Sunday, November 28, 2010

Week 9: The Sandwich Swap

This is a great story about two friends who like to do many things together - jump rope, draw pictures, play on the swings, etc. One day they notice that the sandwiches they eat are different from one another. When they realize that they each eat different kinds of food, they begin making fun of each other. This is a great story to lead off a discussion about differences. Sandwiches are very personal to each family/person and beginning a discussion with how sandwiches are eaten in each family could provide an avenue for a discussion about bigger cultural differences between people. Students could also draw/write about what makes their sandwiches special. This could lead to a discussion about healthy eating and food groups/nutrition.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Week 8: The Black Book of Colors

The Black Book of Colors by Menena Cottin is wonderful for fostering creativity in your students. Each page of the book describes a color. The 'illustrations' are raised/embossed shapes on the page. Each sentence is also written in braille on each page.
The author describes each color by talking about things that are that color and what it is like. "Green smells like grass that's just been cut" is a great example of the type of description this book has written inside. 
This book combined with Hailstones and Hailbut Bones would be a great way to have students practice describing colors. Students could also gather pictures (either magazines or real photos) of things that are a particular color and as a class turn their short descriptive phrases of the color into a class poem about each color.
For younger students to practice writing, make a class book with labels. Each page of the class big book could have the title, "Things That Are Red" or "Things That Are Yellow" - students add pictures and label each picture to show the items that they added.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Week 7: Frogs

Nic Bishop has a great collection of informational books. Frogs is one of my favorites. The photographs are very compelling. All age groups will find this book filled with interesting facts and information. There is even a fabulous fold out 2-page spread that shows a frog leaping into the air. 
This text is great for showing how ideas can be grouped under main ideas that are not explicitly stated. Another great activity would be to look at one page of text and figure out what are the important vs. interesting facts on the page. 
The short sections are also wonderful for summarizing. Summarizing nonfiction can be difficult and this text is short and interesting enough to make students want to summarize the important parts.
There are other informational books by Nic Bishop which would be great companions to this one.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Week 6: Lonely Sea Monster

This week I'm going to offer you something different. A book that is NOT FOR CHILDREN. Instead, it's a book that is for adults who enjoy picture books with a bit of a dark twist. Lonely Sea Monster by Deanna Molinaro is one of my absolute favorites to read. The sea monster is adorable, the illustrations are very creative, but this story has a dark twist to it. If you click on the 'buy this book' link, you can actually read the book from the author's website. Picture books are often written with a predictable format - things work out in the end, there is a happy ending, the protagonist wins, etc. This is fine for young children who are still optimistic, but what about those of us that love the picture book format, but have a bit more cynical look at life? THERE'S A BOOK FOR THAT!!! This book is the perfect solution. It's not gory or scary...just fabulous.