On Friday, I showed my fifth grade classes the book trailer, which is magical, and then shared the book as our first read aloud together. It is wordless, so we had a discussion of all the literacy skills necessary to read a wordless book: you have to infer, know the basic elements of a story, interpret images, predict, connect, use background knowledge, make meaning from images, etc. I had many of my students as fourth graders last year, and I've shared other wordless books with them, so they knew what to do! I wish I had set up a video camera from my point of view so you could have seen their faces as I showed them each two-page spread!! That experience was priceless, and I'll remember to do it next time! I always instruct the kids to be completely silent when I share a wordless book because I don't want anyone to influence the thinking and imagination of anyone else. I always promise them they will all get to talk afterward, however! After I closed the book, I invited them to turn and talk to the student next to them. (I gather my students around close to me when I read aloud, as opposed to reading from the front of the room with students at their desks - I find it's much more intimate.) They immediately started focused conversations, and I beamed as I heard snippets of their conversations. I only let them talk for about a minute because I don't want any awkward silences to start happening, and then I opened up the conversation to the whole class. I loved what they shared! These are the connections they made:
Blackout by John Rocco
Harold and the Purple Crayon - the book and the t.v. show
Bluebird by Bob Staake
Hello, Hello by Matthew Cordell
The Red Tree by Shaun Tan
City Dog, Country Frog by Mo Willems
The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore by William Joyce
And Then It's Spring by Julie Fogliano, Erin Stead
Wow! These are all books I shared with them in 4th grade, and they remembered them all! I promised some of my new students that I would make a stack of those books for them to read. They were happy about that! Here are the things they said about why they made these connections:
Symbolism of color and lack of color
Expressions of loneliness
Leaving a legacy theme
Imagination and curiosity
Disconnecting from technology
Connecting with others
Now you know why I love this book so much. I even had a student say Aaron Becker's next book should focus on the color blue because red and blue make purple (read the book, and you'll know why purple is significant). There you go, Mr. Becker - your next book planned. ;-)
We ran out of time before I could start a concept map on journeys (we're also going to add the word QUEST to our first unit) and then write Quick Writes about journeys, so we'll continue that on Monday. It will give me a good excuse to share the book with them again!
The word JOURNEY is a perfect word for me this year. I'm embarking on journeys that include new grade levels and school/staff, I'm writing a book with Megan and we are writing for Choice Literacy, my youngest daughter is entering her senior year in high school, my oldest daughter moved into her first apartment, and my parents are moving to Florida. I don't doubt that there will be other journeys that will add to those. Journeys can be bittersweet, exciting, joyful, scary, and rewarding. Thank you Aaron Becker, for showing us that so beautifully! Don't forget that the #Sharpschu Book Club is talking about Journey on September 25th!
What journeys are you embarking on this year? If you had to choose a word for a year, what would it be?