I love to give picture books as gifts - to adults as well as to children. With so many of them, it seems that they were written as a reminder to the adult world. And when you look carefully - they can help show students the power of writing. I thought I would share some of my favs and one that I am hoping to own soon!
The first day of student attendance in our district was also the high school principal's birthday, as well as the day she had to face the school community and tell them about the death of a student the previous day. I had already purchased her present, a copy of The Three Questions, but I quickly saw how much she embodied the essence of this book. It is one of my favorites and I often share it with the leaders in our region because it pulls things together for me.
We worked this week with regional colleagues on trying to define 21st Century Skills and begin to work on embedding them in what we do with school districts. The topic of the NYS Assessments came up (doesn't it always?) and the conversation was rich and robust around it. Much of it centered around the fact that we can teach for more than what those tests require and our students will fare well. That was refreshing to hear as readers of this blog know well that I personally adhere to what I call the "Diffendoofer Philosophy" inspired by Hooray for Diffendoofer Day. I can never plug this book enough!!
Talking about those skills reminded me that one of my goals has been to stretch the right side of my brain a bit more and the search for inspiring creativity and play for students. One of my favorites to use with writing (and the trait of ideas) has been "Not a Box" and I am now the proud owner of "Not a Stick." These books are amazingly creative and can spark the imagination of just about anyone!!
And just this morning, courtesy of A Year of Reading, I found one to add to my list: Butterflies in My Stomach and Other School Hazards. The timing is perfect (back to school) but so is the "word play" - our students are sometimes so literal that dealing with idioms can be difficult. It looks like this book will help with some of that and I can't wait to get my hands on it and start creating writing lessons!!