I've been looking forward to this topic since the beginning of this blogging series. As the youngins say, "picture books get me feeling some kind of way." LOL My ELAR heart kind of took a blow at the end of this year when I found out I'd be teaching Science and Social Studies only this year, but I believe in a literacy rich classroom, no matter the subject. Picture books are a great way to integrate literacy into your math, science, or social studies classroom- it's a lot easier than you might think! So, without further ado, my current top 10 and how I use them in my classroom.
1. The Interrupting Chicken by David Ezra Stein-
I love starting the year off with this amazing, Caldecott! I usually wait one or two weeks, depending on the class. It's a great resource to use when discussing classroom expectations, specifically talking expectations in the classroom setting. If you're super dramatic, like myself, it gives you great characterization opportunities as well... aka you get to use all your fun voices!!!
2. Stand Tall Molly Lou Melon by Patty Lovell-
Love using this text when we are reteaching Theme! It's a precious story about a young girl who learns to embrace her oddities and use them to show grace to other people! Often times, theme is a really difficult concept for students, so I try to start with something a little more obvious when introducing it at the beginning of the year!
3. Thelma The Unicorn by Aaron Blabey-
Y'all... I just love this book. I was Thelma for book character dress up day.... that's how much I love it. It's just a precious tale about a horse who wants to be a Unicorn, but she learns an important lesson after her dreams come true. I don't want to give it away.... but I'm gonna need you to add it to your classroom library ASAP!!
4. Dancing In the Wings by Debbie Allen-
This picture book actually holds some sentimental value with me. My mom used to read it to me when I was a girl. There are so many things you can teach with this true tale about Debbie Allen's own experience becoming a dancer. The illustrations are breathtaking, the girl power is inspiring, and even my boys loved the humor in it! Maybe it's my background in dance or maybe this book is just that great...
5. Finding Winnie by Lindsay Mattick-
In 5th grade, we do a lot of nonfiction... I have to admit sometimes I try to sneak in true stories in the form of a picture book- to make it more bearable for myself. Finding Winnie gives you all the good feels, it's the story of how Winnie the Pooh came to be! Students loved this one, because they already had background knowledge and connections after we finished the subtitle. Did you know that Winnie was originally... A GIRL!?!
6. The Legend of Rock Paper Scissors by Drew Daywalt-
Ahhh. So many reasons why I love this one. It's absolutely hilarious, to begin with. You can end your lesson with a Rock, Paper, Scissors tournament (highly recommend...) AND it puts a great new twist on teaching legends and folktales. Again, because students already had a personal connection to the game, they were already hook! Again... highly recommend having them play on their way back to their seats!!!
7.Mother Bruce by Ryan T. Higgins-
This is a hilarious twist on the old nursery rhyme, Mother Goose. Since we don't do a whole lot of nursery rhyme stuff in 5th grade, I use this comical version to work on our comparing and contrasting skills! We are a thinking map school, so this is a great one to use with a double bubble map. Watch the original nursery rhyme on Youtube, read Mother Bruce and compare the two. With hilarious, relevant references, this one will make your adult heart giggle, too.
8. The Book With No Pictures by B. J. Novak-
Now, I'm an AVID fan of The Office, but I'm an even bigger fan of this book when teaching figurative language. As you can imagine, if you're going to write a picture book and forego the pictures, you have to rely heavily on your imagery and figurative language. Students will die laughing when you says things like "boo boo butt" to which you'll reply, "okay, repetitive sounds! What kind of figurative language is that?!"
9. Let the Children March by Monica Clark Robinson-
Set in 1963 Birmingham, Alabama, this powerful story of thousands of children standing up to march with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. will get your students thinking heavily about the impact of the Civil Rights Movement. This is a great Social Studies tie in, but if you don't teach SS it's a great book for theme as well. It's a great conversation starter and reflective piece. We read it more than once in my classes and each time, you could hear a pin drop.
10. Ada Twist, Scientist by Andrea Beaty-
Wowie I love this whole series. I don't know what it is about Ada that makes her my favorite, but she is. At the beginning of the year, it's important to discuss what a scientist is. This read aloud opens the eyes of students to the concept that you don't have to be a crazy Einstein lookin' old man to be a scientist. Ada Twist not only encourages girls to pursue their passions, but she symbolizes a large group of people. You don't have to be a middle aged, white man to thrive at science! It sounds silly, but it's important for students to grasp! Can't wait to share this and the rest of these amazing stories with my scientists next year!
Well there ya have it, my current top 10 favorite picture books! Check in with me a month from now and it might be different. But I think that's important. Keep reading, keep finding new favorites. It keeps our jobs interesting and students (big and small) love it when you share your new finds with them! What are some of your favorites?! Do we have any in common???
Also, it's not too late to join in on the fun! Check out our upcoming Teacher Tidbit Tuesday Topics! :)
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