Hello Lighthouse by Sophie Blackall

HelloLighthouseBannerSummary

With contemplative illustrations and word structure, Sophie Blackall tells the story of a lighthouse. Her creative talents shine with her ability to portray simultaneous events. We see the life of a lighthouse keeper contained in circles surrounded by rope. The evocative seascape takes over double-page spreads. Interesting elements point to the passage of time both inside and outside the lighthouse. We see days and nights go by, seasons change, the birth of a baby, and the end of a job.

Hello Lighthouse is a book to be explored and studied. There are opportunities to compare and contrast, notice and wonder, and consider how new technologies replace jobs. The back endpapers give the reader more information about the idea behind the story and interesting facts. It’s fascinating to know that this story was inspired by a cutaway image of a lighthouse found at a flea market.

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Response to Literature

AASL Standards Framework for Learners: Inquire/Think I.A.1 Learners display curiosity and initiative by formulating questions about a personal interest or a curricular topic. 

Set the stage for inquiry by inviting learners to explore the back cover. View the illustration on a large screen to see the intricate details. Prompt learners to ask “I Wonder” questions about what they see. Record questions on chart paper.

Pass out sheets of paper with a two-column chart. Tell learners to write “I Notice” in the left-hand cell and “I Wonder” in the right-hand cell.

Read the story and invite learners to record what they notice and what they wonder. They can use words or doodles to chart their thinking. Include the front endpapers in this exploration.

The “About Lighthouses” page at the end of the book will help learners answer some of their questions. The information may provoke more inquiries! The following resources will enrich investigations:

  • The fascinating illustrations may intrigue readers to learn more about Blackall. Watch The BIG Picture LIVE Caldecott Special with Sophie Blackall! to learn more about this talented artist. She talks about a book that inspired her to become an artist. Viewers will learn about Mr. Squiggles, a fun game that takes the scary out of drawing. Blackall also demonstrates how to paint a lighthouse using Chinese ink and watercolors.
  • To learn more about lighthouses, check out the I Am a Lighthouse Engineer Educator Guide by Jennifer McMahon. Learners will investigate the purpose of a lighthouse and solve an engineering challenge.
  • If embroidery captures the attention of some learners, visit Cassie Stephens’s blog. She is an art educator who shares creative projects designed for young learners. Watch her videos to see her deliver colorful, lively lessons in the classroom.

If you like these lesson ideas, please take a look at our book, Lessons Inspired by Picture Books for Primary Grades. This resource includes ready-to-go lesson plans that meet the standards. Worksheets, assessments and rubrics are included.

 

 

 

Outside My Window by Linda Ashman

OutsideMyWindowSummary

Are you wondering how to open our world to learners? Just ask people from around the world to describe what’s outside their windows!

Linda Ashman, the author of Outside My Window, invites readers to see different landscapes from around the world. They’ll embark on a visual journey through American cities and faraway villages. Gorgeous illustrations, by Jamey Christoph, compel learners to soak in the scenery and wonder about different places. The rhyming text follows a lyrical pattern that is fun to read aloud. The end of the story lists the names of each of the locations described in the book.

What’s outside your window? This is what I see:

Just outside my window, blue hydrangeas thrive.

Seagulls drop shells on rocks and eat the food inside.

Now it’s your turn! How does your scenery compare to this view of rural Ethiopia?

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Response to Literature

AASL Standards Framework for Learners: Inquire/Think I.A.2 Learners display curiosity and initiative by recalling prior and background knowledge as context for new meaning.

  • Show the book cover to learners. Ask what they can expect to learn from the story. Invite them to create a mental image of what they see outside their windows. Explain that as you read the book, they should think about how the view from their window compares to the different views in the book.
  • Ask learners to describe a favorite illustration from the book. How does the scenery compare with what they see from their windows? What did they notice about the text? How did the text structure engage the reader?
  • Provide art supplies for learners to illustrate the outside of their homes. Learners may want to follow the rhyming pattern in the story to write a poem to describe their picture.

For more ideas based on this beautiful book, please read Do You Need Lesson Ideas to Make Global Connections? Try These on KnowledgeQuest.

If you like these lesson ideas, please take a look at our book, Lessons Inspired by Picture Books for Primary Grades. This resource includes ready-to-go lesson plans that meet the standards. Worksheets, assessments and rubrics are included. 

 

 

 

Gittel’s Journey: An Ellis Island Story by Lesléa Newman

Gittel's JourneySummary

Imagine leaving your country, all by yourself, at the age of ten. Now see yourself arriving in a new country. No one is there to meet you, and you don’t understand the language. Imagine what that must feel like. This is Gittel’s story. When she arrived to Ellis Island, she was scared, sad and unsure. Fortunately, an interpreter made Gittel feel less afraid. He found a crafty way to locate Gittel’s cousin, and the story has a happy ending.

Gittel’s Journey is based on two stories. The Author’s Note describes her family history that inspired this book. Also included is information about how immigrants were processed once they reached Ellis Island. Websites at the end of the book invite further research.

Readers will enjoy this accessible story. The beautiful illustrations, done with soft watercolors, bring Gittel’s journey to life. The sepia colors give the book an aged feel, setting the stage for the time period of the story.

Gittel's Journey

Response to Literature

AASL Standards Framework for Learners: Explore/Think V.A.3 Learners develop and satisfy personal curiosity by engaging in inquiry-based processes for personal growth.

After reading this story, ask learners to share their questions. Explore Immigration: Stories of Yesterday and Today by Scholastic. Learners will appreciate this informative site with an interactive tour and stories of young immigrants. Charts with thought-provoking questions will compel learners to consider how world events impact immigration.

Learners can also interview family members or neighbors who immigrated to America. They can share their story on StoryCorps. This free platform shares audio clips of meaningful conversations. Sara Ratliff, the school librarian at Warrington Middle School in Pensacola, uses StoryCorps with her learners. They practice interviewing techniques and consider how to ask thought-provoking questions. These relevant skills will help them outside of the classroom. Read more about Ratliff’s program on the KnowledgeQuest blog.

For more picture books to broaden ideas about immigration, read Humanizing Immigration with Picture Books on the KnowledgeQuest blog. 

If you like these lesson ideas, please take a look at our book, Lessons Inspired by Picture Books for Primary Grades. This resource includes ready-to-go lesson plans that meet the standards. Worksheets, assessments and rubrics are included. 

Sonny’s Bridge: Jazz Legend Sonny Rollins Finds His Groove by Barry Wittenstein

Sonny'sBridge

Summary

Sonny Rollins was born during the Harlem Renaissance; a time when jazz exploded all over the city. The movement cultivated genius musicians who grabbed the attention of music lovers everywhere. One entertainer caught Sonny Rollins’s eye. His name was Louis Jordan, and his sharp tuxedo and star appeal fascinated Rollins. Rollins dreamed of becoming a saxophone player like Jordan. A few years later, Rollins starts playing the saxophone and begins a focused journey to stardom.

This biography of Sonny Bridge reads like a jazz song. Syncopated notes of jazz greats and historical events emerge throughout the text. The conversational language flows with a creative tempo. Interesting use of punctuation enhances the rhythm of the story.

Readers will appreciate the illustrations by Keith Mallett. He captured movements in dance, music and light with his artwork. The engaging images point to the influence jazz had in Harlem in the early 1900s. Emerging readers will be able to read the illustrations and understand the storyline.

Extra information is added at the end of the book. There is a note from the author explaining how jazz entered his life. There is also information about The Bridge album, a timeline, quotes, websites, videos and a bibliography.

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Response to Literature

AASL Standards Framework for Learners: Curate/Create IV.B.4 Learners gather information appropriate to the task by organizing information by priority, topic, or other systematic scheme.

Gather Information

Readers may find themselves asking questions about the musicians mentioned in this book. Invite learners to work in groups and research the musicians. Curate information using Padlet, a Google Doc or SeeSaw.

Organize Information

Ask groups to share highlights from their research. Consider common threads with the musicians.

Tell learners that they will create a class ebook, slideshow or electronic pinboard about the musicians. Explain that the presentation should be cohesive. Brainstorm theme ideas and common elements for the digital presentation.

Bibliography

Engage learners in a discussion of giving credit to information used in the presentation. Point to the bibliography in Sonny’s Bridge. Ask why it’s important to make note of these resources. Use the bibliography to model how to cite work.

If you like these lesson ideas, please take a look at our book, Lessons Inspired by Picture Books for Primary Grades. This resource includes ready-to-go lesson plans that meet the standards. Worksheets, assessments and rubrics are included. 

Lessons Inspired by Picture Books for Primary Grades by Maureen Schlosser and Rebecca Granatini

Lessons Inspired by Picture Books for Primary Grades by Maureen Schlosser and Rebecca Granatini

Our Book is Published!

We are so excited about the 21 lessons in this book! We hope you will be, too!

We are passionate about picture books. We especially love books that compel us to think, create, share and grow. Many of our collaborative lessons started with a picture book. We are sharing our favorite lessons hoping that you will love them as much as we do.

Lessons Inspired by Picture Books is unique because it includes assessments and rubrics. They align with the AASL Standards Framework for Learners. Now you’ll have an understanding of where learners are before and after each lesson.

Other national standards are addressed with each lesson. A table indicates the standards that each lesson fulfills. We did this to invite you to collaborate with classroom educators.

Working with this book will give you a better understanding of the AASL Standards. Every picture book features a Shared Foundation and a lesson for each of the four Domains. Anchor charts, worksheets and tips are included with each lesson.

If you already received your copy, we would love to hear from you! What do you think? Please share in the comment box below!

Look at the Weather by Britta Teckentrup

LookingAtTheWeather

Summary

What do you wonder about the weather? How does it make you feel? These questions engage the reader throughout this gorgeous book about the elements. Look at the Weather reads like a meditative narrative. Facts mix with wonder and sensations to explain the sun, rain, snow, ice and extreme weather. Striking illustrations alongside the text capture the colors in our world.

This is not your typical nonfiction text. The meditative feel of this book is unencumbered by bold words, captions and diagrams. Instead, textured images illustrate the nuances of weather. Readers can refer to a glossary at the end of the book to clarify meaning.

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Response to Literature

AASL Standards Framework for Learners: Explore/Share V.C.1 Learners engage with the learning community by expressing curiosity about a topic of personal interest or curricular relevance.

This lesson in contemplative art invites learners to consider how weather impacts their feelings.

  • Find a place to observe the weather.
  • Ask learners to take a close at the weather. What do they notice? What do they wonder? How does it make them feel?
  • Explain that the author, Britta Teckentrup, appreciates how weather connects with human emotions. She recognized artists who modeled this connection with their art. Tell learners that they will observe the weather. They will illustrate what they see and feel as they create.
  • Invite learners to close their eyes. Take a few deep breaths and relax their bodies. Concentrate on the breath to clear the mind. Ask learners to open their eyes and notice the weather. What do they see? How does it make them feel? What questions do they have?
  • Tell learners they will illustrate their feelings, thoughts and questions as they observe the weather. They can illustrate with an art form that is comfortable to them: doodles, words, drawings, or sculpture.
  • Supply drawing and coloring materials along with paper and sticky notes. Give learners an opportunity to share their work when complete.

If you like these lesson ideas, please take a look at our book, Lessons Inspired by Picture Books for Primary Grades. This resource includes ready-to-go lesson plans that meet the standards. Worksheets, assessments and rubrics are included. 

 

Dreamers by Yuyi Morales

Summary

Yuyi Morales reminds us how important libraries are in her latest book. When Morales first arrived in America with her young son, she didn’t know how to speak English. She was afraid and unsure of her new surroundings. One day, she visited the library. Picture books captured her attention. Morales discovered she could read the illustrations and understand the storyline. The language difference was no longer a barrier. She learned to read, speak and write in English by spending hours exploring books. This beautiful story weaves words of poetry with compelling illustrations. Each page holds layers of meaning. Readers will enjoy exploring fascinating details in this gorgeous book.

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Response to Literature

AASL Standards Framework for Learners: Explore/Think V.A.1 Learners develop and satisfy personal curiosity by reading widely and deeply in multiple formats and write and create for a variety of purposes.

Morales is a self-taught artist. She spent hours copying illustrations from picture books. Her story of independent exploration and creativity will inspire learners to delve into art.

  • Ask learners to share titles of their favorite picture books. Invite them to turn and talk about why those books speak to them.
  • Introduce Dreamers by Yuyi Morales. Explain that her favorite picture books compelled her to create. She copied illustrations to learn art techniques.
  • Watch Live Art: Yuyi Morales by the New York Times. This video clip is on Facebook. If your district blocks Facebook, listen to Morales speak on the podcast  Is There Someone You Need to Thank? by Public Radio International (PRI). Learners will hear how grateful she is that a librarian welcomed her in the library.
  • Read Dreamers. Invite learners to collect picture books that compel them to create. Give learners time to explore the illustrations and consider their favorite mediums. Ask them to make a list of the materials they’ll need to recreate their favorite illustrations.
  • Set up art stations for the next class visit. Stock the stations with needed art supplies. Encourage learners as they work with different mediums. Display work with books when finished.

If you like these lesson ideas, please take a look at our book, Lessons Inspired by Picture Books for Primary Grades. This resource includes ready-to-go lesson plans that meet the standards. Worksheets, assessments and rubrics are included. 

A Big Mooncake for Little Star

 

Summary

A mooncake is a Chinese pastry that is popular during the Mid-Autumn Festival.  The festival celebrates the harvest when the moon is full. The combination of the moon and the mooncake inspired Grace Lin to write A Big Mooncake for Little Star. This fantastic folktale explains why the shape of the moon changes. The setting takes place in outer space. A little girl and her mother bake in their celestial kitchen. The girl, Little Star, wears black pajamas with a star print. Her mama wears the same outfit. Together, they make a mooncake and place it in the night sky to cool. Little Star can’t resist sneaking nibbles from the delicious mooncake. Every night she eats a little more until only a sliver of the cake remains. Mama smiles when she sees what’s left of the pastry. The story ends as it begins, with the pair making a mooncake.

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Response to Literature

AASL Standards Framework for Learners: Explore/Think V.B.2 Learners develop and satisfy personal curiosity by reflecting and questioning assumptions and possible misconceptions.

This book lends itself to 4 different exploration scenarios. Learners may want to explore some of these questions:

  1. What ingredients are in a mooncake? How do you make them? What is the history behind the mooncake?
  2. What is the Mid-Autumn Festival? How is it celebrated? Where and when does the festival take place?
  3. What are the phases of the moon? How do they happen?
  4. What are the elements of a folktale? What other folktales center around the moon?

Invite learners to explore a topic of interest. Prepare for independent learning sessions by passing out Know, Want to Know, How Will I Learn It, Learned (KWHL) worksheets. Instruct learners to fill out the first three columns of their worksheet. Collect worksheets and identify needed resources. Gather books and online resources for learners to explore. Enlist the help of volunteers to support young learners as they research their topic.

If you are looking for Moon resources, try these online resources:

If you like these lesson ideas, please check out our book, Lessons Inspired by Picture Books for Primary Grades. This resource includes detailed lesson plans, essential questions, worksheets, rubrics and assessments. 

Wild Buildings and Bridges: Architecture Inspired by Nature by Etta Kaner

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Summary

Are you planning a STEAM challenge? Does it involve design and construction? If so, read Wild Buildings and Bridges: Architecture Inspired by Nature. In this book, author Etta Kaner explains how nature influences design. She pulls on her experience as a classroom teacher to deliver this information. Kaner engages the audience with thought provoking questions and illustrated examples. Step-by-step directions invite learners to experiment with architecture. Readers will feel compelled to study nature after reading this intriguing book.

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Response to Literature

AASL Standards Framework for Learners: Explore/Create: V.B.2 Learners construct new knowledge by persisting through self-directed pursuits by tinkering and making.

  • Prepare for lesson by creating three design stations based on the experiments in the book. Provide directions and materials at each station.
    • Station 1: “Test a Truss”
    • Station 2: “Why are Honeycombs Made of Hexagons?”
    • Station 3: “Making Water in the Desert”
  • Read the directions for each station with learners. Invite them to choose a station to explore.
  • Provide books on bridges, honeybees and plants and animals of the desert for further study. Offer graph paper and pencils to design a structure based on nature.
  • Enrich learning by following the Where’s Rodney by Carmen Bogan activity.

Share your designs with #AASLstandards!

If you like these lesson ideas, please check out our book, Lessons Inspired by Picture Books for Primary Grades. This resource includes detailed lesson plans, essential questions, worksheets, rubrics and assessments. 

Big Machines: The Story of Virginia Lee Burton by Sherri Duskey Rinker and John Rocco

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Summary

Think of a favorite author who is also an illustrator. Do you ever wonder about their process? Do they write the story and then work on the illustrations? For Virginia Lee Burton, the illustrations took center stage. Big Machines: The Story of Virginia Lee Burton is a biography that reads like a Disney movie. The vivid colors and imaginative drawings invite us to see “Jinnee” at work. She moves through the pages as if she is performing a ballet about her life as an illustrator. Children will enjoy reading the inspiration behind Burton’s classics with this beautiful book.

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Response to Literature

AASL Standards Framework for Learners: Explore/Share: V.C.1 Learners engage with the learning community by expressing curiosity about a topic of personal interest or curricular relevance.

  • Collect copies of Virginia Lee Burton’s books. Show learners the covers and ask what they notice. Some will notice all books were written and illustrated by the same author.
  • Vote on a book to read aloud. After the reading, ask learners what questions they have about the author. Write questions on chart paper.
  • Say, “I have a biography about Virginia Lee Burton. Let’s read it to see if we can find some of the answers to your questions.”
  • Read Big Machines: The Story of Virginia Lee Burton by Sherri Duskey Rinker and John Rocco. Refer to the chart paper when questions are answered.
  • Ask learners to share the names of authors and illustrators they are curious about.
  • Demonstrate how to search for biographies with the online catalog.
  • Introduce the following blog posts and website to learn about other authors:
  • Celebrate National Author’s Day by inviting learners to write a note to their favorite author. They could write a formal letter, or post a note on social media. National Author’s Day occurs every November 1st. It’s a day to thank authors for sharing their work with us.

If you like these lesson ideas, please check out our book, Lessons Inspired by Picture Books for Primary Grades. This resource includes detailed lesson plans, essential questions, worksheets, rubrics and assessments.

Online Resources:
Great Websites for Kids:
   http://gws.ala.org/category/literature-amp-languages/authors-illustrators
Video Interviews with Top Children’s Authors and Illustrators:
   http://www.readingrockets.org/books/interviews
18 Best Videos to Get to Know Children’s Authors & Illustrators:
https://honorsgradu.com/18-best-videos-to-get-to-know-childrens-authors-illustrators/

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