I am beyond thrilled that today is November 1st. Why? Because I absolutely adore picture books! There is so much that this art form offers our young readers. I took the opportunity today to kick off National Picture Book Month with students in grades 3 through 5.
In preparation for this month, I visited the PBM website in order to find a little inspiration. The website features a little promotional video that I showed to students to "kick off" my lesson. I know that some students couldn't really read all of the author's quotes on the screen, but the music and pictures did a nice job of setting the tone for the lesson.
The next thing I did was instruct the students to select two picture books from the shelves. I told them they were on a scavenger hunt for picture books they have not read or seen before. Some students picked books from the displays, but most really took this task very seriously and searched the shelves for something of interest.
Once students had their two books, I asked them to sit and look at them...the pictures, words, details, covers, and so on. I asked them to think about how they would define a picture book. What is a picture book's characteristics?
I gave them each a sticky note and a colorful marker and they wrote a few key words that they felt described a picture book. We then put them on our little board and discussed them. Most of their descriptions were predictable: easy, colorful, funny, written for little kids. It was exactly what I expected.
Then I showed the students a book that would not fit their description. We looked at Patricia Polacco's The Butterfly. We first examined the cover and the students realized that the book probably wasn't funny or silly. We talked about the Nazi flag on the cover and the fact that the book's characters looked sad. Then I showed them a few of the pages and we talked about the lengthy text, paragraph format, dialogue, and other features that indicated the book might not be an "easy" book. This activity really got the kids wondering what this book was about and several asked about checking it out after my lessons were done this week. What a great result, right?!
For the final part of the lesson, I showed the students a video of Mac Barnett talking about why he believes picture books are for everyone. Although his language is somewhat elevated in this particular video, students can see his passion for picture books and for kids. The students really responded to this video, as did their teachers (who are in the library with us during library lessons).
To conclude the day, students did book check-out and I was tickled that many of them chose to select a picture book as one of their two books. I am also doing a Picture Book Challenge activity which I plan to share with you in a later post. Hooray for picture books!
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