Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Hill of Fire: A Fiery Read by Two Second Grade Book Groups

Thumbnail for version as of 20:42, 17 October 2006

The volcano that erupted in Paricutin, Mexico in 1943 is only the second volcano witnessed in its inception by people. Second grade students feel as if they are there as they read about the moment Pablo, his father and their family ox discovered white smoke billowing from the ground in the field they were plowing. In the days leading up to this volcano erupting, Pablo's father has been feeling discontented with life in his village. He often says, "Nothing ever happens."
What advice can our student readers give to Pablo's father to help him to enjoy and appreciate his life? In order to think of ideas, we needed to understand what the community was like in 1943 in Pablo's village. Kacey noticed how the farm animals are valued and how children can take their pigs with them to their schoolhouse. Gracen and James noticed that the village had a market place where villagers can sell food and things they made. All agreed that they thought the market would be a great place to catch up with neighbors. Andrew, James, and Devon suggested that Pablo's dad could carve an animal for his son. Everyone was really excited when later in the story he gives Pablo a bull that he carved.
Second grade readers are transported in time through Hill of Fire author, Joan Sandin's effective writing and illustrations. She actually sketched her pictures at the site! They gain an appreciation for the culture and community of Pablo and his family in their village of Paricutin and the bravery of Pablo's family and the villagers in facing the challenge and change brought on by this volcano.