February 25, 2017

3 Picture Books I Could Not Live Without!

No matter what class I'm on or which school I visit, I always come with a range picture books. Not only do I love reading them, I also love using them to spark creativity and inspire learning. Today I'd like to share my top three picture books, and accompanying art and literacy lessons, that I just could not live without! 

I hope these books inspire you as much as they have me!

This is a beautiful book about being confident and embracing your uniqueness. In the story, Gerald the Giraffe loves to dance, but thinks his legs are too skinny and his neck too long to join in at the Jungle Dance. With some advice from a wise cricket, Gerald starts dancing to his own unique tune. 

After reading this book, the students feel so uplifted and I always enjoy having a discussion about the ways in which the students are unique and how they can be confident and love all of their special qualities. 

As a follow up activity, I also love doing this artwork:


For this art lesson, I use the FREE Giraffe Scaffold from Teaching Ideas UK. Then students simply colour, cut and arrange the giraffe doing their chosen dance move, and paste on top of a water colour background. 

The artworks look AMAZING once put up! I love how unique all the giraffes and paintings are!

Want a copy of my 'Giraffes CAN Dance Poster'? 
Here you go!

Haven't got the book? No problem, click on the picture to watch it FREE on Scholastic Interactive!

This is a hilarious book, and one that many students will be familiar with. In the book, poor Duncan just wants to colour in. But when he opens his box of crayons, he only finds letters, all saying the same thing: We quit! 

Beige is tired of playing second fiddle to Brown, Blue needs a break from colouring in all that water, while Pink just wants to be used. Green has no complaints, but Orange and Yellow are no longer speaking to each other. The battle lines have been drawn.

After reading the book a great follow up lesson is to get the students to write their own letter, addressed to themselves! Ask the students if they think their crayons are happy with their treatment, or if they're disgruntled from misuse or mistreatment. The kids just love writing from this perspective  and some of the most creative pieces I've ever read have come from this task. 

To help scaffold their ideas and for some gorgeous writing paper, I use Boy Mama Teacher Mama's FREE resource. You can grab it HERE!

Check out this super cute, if somewhat demanding, letter written by a Year 2 student. The red underlines identify where the student believes they have used persuasive language.

Haven't got the book? Here is a lovely version with origami animations. Note, it's a shortened (abridged version).

If... is a stunning book which offers a surrealistic view of the natural world. The two-page spreads present artful watercolours paired with strange possibilities, such as:

This book is truly magical for all age groups. After reading, students come up with the most amazing and creative and surreal ideas and this allows for a range of possible art lessons. 

This is one such artwork completed by a Year 4 student. I think the artworks look best when, like the picture book, the background is one solid colour which juxtaposes the main picture. 

This is definitely a book I would recommend purchasing, as I think it's more impactful when you read it aloud at your own pace and stop to discuss all of the wondrous images along the  way. However, if you're short on time or don't have the book, here is an electronic version!

So there you have it, my top 3 picture books I could not live without. I hope I have helped inspire some new and creative ways to incorporate beautiful literature into your classrooms!

Happy teaching and happy reading!

February 19, 2017

NSW & ACT Book Fairs 2017

Like most teachers out there, I just love a good book fair! There's something almost magical about discovering beautiful pre-loved books and grabbing them for a bargain price! 

So that you don't miss a single sale, I've compiled a list of all of the major book fairs around NSW and ACT this year. 

Who knows, you might see me there! I'll be the one with armfuls and bagfuls of books, a girl can never have too many! ;)