A Piece of Home

September 26, 2017

by Jeri Watts
Illustrated by Hyewon Yum

From the book jacket: Hee Jun’s family moves from Korea to West Virginia.  He struggles to adjust to his new home, where none of his classmates look like him and he can’t understand anything the teacher says — even when she speaks s-l-o-w-l-y and loudly to him.  Little by little Hee Jun begins to learn English and make friends.  One day, when he is invited to a friend’s house for the first time, he sees a flower he recognizes from his grandmother’s garden in Korea: mugunghwa, or rose of Sharon, as his friend tells him it’s called in America.  He brings a shoot to his grandmother, who plants the “piece of home” in their new garden.

This picture book is a perfect read aloud for any teacher who has an ELL student in his/her classroom.  The words and pictures describe the struggles the students (Hee Jun and his sister Se Ra) have at school while adjusting to America.

It opens the readers’ eyes to the fact that just because someone doesn’t know English does not mean that they were not well respected in their home country.   In this book, grandmother, is a well-respected teacher, regarded as a “wise and wonderful teacher” and she stands proud with her “shoulders erect.” But when she is in America she knows no English, has no job, and “she does not hold her shoulders erect and her eyes don’t gleam — not at all.” The illustrations perfectly depict these stark differences in emotions.

Use this book in a compare/contrast lesson with Eve Bunting’s One Green Apple.

Other ideas:

–learn vocabulary through context clues and illustrations

–metacognition–How does your thinking change as the book progresses?

 

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George Ferris’ Grand Idea: The Ferris Wheel

May 10, 2016

by Jenna Glatzer

Talk about grit and determination!  George Ferris has them both! Mr. Ferris had an idea (the Ferris Wheel), and he did not let any obstacles (and there were many!) get in the way of making his dream come true.

For teachers who want to emphasize the concept of grit and perseverance, read this book!

 


My Two Blankets

April 28, 2016

My Two Blankets

by Irena Kobald & Freya Blackwood

Diverse Children's Books: My Two Blankets There's a Book for That

This book comes highly recommended by our former ELL teacher, now professor at USF, Mrs. Riddle!

Blurb from the catalog: Cartwheel moves to a new country with her aunt, and although everything is strange, including the language, her old blanket of words and sounds comforts her. Then Cartwheel meets a friend who introduces her to new words and sounds, and eventually Cartwheel creates a new blanket of language.

Kobald uses descriptive metaphors to explain how Cartwheel feels in her new country:

  • “When I went out, it was like standing under a waterfall of strange sounds.”
  • “I wrapped myself in a blanket of my own words and sounds.”

Use this to teach:

  • Metaphors
  • Building friendships/relationships
  • Understanding other cultures and others’ differences
  • Building classroom community

Read this book in connection with:

  • One Green Apple by Eve Bunting
  • The Quiet Place by Sarah Stewart
  • Grandfather’s Journey by Allen Say
  • The Matchbox Diary by Paul Fleischman
  • Dear Whiskers (chapter book) by Ann Whitehead Nagda
  • Inside Out and Back (chapter book written in prose) Again by Thanhha Lai

The Typewriter

April 28, 2016

The Typewriter

by Bill Thomson

Wordless picture book author/illustrator Bill Thompson (author of Chalk and Fossil) is at it again.  This time the kids in the story come across an old typewriter.  When they put paper in it and write, the words come to life.

Add this to your must-use wordless picture books!

This book is also great to teach:

  • Cause and Effect
  • Beginning, Middle, and End
  • Compare/Contrast
  • Description through illustrations
  • Sequencing (using illustrations only)

 


Helen Thayer’s Arctic Adventure

April 6, 2016

Helen Thayer’s Arctic Adventure: A Woman and a Dog Walk to the North Pole

by Sally Isaacs, illustrated by Iva Sasheva

Use this when teaching:

  • Biographies
  • Women’s History Month (March)
  • Compare/Contrast — Compare the adventures of Helen Thayer from this book to Betty Skelton in the book Daredevil
  • Setting and achieving goals
  • Inspiration for creating Hopes and Dreams.
    • Helen Thayer had a specific goal in mind: she wanted to trek to the magnetic North Pole.  Nothing was going to get in her way.  She trained; she studied; she prepared.  She worked toward her Hope and Dream of becoming the first woman to travel alone to the magnetic North Pole.
  • Problem Solving
    • Many things did not go as planned for Helen Thayer on her trek to the magnetic north pole.  She had to think on her feet to solve many problems only using the supplies she packed along with her.
  • Theme: Perseverance

Polar Dream Classroom Guide

 


Mama Built a Little Nest

April 6, 2016

Mama Built a Little Nest

by Jennifer Ward, illustrated by Steve Jenkins

Click for more information on this title

Book Blurb from catalog: Illustrations and simple, rhyming text introduce different kinds of birds’ nests, from the scrapes falcons build on high, craggy ledges to the underground nests burrowing owls dig. Includes brief facts about each kind of bird.

Wondering how to change a research report into a poetry unit?  Try using this book as your guide!  Have students do their typical animal research, writing a wonderful descriptive paragraph.  Then challenge your students to use the information that they learned to write a rhyming couplet or ABAB poem.  This project might be a good one for your early-finishers or those that love creative writing.

Or use this book in a more traditional sense to compare and contrast the nests created by different animals.  This book would be a great mentor text for young students just learning how to use a Venn Diagram.


My Teacher Is a Monster

March 16, 2016

My Teacher is a Monster
written and illustrated by Peter Brown

Click for more information on this title

Book blurb from the catalog: Bobby is convinced that his teacher, Ms. Kirby, is a monster, until he runs into her at the park one day and realizes she has another side to her as well.

Lesson ideas directly from PeterBrownStudios.com
http://www.peterbrownstudio.com/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2012/08/TeacherMonster_kit.pdf

Add this book to your Peter Brown Author/Illustrator study.  Add Peter Brown to your author/illustrator studies that you do if he isn’t already one of your featured authors/illustrators!

Lesson Germs from Judy Freeman:

  • What would you like your teacher to know about you so he/she understands you better
  • Make your own paper airplanes, test the aerodynamics (incorporate into a science unit)
  • End of Year project: Write My Favorite Teacher was _______________ because _____________.  Fold the note into a paper airplane.  Have students throw their paper airplanes at their favorite teachers.  Make sure the outside of the airplane clearly states to OPEN BEFORE THROWING AWAY.  Teachers will then be filled with joy from the note as opposed to being angry from having a paper airplane thrown at them.