Saturday, May 16, 2020

Thoughts on Teaching & Learning: 3 Picture Books

Over the past several weeks, I have found myself doing a lot of reflection trying to get this online teaching right.  I keep meaning to get my thoughts on paper but then get caught up in the day-to-day work of teaching in this pandemic era.  I know if I can catch my breath, there is a lot to learn and reflect on during this time. So, I decided that every day in May, I will share my thoughts on Teaching and Learning.  This is Day 16.

Typically, I read lots and lots of picture books. We have a fabulous library system and I often order a stack to read through on a Saturday and then decide which ones I need to own. I've really missed out on picture books over these last 2 months-I haven't kept up on the new picture books at all. And I think my students miss them too. Usually, we read at least 2-3 picture books a day but during this remote learning, we haven't really read a lot of picture books live and together. It's something I would change for next year.

This week, we did share a few picture books on Google Meet. Both are books I need to own and they both invited great conversations. If you haven't seen Lift by Minh Lè and Dan Santat, it is a must-have. I had preordered this one long ago (I do that when I see a must-have book and then I forget about it and it is a nice surprise when it arrives!). This one is as fabulous as I had anticipated. The words, the pictures, the title, all of it. There are some great themes in this one and I think it would be an amazing book to read at the beginning of the year too, as classrooms are building community.

Brave Molly by Brooke Boynton-Hughes is a book I learned about from John Mere in a Build Your Stack session this winter. This is a wordless book and the Kindle version worked out well on Google Meet. Students could see all of the details and noticed a great deal on each page. This book addresses social anxiety, but students had conversations around fear and anxiety in general so it seemed like a good book for this week.

One book that I did not share with my class, but that I will probably share this week as a great one for summer reading is this new nonfiction picture book. You're Invited to a Moth Ball: A Nighttime Insect Celebration by Loree Burns is amazing! (I think I discovered this one from Melissa Stewart.) And such a great invitation for children and families who are stuck at home. I love this book for so many reasons. First of all, it is a great fun activity for kids and families to do at home, outside. Second it is a great mentor for How-To Writing. And there are lots of extra features that give more information. And the photos are fabulous. I became a huge Loree Burns fan several years ago when I read Handle with Care and I've followed her work since. This book is fabulous, and I can see it being a well-loved book in K-5. as it has so many different entry points.

We got good news this week--our library will be opening with curbside pick-up so I am hoping I can spend the first few weeks of summer reading reviews etc. and ordering all those picture books that I've missed knowing about.

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