Our story this week was "The Memory Box" by Mary Bahr. It is the story of a boy learning to deal with his grandfather's Alzheimer's disease. Every spring we read the story and then have our p's daughter, who happens to be a social worker in a Memory Care Unit, come and talk to the students about Alzheimer's. She does a great lesson helping the students understand the disease. From our experience, fifth grade seems to be a good time to discuss this topic because many of them have great-grandparents that may be affected by Alzheimer's. We also visit her Memory Care Unit where we sing songs, play recorders, and provide some much needed love and comfort to the residents. It is one of our service learning projects that mean so much to the students, teachers, and Memory Care residents.
We also use the story to review author's purpose. Students were focusing on the three main purposes for writing: persuade, inform, and entertain. They did a simple assignment that allowed them to show they really understand the skill, by applying it to other stories. We use the PIE acronym to remind students, but I also included the purpose of express. The kids wanted to be able to add their favorite poems in this category.