Margin Notes

PICTURE BOOKS FOR EVERYONE

Jan
19

Picture books provide for teachers the perfect tool to build students’ vocabulary, understanding of story structure, and character traits, but beyond that they also provide teachers the perfect platform to introduce areas of study far beyond that of developing literacy skills.  Discussion of complex ideas like cause and effect, self-esteem, bullying, or mathematical concepts can all be initiated through the use of picture books at any age. You are never too old for picture books, and given how busy teachers are, why not consider combining multiple purposes through a read aloud?

The following texts are new releases that teachers of all grade levels will enjoy having as part of their classroom library.

Because by Mo Willems and illustrated by Amber Ren provides a joyful journey through a series of seemingly unrelated and insignificant events that bring a young girl face to face with a life changing moment.

 

 

 

I Am Every Good Thing by Derrick Barnes and illustrated by Gordon C. James uses easy to read text to highlight the strength, courage, and worth of a child. Strength can be found in a painful fall, courage in making an effort, no matter how small, and it all contributes to recognizing our own unique worth.

 

 

 

 

A Computer Called Katherine by Suzanne Slade and illustrated Veronica Miller Jamison celebrates the life and perseverance of Katherine Johnson, the NASA mathematician featured in the movie Hidden Figures. Katherine exhibits strength and the unwavering recognition that how she and other women are and have been treated is wrong… as wrong as 5+5=12 or 10-5=3.

 

 

 

I Didn’t Stand Up by Lucy Falcone and illustrated by Jacqueline Hudon is another example of a seemingly simple text that will facilitate thoughtful discussion about bullying. The illustrations like the text provides powerful context for the topic.

How Do I Build it?

Sep
24

“Children and adolescents need meaningful and consistent access to books at school and home.  When they have access to books, they read more and they read better. Period. It’s not groundbreaking, but it’s true.”

Donalyn Miller and Colby Sharp, Game Changer 2018

 

As a classroom teacher you know the importance of having a well-stocked inclusive library.  You also know that building or curating that library is easier said than done. During my conversations with teachers and when having the opportunity to share my enthusiasm for every classroom to have that accessible and inclusive library I am often presented with the question, “What do I buy?” What do you recommend”?  Like you and these teachers, I do not have unlimited access to books, nor do I know all the soon to be released titles or student favorites.  When all of us are living the same reality of limited funds, we want to make wise choices when we select books.

One quick and extremely easy way to find out about new books and books children love, is to follow grade 5 teacher @ColbySharp on Twitter or to check out his videos on YouTube. His posts include favorites of his own and or his students. His videos offer genuine feedback and share why the book should be put into the hands of students.  Beyond providing insight on what titles to gather for your classroom, he also provides an excellent model of how to “book talk” books for your students to generate excitement, buzz and that, “next to be read” list.

To further learn about the power of books and book access for students consider reading Game Changer by Donalyn Miller & Colby Sharp.  Much of what Colby Sharp models in his videos is explained in much greater detail in this book.

Happy reading and viewing.

Welcome to Margin Notes 2020-21!

Sep
14

Welcome to another year of Margin Notes! We are very excited to introduce our newest members of the team Tracy Davis, Colleen Dyer-Wiley, Signe Williams, and Sonja Wright.  

When we created Margin Notes in 2018, our target audience was teachers of Grades 6 to 12. This year, thanks to the expertise of the new members of our blogging team, we’re going to expand our content with a K-12 focus. 

We look forward to connecting, learning, and growing with you this year!