Words and Your Heart
Today we learned that words have the power to hurt others OR to make somebody's world a better place! I just loved this book for message. Students really often don't think about the power of their words. This book was a great reminder of how they can hurt or make someone's day!
What better way to celebrate Valentines Week than by giving a little love to ourselves!? Students will love the carefree style of this fun book by Jamie Lee Curtis & Laura Cornell about liking ourselves, no matter what! The book alternates points of view between a girl and a boy and teaches kids the importance of just being themselves and feeling good about it. For Valentines Day this year, my students and I not only made valentines for others, but we made them for ourselves!
"I'm gonna like me 'cause I'm loved and I know it, and liking myself is the best way to show it."
What a great pairing these two books turned out to be! It was quite a coincidence that I came across these two books in the same week!
Spookley the Square Pumpkin by Joe Troiano is a story about Spookley the Square Pumpkin who never felt like he fit in with all the other pumpkins in the pumpkin patch. One day a great catastrophe happens and Spookley gets the chance to save the day! "And when the last had moved away, the farmer could see what had saved the day. An odd-shaped pumpkin, short and dense, was wedged against the broken fence." (...think Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer in a Halloween setting!) In the end, the farmer sows seeds from Spookley and the next year the garden is full of pumpkins, none of which are the same as the other! "Oh what a garden variety makes!" Children quickly get the message that it's okay to be different and we shouldn't judge each other for our differences. "Maybe one day we all will discover - you can't judge a book, or a pumpkin....by its cover."
Seaver the Weaver by Paul Czajak is another great story with a similar message that Spookley teaches us. Seaver the weaver was an orb weaver. He watched his brothers and sisters create their magnificent webs, but Seaver was inspired by the patterns he saw in the night sky. Each time he finished his web, his brothers and sisters asked, "What is that?" And they continue to insist, "If you want to be an orb weaver, your web needs to look like ours." But Seaver kept on spinning his own unique creations. He knew he could make an orb if he wanted to, but again the lights in the sky inspired him. "It is my web." He said and he held his head high. "I like my web. It is unique." Seaver's webs were quite successful and in the end his brothers and sisters accepted his unique webs and even asked for help in making their own!
The messages in both these books are quite clear: it's okay to be different and we should accept and appreciate the differences of others! Now go out there and spin your own unique web!
Papa's Mechanical Fish by Candice Fleming and Beautiful Oops by Barney Saltzburg
In the last week in my class, we talked a lot about mindset and how every day we wake up and choose the mindset that we bring to school. We read two great books that focus on "taking care of selves" and how to look at "mistakes as opportunities!" Beautiful Oops by Barney Saltzberg is a light and cheery book that teaches kids that mistakes are okay! We can learn from our mistakes and they are opportunities to make something beautiful! We also read Papa's Mechanical Fish by Candice Fleming. Each time Papa's invention failed he looked it as an opportunity to improve his design. Never once did he complain or give up! The illustrations are fabulous! Sploosh! Swoosh! Clacketa-clacketa-clacketa! What mindset will you bring to the world today?!
Lacey loves to talk...and talk...and talk! Lacey was quite the talker! The problem with Lacey is that sometimes she talked too much. Not enough listening and too much talking, her teacher said.
Lacey sure did love to talk until one day when all that talking "caught up to her" and she lost her voice. Amazingly enough, Lacey started to listen....listen to her friends, her family, and the world around her. With this loss of voice, Lacey learned that listening is pretty amazing after all. When she got her voice back, she still loved to talk...but she loved to listen too!
I love this book for teaching students the value of listening to others, as well as, managing impulses. It takes a lot of effort to sit back and listen sometimes and not talk. Children and adults alike will love the illustrations of Lacy and her friends and family, as well as the delightful story with a big "taking care" message!
Check out this great idea from Frix's Fabulous FInding's blog on how to use the books to teach students how to be a good listener! Happy listening!
Lucky Ducklings by Eva Moore
I love to read the positive stories.... stories of how my students, colleagues, family, friends and others in the world reach out to take care of others! Yesterday, I stumbled across the amazing photos below and I was spellbound. Who would allow someone to drop them into a sewer, with only being held by their feet, to rescue some baby ducks? Our first responders, that's who! Maybe it's police as in the photos, or maybe it's firemen as in the book, Lucky Ducklings, by Eva Moore. Our first responders work tirelessly to "take care of others" in the world. They don't do it for the pay, or the glamour....they do it because they truly care about others! I hope you pick up this amazing book and read it to your kids and send a note of thanks to your local police officers and fire-men/women for all they do to take care of others!
DIsclaimer: I do not have permission to post these photos. Hopefully in the interest of teaching kids the importance of "taking care of others"...(including our animals) will override this lack of permission! Photos obtained from Blackburn News Windsor, Canada Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/blackburnnewsessex/?fref=photo
Do you have the courage to be imperfect? How many students do you know that have to be the best at everything they do? Or are afraid of failure? What about adults?
I admit. I don't like to make mistakes. Do you? But can we let that stop us from learning? ...from trying? ...from living?
For Beatrice Bottomwell, this is an important lesson to learn. Friday begins like any other day. Everything and everyone in her life was perfectly in place. Beatrice, after all, was the girl who never made mistakes. Until....she had the "almost mistake." Then worry set it. Fear of failure. Hesitation to try anything.
Tonight is the big talent show. Beatrice felt her stomach jumping inside her. "That's her. That's the girl Who Never Makes Mistakes!" "Oh....we know she'll be perfect," they all said. Beatrice doesn't miss a beat.....until......
For the first time in a long time...Beatrice made a mistake. "And it was a big one!" What will Beatrice do next? Laugh? Cry? You must read this book to find out!
That night Beatrice slept better than she ever had and the next day....they didn't call her the Girl Who Never Makes Mistakes. They just called her Beatrice.
What a great lesson in this book for students who feel they must perfect everything they do. It's okay not to be "perfect." It's okay to make mistakes! That's how we learn and grow. This is an important lesson in "taking care of ourselves!"
Today is St. Patrick's Day, a day when people around the world will wear green. In honor of our "green" day, I decided to feature a book for #TakingCareThurs that focuses on being "green." What does it mean to be "green?" To me being green means "taking care of our world." Taking the time to really respect God's gift of nature and conserve it. This book not only teaches kids the importance of taking care of our world, but also the importance of taking care of ourselves through "managing our impulsivities."
Busy beaver starts his day by being careless. Everywhere he goes, he leaves a mess without thinking about the consequences of his actions. This behavior not only impacts his world, but others as well. One day, beaver is so busy chewing trees that he failed to notice one falling in his direction! Arrgh! Beaver wakes up in the hospital with a bent tail, two broken limbs, three cracked ribs, and much more! Now beaver has plenty of time to think about his actions. He notices his leaky dam, the mess of trees he left half-chewed, his friends' bandages, and the homeless bird family. What has he done?
Beaver decides to get to work! Get to work learning the importance of taking care of others and our world! Now with the forest back in order, everyone was happier.
The lesson I really love in this book is "thinking before you act." Being "green" really does mean thinking before we act. if we all thought a little about the gift of nature before we acted, we could make a difference. We could all be a little "greener." Happy St. Patrick's Day!
A Sick Day for Amos McGee
A Sick Day for Amos McGee written by Phillip Stead and illustrated by Erin Stead is such a simple, beautiful story of "taking care of others!" Amos McGee, a zookeeper, goes to work every day and takes care of the animals. He attends to each animal in their own special way. Plays chess with the elephant. Ran races with the tortoise. Sits quietly with the penguin. Takes care of rhinoceros who has a runny nose. And reads stories at sunset to the owl who is afraid of the dark.
One day, Amos wakes up with the sniffles and realizes he can't go to work for the day. Meanwhile at the zoo, the animals waited for Amos. They worried, they waited, they wondered. Where is Amos? Later that day....
It's now time for the animals to take care of Amos. What a beautiful tale of friendship. A perfect read aloud for Taking Care Thurs!
This post was originally posted on the Nerdy Book Club blog at:
Every Thursday, teachers across our building read aloud a picture book to their students with themes of “taking care of ourselves, each other, and our world.” As an educator and parent, I am strongly committed to the idea of teaching the “whole child.” This means not only educating them in how to think and learn, but also teaching them how to be empathetic, kind, compassionate, persistent, and more. The single greatest way to teach these skills to children is through “modeling.” And the more models the better! Picture book characters can also serve to “model” these important life skills. We now have over 160 books in our Taking Care collection of mentor picture books with these themes! Picking just ten books to share on this blog post was incredibly difficult! They are listed in no particular order, except Wonder of course is first, because it is the king of Taking Care read alouds!
Wonder by R. J. Palacio
Wonder is the only chapter book in our collection. Wonder was my inspiration for starting our Taking Care collection. This book is so incredibly powerful for leading rich discussions with students about taking care of others. Don’t judge a book by its cover. Don’t judge a boy by his face!
“Courage. Kindness. Friendship. Character. These are the qualities that define us as human beings, and propel us, on occasion, to greatness.”
If You Plant a Seed by Kadir Nelson
If You Plant a Seed combines a simple kindness message with incredibly beautiful illustrations. Children and adults alike will enjoy this beautiful book.
"If you plant a seed of selfishness, in a very short time, it will grow, and grow, and grow into a heap of trouble. But if you plant a seed of kindness, in almost no time at all, the fruits of kindness will grow, and grow, and grow, and they are very, very sweet."
Each Kindness deals with a real life problem – things don’t always have happy endings and our actions (positive and negative) have consequences. Students will learn that their actions spread like ripples into the world!
“This is what kindness does. Each little thing we do goes out, like a ripple, in to the world.”
What a great message about friendship in Enemy Pie! Kids sometimes are so quick to judge. The dad in this story is very wise and knew if they just gave it a chance, they could be great friends! Students and teachers will just love the ending!
"Enemy pie is the fastest known way to get rid of enemies." "In order for it to work, you need to spend a day with your enemy. Even worse, you have to nice to him!"
Mr. Peabody’s Apples by Madonna
Teachers in our building use Mr. Peabody’s Apples a lot to teach kids the power of words in taking care of others. The story is inspired by a 300-year-old story about the power of words and how we must choose them carefully to avoid causing harm to others.
“Don’t be so quick to judge a person. And remember the power of your words.”
Spaghetti in a Hot Dog Bun by Maria Dismondy
This book has an incredible message for kids on the importance of taking care of ourselves by having the courage to be who we are and stand up for what we believe in. It also teaches us the importance of taking care of others by treating others with kindness.
“Remember when you treat others with love and kindness, you are doing the right thing.”
The Invisible Boy by Trudy Ludwig
This book is so incredible for teaching kids to include everyone. So often the “new kid” or the “quiet kid” or the “creative kid” gets left out. There is nothing worse in elementary school than the isolation of being left out. You know that awkward moment when the teacher says to find a partner?
“Maybe, just maybe, Brian’s not so invisible after all.”
Bully by Laura Vaccaro Seeger
Bully provides us with a strong “taking care” message. The words are few, but the message is powerful. It’s also important for helping students to develop empathy for the “bully” and possibly understanding the bully’s motivation for why he or she acts as they do.
“Bully? Sorry….. Wanna play?”
To the Sea by Cale Atkinson
To the Sea is a whale of a tale on friendship! Students will love this unlikely friendship and learn important lessons on how to take care of our friends.
“Friends don’t let friends down.” “He should not, he could not, he would not let his friend down.”
Kindness is Cooler, Mrs. Ruler by Margery Cuyler
Mrs. Ruler teaches her students that “kindness is cooler!” The class quickly learns how easy it is to fill up their “kindness board” ‘with acts of kindness. “Okay, hooray!” shouted Mrs. Ruler when they met their goal of 100 acts of kindness. Just maybe you will join us in spreading kindness to your students through reading aloud books that teach students to “take care of ourselves, each other, and our world!”
“A slice of nice makes a mile of smile!”
Laura Weakland (@lpweakland) is a 4th grade teacher in South Lyon, Michigan. She is a huge advocate for teaching kids how to “take care of themselves, each other, and the world”….one book at a time! She encourages teachers to do the same by reading aloud picture books with strong character education messages EVERY week. If she’s not curled up somewhere reading a good book, she can be found writing about the books she reads at http://journaloflaura.weebly.com/featured-books or tweeting about her reading selections using the hashtag #TakingCareThurs.
Teachers (and parents, of course!) have the potential to make a huge impact on the lives of their students/kids. Join me and commit to reading a picture book every Thursday or the first Thursday of the month if you can't commit to weekly with "Taking Care of Others" or "Taking Care of Ourselves" themes in order to help our students/children learn important traits like empathy, compassion, friendship, persistence, grit, and more! Join me weekly as I blog about our book of the week. Make sure to tweet your weekly choice using the hashtag #TakingCareThurs so we can share books and learn from each other.