Thursday, May 26, 2011

Enthusiasm is contagious; start an epidemic. ~ Don Ward

Here it comes…the Top 5 picture books that have, in some capacity, impacted my reading and teaching life this school year.  All of these books have “the door wide open”.  I have read, reread, and re-reread each one numerous times and see so many opportunities for them in the classroom.  These books are not my “go-to” books.  I have no scripted answers from the past to expect and no specific responses that I am looking for in the future.  I see instructional possibilities in all of them and find myself smiling during each read.  Some of the books on the list inspire future inquiry.  For other books, it is the word choice.  And for one book…it is the illustrator’s style that adds a whole new level of humor and content to the storyline.  I hope you catch my “top five bug”!

Just check out his eyes!  Isn’t that enough to want to read about Seabiscuit? The use of black and white snapshots to depict time changes in the book and the determination of an underdog, or should I say under-horse, are just two reasons this book is so captivating. The inquiry possibilities are endless…the Great Depression, training horses, validating the facts leading up to the race…the book provides resources for inspiring one to research their wonderings!

Who wouldn’t love a little cloud trying to accomplish big things?  Not only is Cloudette’s story of determination enduring, but also Tom Lichtenheld’s illustrations make the story have even more possibilities.  If you look closely, you can enjoy the humorous comments coming from the characters in the illustrations.

You will be captured by Amy Krouse Rosenthal’s creativity of using mathematical symbols in combination with words to make powerful statements.  My favorites are…”book + chair = cozy” or “somersault + somersault + somersault = dizzy”.  What a wonderful way to use mathematical equations and words to introduce yourself at the start of the school year or to give a positive statement to a friend at the end of the year. 
Everything I need to know I learned in kindergarten.  After reading this book you will need to change it to the following…everything I need to know I learned in kindergarten AND from one smart cookie.  Amy Krouse Rosenthal uses the concept of making and eating cookies to support students in understanding life lessons in the classroom.  Real life experiences with making and eating cookies demonstrate the meaning of words such as compromise, organized, prepared, and ponder.  Now I just need chocolate cookies to demonstrate with and eat!
And she is back for a third time on my list…Amy Krouse Rosenthal has created yet another text to sum up “one of those days”.  Each one of her “days” could be a springboard for list making, small moment writing, poetry, and more.  The best part is that even though we can have an “answer to everything is no day", each day does end and in the morning you have a new beginning!

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