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

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Three books that get students thinking about kindness and connecting with others

The second graders are focusing on kindness for Picture Book Month. Today's theme was thinking about how we connect with others.

Today's read aloud books included: Why Am I Me? written by Paige Britt and illustrated by Sean Qualls and Selina Alko; We're All Wonders written and illustrated by R.J. Palacio; and, Be a Friend, written and illustrated by Salina Yoon. What follows is a bit about each of the books we read, along with the students' thinking after reading the book. This was a #heartmelt kind of day. 

We started with Why Am I Me?  I used the Elmo (document camera) to project and read on the whiteboard. This allowed students to both appreciate and read closely the paint and collage illustrations, which are beautiful, engaging, and thought-provoking. Qualls and Alko's art places Paige Britt's narrative in a space that readers can think and explore. Two young children silently share thoughts about their place in the world and eventually cross paths with the understanding that they are part of a bigger whole -- not you and me, but we. It's quietly deep and beautiful.

With the context of needing to recognize who we are before we can connect with others, the students shared their thinking about themselves on a poster. 
I was planning to leave the middle space, where the faces overlap, blank to talk about the "we" and finding commonalities and connections with others (which we did during our brief discussions), but forgot to let the students know. I am okay with this though because their comments about themselves show the commonalities and connections.

"I am a bundle of joy."

"I feel like a good dancer."

"I am a daughter."

Having thought about themselves and finding connections with others, we read the next book, We're All Wonders.  Told with with tenderness, this book's message is empowering and hopeful. Like the narrative, the art is both light and deep. Palacio's narrative and art offers readers insight into what it feels like to be different than those around you and to be teased because of it. We can read the body language, we know how this feels -- escaping into his helmet, our young boy reassures himself that the Earth is a place that is big enough for everyone and all of our differences. If we just look, we can see that we're all wonders. 

Thinking about others, the students shared how their classmates are wonders - what it is they see in each other.

With a sense of who we are and  how we see others, it was time to cement our connection with others. We read, Be a Friend, a book these students read in kindergarten. (These second graders shared strong memories of this book and started miming before I cracked the cover.) Yoon's story about seeing and being seen perfectly compliments the other books we read. Once again, an important message is handled with tenderness. The Mime Boy, who feels invisible, is finally noticed by Joy, a young girl who understands that friends don't need words to communicate. Yoon's appealing and engaging illustrations along with her use of the color red ensure that readers focus on what's important.  

The students were asked to think about how they show kindness - the things they say and do for each other. They could also illustrate acts of kindness on cards, like Salina Yoon's endpapers in the book.

How are you celebrating?

No comments:

Post a Comment