Hello, everyone! When schools shut down last spring, I wanted to find a way to continue to support teachers as they went to online and virtual teaching. OLLI lessons (Online Learning Lesson Ideas) were weekly lessons, based on a picture book, that teachers could either use for remote or in-class lessons. Since then, teachers have continued asking when I would be posting them again. And while I can’t promise I will be posting a new one every week, I will do my best to post as many as I can!
Here is a list of the previous OLLI lessons and anchor books:
OLLI#1 (The Hike)
OLLI#2. (If I Could Build A School)
OLLIE#3 (Mother’s Day)
OLLI#4 (Everybody Needs a Rock)
OLLI #5 – (WANTED: Criminals of the Animal Kingdom)
OLLI #6 – (Up in the Garden and Down in the Dirt)
OLLI #7 (All About Feelings – “Keep it! – Calm it! – Courage it!)
OLLI #8 (I’m Talking DAD! – lesson for Father’s Day)
OLLI #9 (Be Happy Right Now!)
OLLI #10 – (Dusk Explorers)
One of the most important messages making its way into children’s literature is the need to care for the earth and for each other. When writing my book Powerful Understanding a few years ago, I noticed many authors finding unique ways to share this important message to children through their books. This week’s OLLI features one of my new favorites for this theme, inspired by the author’s travels for UNICEF and Save the Children.
If You Come to Earth – Sophie Blackall
“If you come to earth, there are a few things you should know…”
This gorgeous, thoughtful book imagines a child explaining Earth to a visitor from another planet. Both good and bad things about our planet are highlighted, with the overarching theme that our world is a beautiful place and it all works better if we help one another. Kids will love looking at the wonderfully detailed scenes on each oversized page.
This book is inspired by the thousands of children Sophie Blackall has met during her travels around the world in support of UNICEF and Save the Children.
Watch the author, Sophie Blackall, read the story aloud HERE
Start the lesson by inviting the students to imagine an alien had arrived on earth and their class had been invited to help introduce our planet to them. What would we want to tell them about it?
How would we describe Earth to a stranger? The land, the people, the animals? How would we explain different countries, culture, diversity, kindness, war? What positive and negative things would we want them to know about living here on Earth?
Begin to create a large brainstorm web in the classroom. In the center of the web, write “What is Earth?” Depending on the grade you teach, you may wish to prompt children to think about different sub-topics connected to Earth such as: people, land, water, weather, animals, earth problems, earth blessings, earth tips. Download a planning page HERE
Begin to brainstorm ideas for each topic. This lesson could actually take several days to complete. I would also invite students to add to the web, as they think of new ideas.
After one or two days of recording ideas, read the story If You Come to Earth by Sophie Blackall or show the video of the author reading the story aloud. This will likely stimulate additional ideas that you can add to extend the class web.
Depending on your grade level, I could see this developing into a class project or a class book. Each student could take on a different topic to describe: People, Animals, Land, Water, People, Weather, Diversity, Problems, Blessings, Tips. Using the whimsical voice of the author, research would not be required, but better to capture the natural voice and insight from the children. You can use the student template HERE
Additional Books to Support This Lesson:
Below is a list of additional books that would support this lesson.
We Are Here – Notes for Living on Planet Earth – Oliver Jeffers
This is How We Do It – Matt Lamothe
The Travel Book by Lonely Planet Kids
Atlas of Adventures by Rachel Williams
If You Lived Here: Houses of the World by Giles Laroche
Thanks for stopping by this week. I’m hoping you have found some inspiration or an anchor book you feel excited to share with your students. The Earth is our home. We need to take care of it and each other. It’s that simple.
For more lessons on this theme, see my book book Powerful Understanding.