Tag Archives: Julia Denos

Picture Books 10 for 10 (2020) Top Ten Picture Books to Support Outdoor Learning

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I’m excited to be, once again, participating in this summer’s 10 for 10 Picture Book celebration! #pb10for10   This annual celebration of picture books is hosted by Cathy from Reflect and Refine: Building a Learning Community and Mandy from Enjoy and Embrace Learning.  Hard to believe this is my eighth year of participating in this event! (you can read my 2019 here 2018 here,  2017 post here,  2016 post here2015 post here2014 post here and 2013 here. )  Each year on August 10th, the blogging community chooses 10 picture books on a range of themes – from diversity, to community building, to writing, to conservation.  It is an amazing opportunity to explore new picture books related to a wide range of themes.  (It can also be a little hard on your bank account, if you are anything like me!)

 2020…. A year for the record books.  As we prepare and venture into the unknown of classrooms during Covid,  many are pressing the reset button and looking for new ways to support their students learning while trying to keep everyone safe.  While there is no doubt school start up will be challenging and look very different from any other year, it may also open up some exciting opportunities for exploring new ways to teach.  Outdoor learning is one of these new opportunities.  Outdoor learning is more than just taking students outside to play at the end of the day.  It is an outdoor learning space that provides an opportunity to integrate nature into your teaching and promotes play, creativity, and problem-solving skills.

Traditionally, I have always organized my #pb10for10 around Reading Power two books for each strategy (connect, question, visualize, infer, transform).  But this year, I am breaking with tradition and focusing on a theme more fitting for the times – 10 books that celebrate nature and may inspire outdoor learning and exploring.

(Note – I found so many wonderful books for this theme, I will continue with a second post later this week!)

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1.Run Wild David Covell

This book makes me want to take off my shoes and run around outside and explore!  A wonderful reminder that there are so many adventures to be found when you put down your screen.  Lovely rhythmic text and detailed illustrations!

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2.The Not So Great Outdoors – Madeline Kloepper

The little girl in this story hates nature.  She wants her WiFi and her electricity, and she doesn’t see what the big point of this “outdoor stuff” is.  Camping with her family is not exactly her idea of fun.  But she soon discovers that the (not-so) great outdoors can be just as exciting as screens and skyscrapers.  Love this playful picture book celebrating the pleasures of unplugging and embracing nature.

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 3. Daniel Finds a Poem – Micha Archer

What is poetry? Is it glistening morning dew?  Crisp leaves crunching?  A cool pond, sun-warmed sand, or moonlight on the grass?  Maybe poetry is all of these things – you just have to take the time to really look and listen.  I use this book when launching my poetry unit but it’s the PERFECT book to inspire exploring and writing.

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4. The Listening Walk – Paul Showers

What can you hear when you’re out for a walk? The tap of your shoes, the whirr of the sprinklers, the chug of the bus? This classic picture book encourages you to slow down and listen to the noises all around you.  I have always loved using this book for visualizing and teaching onomatopoeia but would be an great inspiration for taking a “listening walk” with your students.

5. Autumn Math Walk Deanna Pecaski McLennan

Outdoor learning means finding ways to integrate nature into all areas of your curriculum.  This is a wonderful series that can spark mathematical conversations with children, and be used as a guide for discovering the rich math that exists in nature.   See also Winter Math Walk, Beach Math Walk and Playground Math.

6. Everybody Needs a Rock – Byrd Baylor

This is one of my all-time favorite books to share with students.  Byrd Baylor invites readers to find their “perfect rock” and gives 10 “rock rules” to follow while searching.  So many lessons and activities stem from this book –  a perfect introduction to rocks and minerals unit in science; students can find their own rock to learn about; learning a First Nations ways of knowing perspective; students to find a special rock and write a description and about their journey to find it.  LOVE!   (Check out my OLLI – Online Learning Lesson Idea on this book HERE)

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7. You’re Missing It!  – Brady Smith

Sometimes, it’s parents who need reminding to turn off their phones and enjoy the sights and sounds around them.  Perfect reminder to practice mindfulness, being present and enjoying the moment.  A great to companion (text-to-text) to Sidewalk Flowers.  

8. Backyard Fairies – Phoebe Wahl

Where are those fairies?  I am certain they are here – there are clues everywhere – but I just can’t see them!   Follow a little girl as she sets out into the woods in her backyard searching for the backyard fairies.  Although readers can see them, as hard as she looks, the fairies are always just out of view for the narrator.  Delightful illustrations.  I would use this book to promote Imagination Pocket writing.  Children could also go on a fairy walk outside or draw their own fairy forest.

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9.  Finding Wild – Megan Wagner Llyod

Breathtaking illustrations and enchanting language, this book takes readers on a sensory journey though nature.  Would be a great anchor book for visualizing and sensory details.  Would also be inspiring for kids to find their wild!

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 10. The Hike – Alison Farrell

Share the joy and excitement of three friends as they head out to enjoy the great outdoors together.  I love the beautiful, lyrical storytelling and the details of nature that fill every corner of this book.  Besides the overall message of encouragement to get out and enjoy the world outside, I would definitely use this for launching scientific notebooks and labelled diagrams.

While  not  a picture  book,  this  looks  like  an  excellent  resource  (but  I have  not  read it,  myself).  12082784

Moving the Classroom Outdoors:  Schoolyard-Enhanced Learning in Action – Herbert W. Broda

A great resource of new ideas and advanced ways to meaningfully use the space on  school grounds to support student learning.  Includes research and practical examples from schools across North America. Great photos!

Thanks for stopping by!  Hope you found a book to caught your eye!

(Note – I found so many books for this theme, I will continue with a second post later this week!)

 

 

 

 

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Filed under 10 for 10, 2020 Releases, environment, New Books, Outdoor Learning

Adrienne’s OLLI – Online Learning Lesson Idea #9: “Happy Right Now!” 

Hello everyone!  Sorry for my late post (I usually post my weekly OLLI on Monday)  Hope you all had a restful weekend and enjoyed some time with people in “your bubble”.   Report cards finished?  Well done!

Thank you for the positive responses to my weekly OLLI  posts “Online Learning Lesson Ideas“.  I’m happy that you are finding them helpful for your distance and in person lessons.

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) 

THE INSPIRATION:

Last week, I came across a lovely quote on Instagram (forgive me, I did not record the source so unable to credit).  It read:  “I used to think that when it rains, it pours.  But now I think – when it rains, it grows.”   What a lovely way of shifting our perspective from the negative to the positive.  I often refer to this purposeful action as “practicing happy”.  While we could spend many hours discussing the negative things that might be “pouring” on us at the moment, instead, we could be “practicing happy”  by choosing to focus on the new “grows” in our lives.

Let’s face it.  It’s been a challenge “practicing happy” during these past few months.  Many of us can connect with that feeling of doom and gloom, negative energy, the dark cloud hanging over our heads… the “If only…s”.   With Covid, the recent protests, the stress of school, family, finances, and so many unknowns – it’s all been a bit much!  Being happy is hard work some days!  But it’s so important that we each try to “practice happy” even for a few minutes each day and encourage our students to do the same – helping them understand that being happy is a choice we all need to make for ourselves.  Instead of wishing for what you don’t have (or don’t have yet), we should make the most of what we do have.

THE ANCHOR:

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Happy Right NowJulie Berry

What can you do when things sometimes don’t go the way you want them to? You have a choice, you can either let it get you down, or choose to be happy in the moment. This inspirational tale gives the reader some insight on making their world as best as it can be and embracing the circumstances we find ourselves in each day.  What I like about this book is, while its main message is the importance of focusing on happy, the author also explores the notion that its okay to feel sad sometimes too.  This book is a perfect choice for exploring emotions and how we deal with them, as well as choosing happiness, even on bad days!

THE LESSON:  

Before reading the story, I like to introduce the concept of “practicing happy” by first exploring the question – “Is this glass half empty or half full?”  If possible, bring in a glass half filled with water to start the discussion.  (If you are doing distance learning, you can do show the glass half full/empty when you are zooming with them.)  Ask the students how they would answer that question.

Explain that some people may look at the glass as being half empty – and wish they had a full glass (negative mindset); others see the glass as being half full – and are grateful for the water they have (positive mindset)

Explain that how someone views the glass, the perspective they take, determines how they feel.   Being happy about a half glass of water is a choice.  Wishing you had more is also a choice.  But which feeling do you want to carry inside you?  If you always look for what you don’t have, then that negative feeling fills you up.  If you choose to “practice happy”, you will feel more positive inside.

Read the story Happy Right Now – or show the story on YouTube.   Invite the students to think about the glass question while they are reading/listening to the story.

After sharing the story with students, discuss the fact that the girl in the story was “practicing happy” , making a choice to be happy for things she had, rather than wishing things were different. She was working on being “happy about right now”!  Explain that this can be helpful when we are feeling like things aren’t working out for us or we are feeling like life just isn’t fair!   “Practicing happy” means not wishing your life away but making a choice to appreciate what we have “right now”.

Choose a few of these and invite students to “practice happy” with these scenarios.

  • I’ll be happy when the coach picks me to be in the starting line up!  But I’m happy right now because…
  • I’ll be happy when it stops raining!         But I am happy right now because…
  • I’ll be happy when my ice cream cone stops melting!    But I am happy right now because…
  • I’ll be happy when I can see all my school friends together!   But I am happy right now because….
  • I’ll be happy when I win the World Mine Craft Championship.  But I am happy right now because… 
  • I’ll be happy when my baby brother stops following me all around.  But I’m happy right now because…
  • I’ll be happy when I’m allowed to walk to school by myself.  But I am happy right now because..

Invite the students to make up some of their own:

I’ll be happy when….. But I’m happy right now because…

ACTIVITIES:

If you are working in your class, create a “Happy Right Now” collaborative poster in the Ask students: “What makes you happy right now?” Model your own (ie – being your teacher, my morning coffee, the smell of my shampoo this morning) Invite them to add and record their own ideas onto the wall poster.  Encourage them to focus on specific small, personal things that make them happy.  This would be different from, for example, Earth Day or Thanksgiving when you might be saying “I’m thankful for the sun.  I’m thankful for the forest”.  Students working from home can contribute by telling you during a zoom conference or emailing it to you.

Read any of the additional anchor books to continue exploring this theme of “practicing happy”.   Invite the students to complete the “Happy Right Now” template.  (see below)

Happy Right Now – Primary 1

Happy Right Now – Primary 2

Happy Right Now – Intermediate

ADDITIONAL ANCHOR BOOKS:  Below are other books about happiness, mindfulness, appreciating what we have, and choosing to “practice happy”!

There, There – Tim Beiser

 

Rain Brings Frogs – A Little Book of Hope – Maryann Cocca-Leffler

 

Saturday – Oge Mora

 

The Three Questions – Jon Muth

 

Hap-pea All Year – Keith Baker

 

Layla’s Happiness – Maria Hadessa

 

Here and Now – Julia Denos

 

I Think, I Am – Louise L. Hay

 

Taking a Bath with the Dog and Other Things That Make Me Happy – Scott Menchin

 

The Wrong Side of the Bed – Lisa M. Bakos

 

Good News, Bad News by [Jeff Mack]

Good News Bad News – Jeff Mack

 

Thanks for stopping by this week.  I’m wishing you all many happy moments and many opportunities to “practice happy”.  See you next week!

For more lessons on emotions, hopes and dreams, and mindfulness, see my book Powerful Understanding.

 

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Filed under Connect, Growth Mindset, OLLI, Online Books and Lessons, Picture Book

Favorite Picture Books of 2017

Happy New Year, everyone!  It’s been months since I last posted… any spare writing time was spent trying to finish my new book so I  didn’t have time to blog.  But now the book is FINISHED!  (what a relief!)  So I hope to get back into my routine of regular blog posts!

Before launching into some of the new books for this year, I thought I would do a recap of my favorites from 2017 –  in case you have missed any of these great titles!  Nearly impossible to narrow it down – and I’m sure I’ve missed many but, in no particular order, here my favorite picture books of the last year….

 

King of the Sky – Nicola Davies

King of the Sky is a beautiful, moving story that touches on immigration and inter-generational relationships.   It is the story of a young, displaced boy from Italy and a retired, elderly Welsh coal miner who races pigeons. The book is a gentle meditation on loneliness, courage, and finding your place in the world when you feel out of place.  I love everything Nicola Davies writes – this sweet story is one of my favorites.  Gorgeous illustrations.

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Now – Antoinette Portis

Love this peaceful book about mindfulness, living in the moment, and appreciating what’s in front of you.  A little girl takes readers on a delightful journey that shows all her favorites and ends with an especially lovely one.  Love the bright autumn pallet.  This would be a perfect book for primary students for making connections to favorite things; with intermediates, I would use it for inferring a deeper message.

Questions Asked – Jostein Gaarder

Any book that promotes deep thinking and deep questions is going to be on my list of favorites!   This gorgeous book poses some of life’s most difficult, unanswerable questions in quiet and nonthreatening ways, opening the possibility for further thought and discussion.  A perfect book for introducing deep thinking questions.

A Different Pond – Bao Phi

This book combines family and cultural traditions, inter-generational relationships, and the challenges of the immigration experience all in one.  Beautifully crafted – so quiet and honest, with subtle text and beautiful imagery.  Bao Phi tells the story of an early early morning fishing trip with his father. The trip is not for recreation; it is for food.  There are so many quiet references to the challenges of the immigration experience (Bao makes reference to his father’s English, how hard his parents have to work, how everything costs so much).  This would make an excellent book for inferring and a focus on the hardships of immigration.

The Antlered Ship – Dashka Slater

A gorgeous epic filled with equal parts adventure and philosophy, this is one of those books that caught me by surprise when I first read it.  This sweet story features a curious fox who seeks answers to many big questions. Together, with his unlikely group of animal friends, they embark on a wondrous adventure.  Stunning illustrations by the Fan brothers – each page is its own piece of artwork.   Love the lessons in kindness, boldness and friendship.

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Crown – An Ode to the Fresh Cut – Derrick Barnes

This book made me smile a big wide smile and brought a bit of a tear to my eye at the same time.  It is just that good.  In a simple way, it is the story of a young black “tween” getting a haircut from the local barber.  But underneath it is a powerful message about dignity and empowerment and the feeling of importance.  Rich, beautiful, and joyful.

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Here We Are:  Notes for Living on Planet Earth – Oliver Jeffers

“Some things about our planet are pretty complicated, but things can be simple, too: you’ve just got to be kind.”   This beautiful book is a message to our little citizens about the mysterious world that they live in and how to understand and take care of it. Originally written as a message to his new born son, add this to your shopping list for any new babies being born, or for birthday presents for the littlest ones in your life!  Simple message for children but equally important and surprisingly deep message for grown-ups.  Gorgeous illustrations.

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Windows – Julia Denos

A warm little book about neighborhoods and the people within them. It’s a story about a child walking through a neighborhood and noticing people in the windows.  Comfort, belonging, community – all wrapped up in this beautifully illustrated book.

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    That Neighbor Kid – Daniel Miyares

In this almost wordless picture book, a young girl curiously watches her new neighbor begin a creative project.  While he struggles with his plans, she offers her help.   A celebration of creativity, friendship, collaboration and determination.  Love the way the illustrations begin as black and white and, as the friendship blossoms, so does the color.

The Bad Seed – Jory John

This humorous tale of a bad sunflower seed who eventually turns good makes a great read-aloud for primary students.  Sunflower is a BAAAAAAAAAD seed!  How BAAAAAAAAD?  He cuts in line, lies, doesn’t listen, has no manners…the list goes on!   I like how this book explores how he got to be so bad as well as focusing on his transformation to the “good side”.   Expressive illustrations – lots of laughs but great message.

                                                    Why Am I Me? – Paige Britt

Another stunning book that poses philosophical questions – this one with a deep pondering on identity and diversity.  Gorgeous mixed-media illustrations in an urban setting and great examples of point of view and inner dialogue.  Great discussion starter.

Life – Cynthia Rylant

Cynthia Rylant is definitely one of my top favorite children’s writers. I find her books to be so life-affirming, full of wonder and hope. Her new book “Life” is simply stunning. “What do you love about life?” is the question asked to many different animals. Through their responses, we are gifted with a wonderful message about life: how it constantly changes, the beauty of it, the darkness, and the wonders all around it. Simple, lyrical text and beautiful illustrations by Brendan Wenzel – it is a calm and reassuring book. Love.

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Wolf in the Snow – Matthew Cordell

So many great moments, great emotions and great sound effects in this moving, nearly wordless picture book about friendship, kindness, and compassion.  So much to love about this tale of a young girl who gets lost in the woods in deep winter as a wolf cub gets separated from her pack. The cub is afraid and in danger and the girl carries her to her mother. But the girl is now hopelessly lost, and in even greater danger. The pack, sensing this danger, howls to help the girl’s parents find her.  This is a must read, must share and must have little book.   (Kleenex required)

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Come With Me – Holly M. McGhee

What can we do to make the world just a little bit better, despite the fear, devastation and hatred we see everyday?  In this timely book, a young girl, frightened by what she is seeing on TV, asks her parents what she can do to make the world a better place. They respond by telling her and showing her that every person can make a difference by being kind, brave and showing compassion.  “Come with me…we can make this world better together.”  A wonderful book for launching a compassion project.

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When’s My Birthday? – Julie Fogliano

I so enjoyed this enthusiastic celebration of all things birthday!  Perfectly captures the agony and ecstasy of waiting for that one special day.   This book has rhyme and repetition; it’s bouncy and infectious and full of joy!  A great connect book for children – and even better one for parents!  “How many more days til my birthday?”

This House, Once – Deborah Freedman
Thought-provoking and beautifully poetic story about a house – and the oak tree, bricks and stones that it once was.  Though-provoking book invites readers to think about where things come from and what nature provides.  Soft, quiet, dreamy.  A note to readers at the back is great for promoting discussions.
There you have it!  So many more I could add but have to stop somewhere!  What were your favorite picture books of 2017?  Would love to hear your titles!
Watch for upcoming lists featuring favorite novels and early chapter books of 2017!

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Filed under 2017 releases, Connect, It's Monday, What Are You Reading?, New Books, Picture Book, Question