image for a link to I am an Amazon Affiliate, so any purchases you make after clicking these images will result in my receiving a small percentage of the sale price!


style='clear: both;' Kelly said...

I Love the "Shape of Things" book. My kids always enjoy making their own class book following that pattern. It's amazing what they can make shapes into!