by Helen Sisk, Intermediate/Middle School Trainer (our new trainer from Fairfax, Virginia)
* blog post from Friday, March 8th (when it was snowing here in Cambridge, Massachusetts!)
It’s snowing, again, and this southern transplant is fascinated with the uniqueness found in each storm – never the same old, same old. One storm, Nemo, created mounds of snow, yesterday it snowed all day and never accumulated, today’s surprise storm left traffic in a snarl. Schools aren’t closed and I’m in awe of the hardiness of my neighbors. All winter long, the changing weather keeps things interesting.
Isn’t that also how we want to keep our teaching – fresh and exciting?
Recently, I read the book Moonshot by Brian Floca to a group of educators. We were fascinated to learn about the first trip to the moon from a technical perspective interwoven with narrative and wonderment. And, we loved it – wanting to talk about it, to look closely at the pictures, and to reread it. We searched the award it won – The Sibert Informational Book Medal, and discovered new nonfiction titles. We went to Brian Floca’s website and learned why and how he created this book. We couldn’t wait to return to our classrooms to share Moonshot with our students.
We became engrossed with this book. How do we generate similar responses with our students? Are we sharing books that are new and amazing? Do our students clamor for them? Are WE engaged? We need to continue honoring classic picture books such as Owl Moon and Big Mama, but intentionally add books by different authors and novel topics that our students find captivating to expand their repertoire. Constantly mixing it up engages us, too. It’s a teaching perk we need to tap.
We are all looking for the next great book. Please comment below on titles of books you and your students discovered this year. We’d love to hear from you!