Treasure

You know how dragons have their hordes?

Well, mine happens to be books. Five years ago when I moved to my current school I installed a wall of a Billy bookcases. I gleefully filled them with books to entice kids to develop a love of reading. Student choice is paramount in creating a positive attitude towards reading, so I mindfully curate a diverse and engaging collection, all at my own expense.

Imagine my dismay, when walking into my room today after an extended medical leave, to find sections missing. My graphic novel section is a shadow of what it once was. Narwhal and Jellyfish series no more. Bye bye Bunbun & Bonbon. Dog Man is done. So are many other series. My heart left a lump in my throat.

Graphic novels are vital in getting reluctant readers hooked on reading. I am now missing an important tool in my reading program.

Students are gone for the summer. We reconvene the day after Labour day in September. The first day back before kids switch to their next grade, I plan to sit kids down and show them exemplars of past student work – One Pagers and Title Acrostic posters – based on missing books. I’ll explain that kids in the upcoming school year will miss out on doing projects on these books unless they are found. I’ll request that students go home and take a close look in case books accidentally made their way home, and would gratefully appreciate their return, no questions asked.

In the interim, I am left with a visual of kids creating their own horde at home, and that books are their treasure.

Change Sings

Books + art = winning combination

Better yet, a poet laureate + talented artist = stunning picture book

The answer to the above equation is Change Sings, A Children’s Anthem.

I love this book so much it was a quick addition to #ClassroomBookADay The book provided a rich springboard for discussion. I informed students we all have the potential to be a change maker, even with something as simple as a smile can make the world a better place.

The next day, I followed up the read aloud with an art lesson. I started by rereading the book and pausing to show how the artist’s use of colour, shape, and line enhanced the story. We then set out to emulate the artist’s work.

Materials Required:

White crayons, water colours or diluted food colouring, brushes, Sharpies, crayons, large sheets of heavy paper, pencil

Process:

1. Use white crayons to draw brick background.

2. Select bright colours to do the colour wash over the crayon. (I used diluted food colouring.)

3. Let dry overnight.

4. Use a pencil to write a word that you will do to be a force for change.

5. Colour in word with crayon then outline it in Sharpie.

6. Optional – use Sharpie to draw cracks on wall.

Results:

Priceless!

These 3rd Graders are a force for change. Change sings.

Poetry Wrap Up

When was the last time you truly felt satisfied with a unit that you taught? For me, it was the poetry unit that I just finished teaching in my friend’s classroom. Student feedback reminded me of the why I teach – sparking student love of learning and belief in themselves. Students shared with me how much they enjoyed writing poetry and were surprised as they never saw themselves as poets.

Students published their poems and bound them into a booklet including the following self reflection:

Poetry Self-Assessment (Grades2/3)

Name:_______________________              Date:_______________________

   Smile Neutral
Face
  Frown
I enjoyed learning about poetry.   
I enjoyed writing poetry.   
Poetry can be a source of creativity and joy.   
Playing with language in poetry helped me discover how language works.   
In group lessons I shared my ideas.   
I reviewed my writing and edited for word choice.   

Which is your favourite form of poetry and why?

______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

What did you learn about poetry? _____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

A couple of responses to “What did you learn about poetry?” made my heart melt:

“I learned that it is a beautiful way of speaking about something or someone.”

“I learned that its not just about drawing and writing its about putting your love and care in it and expressing yourself too.”

When was the last time you were reminded of the why you teach? Please share.