Tag Archives: Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday – 10 Favorite Books About Moral Dilemmas

One of my favorite lessons in my book Powerful Understanding is the lesson that introduces children to their “moral compass” – that internal voice inside each of us that can help “give us direction” when we are trying to make a moral decision. We often experience moments in our lives when we are faced with the age old question: Should I or shouldn’t I?

Here are my top ten books to teach the concept of “paying attention to your moral compass”. In each story, the character is faced with a dilemma, and a choice to make. All of these books invite conversations about the stages of a moral dilemma: the temptation, the choice, the guilt, taking responsibility, and finally, the restitution or making amends. Great books for reading aloud, pausing, and asking the students – “What would you do?”

I Really Want That Cake!  – Simon Phillip

Hilarious story of a little girl is told NOT to eat the cake her mother just made. The temptation becomes too great and she ends up eating the entire thing! She makes amends by owning up to her decision and baking a new cake.

Betty Bunny Didn’t Do It – Michael Caplan 

Another book that will have your students giggling! Betty Bunny accidently breaks a lamp but ends up blaming the Tooth Fairy! A great story about the value of honesty.

I Did It, I’m Sorry! –  Caralyn Buehner

A unique book full of little scenarios with moral dilemmas. The book asks the reader to pick A, B, or C — three different ways to deal with the problem. Great for conversations and role playing.

Sarah’s Little Ghosts – Thierry Robberecht

When Sarah breaks her mother’s favorite necklace, she tells lies to cover it up. But everytime she tells a little ghost pops out of her mouth! Every new lie Sarah tells, another ghost appears.  Not until she tells the truth do the little ghosts disappear.

The Summer My Father Was Ten – Pat Brisson

A young boy and his friends completely destroy a lonely neighbour’s vegetable garden while playing baseball. I have read this book to countless of intermediate students and each time, there are gasps of horror when Mr. Belavista walks in on their game and sees his beloved garden destroyed. An excellent story about taking responsibility and making amends.

A Bike Like Sergio’s – Maribeth Boelts 

Finders keepers, right? When Ruben picks up someone’s lost money, he discovers how hard it can be to do the right thing. Another well read book in my collection, I love how this book really explores and acknowledges the complexity of emotions one faces when faced with trying to do the right thing.

A Big Fat Enormous Lie – Marjorie Weinman Sharmat

Similar premise to Sarah’s Little Ghosts, a boy’s little lie comes alive in the form of a monster who grows and grows until he finds the only way to make it go away is to tell the truth.

Strega Nona – Tomie de Paola 

Oh, the temptation of magic, pasta, and adoration of others! In the beloved classic tale, we experience, first hand, Big Anthony’s moral compass pointing in the wrong direction when it comes to not touching Strega Nona’s magic pasta pot. Poor Anthony will never eat pasta again!

Ruthie and the Not So Teeny Tiny Lie –  Laura Rankin

Ruthie loves teeny tiny things. When she finds a teeny tiny camera on the school playground, she can hardly believe her luck. She wants to keep the camera in the worst way, but there’s one little problem: It isn’t hers. And so she lies. An endearing story and an even more endearing character!

The Empty Pot – Demi

The Emperor gives all the children in the land a seed and tells them that the one who grows the most beautiful flower will become the next Emperor. A young boy works tirelessly to tend his seed, but nothing grows. He returns to the king, among the other children’s beautiful flowers, with an empty pot. To his surprise, he is rewarded for his honesty. I LOVE this book for introducing moral compass, integrity, honesty and courage.

Thanks for stopping by! I hope you found one or two new titles to add to your classroom or library collection! Have a happy reading week, everyone!

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Top 10 Tuesday – Favorite Middle Grade Chapter and Graphic Novels Part 2 2022

A few weeks ago, I posted Part 1 of my list of favorite middle grade chapter and graphic novels with a focus on upper middle grades (mature grade 6 – 8) You can read that post HERE. I intended to post Part 2 last week, but 7 workshops and webinars in 5 days got in the way! So here is Part 2 – which features books I would recommend for lower middle grades (grades 4-6). And once again, I had trouble counting to ten!!

Abby In Between: Ready or Not – Megan Ebryant

Very excited about this first book in a young middle-grade series about nine-year-old Abby as she navigates all the chaos that can come from growing up. I loved Judy Blume books when I was growing up and this one certainly had a modern Judy Blume vibe! It’s a great book to introduce the topic of puberty as I feel it offers a realistic portrayal of the emotions, experiences, and feelings of a young girl. I appreciated the understanding doctor and the un-embarrassed mother.

Growing Pangs – Kathryn Ormsbee

Another coming of age theme in this cute graphic novel that includes topics like homeschooling, theater, friendship, summer camp, OCD, and anxiety. They say “books are mirrors” and I really like that there are so many authors this year writing “connect” books for middle graders who are trying to find their place in the world and be proud of who they are.

Surely Surely Marisol Rainey – Erin Entrada Kelly

This is the second “Marisol” book in a new series (I haven’t read the first one) featuring the quirky, unathletic Marisol Rainey. Marisol Rainey’s two least-favorite things are radishes and gym class. Well, I made so many connections to this book! I was the kid in elementary school who was terrified of gym class and picked last for every class sport. Basically: I was Marisol. Turns out Marisol has more spunk and grit than she thinks! Humorous and heartfelt story of friendship, family and fitting in for fans of Clementine, Judy Moody, Billy Miller,  and Ramona the Pest.

Step – Deborah Ellis

Canadian icon Deborah Ellis has written a collection of short stories featuring children who are all about to turn 11-years old — and how that event changes them. The series of stories are about children from all over the world and feature magical and mysterious themes. I LOVED this book and thought of so many wonderful ways you could use it in a classroom! A perfect book for an interactive read aloud to model questioning, connecting and transforming!

Odder – Katherine Applegate

Sea Otters + Katherine Applegate + a novel in verse = middle grade gold! How can you NOT fall in love with this adorable sea otter? Like her other books, beloved author Katherine Applegate knows how to weave important issues into her books with such respect and grace wrapped up in gorgeous writing and endearing characters. This book could stand alone as an amazing read aloud. But I could see it being the anchor to a class inquiry unit around endangered species, conservation, climate change, ecosystems, animal surrogates – the list goes on! Great information included in the back notes. This book will be released on Sept. 22nd.

Oh, Sal – Kevin Henkes

I love Kevin Henkes books so was excited to see this continuation of his Billy Miller series, told from Billy’s younger sister Sal’s voice. Henkes, once again, writes from the voice right of a nervous child worrying about trivial things that are very important to her. The whole story takes place over the course of a single day but with lots of space to explore Sal’s many emotions. The book is illustrated in black and white and a great choice for fans of Ramona, Ivy + Bean, and Dory Fantasmagory. A strong grade 2 reader would enjoy this story, up to beginning grade 4.

Max & The Midknights: The Tower of Time – Lincoln Peirce

A funny new graphic novel series (this is #3) about Max – a Knight in Training by the author of Nate the Great. This book is jam packed with action and adventure, pictures and personality, fantasy and fun!!! In this continuation of Max’s story, she meets her twin Mary, and the two journey (along with the other Midknights) to learn what happened to their parents. We also learn how Max got her name!

Nat Enough – Maria Scrivan

Nat Enough is a coming of age graphic novel (first in a series) about a young girl finding her place in middle school. Her best friend from elementary school is hanging out with the ‘cool kids’ now, and Natalie feels like she is “not enough”- not pretty enough, not talented enough, not cool enough. Certainly a lot of connections will be made with this one!

The Ice Cream Machine – Adam Rubin

Such a clever and original idea! This book is a collection of six short stories in a variety of genres and settings, all featuring ice cream! I enjoyed how each of the stories were a different genre, great for introducing genres to your class and great anchors for writing! Kids will make lots of connections to the book. I appreciated the author’s notes at the beginning and end of the book so don’t forget to share those if you are reading this story aloud.

The Bird & Squirrel On The Run – James Burk

I so enjoyed this colorful graphic novel featuring two unlikely friends – a nervous squirrel and a carefree bird, who join together to escape the menacing cat that wants to eat them.  Kids will enjoy the silly humour and colorful illustrations. LOTS of fun!

Mr. Wolf’s Class – Aron Nels Steinke

Another fun graphic novel – this one is about the first day of grade four and everyone is nervous — even Mr. Wolf! Despite the characters being colorful cartoon animals, the book had a realistic feel to it. All the student animals are unique and have their own challenges, hopes, goals. I think kids will really enjoy this first book in a new series.

PAWS: Gabby Gets It Together – Michelle Assarasakorn & Nathan Fairbarirn

This new graphic novel series is about best friends, cute dogs, and all the fun (and trouble) that comes with them. Funny and heartwarming – think Baby-Sitters Club for pets!

Omar Rising – Aisha Saeed

I enjoyed this book by the author of Amal Unbound. In this book about injustice in education, young Omar gets accepted to a private school on scholarship but is expected to work for free, cannot play in extracurricular events, and must maintain an A plus average. Most scholarship boys do not make past their first year so Omar decides to challenge this unfair system. An uplifting story about working together to make a change; the story is hopeful and empowering.

Outside Nowhere – Adam Borba

Surprised by how much I enjoyed this book! It’s about a funny, slacker kid who gets himself fired from his summer job at the pool and then gets sent to a farm in the middle of nowhere. But before long, magical things start happening at the farm. It’s weird, wonderful and whimsical! Would make a wonderful read-aloud.

The Trouble At Turtle Pond – Diana Renn

This is a eco-mystery is about making friends and saving endangered turtles – perfect for animal lovers everywhere! Strange that a mystery can also be heart-warming – but this story was. I think because of Miles, the loveable main character, who I was cheering for after the first page. A great mystery with important environmental lessons and a great characters.

Thanks for stopping by! Hope you found one or two new books to add to your classroom or school library! Happy reading, everyone!

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Filed under 2022 releases, Activism, Coming of Age story, environment, Friendship, graphic novel, making connections, Middle Grade Novels, New Books, Novels, Top 10 Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday! 10 New Back to School Books for 2022 (plus a few more!)

As much as it’s hard to face – back to school is on the horizon. Many have enjoyed holidays, much anticipated travel, and time with family and friends this summer. Some may already be heading back to class soon, others have a few weeks left of summer bliss to enjoy. Whatever stage you are at shifting into school mode, it’s never too early or late to start exploring a few new “back to school books”. Starting school with a good collection of “back to school” themed books to share with your students during those first few weeks can really help spark important discussions and help to start building your class community. These books also are a great way to model and practice making connections to the range of feelings associated with heading back to school.

Here are my top 10 favorite new “back to school” books for 2022, along with a few old favorites! (And yes, I have trouble counting to ten!)

This is a School – Jon Schu

A book celebrating school not just as a building, but all that it signifies and represents: all the people who work and learn together, supporting each other to create a caring community. A perfect book to start the school year, to practice “Transform” (Knew-New connections!), but also one that would make a wonderful anchor book for writing about your special school!

NOTE: If you are a GearPicksPack subscriber, this book is included in your Fall box (Primary). For those who are subscribers, because many of these titles are ones you would want to share in the first days and weeks of school, no other books listed here are included in the fall GearPicks Packs as we don’t usually ship the first boxes until the end of September.

 Lupe Lopez – Rock Star Rules – Pat Zietlow Miller

Super cute book about following class rules! Lupe is a spit-fire, drum loving Kindergartener who loves to drum on everything! But when she gets to school and discovers the “no drumming” rule, this little rock star is not ready to put down her drum sticks. Eventually she decides to listen to her teacher, and makes a few new friends along the way! Love the addition of Spanish words throughout this energetic story, reminiscent of Lily’s Purple Plastic Purse.

Mae’s First Day of School – Kate Berube

Mae refuses to go to school and makes up many reasons why she should not go. Upon entering the schoolground, she decides to avoid entering and climbs a tree. Another girl who is afraid to go in decides to join her in the tree. Then, the teacher, also afraid of the first day of school, climbs the tree, too! I love the humour, along with the connections kids will make about why Mae doesn’t want to go to school.

  Hello World! Kelly Corrigan

A young girl sets off with her dog to go explore the world to meet new people. She asks questions, connects to people, listens to their advice, and learns along the way. A perfect analogy for starting school and a great Reading Power anchor book for practicing asking questions!

That’s Not My Name Anoosha Syed

I LOVE books about names and this new one is SUCH a wonderful addition to my collection. Mirha is so excited for her first day of school: she can’t wait to learn, play, and make new friends. But when her classmates mispronounce her name, she goes home wondering if she should find a new one. Such a great book about the importance of pronouncing people’s names correctly.

The Queen of Kindergarten Derrick Barnes

A sweet companion to The King of Kindergarten (I think I might even like this one more!), this book follows MJ as she starts kindergarten. Lively, colorful and heartwarming and I LOVE that there is a focus on kindness and helping others. A must-have for your school library collection!

Blue Flower – Sonya Hartnett

I got a little teary reading this one! A perfect book for making connections to feelings of not fitting in, feeling different, making friends, and anxieties associated with starting school. I love the simple, small moments of self realization, perseverance, and resilience. Stunning illustrations. LOVE this one!

The Little Bear – Nicola Killen

I’m a fan of this author/illustrator, so was excited to see her new book! A very sweet story about a about a bear cub soothing a little girl’s fears about starting school. The story is sprinkled with a little magic and adorable illustrations. Would make a great read-aloud and perfect bed-time story.

First Day Critter Jitters – Jory John

This book came out a few years ago, but I only just discovered it, so thought I would include it. This is a true laugh-out-loud picture book about a group of animals who are all tense about the first day of school. The sloth worries about being late, the mouse about being too small, the kangaroo about leaving mom’s pouch, the parrot about too much repeating, and so on. The creatures are adorable and I love the message of reassurance of starting school mixed with humour. A PERFECT read-aloud for the first day of school!

Lunch From Home – Joshua David Stein

WOW! I’m so in love with this book! Such a great book to discuss the importance of culture and food. Four students are teased by “the sandwich kids” for bringing culturally-specific lunches to school. Readers follow each student as they learn to manage their first “lunch box moments”. Love how this book inspires everyone to stand up and be proud of their food and culture and encourages empathy and respect. This is a PERFECT new book to add to my Powerful Understanding “Others” book list!

Narwhal’s School of Awesomeness – Ben Clanton

Another delightful addition to the graphic novel series for beginning readers. In this story, Narwhal and Jelly become substitute teachers! They teach their “school of fish” some interesting subjects, including “Wafflematics”. Surprise bonus in this book are all the TRIPLE SCOOP WORDS! Every time a fish responds to a question, the other fish respond in synonyms! Sweet, silly and great for vocabulary building! Available in FRENCH.

 A Letter from Your Teacher on the First Day of School – Shannon Olsen

This book came out last year but it is definitely worth a second mention. SO much to love about this heartfelt, honest letter from a teacher to her/his students. A perfect back to school book to highlight a teachers purpose and to help build a positive classroom community. The illustrations are beautiful and inclusive. This book is also now available in French.

Our Class is a Family – Shannon Olsen

By the same author as A Letter from Your Teacher, this is one of my favorite books for helping to build a positive class community at the start of a school year. In it, the teacher compares the class to different families both traditional and non-traditional and how, like their family at home, a family environment in a classroom means making sure everyone is accepted, cared for, and loved.

All Are Welcome Alexander Penfold

Last, but certainly not least, you can’t have a “back to school” book list without including this one! This is one of the best books on diversity and inclusion you can find – and sends a warm message to all children that no matter who they are, what they wear, what language they speak, and what they eat for lunch – they are all welcome at school. A perfect back to school read aloud but an even better book for a principal to share at the “Welcome Back” assembly! There is even a SONG written from this book!

Thanks for stopping by! I hope you have discovered one or two new titles to add to your “back to school” book collection! Happy reading and sharing book joy with your class this year!

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Filed under 2022 releases, Back to School, Class Community Building, Connect, Diversity, French Books, New Books, Picture Book, Top 10 Tuesday, Transform

Top Ten Tuesday – Outdoor Learning Anchor Books – part 2

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Last week, I posted my Ten for Ten book list featuring my top ten books for inspiring and supporting Outdoor Learning.  You can read that post HERE.  The response was overwhelming, as many teachers are looking for different ways to support their students this fall during Covid times.  I discovered so many amazing books connected to this, I decided to continue “the love” in a second post.

Here are ten more (I can’t count very well!) recommended books for inspiring and supporting your Outdoor Learning lessons, including indigenous stories and professional resources.

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A Walk in the Forest – Maria Dek

I love being in the forest.  It fills my soul.  This book really makes me want to go into the forest, feel the forest dirt under my feet and the forest air in my lungs.  So simple, yet so evocative. A beautiful book.

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Step Gently Out – Helen Frost

Step outside, take some time to be still and just watch the world. Get down low to the ground or close to some plants, and you’re sure to see tiny animals going about their business. This book beautifully captures the wonder we experience when we notice the beauty of nature.  A perfect read-aloud before taking a nature walk with your class.

The Golden Glow Benjamin Flow

This quiet, beautiful story, originally published in French, is about a botany-loving fox on a mission to find a rare golden glow flower. Along his trek, he passes through many trees, mountains, flowers and friends.  When he finally reaches the rare golden glow flower, he realizes that it needs to stay where it is.  Instead of picking it, he carefully draws it in his journal instead, so he can remember it.  Lots of great messages and topics to “infer” and discuss in this one!

A Bug Girl: A True Story – Sophia Spencer and Margaret McNamura

At a very young age, Sophia Spencer develops a deep passion for bugs.  Despite the bullying she receives, with the help of her mother, she finds “her people” –   hundreds of women scientists rallied around her through encouraging letters.  This is an inspiring true story celebrating women in science, bugs of all kinds, and the importance of staying true to yourself.

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Picture a Sky Barbara Reid

In Barbara Reid signature clay illustrations, this book is a perfect anchor for transforming our understanding and thinking about the ever-changing sky.  Great for cloud watching, imagining, and art.

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Tiny, Perfect Things -M. H. Clark

Such a beautiful book intended to help young readers become aware of the wonders around them every day.   A child and grandfather’s walk around the neighborhood leads to a day of shared wonder as they discover all sorts of tiny, perfect things together.   Rhythmic storytelling and detailed illustrations.

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Just in Case You Want to Fly – Julie Fogliano

Let’s take a trip!  Delightful rhyming text and collage pictures depicting the important things to take with you on a trip.  Ends with a map with an “x” so readers can find their way home.  Lovely rhyming text.  I would use this for inspiring students to make their own map and list for things to take on their trip.

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Please Take Me For A Walk – Susan Gal

A simple and endearing story of a 4 legged friend who just wants to go for a walk!  Read this like YOU are the dog begging and telling why you want to go on the walk.  Your students will love it!  Great for persuasive writing and story mapping.  

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Windows Julia Denos

Lovely picture book of a child exploring his little world and many other worlds, all beautifully framed in a window.  Gentle celebration of neighborhoods, diversity, stories, imagination, and home.

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The Things That I Love About Trees – Chris Butterworth

I love trees.  I love changing seasons.  This book has both.  I love this book. It’s a  simple look at trees throughout the seasons of one year.   Connection to The Important Book by Margaret Wise Brown.

A Walk on the Shoreline – Rebecca Hainnu

A follow up toA Walk on the Tundra, this book is full of interesting facts about the  Canadian Arctic, and in particular, the rich plants and animals the Inuit gather and hunt during the short Arctic summer months.  Both books would be excellent companion books for your study of Inuit culture, land, and traditions.  Recommended for older readers due to the longer text.

Lessons From Mother Earth – Elaine McCleod

Tess visits her grandmother and learns about the earth, how it has sustained her and her family, as well as how to pick just the right amount of berries and plants.  Lovely story celebrating nature and learning about how the indigenous people respect and care for the earth.

I Help – Caitlin Dale Nickolson

A young boy follows his grandmother, walking, listening, picking, praying, eating, just as she does.  Simple text full of rich cultural traditions and values of his Cree heritage.  Written in both English and Cree.  Beautiful large book with gorgeous illustrations.

PROFESSIONAL RESOURCES 

Messy Maths: A Playful Outdoor Approach – Juliet Robertson

I have seem lots of mentions on this book on social media sites so it’s definitely one teachers are using.   The author’s first book, Dirty Teaching” (below) was first published in in 2014 and was extremely popular in the UK, where she is from.

Dirty Teaching – A Beginner’s Guide to Learning Outdoors – Juliet Robertson

This is a very helpful and practical resource for teachers just new to outdoor learning – full of tips and tricks “to help any primary school teacher kick-start or further develop their outdoor practice.”

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The Big Book of Nature Activities:  A Year-Round Guide to Outdoor Learning – Drew Monkman

An excellent holistic nature adventure and education book. Whether you are new to nature exploration, a teacher, a parent, a young person, or a seasoned explorer, this book has something for you. It hits on the basics and further with introductions and tips and tricks to general exploration and then the seasonal activities — which include information and considerations, so more than just go outside and play activities.

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The Outdoor Classroom In Practice – Karen Constable

Inspiring, practical resource to help teachers make the most of the outdoors all year round.  Gorgeous colored photos and a month-to-month guide that explores theme-related play experiences.

Thanks for stopping by!  Hope you have found one or two books that caught your eye!

Have a wonderful week and enjoy the last weeks of summer!

 

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Filed under environment, Indigenous Stories, New Books, Outdoor Learning, Picture Book, Professional Books, Read-Aloud, Top 10 Tuesday, Writing Anchor book

Top 10 (okay, 14!) Back to School Picture Books for 2019

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Well, it’s that time of year again.  Time to face the fact that summer is drawing to a close  and school is right around the corner.  Some of you, in fact, have already started teaching.  But there is an excitement that comes at this time of year – the anticipation of a new students to get to know and a new class community to build and nurture.  But while the start of school brings excitement for some, it can bring anxiety for others.  Sharing books about starting school and all that that entails is a wonderful way for making your students feel safe and connected. Here are my top new “back to school” picture books for sharing during “back to school”  week.

The Proudest Blue – Ibtihaj Muhammad

While it doesn’t appear to be by the cover, this is a powerful story about the first day of school that turns out to be so much more.  It is about rites of passage, the bonds of sisters, overcoming classmate cruelty and taunts, and the importance of culture and faith.  This book will be released on September 10th and I highly recommend it.  Gorgeous illustrations!   An important book to share about acceptance and pride in who you are.  (Great anchor for “Who Am I?” lessons from Powerful Understanding!)


Clothesline Clues to the First Day of School – Andy Robert Davies

You will have a lot of fun with this interactive book during the first week back.  Catchy rhymes and clear visual cues introduce young readers to the people they’ll encounter on their first day of school.  Perfect for Pre K – grade 1.

The School Book – Todd Parr

Todd Parr has done it again! With his signature bright, bold illustrations, “The School Book” is a must read for back to school this year. Positive and affirming step-by-step guide to a school day, from morning routines, to meeting new people, to learning and playing together. Love the way he weaves in a cheerful, child-friendly message of sharing, inclusion, and community. A perfect book for parents and teachers to read with any little one starting or returning to school.

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All Are Welcome – Alexandra Penfold

A warm, welcoming picture book that celebrates diversity and gives encouragement and support to all kids starting and returning to school.    All children need to know they are welcome in their classrooms and feel a sense of belonging.  In rhythmic phrases, this story emphasizes the inclusiveness, acceptance, and celebration of all cultures.  The perfect book for the first week of school to promote a positive classroom and school community.

If I Built a School – Chris Van Dusen

Chris Van Dusen’s If I Built a House is one of my go-to read-alouds to inspire imaginative writing so I was thrilled to see his new book about an imaginary school!  Told in a bouncy rhyming text, a boy describes all the fantastic and amazing things he would include if he was building his own school – money and reality no object!  Puppies and zoo animals would greet you at the door, students would have movable hover desks, every library book would come to life when you opened it, you’d race on submersible bikes in the school’s pool!   What fun!  A perfect anchor book for some inspiring back to school imagination pocket writing and art!

Pirates Don’t Go to Kindergarten! – Lisa Robinson

Very sweet story about “Pirate Emma” transitioning from preschool to kindergarten and getting to know new classmates, a new classroom, a brand new teacher, and a new routine.  Packed with pirate language and lively illustrations, this story is a perfect “connect” book for any buccaneer that might not be feeling very brave when starting a new adventure.

Lola Goes to School – Anna McQuinn

A simple, comforting story about a little girl preparing for the first day of school.  While many similar books begin on the actual first day of school, I like how this one focuses on the preparation day before – choosing clothes, packing backpacks and lunches.   This one leaves you with such a positive, uplifting feeling that gently eases any worries young readers may be feeling about starting school.

Sorry, Grown-Ups!  You Can’t Go to School – Christina Geist

This book is an entertaining story with some reverse psychology intended to make kids want to go to school.   The role reversal outlines all the fun things that a child would be excited about – new backpacks (with secret pockets), playing games, reading on the cozy carpet, science experiments, and recess, all of which drive the adults nuts with longing!  Bright, playful illustrations. (the lack of diversity is my only criticism)  This book is fun and would certainly help to ease nerves as the school year begins.  

Butterflies on the First Day of School Annie Silverstro

Rosie is excited about the first day of school but then when the day actually arrives, she discovers she has “butterflies in her tummy.”   As the first day unfolds, each time Rosie opens up and talks to a new classmate or her teacher, butterflies – which only she can see – escape out of her mouth and fly into the sky.   As the butterflies fly out, Rosie’s confidence begins to grow, and new friendships and experiences are forged; she even finds the courage to help another shy little girl with butterflies of her own.  I love how this “butterfly” metaphor is developed into a clear analogy for kids – opening up to others to let the butterflies out.

The King of Kindergarten – Derrick Barnes

A gentle, joyful introduction to what to expect in a Kindergarten classroom and a sweet story about making friends, playing together, loving school, and putting positive energy into the world.  Such a lovely message in this one!   The artwork is stunning and the story is charming and uplifting.  Love this one!

The Pigeon Has to Go to School! – Mo Willems

Mo Willems is back with another pigeon book just in time for back to school! The Pigeon Has to Go to School is a laugh-out-loud hilarious story focusing on fears about going to school for the first time. Not preachy and a great ending. A perfect back to school read! LOVE this!

How To Read – Kwane Alexander

While not specifically about starting school, this ode to reading by the amazing team of Kwane Alexander and Melissa Sweet would make an excellent first week read-aloud.   I so loved the “how to” format filled gorgeous poetic language and literary techniques: “Once you’re comfy, peel its gentle skin, like you would a clementine…Next, did your thumb at the bottom of each juicy section and POP the words out.”  Vibrant, collage illustrations but I did find the busy layout and embedded font sometimes difficult to follow on some pages.   Great for read-aloud and wonderful anchor book for writing similes, personification and imagery.

Back to School: A Global Journey – Maya Ajmera

I so love this beautiful, joy-filled book filled with stunning color photographs of children around the world studying, learning, exploring, and having fun together.  A perfect book for any lesson on global education and includes back notes and maps about each photograph.  Seeing children’s joy about school and learning is so inspiring!   I would pair this book up with The Way to School by Rosemary McCarney.

Thanks for stopping by!  Hope you found on or two “Back to School” books that caught your eye!  Happy “New Year”, teacher friends!

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Filed under 2019 releases, Back to School, Connect, New Books, Top 10 Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday – Top 10 Books about Lines! (Who knew there were so many?)

top 10What is a line?  Think about it for a moment.  It starts and it stops… or does it?   A line, on one hand, is a simple mark or stroke on a surface.  But when you start thinking about it, you realize how many different lines there are and how many ways we use the word in both expressions and to describe things….

“A fine line”, “crossed the line”, “line in the sand”, “over the line”, “end of the line”, “you’re out of line”, “draw the line”, “read between the lines“, clothes line, number line, time line, line-up, line change (in hockey), line dancing, the bottom line, border line, line of longitude, line of latitude, fault line, deadline, enemy line, battle line, line of fire, tan line, fishing line, telephone line, blood line, zip line, party line, front line, line from a poem or story, dotted line, underline, inter-lined, straight line, crooked line, squiggly line, long line, stand in line, line-by-line….Phew!  That’s a lot of lines!

I thought about how this concept of “line” would make an interesting inquiry project – “What is a line?”  With a little imagination, a line can be…just about anything you want!   What a great way to connect art, story and imagination.  Fascinated by the concept, I started my search for picture books about lines… and it didn’t take long to fill up my top ten list!  Any of these books could be used as anchors for art, writing – or both!

1, Harold and the Purple Crayon – Crocket Johnson

First published in 1955, this gentle book really started it off: the idea that a child with an imagination and thirst for adventure could use purple crayon lines to create his own imaginary world.  Add a few obstacles, some humour, a moose and some pie – and you have yourself a classic!

Image result for the line paula bossio

2. The Line – Paula Bossio

This wordless picture book takes the reader on an adventure of a little girl discovering a line. As the girl follows the line, the reader discovers what adventure awaits her.  A perfect story starter for early-elementary as they begin to explore narrative, either by using one of the girl’s creations in the story or by coming up with their own way of turning the line into something.

3. The Squiggle – Carole Lexa Schaefer

A little girl, a piece of string and a big imagination – from a Dragon Dance to the Great Wall of China, food, and other items she experiences – I love the diversity in this book as well as the beautiful brush stroked illustrations.  A great anchor for drawing and writing!  What will your squiggle be?

4. Follow the Line –  Laura Ljungkvist

This is the first in a series of books by Scandanavian artist Laura Ljungkvist in which she explores one continuous line throughout an entire book.  In this book, a single line begins on the front cover and winds its way across each page as we flow from city to the country, from the sky to the ocean, from morning till night.  Each page is packed with color, objects, buildings, animals and amazingness!

5. Follow the Line to School – Laura Ljungkvist

In this book, we follow a single line on a playful romp through the school.  From the library to the science corner – this is an interactive, creative and fun way to engage the reader.  I like that the text also prompts the reader with questions…. “Here is the class pet.  I wonder what kind of animal it is?”… “Now we’re in the lunch room. What will you eat for lunch today?”    Other books in this series include:  Follow the Line Around the World and Follow the Line Through the House. 

6. Lines That Wiggle – Candace Whitman

“Lines are everywhere you look!”  All sort of lines and their uses are explained in this book through cartoon characters, e.g. curvy, wiggly, wavy, etc. This book would be a great anchor book for introducing line vocabulary and also to inspire some great line drawings.   I also like that it inspires kids to look closer at things and notice lines in everyday things.  Here is the link youtube version:   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4SqFA…

7. Lines, Squiggles, Letters, Words – Ruth Rocha

Translated from Portuguese by Brazil’s most famous children’s authors, this charming picture book tells the story of a boy who sees squiggles and lines that don’t exactly make pictures and he can’t quite decipher. But when he starts school, he realizes that those confusing squiggles and lines were actually letters!   Sweet look at the beginning to read for early primary.

8. A Squiggly Story – Andrew Larsen

A great introduction to the writing process!  While the last book focused on the beginning reader, this one playfully and imaginatively explores a young child’s process of learning to express himself through writing.  I love the message of finding your own voice and that everyone has a story inside us – tell it, draw it, squiggle it!

9. The Lines on Nana’s Face – Simona Ciraolo

In this heartfelt book,  we see lines as memories and stories of a well-lived life.  As a little girl points to a line on her nana’s face, Nana tells her a story.  A celebration of family, grandparents, memories and life stories – this beautiful book makes me teary every time I read it.

Lines – Suzy Lee

WOW!  This brand new release is a truly stunning wordless picture book.  With gorgeous, simple pencil drawing, the reader follows a skater who is tracing lines on the ice.  As the lines on the ice get more complicated, the skater leads readers to unexpected places!  Magical…. astounding… charming….as soon as I finished, I started reading it again.   I LOVE this book!  (Thank you, Groundwood Press, for sending me this pre-release copy)

And here are two to more LINE books to watch for this fall….

Draw the Line – Kathryn Otoshi

The amazing Katheryn Otoshi (author of One, Two, and Zero) has, once again, given us a book filled with rich discussion points.  Draw the Line is so much more than a book about lines.  It is a beautiful wordless picture book about friendship, creativity, community, conflict, resolution – and a “line” connecting us all.  A must have book for inferring, connecting, transform…. Brilliant!

Free the Lines – Clayton Junior

Another thought-provoking wordless picture book that will inspire rich discussions in an upper elementary classroom.  This one focuses on an environmental theme, specifically ethics in the fishing industry.  Told through extraordinary lined drawings, Clayton tells a story of a small cat fishing in a small boat on a large ocean who runs into a huge, smoke-belching trawler, who sets out enormous nets and catches all the fish.  How the cat solves the problem is one that could be up for debate. It truly is amazing how much you can say in a picture book without a single word of text – a perfect book for inferring (ie. what are you inferring the tile means?) and questioning both the story and the message.  Watch for this one!

And there you have it – books about lines that I hope will inspire you and your students draw, squiggle, swirl and write with and about lines!  Enjoy and thanks for stopping by!

 

Image result for the line paula bossio
Image result for the line paula bossio

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Filed under 2017 releases, Art, Infer, New Books, Top 10 Tuesday, wordless, Writing Strategies

Top Ten Tuesday – Top 10 Professional Reads for Summer 2017

top 10

Well, summer is here!  Time for family, relaxing, travelling, holidaying, sorting cupboards, cleaning garages, and best of all – TIME TO READ!!!  And while the school doors might be closed, I find summer a perfect time to catch up on my professional reading!  From Inquiry-Based learning, Growth Mindset and Maker Spaces to reading, writing, and thinking strategies – there are some GREAT new resources to help motivate, inspire, and refine our practice, including some resources to support the new BC Curriculum.   (Please note that I have not read all of these books, but I am including them because I have heard good things about them and/or they have caught my eye and look very inspiring!)

Here are my top 10 recommended professional books for summer reading….

1 Disrupting Thinking: Why How We Read Matters

Kylene Beers and Robert E. Probst

Three years ago, I presented a workshop at a Reading Conference in Moosejaw, Saskatchewan.  The conference was held in a hockey rink – in my memory, the zamboni came to clean the ice between each speaker (actually that didn’t happen – but it felt like it could have!). Presenting at the same conference on their then new book Notice and Note were Kylene Beers and Bob Probst.  I attended one of their sessions, and they mine.  We drove back to the airport and the hotel together.  I was star struck, if I’m being honest, and although I tried very hard to be “cool” in the car ride across the flat prairies, it was difficult for me not to start patting their arms or squeezing their legs. I’m THRILLED to have their new book on the top of my summer TBR pile!

2. The Writing Strategies Book: Your Everything Guide to Developing Skilled Writers Jennifer Serravello

I LOVED Jennifer Serravello’s first book The Reading Strategies Book, so am very excited to read her new book on writing. Her books are VERY practical and have lessons you can use right away. I can’t wait to read this one!

3. Joy Write: Cultivating High-Impact, Low Stakes Writing – Ralph Fletcher

I am a huge fan of Ralph Fletcher and have many of his previous books on teaching writing.  As a writing teacher, it is hard to find the balance between teaching structure and giving kids a chance to “just write”.   In this book, Ralph Fletcher proposes a new concept:  greenbelt writing. Writing that is “raw, unmanicured, uncurated…I am talking about informal writing…I am talking about low-stakes writing, the kind of comfortable composing kids do when they know there’s no one looking over their shoulders.”   I am very excited to read this and learn some new strategies for less structure and more “joyful, whimsical, playful” writing time.

POIbook.jpg

4. The Power of Inquiry – Teaching and Learning with Curiosity , Creativity, and Purpose in the Classroom Kath Murdoch

Kath Murdoch, from Australia, is the “guru” of inquiry based learning and I am a new fan girl of hers.  I have heard nothing but rave reviews about her and this book so am eager to dive in.  Here is a quick preview of her talking about this book.

5. The Nerdy Teacher Presents: Your Starter Guide to Maker Space – Nicholas Provenzano

I have to admit the concept of “Maker Spaces” is a new one for me… and with so many ideas floating around, I was on the lookout for a simple guide with practical suggestions and real-classroom ideas to help a newbie like me get started.  I believe this might be just the book I am looking for!

6. SPACE: A Guide for Educators – Rebecca Louise Hare

“It is not about decorating learning spaces.  It is about designing them to amplify learning.”  Okay – I did judge this book by its cover – and the simplicity of the cover with the sophistication of this quote captured my attention.  LOVE the phrase “amplify learning“.   I also liked this description:  “In addition to nudging thinking forward, SPACE provides practical design tips and uses images and testimonials for hacking learning spaces on a realistic budget. This book is designed to motivate, grow capacity, and energize educators to begin shifting their learning spaces to support modern learning for all students.”

Shift This!: How to Implement Gradual Changes for MASSIVE Impact in Your Classroom

7. Shift This!: How to Implement Gradual Changes for Massive Impact in Your Classroom – Joy Kirr

I often refer to a “shift in thinking” in my workshops – small movements of thought that give you a new perspective.  This book caught my eye simply because it had the word “shift” in the title, but after glancing through the contents and a quick “flip read”-  I already have some take-aways:  having a sign out sheet by the door for the students to be in charge of their own bathroom breaks; changing “homework” to “independent practice”.  A perfect summer Pro. D. read!

8. The Growth Mindset Coach:  A Teacher’s Month-by-Month Handbook for Empowering Students to Achieve – Annie Brock and Heather Hundley

Yes, I am a teacher of routine and planning and I also love practical.  So I am ALL OVER a book for teachers written by teachers that has well-laid out lessons broken down into a month-to-month plan!  YES!  Practical and applicable and includes:
– A Month-by-Month Program
– Research-Based Activities
– Hands-On Lesson Plans
– Real-Life Educator Stories
– Constructive Feedback
– Sample Parent Letters

Major pre-read book love!

9. ThinQ Kindergarten:  Inquiry-Based Learning in the Kindergarten Classroom – Joan Reimer, Deb Watters, Jill Colyer, and Jennifer Watt

Kindergarten Teachers!  I haven’t forgotten about you!!!  Here is a book focusing on inquiry-based learning especially for the kindergarten classroom.  Easy to follow with lots of helpful tips.  A version of this book for middle grades is also available:  ThinQ 4-6: Inquiry-based learning in the junior classroom.  

Embracing a Culture of Joy: How Educators Can Bring Joy to Their Classrooms Each Day

10. Embracing a Culture of Joy: How Educators Can Bring Joy to Their Classrooms Each Day  – Dean Shareski

Through all the changes and challenges we face each day as teachers, we sometimes forget to have fun!  In this quick read, I was reminded how much we have to be joyful about in education.  A great reminder to find and embrace that joy because our students deserve it.  Full of practical ideas to bring joy back into your classroom – this is a great summer read!

What professional book will you be reading this summer?  Thanks for stopping by!

 

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Top Ten Tuesday – Top 10 French Picture Books to use with Reading Power

While all of my Reading and Writing Power books are translated and published in French, I, myself, am not French speaking.  This makes it rather challenging for me to create book lists for French Immersion teachers.  After numerous requests, however, I decided to rise to the challenge! I was surprised to see many of the English books I have recommended for Reading Power are translated into French so the challenge wasn’t as difficult as first thought!  Thanks to Vanessa Zentner, a grade 4 French Immersion teacher in Calgary, for the gentle nudge – here are my top 10 French picture books to use with Reading Power.

Image result for la branche Mireille Messier

1. Ma branche préférée – Mireille Messier

When an ice storm breaks a branch off a little girl’s favorite tree, she is devastated.  Fortunately, her kind neighbour, Mr. Frank, helps her turn her branch into something wonderful (not telling!)  I love this book for making predictions – students predict what Mr. Frank will make.  I also like the reference to an ice storm to introduce students to this weather phenomenon that many have never experienced.  A great CONNECT book – connecting to something special that was damaged or lost.

                     2. Grand-mère, elle et moi – Yves Nadon

There is something special about memories with your grandmother.  Special feelings, memories and moments to connect to.  A perfect CONNECT book.

3. Tourbillon d’émotions – Janan Cain

I use the English version of this book with many classes when we are practicing making Connections.  It is filled with many different examples of everyday situations and the feelings connected to them.  A great book to introduce “feeling” vocabulary.

Quel génie!- Ashley Spires

This past fall, I used this book to launch our school wide Critical Thinking project called the “Most Magnificent Thing”.  (You can read all about the project here.)  It is the story of a little girl who sets out to build “The Most Magnificent Thing”, but becomes increasingly frustrated when things don’t turn out exactly as planned.   It is one of my favorite books because it is filled with so many themes for discussion – determination, managing frustration, and, in the case of our MMT projects – the importance of using critical thinking to solve problems.

4. Plus noir que la nuit – Chris Hadfield

One of my favorite biography picture books of 2016, Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield shares his childhood experiences of being afraid of the dark.  A perfect book for CONNECTING to childhood fears but also an inspiring young readers to overcome those fears and dream big.  Gorgeous illustrations by brothers Terry and Eric Fan.

5. Le jardinier de la nuit – The Fan Brothers

A mysterious gardener begins to sculpt trees into animals during the night and young William wonders who and why.  Breathtaking illustrations (again by the talented Fan Brothers) and spare, sweet text, this is a perfect QUESTION book.  (Before starting the story, show the class the cover – and ask the “Qu’est-ce que vous vous demandez?” (Not sure if that’s how you say “What are you wondering?” but I tried!)  They will fill a chart paper, white board or smart board screen with questions!

6. Le lion et l’oiseau Marianne Dubuc

Another favorite from last year, this  is a tender tale of friendship between a lion and the wounded bird he finds and cares for.  When bird flies off with his flock the following fall, Lion is left alone.  A great book for QUESTIONING.  (I’m wondering what the bird is whispering to the lion on the front cover!)

7. Le bateau de fortune – Olivier de Solmicnhac

This gorgeous book is a perfect one to practice VISUALIZING!  Two friends arrive at the beach but have forgotten their swimsuits, buckets and spades.  What to do?  Instead, they make a makeshift boat and sail off to imagine the sound of the sea, the taste of the sea spray, seeing the sparkling light of the sun on the water,  and the feeling of a day at the beach.  Full of sensory descriptions, this book will make a wonderful one to practice VISUALIZING.   

                   8.  Mon papa, il est grand, il et fort, mais Coralie Saudo

A humourous role reversal plays out in this gentle book about a boy who is trying to get his dad to go to bed.  Children will make many connections to being coaxed into their own bedtime routines.  Perfect for Father’s Day!

9. Et si jamais…? Anthony Browne

I was very pleased to see that this book about childhood anxiety by Anthony Browne has been translated into French.  On his way to to a birthday party, his first “drop off” party, a little boy becomes more and more anxious about the many things that could go wrong.  As he and his mum get closer to the house he becomes filled with worry:  “What if nobody talks to me?”  “What if I don’t like the food?” “What if you forget to pick me up?”  It is a book I have shared many times and it always invites many “worry” connections from children.

10. Le Canada, c’est moi!  – Heather Patterson

I was SO excited about this gorgeous book when I saw it in English (I am Canada) and now soon to be released in French!   A perfect book to help celebrate Canada’s 150th birthday, written in simple text and illustrated by 13 amazing Canadian children’s illustrators including Barbara Reid, Jon Klassen, Marie-Louise Gay and Ashley Spires. It is a celebration of all things Canada – from First Nations festivals, to playing hockey on an frozen pond, to lying in a pile of leaves – depicting the cultural and geographical diversity of our home and native land.

 

Well, French Immersion Teachers, there you have my first official blog of French titles!  I hope that you have found a few new books to add to your Reading Power collections.  I would love to hear back with any of your favorites so that I can perhaps do another Top 10 List soon.  Thanks for stopping by!

 

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Top Ten Tuesday – Top 10 Good-Bye Gift Books for Teachers and Colleagues

As our school year draws to a close, there may be staff members who are moving to other schools, retiring or going on leave.  Gifting your colleague with a special book is a meaningful way to say “Thank you” and “You have made a difference”.  Here are my top 10 books to give as good-bye gifts to teachers.  (Thank you Amber Romero for this great Top Ten Tuesday idea!)

  1. A Letter To My Teacher by Deborah Hopkinson

A heartfelt picture book about a girl who prefers running and jumping to listening and learning—and the teacher who gently inspires her.  Written as a thank-you note with gorgeous illustrations.  This one is inspiring and may require a Kleenex.

2, Thank You – A Book for Teachers – Sandy Gingras

This is a charming little keepsake book features soft, sweet watercolor artwork and thoughtful original text celebrating teachers and all they.  Please note this book is very small – like something that would fit into a purse –  very sweet, but tiny.

3. Last Day Blues – Julie Danneburg

A very sweet story that follows a group of students on their last day of school.  The kids are so worried that their teacher will have nothing to do during the summer (LOL!) so they make her a very cute present to help her remember them.  Love the surprise at the end!  (Similar to First Day Jitters)

4. Mrs. Spitzer’s Garden – Edith Pattou

A metaphor for teaching –  tending a garden – planting, nurturing, growing.  Simple, moving story and whimsical illustrations celebrate all that teachers do, year after year, to help children grow and blossom.  A great teacher gift.

5. Because I Had a Teacher – Kobi Yamada

“Because I had a teacher, I have whole new worlds to explore.
I discovered that what I can imagine, I can make real.
And now I feel like I can do anything.
Because I had you, I learned to believe in me.”

This heartwarming book is a thank you gift for great teachers everywhere. Adorable illustrations.

6. Teachers Rock! – Todd Parr

You can never go wrong with Todd Parr!  Summary:  Teachers are amazing!  They help you find new talents, learn new things, and watch you succeed.  A wonderful ode to teachers.   

7.  The New Yorker Book of Teacher Cartoons Edited by Robert Mankoff

For those teachers for whom a picture book is maybe not the best fit – here is a hilarious collection of cartoons that capture the fun, terror, excitement, anxiety, bedlam and joy that teachers experience every day.  Hilarious!

8. F in Exams: The Very Best Totally Wrong Test Answers – Richard Beasoa

This book is hilarious!  Full of apparently real-life wrong answers to various test questions. Perfect for anyone who has ever taught high school or middle school who will make many “connections” to these creative wrong answers to test questions.

9. What Teachers Make – In Praise of the Greatest Job in the World – Taylor Mali

At a dinner party, teacher Taylor Mali was asked by a dinner guest, who happened to be a lawyer, what teachers make.  Tired of being asked this question, he wrote a poem which he later performed at a poetry slam.  The poem got such attention, he turned it into a book.  Heartfelt and filled with inspiration, this is a perfect gift for every teacher.  I did not know about this book but was inspired by Taylor Mali’s reciting the poem on YouTube. 

10.   Thank You, Mr. Falkner Patricia Polacco

No list of inspiring books for teachers would be complete without this one.  A beautiful, touching story of a girl struggling to learn to read and the amazing teacher who “unlocked the door and pulled [her] into the light.”   Kleenex definitely required for this one – I cry every time I read it.  This special book is for that special teacher who just finds a way.

Teachers:  There is No Such Thing as Hot Coffee and Other Teacher Truths -Bored Teachers

This book has not yet been released (July) but I’m including it as a “one to watch for”.  I enjoy following Bored Teachers on Facebook so am looking forward to this one as I’m sure it will be very funny.  Here’s the summary:

Is it Friday yet? Get ready to go behind the desk with this insiders look at a year in the life of an everyday educator. Written for teachers by teachers, this hilarious snapshot into the lives of the overworked and underpaid will have you laughing so loud, you’ll worry it might get confiscated.  Full of administrative frustration, madcap humor; and heartfelt love for the most underappreciated profession of them all, Teachers is the perfect gift for that special someone who spends all day with your kids.  

What are your favorite teacher gift books?

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Top Ten Tuesday: Top 10 Picture Books to Inspire Winter Art!

Happy New Year!  We are heading back to school SO early this year… and I believe it is going to be a long, cold, and snowy month ahead!  If you are looking for some creative ways to integrate some great winter picture books into your Art lessons, you may find some inspiration in this week’s Top 10 list!

1.Once Upon a Northern Night – Jean E. Pendziwol

Lovely, lyrical lullaby celebrating the magic and wonder of an icy winter night.  This book can inspire some lovely winter tree art.  I love this idea from First Palettte to use a marble and paint  inside an empty coffee cup to create the “snowy” effect!

Snowy Day Collage craft

2.  Cold Snap – Eileen Spinelli

A charming neighborly tale about a small town determined to beat the deep freeze. Great book for your unit on community and for making CONNECTIONS!  (Vancouver is in a deep freeze this winter!)

Add icicles to a simple cut-out house or tree art by applying white paint and letting it drip down.  Or use glue and glitter to create the icicles.  (Thicker paper or card stock works best.)  I found this lesson on a blog called Reading Confetti.

cold-snap

3.   The Mitten Tree – Candace Christiansen

Touching message and beautiful, wintery illustrations.  This is the story of one woman’s generous heart, giving back, and random acts of kindness.  Perfect for sharing with your students.  The purples and blue palette can inspire your students to create their own patterned mittens.

Image result for mitten tree art lessons

4. A Perfect Day – Carin Berger

One of my favorite winter picture books with gorgeous mixed media collage illustrations is the perfect inspiration for some snow-angel art!  Based on the book, students paint a snowy background, and create paper snow angels.  Read more about this lesson from Deep Space Sparkle.

snow-angels

5.  Snowmen At Night – Caralyn Buehner

This book is a huge favorite with so many students!  The frolicking rhyming text and vibrant illustrations are delightful to read over and over.  I love following the different snowmen through their adventures – such personalities!   Inspired by this book, have your students create an “arts and crafts” collage by first making a tissue paper background and then adding a mixed media snowman.  This is another great lesson from Deep Space Sparkle. 

Alternatively, here is a different lesson, based on the same book.

Image result for snowmen at night art projects
6.  Snowflakes Fall – Patricia Maclachlan

This book is a tribute to the community of Newtown, Connecticut, site of the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting and childhood home of illustrator Steven Kellog . The  falling snowflakes described in the poem celebrate life’s uniqueness, beauty, joy, fragility, sorrow and renewal. Handprint Snowflakes can be found at : healthymamainfo.com

7. Over and Under the Snow– Kate Messner

This delightful book takes you down into the “secret world” of animals who live under the snow.   I love the link to science and the way this book introduces readers to different habitats and behaviors of winter animals, both common and uncommon.

This book can really lend itself to a “layered” art project – sky, above the ground, and under the ground.  Another great lesson from Deep Space Sparkle.

Winter Habitat art projects by third graders

8. Old Bear – Kevin Henkes

Old bear is dreaming and reflecting on the cycle of his life and the cycle of the seasons, his home in the forest and the beauty of his world.  This is a wonderful book for early primary students learning about the seasons.  I love the illustrations in this book and they will certainly inspire some lovely “old bear” art!

On black construction paper, students make leaf prints to create their background. The “Old Bear” is painted on white painting paper, then textured and outlined with black paint.  To make the bear “pop” off the page, have students leave a small edge of white around the bear when cutting it out.  Once the bear is glued on, the white outline on the black background creates a snowy 3D effect.

Image result for old bear kevoin henkes art

9.  No Two Alike – Keith Baker

Another one of my favorite wintery books!  Two little red birds discover “no two snowflakes are alike” as they explore a snowy landscape together.    Sparse, rhyming text and gorgeous illustrations. This is a gentle, quiet book.

When I was younger, I loved borrowing “how to draw” books and learning the steps to draw animals.  While some think this type of art is too restrictive and confining, there is something quite satisfying about learning how to draw something accurately!  You can find a great step-by-step lesson on drawing cardinals at artprojectsforkids.org

draw a cardinal

Image result for cardinal bird art for kids

This layered art project begins with painting a background of sky and ground.  Birch trunks are glued on top of the dried background. HINT:  Space the trunks unevenly across the page and have some of them “leaning” in different directions.  Cardinal birds are painted on a separate paper and cut out when they are glued.  Last step is “fingerprint” snow flakes.

10.  Owl Moon – Jane Yolen

The sensations of walking in the moonlight on a cold, crisp winter night is captured beautifully in this classic story of a girl and her father who are searching for an owl in the woods on winter’s night.

 Light, shadows, contrast, perspective and lines are some of the artistic techniques that are highlighted in the gorgeous illustrations. I particularly love the way John Schoenherr plays with shadows on the snow in his illustrations.  I found this Torn Winter Tree art project on artprojectsforkids.com that would be a great lesson for grade 3 and up.

And this lesson from the same site called “Sharpie Winter Landscape“, using sharpie pens, also produces a dramatic winter moon effective.

Sharpie Winter Landscape

 Thanks for stopping by!  Hope that you found a lesson or two to try!

What is your favorite picture book inspired art lesson?

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