Picture Book 10 for 10: My Top Ten Favorite Books About Community

I am excited to participate in this year’s Picture Book 10 for 10 hosted by Mandy Robek of Enjoy and Embrace Learning and Cathy Mere of Reflect & Refine: Building a Learning Community.

Here’s my list of ten books to share with students as you work to build and strengthen your classroom community throughout the year:

1.

One of my new favorite picture books is Because You Are My Teacher written by Sherry North and illustrated by Marcellus Hall. Throughout this story, the students experience wondrous adventures together as they learn about the world – a learning community at its finest.

2.

Hooray for Diffendoofer Day by Dr. Seuss, Jack Prelusky, & Lane Smith also helps to reinforce the idea of community and its importance in our learning as students and teachers work together to meet their goals.

3.

Each time I read the book Miss Rumphius by Barbara Cooney, I am inspired by Alice’s dedication to her dreams and her quest to make the world more beautiful. She learns the meaning and value of community in her travels and at home.


4.

The Mitten by Jan Brett is a fun reminder that community members need to share and look out for one another.

5.

The Giant Jam Sandwich by John Vernon Lord is another book that helps students focus on the idea of what a community is. In this story it takes a village to succeed, through cooperation and each person using his/her unique abilities and resources.

6.

Chrysanthemum by Kevin Henkes illustrates what can happen when there are problems in communities as well as what can happen when those differences are resolved. Communities are strongest when everyone feels valued.

7.

Nora the Nonapus, written and illustrated by fifth-grade students of Estes Hills Elementary in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, provides some unique insights into the feelings various members in our community may have. It covers the insecurities and embarrassment that often come from being “different,” how bullying hurts others, and the bravery it takes to stand up and do what is right.

8.

Wilfrid Gordon McDonald Partridge by Mem Fox is another favorite. In this story, community is created as a young boy takes time to listen and learn about the people around him, building friendships and sharing memories along the way.

9.

Snowflake Bentley by Jacqueline Briggs Martin is another story that illustrates the importance of sharing our skills and talents with those around us. Just like snowflakes, we are all different. Bentley’s community (and the world!) was blessed by his love of snowflakes through the research and pictures he shared.

10.

The Impossible Patriotism Project by Linda Skeers is a favorite book to share around President’s Day. However, its message is fitting during any time of year. It’s important to remember those missing from our communities. Communication is key to keeping those bonds strong.

And there you have it, my (current) top ten, which I am sure will change the next time I discover a new favorite book. 🙂

What stories do you like to share with your students to help the community building process in your classroom?

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First Friday Freebie: Oh the Places You’ll Go…

with GeoGuessr! (or try its newest version here)

This fun geography game has you guessing world-wide locations using clues from photographs. You can scroll and zoom to look for signs, view the landscape, explore the skyline, travel down the road, and more.

Each game is made up of five rounds. The closer your guess is to the actual location, the more points you earn. Maps are also provided during the rounds to help you see how close (or far off!) your guess is.

As you can expect, some places are easier to guess than others, depending upon your knowledge of the various climates, landscapes, languages, building styles, and such around the world.

This month’s freebie is a two-page GeoGuessr Record Sheet.WhereInTheWorld

Your students can use it to record their observations, guesses, and points to compare and track the growth of their critical thinking skills and geography knowledge.

For a fun challenge, they could also see if they can beat me! 🙂 Click here for my game results.

February Daily Visual Challenges – updated

I recently updated my February set of Daily Visual Challenges to include 28 days’ worth of problem-solving, thought-provoking, creative fun. The added variety allows you more flexibility to pick and choose the challenges that work best for your class and makes them usable year after year.

DVC_F

Feb15DVC

Find out more about my Daily Visual Challenges here.

Daily Visual Challenge sets for February, March, and April are available in my TpT store.

 

What does your imagination tell you to do?

ImaginationPoster

Over the past year or so, stories about creativity and imagination have caught my eye…

Caine’s arcade creation and Nirvan Mullick‘s video inspiration led to the Imagination Foundation’s yearly Cardboard Challenge which continues to spark imagination and creativity worldwide.

Kid President‘s creativity led to an imaginative way to share his love of life and motivate others to see the good and pass it on.

Martha‘s creativity and imagination impacted students worldwide as she blogged about her school meals and raised money for Mary’s Meals.

An Oregon 5th grader organized a bowling fundraiser for Boston.

and the list goes on…

Where have creativity and imagination taken you lately?

. . .

The poster above is from this Einstein quote:

I believe in intuition and inspiration. …At times I feel certain I am right while not knowing the reason.  When the [solar] eclipse of 1919 confirmed my intuition, I was not in the least surprised.  In fact I would have been astonished had it turned out otherwise.  Imagination is more important than knowledge.  For knowledge is limited, whereas imagination embraces the entire world, stimulating progress, giving birth to evolution. It is, strictly speaking, a real factor in scientific research.” [From A. Einstein, Cosmic Religion: With Other Opinions and Aphorisms, p. 97 (1931).]   source

. . .

I believe in inspiration, creativity, and imagination, too!

First Friday Freebie #9: Flower Seeds and Lifelong Dreams

Each time I read the book Miss Rumphius by Barbara Cooney, I am inspired by Alice’s dedication to her dreams and her quest to make the world more beautiful.

Over the years, these themes have quite naturally become a part of the way my classes commemorate Patriot Day, September 11th. Although young students today have no personal memories of that event, they can still join others in service and work to promote beauty, happiness, and good in the world.

This month’s freebie is an activity based on the story of Miss Rumphius to help students identify practical ways they can change the world for the better.

Click here or on the picture below for a pdf of the activity: includes directions, worksheet, templates, and examples of completed display.

change

whome

See previous September 11th posts for other books, activities, and resources.

First Friday Freebie #8: Whether Far or Near, Friends are Dear

Building friendships and community is a big focus at the beginning of the school year as classes are formed and begin the year-long journey of learning together. A story that shares a unique perspective of friendship is Four Feet, Two Sandals by Karen Lynn Williams. This book, based upon a true story, tells about two girls in a refugee camp who decide to share a pair of sandals even after their lives take them in very different directions. Bonding over shared experiences as well as footwear provides a foundation for a deep and lasting friendship.

How do your students define the word “friends”? This month’s First Friday Freebie provides an opportunity for them to brainstorm how friends should act towards each other.

Get the free graphic organizer here.

friends

 

For more ideas, check out Williams Writes, author Karen Lynn Williams’ website, where you can find a teacher’s guide for this story, see a picture of the sandals that inspired the book, and learn more about the author.

First Friday Freebie #6: Weather Tracker

For a fun end of year/summer break activity, share this weather tracker form with your students. They can continue to practice their observation, reading, and recording skills as they read weather forecasts and keep track of the daily weather patterns.

WeatherChartsample(click here for pdf file)

Sites like Intellicast, Accuweather, and The Weather Channel provide daily forecasts and other weather/seasonal information.

The information can then be analyzed by:

  • graphing highs and lows
  • graphing precipitation
  • graphing humidity
  • comparing forecasts to actual weather reports
  • charting the phases of the moon.

The Freeology site has graph paper, observation charts, and timelines which could be used for analyzing data.