Sunday, August 10, 2014

August 10 for 10 Picture Book Event

The August 10 for 10 Picture Book event has happened annually for several years now, and you can find more information at the hosts' sites: Cathy Mere at Reflect & Refine and Mandy Robek at Enjoy and Embrace Learning.

This year, I narrowed my focus a little, thinking specifically of picture books I will share in the first few weeks of school. All the books I selected are favorites for opening the door to conversation and establishing group norms for how we will function as a community in the coming school year. Some are tried and true, but others are (or will be) new. Take a look, and consider this an invitation to share with me other suggestions for community building pictures books, too!


Ten Picture Books for Building Classroom Community
(in no particular order)

1. Zero, Kathryn Otoshi
Among all the numbers, Zero struggles to find her place and feel value. When she and the other numbers start to work together, they uncover the value of using each others' strengths. (For that matter, I also like to use One, also by Otoshi.)






2. Bluebird, Bob Staake
Not only does this book lend itself as an introduction (or reintroduction) to wordless picture books, but it will let students bring the story and it's messages to life in their conversation. 






3. Stone Soup, Marcia Brown
I'm always amazed how many students don't know this story when I share it. Yet, I love the conversations that emerge when the students voice opinions about why the villagers were hiding away what they had to offer and how the soup came together when they were not so selfish.







4. The Story of Fish and Snail, Deborah Freedman
Soft illustrations and a light story of friendship, highlighting conflict between friends and how it is handled.










5. Mr. Tiger Goes Wild, Peter Brown
Mr. Tiger has to deal with feeling stifled, and he challenges the expectation to conform. He opts for honoring his own style, his own "roar" if you will. Mr. Tiger encourages students to honor their wild side, their roar.








6. The Lion and the Mouse, Jerry Pinkney
Another wordless picture book and another choice from traditional literature, but this one tends to be more familiar for my students. It spurs conversations about judgments and everyone having something to offer.






7. Swimmy, Leo Lionni
Swimmy will be a new addition to my early in the year picture book read alouds, but this fable's attention to using teamwork, even when we are not all alike strikes and important reminder and fits with my "fish" theme.








8. Each Kindness, Jacqueline Woodson
Woodson's story will resonate with kids, whether they have felt bullied, been a bully, or witnessed bullying in action. The wise words of the teacher--to consider how their actions ripple outward--creates an image I hope will stay with students from the very start. Additionally, I want to encourage them to make changes/self-improvements for "today," and not put off "better" until tomorrow.





9. Peanut Butter and Jellyfish, Jarrett Krosoczka
The eponymous friends have a crabby neighbor, Crabby, who is not very kind. But when he needs help, the two put aside their reluctance and offer a second chance. Kids are quick to recognize the implication that two wrongs don't make a right, and we need to lend each other a hand, even when it might not be the first idea we think of.





10. Unicorn Thinks He's Pretty Great, Bob Shea
This book is a reminder, I think, that it's natural for most of us to feel a twinge of jealousy when we perceive others as better or more important than we are. Goat and Unicorn show that mutual admiration can happen and teamwork is even better. 








And...as hard as it is to leave that list at TEN...those are books that will earn a spot in my first few weeks of community building!

What about you?




22 comments:

  1. Such an important focus --teachers will love this list!! We cannot wait to share it. Great books are the best way to create community set a culture of learning and collaboration. Enjoy your first few weeks.
    Clare and Tammy

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    1. I hold that belief central to the way I operate in the classroom. Sharing books and discussion enable us to learn about ourselves, each other, and the world around us. It's a mindset I try to steep my students in all year long! Thanks for reading and sharing!

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  2. These are fun choices! How about ALOHA FOR CAROL ANN? (blush!) Aloha!

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    1. Thank you for commenting and bringing your book to my awareness, Margo. I will have to add it to my TBR list!

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  3. Great choice for a theme, love it! Lots of good suggestions here. My kids last year really disliked Bluebird because they had studied The Red Balloon the year before and it seems too much like a rip-off to them. (Huge sense of injustice, since we've just introduced the idea of plagiarism to them)

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    1. That's really interesting, Katie. Isn't it wonderful when students develop strong opinions and develop a defense for them? How great that they were synthesizing the reading experiences!

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  4. Thank you for sharing this list! So helpful!

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    1. A pleasure, really. Thanks for reading, Loralee!

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  5. Love this list! Thanks for introducing me to a new author: I'm unfamiliar with Kathryn Otoshi but will be remedying that. Love Unicorn but hadn't thought of using it for this purpose. Thanks for opening my eyes to a new way to share this book!

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    1. Elisabeth, I really love both of Kathryn Otoshi's books. The way the numbers take on the real feelings kids grapple with around self-worth, value, and contribution puts a light spin on real issues. But they open the door to conversation. I realize that's a quality I really value in picture books for intermediate classrooms.

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  6. The Lion and the Mouse is a favourite of mine. And that Unicorn is pretty great - I took this title to the park this summer and read it to a group of kids. It was a huge hit!

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    1. Unicorn has been a favorite for most people/students I've shared it with. In fact, when I surveyed last year's students about one book they thought I should choose for step-up day with my new class, they picked Unicorn Thinks He's Pretty Great. And, they absolutely understood the underlying issues of jealousy and comparison.

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  7. Thanks! I've found more than one at my library-the hold list is growing! Stone Soup is always a pleasing one for cooperation, isn't it?

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    1. I love using Stone Soup. I created a whole back-to-school theme with this story one year and was so disappointed the students didn't "get it." Time has passed, and I think I've become a little more savvy about how I use it. (Isn't that true with so many things?)

      I'm so glad you found books to check out on my list. I hope you love them, too!

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  8. Discovered Each Kindness last year: a favorite. Good ones here. Just pinned.

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    1. I agree, Faige. In fact, I kind of like that it doesn't all turn out "happily ever after" in the end.

      Thanks for reading.

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  9. Oh. My. Goodness. I love these! You have some of my favorites here. You were right; our lists are similar. I love Zero (and One). My first graders had great discussions after reading Each Kindness and Unicorn Thinks He's Pretty Great. This is the perfect list to start the school year.

    Cathy

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    1. I love that you have used these same titles in 1st grade. I would thoroughly enjoy observing discussions with younger students around these same titles. I don't think any age is the "right" age to build literate communities through sharing and discussion. (Something that needs reinforcement...)

      Thanks for stopping by!

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  10. Such an important topic and list! Each Kindness is so profound.

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    1. Thank you, Holly! I agree. It was so hard to keep the list to only 10--I could think of others that are more specific to topics or situations that I depend on throughout the year also. No matter what, books are always my #1 when it comes to thinking about building community.

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  11. Swimmy is a long time favourite of mine. And a great book to start a year with.

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    1. Thank you, Sandi. Thank you for visiting and commenting!

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