"I have always imagined that Paradise will be some kind of library." ~ Jorge Luis Borges

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

ReedALOUD: They All Saw a Cat

This week, we are continuing to build out our library rules. The students are sharing examples of what the school rules look like and sound like in our library space.  

To help them deepen their thinking, we are reading They All Saw a Cat by Brendan Wenzel. This debut picture book presents a wealth of art and ideas. Having now read it from grades one through five, I can confidently say that They All Saw a Cat has significant kid appeal. The students' reactions as each page is revealed is fabulous. 

By the third page, they have understood that this is a book about perspective. Upon reflection at the end, they also understand that the book is about varying kinds of perspective. Not only that, they are quick to point out the fact that each illustration is a different style and medium. As I said above, the book is rich, in both art and concept.

They understand the emotive relationship some of the characters have with the cat.


They understand the the proximity to the cat for some of the characters.


They understand the physiology, the actual ways the characters vision impacts the way they see the cat.   

The students have been quick to raise their hands and talk about the science behind the ways the bee, snake, skunk, and bat see the cat. I learned about the heat pocket or pit in a snake's mouth that aids in thermal vision...from a second grader.  This is incredibly cool stuff.

It's fun to go back and revisit the perspective taking after reading it through. A favorite has been the dog, which we think sees the cat as a really unattractive thing lurking about.

The reader has no doubt that this is the same cat. The repetition in the book is a lyrical and effective way to help the reader understand that this is the same cat making its way through its neighborhood. Also, the careful use of "a cat" and "the cat" makes for a fun read aloud experience and reinforces that the cat is being seen and that it is the same cat.

This book can be used in many ways, the students could follow any one of the perspective paths:
*they could research how other animals would see the cat;
*they can choose an animal and draw the cat from that geographic point of view; 
*they can choose an animal and show its emotional connection to the cat (predator/prey).

I chose to read the book with an eye for how the students as learners see themselves in our library space and how they would like others to see them. I'll be sharing the outcome of those lessons later this week.

How would you use this of a book with students? 

Want more information? Check out the wonderful book trailer.



Use the Emily Arrow Song with your students:


Friday, September 23, 2016

ReedALOUD: SHY inspires thinking about "taking care of self."

This week, we're making the connection between our Hopes and Dreams and our Rules and Routines. (This post shares the lesson for the first and second graders. The lesson for the third, fourth, and fifth graders can be found here.) 

Our school rules are: 
Take Care of Yourself
Take Care of Others
Take Care of Our Environment

To help the students think about how they might take care of themselves, we read SHY by Deborah Freedman
Shy is shy, so shy that he is hiding inside this book. With a gentleness in both art and narrative, Deborah Freedman takes readers on a voyage of courage and friendship. 

"Shy loves birds. He'd love to watch them fly and hear them sing, but he's only ever read about them in books. . . until a real bird comes along. He's dying to meet her, but there's just one problem: Shy is, well, shy — so shy, in fact, that he's afraid to leave the gutter of the book. Can Shy overcome his fears and venture out onto the page? 
In eight classes of reading this book, I was able to watch the students faces as they followed Shy along his journey. They were both sympathetic and empathic. The art is beautiful. The effective use of color is fabulous, it mirrors Shy's emotions and allows readers to deepen their connection to him. The writing offers moments of conversation and reflection. For instance, I stopped at the line, "With the bird, Shy thought, he could go anywhere!" and asked the students if they could think of a time they needed to do something that made them nervous or uncomfortable and had wanted or needed a friend beside them to help. A chorus of hands reaffirmed the importance of friends and allies. 

After reading the book, we connected back to our rules by talking about how Shy had taken care of himself by doing the bravest thing ever -- calling out to the bird. I asked the students to think about how they could take of themselves in the library. Here's a peak at what they shared:























We'll be continuing to explore the rules by reviewing this week's work and delving a deeper into how students can take of themselves and others in the library.


The other part of our lesson involved reviewing the Acceptable Use Policy (AUP) and Take a Break space. By following the AUP technology guidelines, the students are taking care of themselves, each other, and our environment. With the first and second graders, I worked hard to make the AUP language accessible. I also created a short Animoto:

After this we discussed and modeled using our take a break space, addressing how using it ensures that students are taking care of themselves and each other.

From Hopes and Dreams to Rules and Routines

This week, we're making the connection between our Hopes and Dreams and our Rules and Routines. 

Last week's hard, but fun, work thinking about what they want to accomplish, achieve and/or learn in library continues with thinking about the rules and routines that will allow these hopes and dreams to come to fruition. (This post shares the lesson for the third, fourth, and fifth graders. The lesson for the first and second graders can be found here.) 

Our school rules are: 
Take Care of Yourself
Take Care of Others
Take Care of Our Environment

This week, the students and I began a discussion about what these rules look like and sound like in the library.

After connecting to our hopes and dreams and reviewing our school rules, I started the students thinking about them by reviewing our Acceptable Use Policy (AUP). By following these technology guidelines, the students are taking care of themselves, each other, and our environment. With the third, fourth and fifth graders, we reviewed the AUP in a way that also demonstrated how I was working on my own hopes and dreams, which are:

SO, what did I do?  

I used my interactive white board...interactively! It was simple, but effective. The students took turns coming up to the board, reading a statement and talking through their thinking while deciding under which area of the AUP it belonged. 

After this we discussed and modeled using our take a break space, addressing how using it ensures that students are taking care of themselves and each other.
Following this the fourth and fifth grade students then shared their thinking about our school rules on a Padlet. The third graders met in table groups to brainstorm what the rules look like and sound like in the library.

Here's what they had to say:




























We'll be continuing to explore the rules and their application by reviewing this week's work and delving a little deeper into how students can take of themselves in the library.