Having time off from the day to day of teaching gives us space to reflect back on all that we treasure. Highlights of the last calendar year for me and picture books that exemplified these important themes:
1. Lots of laughter.
This was one of the favourite non-fiction read alouds I read with a class.
Poop – A Natural History of the Unmentionable written by Nicola Davies and illustrated by Neal Layton. This was the discussion. Theories of why some animal poop seems to have hair on it and why do we fart anyway. Hard to keep a straight face.
2. Moments of awe
Sometimes in sharing a powerful piece of literature, the learning in the room just surrounds us. The book or the important conversations are not soon forgotten.
Nan Forler‘s Bird Child was one of the most beautiful books I have ever shared with a class.
We learned about the power in all of us to stand up for each other. Recounting our conversations in this post was important. As a group, we shared something big.
3. Experiencing vulnerability
Some books produce such strong reactions. In our responses, we are vulnerable and need discussion and support to make sense of our feelings.
This book reduced some of us to tears: The Day Leo Said I Hate you! written by Robie H. Harris and illustrated by Molly Bang
What happens when our feelings explode and we say something hurtful? How do we navigate our way back? We talked about this book here.
4. Honouring the power of books
We were inspired by the beautiful Book written by George Ella Lyon and illustrated byPeter Catalanotto. to talk about what reading means to us.
This post details the beautiful art and writing we did in response. Students talked about how reading transported them into the book and about how much they love to be read to.
5. Celebrating wonder
I love to use information storybooks to inspire student questions. This book The Last Polar Bear written by Jean Craighead George motivated students not only to ask questions but to explore answers.
In this post we talked about how climate change is affecting the habitat of the polar bears. We found we were left with more questions than when we started.
Looking forward to what books will bring to us in 2012!