Tag Archives: SEL

This Is How We Do It by Matt LaMothe

There’s been a push in education (and in school libraries) to make connections with those outside of our building.  Tools like Skype and Google Hangouts make it easier to see and interact with children outside our school walls, but those connections are usually across the US.  Trying to get out of North America and learn about others in the world is harder, if for no other reason than the time differences. And that’s where books and librarians can come into play.

It takes a concerted effort to teach global understanding and build empathy for others.  Finding titles that encompassed multicultural backgrounds and deepened world understanding AND are engaging read-alouds is even harder.  Lucky for us, there’s a new book to make teaching global literacy a bit easier.

This is How We Do It: one day in the lives of seven kids from around the world by Matt LaMothe

Children take center stage as they explain what their daily lives are like in seven diverse countries around the world.  Because none of the countries featured are from North America (children from Japan, Russia, Uganda, Peru, India, Iran, and Italy are included), it stands to reason that this was created for children with background knowledge from that continent.  The big takeaway is that we have similarities regardless of where we are from: we play, we go to school, we eat meals, etc.  It’s the little details that make our countries, our cultures, distinctive: while many children walk to school, it is what they experience on that walk – from mosques to fruit stands to cafes – that is unique to their country and culture.  The crisp font and child-like illustrations lend themselves to sharing with a group, and the captions on each page, describing the child’s experience in each country, are brief yet informative.  A book with a timeless quality, this is highly recommended.  Share with ages 6-10.

For teachers developing and implementing social-emotional learning in their classrooms, This is How We Do It is a must-purchase. Oftentimes, a lack of cultural awareness or knowledge is what leads to exclusion and bullying in schools.  There are rich research opportunities within these pages, too. Paired alongside the CultureGrams database, students could research about lives of children not featured in this book and – potentially – create their own.

Were I still teaching in the Northwest, this would be the 4th book in a “Learners Around the World” unit (the other three are Rain School, Waiting for the Biblioburro, and I’m New Here).

 

This Is How We Do It publishes on May 2, 2017.

One of the previewed titles at 2017 London Book Fair at the Chronicle/Abrams booth.

Cheers, y’all! 🙂 arika

Mine by Jeff Mack

There’s this book – Good News, Bad News – that I often put on display in my former library. The cover was eye-catching, but better still was the story’s message: that if you look hard enough, a bit of good can be found in any bad situation. This takeaway, the eye-catching illustrations – along with only those three words (good, bad, news) – made it a favorite among students and staff.

The author is Jeff Mack, and he has another hit on his hands with the forthcoming Mine!.  Mice again star in this limited-word story; in this case, the title word is the only word in the book.  It is, however, far from a one-note hit.

Mine! by Jeff Mack

Two mice. One large rock. And one giant problem: whose rock is it? Both mice declare “Mine!” as they engage in a match of cunning and try to outwit the other to lay claim to the prize. As the trickery increases, so too do the reactions.  The storyline and subject are enough to make it a good read for young learners struggling with sharing; however, it’s Mack’s illustrations that are a gold mine for teachers incorporating social-emotional learning (SEL) with their students. There is much to take in and then discuss from the animated mice – their facial expressions and body language range from ebullient to miserable, triumphant to dejected – and ensuing conversation would likely be rich and impactful.  Mine’s unique case cover under the book jacket adds to the design appeal and provides an opportunity for some critical thinking for young readers: imagine what the mice would do if they saw that cheese!  Pair with Anna Kang’s That is (Not) Mine for a double-dose of consideration for others and cooperative agreement.  Share with ages 2-7.

Mine! releases May 9, 2017.

One of the previewed titles at 2017 London Book Fair at the Chronicle/Abrams booth.

I’m a fan of book cover/case cover designs. It’s something I look for, teach students to examine, and share in every read-aloud. My own children will often inspect library books to see what’s under the taped cover. If you like these design differences too, be sure to look into The Undies, an award for best book/case cover design.

Cheers, y’all! 🙂 arika

Oct 3-7, 2016: Deborah Freedman, Folktales, WCCPBA and maps

Week 6:  Deborah Freedman author study (K), Folktales Around the World (1), Learners in Our World (2)

Kindergarten:

Week 2 of the Deborah Freedman author study. This will culminate with a whole-kindergarten Skype visit with Deborah at the end of the month!

At the end of the lesson, students can:  identify the role of an author; identify a variety of feelings displayed in response to scenarios* (*from SecondSteps); use shelf-markers to assist in selecting books

Our book conversation focused on feelings. Mouse and Frog display a wide range of feelings in the book and struggle with their friendship – something very familiar to K students. Talking through their authentic reactions to Frog taking over the story (and Mouse’s reaction) was a powerful connection to their classroom-based SEL learning.

At the end of the story, to prepare for our author Skype, students brainstormed with knee-neighbors to generate questions for Deborah Freedman. Please excuse my messy handwriting – this wasn’t best modeled work; rather, it was getting their ideas down ASAP so we could check out before dismissal!

This was also the first week K’s could choose books from anywhere in the library using a shelf-marker. After I led today’s modeling, there will be quick (1min) student-led modeling of this skill for the next 4-8 weeks.

1st grade:

Our LAST week of our Folktales Around the World study! Based on student feedback, we had to continue for one more week and include the continent of Europe. Unfortunately, I couldn’t find a good trickster tale to share…so Margaret Read MacDonald came to the rescue with Too Many Fairies.

At the end of the lesson, students can: sing and locate the continents of the world; identify traits of folktales make predictions; name feelings when presented with physical clues*, use claim evidence reasoning, locate and label the folktale’s origin on the world carpet map

For this story, students had two focuses: identify the feelings of the old lady AND the fairies (and how behavior was impacted based on the feelings) and make a claim as to having the fairies come to their house. Overall, a good discussion spurred by a Celtic folktale…even for the students who didn’t want to read “a fairy book”.

2nd grade:

To conclude our unit on Learners Around Our World, I chose a 2017 WCCPBA nominee to bring the learning full-circle: Anne Sibley O’Brien’s I’m New Here.  With children from 3 different countries (Guatemala / S Korea / Somalia) moving to a school in America, this reinforced the idea that we are all learners while opening a conversation on empathy and compassion.

At the end of the lesson, students can: independently access a database; locate and label a country/continent on a world map; use and understand map features; use physical, verbal, and situational clues to determine what others are feeling*; identify ways to show compassion for others in response to scenarios*

During reading, we had whole-class discussion on how the students felt in their new schools. We also talked about the (seemingly unfair) expectations of one of the teachers.  After sharing, I modeled again how to access CultureGrams, and students were set to work locating and labeling one of the countries featured in the story on a world map (a “magic map”, as I call it, thanks to Quiver!).

However…this happened in one class:

It was a Make It Work moment…time to model flexibility and problem-solving! Thinking fast, we used a generic world country map to locate and label countries as a whole class (thankfully, Google still worked!). By modeling a growth mindset of “problems happen” and staying calm, we were successful and met our learning goals.  And next week, they’ll use CultureGrams one more time!

PS: CultureGrams fixed the problem in a matter of minutes after the tweet!

 

Library Lessons: Sep 1-4, 2015

Whoo-hoo! Week 1 of 2016-2016!

Kindergarten: All my best hints for teaching the K’s are here. During week 1, we: play Library iSpy, talk with my friend Tiger, get to know names using the squishy ball, follow the leader using tiger paw hands, learn where/how to sit down, read a story. Notice there is no check out…that’s next week.

2nd grade:  The sequel to last year’s WCCPBA winner! We read The Day the Crayons Came Home by Drew Daywalt, connected the story to our school social-emotional learning goals, and checked out ONE book. With no volunteers and large classes, having a slow start for checkout (1 item 1st week, 2 items 2nd week, etc) makes for a smoother, less harried start.

4th grade: Another story with crayons, but geared for the upper readers. Red by Michael Hall seems written for the SEL curriculum. Students were acutely aware of characters trying their best but still failing, for a red-wrapped crayon can’t color red if he’s blue underneath.  Lots of discussion was also generated around helping others (or Help the Rest, as we say).  Help looks many different ways, and sometimes the most well-intentioned help is really hurtful.