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

Monday, December 19, 2011

Food for Thought

During Picture Book Month, one of the day-by-day calendar suggestions was to celebrate books about cooking and food.  Fannie in the Kitchen by Deborah Hopkinson quickly sprang to mind!

I love sharing this book with my students.  They appreciate both the clever delivery of the story and the whimsical illustrations. Alas, I could not read it in November, I had to wait until it fit into my lesson plans.

Here are a few of my students talking about this book.

Why do I use particular books for teaching?  It is not a quality issue, my library is full of wonderful books.  Its a curriculum issue.  I have created an entire unit around this book.  We begin with a brief exploration of biographies and finish up with a tour of the cookbooks (641 being a Dewey Decimal number they remember after this) and searching in our online catalogue for both these types of books. In addition, students perform a readers' theatre script from Library Sparks (October 2009) and work in small groups to write and perform their own scripts.  You can learn more about the book in a this brief interview with Deborah Hopkinson. It is a very fun unit, and lucky me, I often end up with quite a few treats after all this new-found interest in Fannie Farmer and all those cookbooks get checked out!

This book lends itself well to many of the benchmarks in my Department Curriculum.  But what if it didn't? Can I justify just reading a book because it is wonderful? I haven't felt so in the past.  I have always felt the pressure to align my lessons with both my curriculum and the classroom curriculum.   Recently another school librarian challenged me to reconsider this perspective. She's correct. Shouldn't I, as a school librarian, also be supporting and growing a love of literature?  "What is wrong with helping students appreciate great literature by reading a wonderful book?"  Nothing.

Now, where can I fit this into my lesson plan book....?

Food for thought....  
(pun intended)

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