In the spring when library curriculum collaborations with teachers are coming to a close, I enjoy getting back to stories. That’s not to say it isn’t always about stories. However, there are times in the middle of a research project when students are begging me “to just read a story to them in the cozy corner.” There are times in the middle of a bibliography lesson when the millionth student tells me that she can’t find the copyright date that I want to escape to the cozy corner too!
For our lucky primary students, it is the story time of year. We are escaping to the cozy corner for picture book sharing, story discussion, and activities to accompany the books. With stories, we reinforce lessons on kindness, courage, and grit that have been woven into our curriculum units this year.
In recent weeks the primary grades have enjoyed:
Boy + Bot by Dan Yaccarino
T.L.C. by M H Clark
The Great Lollipop Caper by Dan Krall
Perfect Square by Michael Hall
Our activities have included tearing up paper to make “perfect” square pictures, guided drawing, inventing new lollipop flavors while tasting capers (some say “blech” and some say “yum!”), and writing and illustrating books promising a little T.L.C. to someone special. It’s been a blast!
This week, first grade students read and discussed The Smallest Girl in the Smallest Grade by Justin Roberts. If you haven’t read this picture book yet, here’s a synopsis: Sally McCabe is the smallest girl in the smallest grade. No one notices her at all. Yet Sally has a knack for noticing everything. In the author’s words, “Sally was paying super extra special attention.” One day in the cafeteria, Sally stands up for those who are being mistreated and unnoticed at school. She speaks up and lets her voice be heard, and her voice is not the smallest voice in the smallest grade grade. Students and teachers take notice. In that moment she makes a change in the world.
We had a serious and candid discussion about bullying, kindness, and speaking up for others. The first graders had a lot to say about things they notice or experience that make them happy or sad. They could easily walk in the shoes of Sally, or someone who’s been picked on, or someone who’s helped others. The students wanted to share their thoughts on how they can make a change in the world. For this activity, I stuck to the oldest method out there: drawing and writing their ideas.
Following are some of our favorite examples with the text typed underneath the picture.
If I see somebody getting bullied I will ask them to stop.
Ignore someone if they say something mean.
I can help the earth by picking up trash.
I can hold the door more.
I do not like it when people treat books badly. What I’m going to do is to strictly say stop.
I will tell them to stop nicely but if they do not stop I will say it more serious and serious and when they stop I will help the person who got hurt.
I saw someone cut in line at lunch! So I said stop!!! and he did.
People have been hurting dogs and puppies. I want to save those dogs and puppies.
These are examples of why I adore working with first grade students. And to be as candid as a first grader, I love the end of the school year!
What are you doing with students as the school year comes to a close?