The following annotations and book talks were created as part of the requirements for a University of British Columbia course: LLED 462 School Library Programs. The task was to find and compile annotations for Ten Great Resources to Promote a Love of Reading. Narrowing the list to JUST ten resources was a challenge! The resulting work was a fantastic collection of annotated bibliographies with varied themes such as: Spiders, Love Your Planet, Science Fair Gems, Fractured Fairy Tales, Paradoxes and Big Ideas, Chinese Folklore, and Rhyme, Rhythm and Repetition. Several ""Super duper"" teachers and teacher-librarians from LLED 462 are eager to share some of these Ten Great Resources with you now. We hope you find these annotations and book talks useful and enjoyable.
(Karin Paul, Sessional Instructor, UBC)
Annotations and Booktalk by Jane Kamimura
Salmon Forest. by Sukuki, David & Sarah Ellis. Greystone Books, 2003
Summary: Kate and her father visit the river that he calls the salmon forest. While there, they watch the sockeye who have returned to spawn. Throughout the book, Kate learns about the life cycle of the salmon, but also the cycle of life for many creatures in the forest, and how they are all dependent in some way on the salmon.
Critical Analysis: This resource supports the life science and the environment socials studies learning outcomes of the primary curriculum. Also, it is a great resource book to support the raising of the salmon in the classroom by the grade two classes at Beaver Creek. Illustrator, Sheena Lott's watercolour illustrations show the reader all the animal species that live in the salmon's environment. Gillian Engberg, in a review in Booklist (Engberg, 755), believes that the presentation of the facts is a little slow, but I disagree. Students who have been studying salmon in the classroom will appreciate the detail given to this book. However, later in the same review, the author suggests, accurately so, that "the book offers a wider view of the fish's ecosystem than many other books on the subject." (Engberg, 755). This resource appeals to me for a number of reasons. Having raised salmon in the classroom for ten years, I believe there is no better scientist than David Suzuki to raise awareness of the importance of the ecosystem to salmon and vice-versa. A book written by such a distinguished and knowledgeable person brings authenticity and validity to the subject. He writes this story in such a way that the students can relate to and understand what is going on in the salmon forest and his analogy to a merry-go-round makes it real for kids. Even the impoverished students in my class have been to a fair and ridden a merry-go-round. I also love this book because in the book the main characters meet an aboriginal family who are fishing for salmon, the traditional way. They talk about the different ways that aboriginal peoples prepare salmon for the winter season and the mother even says her son is "a real salmon boy. Which makes sense, because we call ourselves fish people. We couldn't survive without salmon." (Salmon Forest, 25) This portion of the book is especially important in my school as we have a significant aboriginal population, but should be important to anyone in BC using this resource as aboriginal content is integrated into the science and socials learning outcomes. This book would further lend itself to exploring one of the aboriginal books such as Salmon Boy by Donna Joe, which is a legend of the Sechelt people.
How I would introduce this resource: I would use this book when the students are participating in the salmonid enhancement program to help them understand the food chain involving the salmon, as well as the importance of a healthy environment for salmon. I would introduce this resource by having the students visit the David Suzuki Foundation website (http://www.davidsuzuki.org/). First I would show them who David Suzuki is and explore the site with them, paying particular attention to the links on salmon and their ecosystem. Then I would tell the students that I am going to read to them a book written by David Suzuki. I will explain that Suzuki is so passionate about our planet that he has written nineteen books for children. After reading and discussing the book with the children, I would point to other resources that we have by David Suzuki in our library.
Salmon Creek.by LeBox, Annette. LeBox, Annette. Salmon Creek. Illustrated by Karen Reczuch. Groundwood Books, 2002.
Summary: This is a non-fiction picture book about the life cycle of Sumi, the coho salmon. It begins with Sumi as an egg, and told in the third person, it gives the reader a feeling as though one actually knows Sumi. Not only does it go through the life cycle of the salmon, but, it gives the reader an idea of the salmon's predators and the dangers or obstacles faced by the salmon as she travels down the creek to sea and back again.
Critical Analysis: At Beaver Creek Elementary, every year, the grade two students participate in the Salmonid Enchancement program and raise salmon which are later released at the hatchery. This book supports their understanding of the program in which they are participating. The salmon that are raised in the school are also coho salmon. Salmon Creek supports the science and socials learning outcomes for grades one to three. Salmon Creek has beautifully illustrated watercolour pictures that are so detailed that it helps to enhance their understanding of what is happening in our aquarium in the classroom. This book gives the students the sense of the salmon life cycle in nature itself, so that they can relate their classroom experience to what happens naturally in nature. It is written with simple prose that is easy for the kids to understand, and at the end of the book is a glossary of definitions. By giving the salmon a name, which seem to be a first nations name, the students quickly learn to identify with the fish. This story is written in the third person, from the perspective of the fish, so the students have a sense of actually being the salmon itself. In addition, this is a great resource because informational pages follow up the story. One double page spread goes through a three year timeline, giving the students the idea of how long each stage of the life cycle lasts. This timeline is helpful for the students to understand what happens to our salmon after they are released. This will help the students to understand how long it takes for the coho salmon to go through the rest of its life cycle. Also, there is a page about threats to the Pacific Salmon and a page that contains, not only the glossary, but also ways that kids can help to protect the Pacific Salmon. It even lists other books and a video that could be used to support this resource and the curriculum.
How I would use this resource: I would give a booktalk for this resource to the students after they have been studying salmon for a while and after they have begun to learn the vocabulary related to the study of salmon. I would introduce this resource by having an online game of Jeopardy to review the vocabulary to which they will be exposed in the book. This could be played with laptops where students could enter their own answers, or with a projector and a handout on which students could record their answers. I would use the glossary words from the back of the book, although, due to the ESL levels of our students, some of the definitions would have to be simplified slightly for understanding.
Teacher says: Today we are going to play jeopardy using the salmon vocabulary that you have learned while raising salmon in the classroom. In front of you, you have a gameboard on which to record your answers. As each question is asked, record your answer in the appropriate place. (Depending on the students experience with Jeopardy, more instruction may be necessary).
Once the students have played Jeopardy and are familiar with the vocabulary, I would show them the cover of the book and say:
Teacher: This book is an informational (non-fiction) book written by Annette LeBox and illustrated by Karen Reczuch, however, it reads more like a fiction book. (Now I would read the back part of the book that identifies LeBox's inspiration for writing this book.)
Teacher: This is the story of Sumi, a coho salmon and her dangerous journey from her home stream right here in British Columbia to the Pacific Ocean and back again. It begins with Sumi as an egg in the stream. The author uses powerful words that make you feel as though you are in the stream with Sumi.
Using Adrienne Gear's visualizing reading strategy, I would then provide the students with a handout from Gear's Reading Power book (Gear, 76) that is divided into four sections about using our senses to visualize while we read. They are things I see, sounds I hear, feelings I get and words that stick.
Teacher: I am going to read to you the first page of this book only and I want you to complete your worksheet while I read. (Go over what is required on the worksheet if you haven't used this particular one before.) Imagine that you are Sumi, the coho salmon and you are just beginning your life inside the egg. Listen carefully as I read. I will read this page two or three times, so you may choose to close your eyes and listen first and then record with the second reading, or you may decide to record right away. You may choose to draw some of it, or you may choose only to use words.
When all students understand the expectations and are ready, read the following:
Have the students share their work with each other (pair share). Then tell the students that the book continues in this prose style and explain how you can almost feel the tension and excitement as Sumi makes her journey to the sea and back again. Point out the pages at the end of the book that are typical features of a non-fiction book: the timeline of a coho's life, the glossary and the information about threats to the Pacific Salmon and the ways we can help. Keep this book on display for a few days until you've had a chance to do the booktalk with all classes who might be learning about salmon. Be sure to keep a list of students wanting to sign out this book as it will be popular. Having a few copies available is a good idea.
Polar Worlds: Life at the Ends of the Earth. by Bateman, Robert.Scholastic/Madison Press, 2008.
Summary: This non-fiction resource features the paintings of Robert Bateman to teach children about land, air and water animals of the polar worlds.
Critical Analysis: This book is stunning because of the paintings contained within. Robert Bateman has captured through his travels, the images of both the Arctic and the Antarctic animals and he is sharing them with us. Together with the incredible art, each page contains information on the animals, fact boxes and even information about how they survive in such an environment. What makes it especially enjoyable to read is that he has added his own personal comments about his travel experiences to capture images of these incredible creatures. At the end of the book he includes an epilogue, which tells about the environmental changes that impact the life of these animals, as well as a glossary. Although the reading level of this book is somewhat challenging, most animals are featured within a one or two page spread, so it is not overwhelming for a student to learn about one animal at a time.
How I would introduce/use this resource: I would use this book with grades 3-4 students. Introduce the artist by going to Robert Bateman's website http://www.robertbateman.ca/ and explore the art. Tell the students that Robert Bateman is a famous Canadian painter who paints pictures of animals in their natural environment. Tell students that today we are going to read a book for kids by Robert Bateman. This book is called Polar Worlds: Life at the Ends of the Earth. Ask the students to identify the two poles of the Earth and with a globe, be sure students all understand where they are located. Then show the cover of the book. Have students predict what animals may be featured in this book. Many students don't know the variety of animals that live in the Arctic and Antarctic, so this is a good opportunity to teach them. Flip through the pages of the book to help them identify the animals and to appreciate the art in the book. Then, take a vote on which page we should read today. Once they've decided, point out the text features that are contained in the book. Many students at this age have not yet learned how to fully read all aspects of a non-fiction book and need to be taught that text boxes accompany pictures or that a fact box can be read independently of the rest of the text, or perhaps if the main text is too challenging, you can learn from the fact box. Now read the entire page to the students. Invite students who wish to sign out this resource to come after school to get it. You will probably have to keep a hold list. A student who is keenly interested in the book will return, and this leaves the teacher librarian the opportunity to share it with other classes.
WILD: The Wildlife Magazine for children
Summary: This is an educational magazine for children between six and twelve that help kids to learn about wildlife and the environment. The Canadian Wildlife Federation publishes this book eight times a year.
Critical Analysis: This magazine is designed for elementary school aged children and has articles about animals and the environment. This is a great resource to be shared between student and parent. It contains many features of non-fiction books such as text boxes, real photographs, comic strips, a question and answer section, an Eye Spy section, a poster insert and a game zone. This magazine will appeal to readers of all age levels, and to students who don't seem to be interested in reading a book. The great thing about a magazine, is that you can read some of it or all of it, whichever you chose. It doesn't have to be read in order and can be revisited over and over again. Students completing research to support the socials or science curriculum will want to get their hands on these magazines. Published by the Canadian Wildlife Foundation it contains Canadian content. I love that it is Canadian as I find many students do not know which animals live in Canada.
How I would Use this Resource: At some point every year, most primary teachers and many intermediate teachers do some kind of research on animals and their habitats. At the very least, awareness of the environment is embedded in learning outcomes across the grades in elementary school, so this could be introduced at a time when needed by teachers, perhaps when collaborating on a unit. Begin by asking the students what else is in the library besides books. I'm sure their first response will be computers, and of course, we can mention that computers allow us to find information. However, there is something else in the library that gives us information. Do you know what it is? (Hopefully someone will say magazines). Draw the students attention to the magazine rack and pull out a few issues of WILD. Tell students that this is a Canadian magazine for kids featuring Canadian wildlife. Pass out the magazine and have the students, in partners or table groups, flip through the magazine and read or look at it. Discuss with the class some of the features of the magazine by pointing out the table of contents so that students realize that each issue is unique and contains different items. Draw their attention to how they can read and learn about wildlife and about taking care of the environment to protect these animals. Allow students to sign out magazines if interested. I suggest putting the magazine into a manilla envelope or a plastic sheet protector, which must be returned with the magazine. This will help to protect it when transported to and from home.
Annotations & Booktalk by Linda DiBiase (LLED 462)
The Tooth Fairy - Preposterous Fables for Unusual Children, by Palmer, Judd. Palmer, Judd. Bayeux Arts, 2002.
Summary: Have you ever wondered what the tooth fairy does with the millions of teeth she collects each year?what if she has some sinister plot for stealing our baby teeth from us. Abigail is determined to ward off the tooth fairy and vows never to give up her perfect teeth and beautiful smile, "thereby preserving for eternity the innocent happiness of childhood." (Bayeux Arts Website, 2011) She decides to go on a quest to stop the tooth fairy once and for all but her perilous journey has her travel the deep sea, encounter the insidious Captain Bleak (or so we believe) and meet up with a man who also is trapped in the belly of a great whale, Leopold, the Whaler's Apocalypse who becomes Abigail's rival. Will she ever reach her destination and discover the truth about the tooth fairy?read this wondrous tale to find out.
Critical Analysis: This novella is a sublime interpretation of the legendary tooth fairy. Illustrated in black and white with attention to detail the images paint a picture of the intensity of Abigail's journey of discovery. Short-listed for the Governor General's Award for Literature twice, this novel is sure to please those that expect the unexpected. Any of Judd Palmer's books in this series are a perfect addition to the genre of fractured fairy tales. They are truly creative pieces of literature and art. Appropriate for students grade four and up these short novels are an easy read with full-page pictures within each brief chapter. Although seemingly an easy read this book is deceiving and still offers challenging learning opportunities. The vocabulary can be quite advanced using such words as maelstrom and melancholy; when Abigail finally reaches the tooth fairy's castle she encounters "people, from all conceivable nations? Turbans and toques and helmets and kefirs and yarmulkes capped their grizzled heads; a million memories occupied their brains in a million languages, and in each of their pockets jingled a different sort of coin: drachmas and pesos, zlotich and rubles, dollars and deutchmarks." (Palmer, pg.103,104) The Tooth Fairy offers a global perspective with a variety of unique characters and even has Abigail shatter the life long belief of Leopold the Whale. Leopold's mother has always told him that he has the most beautiful teeth in the world and when he tells Abigail this, although faced with destruction at the mercy of this whale, she is honest and tells him that his mother was lying and his teeth are not beautiful at all?big but definitely not beautiful. The personification of the whale brings up all kinds of issues that can be looked at more closely - honesty, courage, integrity, and appearance versus reality.
The Tooth Fairy and a couple of other Palmer titles have been put on as a puppet show as well, Judd Palmer being the founder of The Old Trout Puppet Workshop, a puppet theatre company based in Alberta that travels internationally. It would be an excellent opportunity to have the production come to your school, yet another interpretation for comparative study.
Use and Introduction of Resource: I read The Tooth Fairy as a read aloud to a grade four class where many thought it was just plain strange, they did enjoy it though. I think this type of story opens up another world of possibilities, exposing students to a whole new style and genre of books. I remember the students looking forward to the illustrations, having a picture in their mind and comparing it to the images created within the book. I found a wonderful activity on-line that incorporates the illustrations in each chapter study guide asking students to describe and interpret what is happening in the pictures, which almost tell a story of their own. I would use these illustrations as an introduction because they are so interesting and would be fun to interpret before reading the novel. I could give a group of students one enlarged illustration and ask them to consider what may be happening, what kind of mood it evokes and to describe the characters. We could re-group and post up our ideas on the white board or better yet the smart board. This book offers many unique and interesting perspectives and is definitely worth including here in my top ten.
Other titles in the series include:
Read more: Judd Palmer (1972-) Biography - Personal, Addresses, Career, Honors Awards, Writings, Sidelights http://biography.jrank.org/pages/861/Palmer-Judd-1972.html#ixzz1BnkPPGXB
The Book Talk:
Did you ever wonder what the Tooth Fairy does with all of our teeth...well Abigail knows and she is not happy. She had perfect teeth and everyone who saw them would say that she had the greatest teeth in the world and she was not willing to give them up for a few measly coins. Well Abigail was my great grandmother (you can probably tell by my perfect teeth...I'd give a big smile) and I found a letter that she wrote when we were going through our old family possessions. This is what it said...
To the Greedy, Innocence–robbing Tooth Fairy,
"I am Abigail, Defender of Teeth, Slayer of Fairies, the Girl with the Greatest Teeth in the World," (Palmer,pg.112) I am writing you this letter to put a stop to all this teeth stealing. You came sneaking to my window the other night expecting me to give you my tooth?well I will not.
You have caused my grandfather and I to live in misery for many years. My poor grandfather has no teeth at all, you are a cruel, cruel fairy to have taken them from him. He cannot eat chew things and his life is "empty of sandwiches and pork chops: no sausages or French loaves pass into his gullet: no toffee or cheese ever make their way into his belly. Only gruel: thin, smelling of fish, salty like his soul." (Palmer, pg.4) He has become old and grumpy and never leaves his attic and I'm sorry to say but I think you are the cause of his misery.
His only friends are his bird with whom he has developed a strong connection, birds having no teeth and all and It is because of his gloom that I must be here to take care of him. He would starve without me so I can never be too far from home in order to hear his bellows when it is time to eat. He never lets me stray too far from home even though I tell him that other girls' play outside. He says, "Other girls are heedless of the treacherous world, and fall prey to the Tooth Fairy." (Palmer,pg.7)
Well...I'm here to tell you that my teeth are the "source of all of my happiness" (Palmer,pg.10) and I will never surrender them to you. You can't go creeping into children's rooms steeling their teeth and leaving a coin behind?you stole my grandfather's innocence and happiness and he will never be the same again and that coin did him no good, no good at all. What are you doing with all of our teeth anyway?
I love my teeth and I will not end up like my Grandfather, "toothless, crazy and stuck in the attic all day and night?this will not be my destiny." (Palmer,pg.31)
If you do not put a stop to this I will have to stop you myself. I am not afraid and all will be grateful that I put an end to all this tooth stealing. They will "shout from the heavens?Now we can keep our teeth?thanks to Abigail, the Girl who Saved the World from the Tooth Fairy Menace!"
I will await your reply, but if I do not hear from you soon, consider yourself warned!Unwaveringly yours,
The Girl with the Greatest Teeth in the World
Once upon a Golden Apple. by Little, Jean and Maggie De Vries. Illustrated by Phoebe Gilman. Viking Press, 1991
Summary: This is Jean Little's first picture book, which she wrote with her niece Maggie De Vries and it has become a Canadian classic. This charming story takes place on a family picnic and the father, his son and daughter are under a big tree with the dad ready to tell them a fairy tale. He begins?"once upon a golden apple?No!" shout the children, "Once upon a magic pebble?No! No! No!" insist the children. And the story continues with the father's imagination creating more silly story possibilities with famous fairy tale characters in far away places that his children at times agree upon. By the end of the story they have told their own unique fairy tale and "they all lived happily ever after."
Critical Analysis and Use: Jean Little is a renowned Canadian author and has written numerous books ranging from picture books to novels. She has written for the Dear Canada Series with titles including Orphan at My Door: The Home Child Diary of Victoria Cope, Guelph, Ontario, 1897 and Brothers Far from Home: The World War 1 Diary of Eliza Bates, Uxbridge, Ontario, 1916. She has also written Somebody Else's Summer, a Red Cedar choice in 2007/2008. This picture book would be a great introduction to her and appropriate for grades K - 2. Kindergarteners would especially enjoy this book in which they could easily play. I would discuss the fun in being able to create our own stories and have an activity where students would be given four panels, which they could choose from in the story to create their own rendition. Students would draw their pictures and add one sentence for each illustration.
Introduction of Resource: To introduce this book I would dress up in a fairy princess dress?the girls would just love this being obsessed with anything to do with princesses. I would ask the children what their favorite fairy tale is and explain to them that if I were a fairy princess I would live in birthday land and have a special birthday celebration on each person's birthday. I would ask them to imagine which fairy tale character they would be and what they would do. Then I would tell them about Once Upon a Golden Apple and how the family create their own fairy tale and would proceed with a read aloud.
Princess Prunella and the Purple Peanut. by Atwood, Margaret. Illustrated by Maryanne Kovalski. Key Porter Books, 1995
Summary: Princess Prunella has a lot to learn, "What are Good Deeds?" said Prunella and her three pussy cats respond, "you are a perverse pie-faced pudding-brain"?politely, padding pompously away on their polished paws. You should have paid more attention!" This amazing alliterative fractured fairy tale is a must read. Prunella is a spoiled self-centered princess who finally gets what's coming to her when a witch wants to find out for herself how selfish she really is. She puts a curse on her after being denied "some leftover porridge, or a peppermint, or a used prune." Princess must perform three good deeds in order to make her large purple peanut nose go away. Hilarious additions please children and adults alike; the poor witch is carrying a Coco Chanel bag and amoung the books and newspapers that fall out is a book called, "The Amazing Rice Diet by Chairman Mao" and her jacket still has the tag which reads, "$5000." Her "practical parent Princess Patty" wears an apron that says "I hate to cook." Will she redeem herself and marry a pinheaded prince?possibly!
Critical Analysis and Use: A few reviews complained about the overuse of Ps within the story but I thought it worked very well adding a sense of pomp and circumstance reminiscent of the English monarchy. I do disagree with many of the reading levels I found starting at age 4. The vocabulary is quite challenging and unless it was an extremely advanced Kindergarten reader it would be quite a frustrating read. There are many words on a page as well and I would recommend it to grades 2 and up; it would be a fun read aloud for grade ones but it would probably need to take up two class periods at least. It would be fun to have students come up with their own alliterative sentences. We could brainstorm words together and they could create silly sentences. For older grades 3-4 we could discuss the stereotypes that go along with princesses and princes, it is quite a feminist read not surprisingly coming form Margaret Atwood. The witch says to Prunella, "Appearances are deceptive?You are not pretty inside, just as I am not poor," and Princess Prunella slowly comes to realize that beauty comes from a deeper place rather than her reflection. We could also comment on the quote, "Even the pinheaded parents, Princess Patty and Prince Peter, who had spoiled Prunella in the first place, were pleased." We could discuss how our parents influence us and what impact their values and ideals have had on our lives?not to imply that anybody's parents are pinheaded! There are quite a lot of possibilities with this book that would be thought provoking and engaging.
Introduction of Resource: I would introduce this book by collecting a bunch of items that begin with P and possibly another baggy with items that begin with another letter, let's say T. I would let student volunteers come up and pull an item randomly from the baggy until the students figured out what they had in common?all start with P and T. Then we would attempt to write a sentence with all the items. The students could think, pair, share and come up with one sentence to share with the class. We could then discuss how easy or difficult this was. Now can you imagine writing a whole book like this. We could discuss the writing process and all that goes into developing a book as well as the theme of fractured fairy tales. There are so many things to consider when writing in order to make an impact and impress you readers.
Fractures Fairy Tales - Literacy and critical thinking activities with a sense of humor. by Goyetche, Marie-Helen. Illustrated by Tom Goldsmith. S&S Learning Materials. On the Mark Press.
Summary: This teacher resource provides a good beginning to introducing fractures fairy tales. It provides a variety of activities that "guide students to master, create and reflect" on the process, structure and enjoyment of these tales. There are interactive choral speaking activities where students can act out the tales and also create their own. There is a novel study based on "The Stinky Cheese man and Other Fairly Stupid Tales" by my favorite author/illustrator team, Jon Scieszka and Lane Smith, that includes fun activities like word scrambles, sequencing and riddles. The book includes ten other fractured tales with discussion activities based on Bloom's Taxonomy. Some stories include "Friends" based on The Lion and the Mouse, "Jack and the Beanstalk," and "The Elves and the Messmaker" based on The Elves and the Shoemaker. Includes teacher and student rubrics, writing checklists, six graphic organizes with a how to guide and answer key for discussion/comprehension activities.
Use and Critical Analysis: This resource offer many activities suitable for all reading levels within this age group, allows for group work, student interaction, and creativity. It provides opportunity for vocabulary building, fun with language and critical thinking skills. The discussion and comprehension questions included based on Bloom's Taxonomy can be extended to include activities that incorporate higher level activities based on the chart below.
Bloom's Taxonomy Verbs
When developing curriculum for your class, keep this list nearby. This will help you determine the level of response you are anticipating from your students.
|Knowledge||Count, Define, Describe, Draw, Find, Identify, Label, List, Match, Name, Quote, Recall, Recite, Sequence, Tell, Write|
|Comprehension||Conclude, Demonstrate, Discuss, Explain, Generalize, Identify, Illustrate, Interpret, Paraphrase, Predict, Report, Restate, Review, Summarize, Tell|
|Application||Apply, Change, Choose, Compute, Dramatize, Interview, Prepare, Produce, Role-play, Select, Show, Transfer, Use|
|Analysis||Analyze, Characterize, Classify, Compare, Contrast, Debate, Deduce, Diagram, Differentiate, Discriminate, Distinguish, Examine, Outline, Relate, Research, Separate|
|Synthesis||Compose, Construct, Create, Design, Develop, Integrate, Invent, Make, Organize, Perform, Plan, Produce, Propose, Rewrite|
|Evaluation||Appraise, Argue, Assess, Choose, Conclude, Critic, Decide, Evaluate, Judge, Justify, Predict, Prioritize, Prove, Rank, Rate, Select|
From: The Online Teacher Resource (www.teach-nology.com) © Teachnology, Inc. All rights reserved.
Introduction of Resource: These activities could be used to start a thematic unit in Fractured Fairy Tales in a grade two classroom. I could bring in a variety of fairy tale character figurines giving one to each group of three students. I would ask the students if you were friends with, for example, Cinderella or Jack from Jack and the Beanstalk what do you think they would be good at and what fun activity would you do with them? I would tell the students that it should be something that they enjoy doing too. The students would be given time to discuss and then we could present our ideas with the whole class. Then I would let the students know that they created an idea for a fractured fairy tale and introduce the concept and ask if they have read any fractured tales.
For ordering information and other useful resources you can access this site: http://teachers.scholarschoice.ca/products/S-S-Learning-Materials-1874/Gr-24-Fractured-Fairy-Tales-p11577/
Annotations by Katie Pallen (LLED 462)
This is my planet: The kids guide to global warming. by Thornhill, J. Thornhill, J. This is my planet: The kids guide to global warming. Toronto: Maple Tree Press Inc., 2007. 978-1-897349076. Hdbk $16.68 (Chapters Indigo), Pbk .$12.30
Summary: This visually appealing non-fiction book discusses global warming including its causes and the effects it has on our planet's ecosystems. While the first section discusses what global warming is, gives evidence as to how scientists know it is occurring at an alarming rate, and discusses the many gases which affect how quickly global warming occurs, the three sections that follow discuss the particular affects global warming is having on areas in the "Far North & South", "The Ocean", and "The Land". Finally, "The People" become the focus for the final section which includes information on what we consume, how we can work together as a nation to make change, and what we can do as individuals.
Critical Analysis: This book is an excellent introduction to global warming for intermediate elementary students to read by themselves or for an elementary age as a read-a-loud. It is immediately appealing because of the use of bright colours, and contains a good balance between written word and photographs. While each section may be read separately and understood as such, I believe this book would be best read from front to back covers in order to give children the full picture about what global warming is and why it is an issue that we should all be concerned about. Its strengths lie in its use of visuals, simple and age-appropriate language, and overall focus on a very current issue which affects all people. At the end of the book there is a list of further resources, mostly internet resources for students to continue their learning.
How to introduce this resource: I would introduce this book to intermediate classrooms, while working collaboratively with the classroom teacher. First, I would show the class a simple science experiment in their classroom (done by the TL or the classroom teacher). Children would watch closely as I took two glass jars, put five ice cubes in each, and covered one with plastic wrap. I would then tell them that I would be putting both jars in the sunshine for an hour and we would discuss the results of what happened when they came to the library. I would ask the students to hypothesize what they think would happen with the use of words and a sketch. Will the ice melt? What will the temperature of the water be like in each jar? An hour later, the class would come to the library where I would have the two jars. We would discuss their hypotheses, and then take the temperature of both jars of water. The discussion would continue to include why the water in the jar that was covered by saran wrap was warmer and how this is much like our Earth, the plastic wrap representing our atmosphere which helps maintain a warm temperature and allows life to grow on Earth. Although this is an extremely simplified version of the greenhouse effect, it gives students an idea that they can understand easily. Following our discussion I would show students This is my planet: The kids' guide to global warming, selected excerpts which discuss what global warming is, and how the greenhouse effect has been exasperated by both natural (ex. volcanic eruptions) and human causes. I would finish by telling students how the book discusses land and ocean ecosystems and the affects global warming has on them, as well as some of the many ways humans slow down global warming. A CPPT research project could follow.
The man who planted trees by Back, F. & Tison, H. Back, F. & Tison, H. The man who planted trees [Motion Picture] Montreal: Radio Canada, 1987. FREE via YouTube. (Sound recording available at the Vancouver Public Library. Possible to rent from specialty movie stores such as Happy Bats and Black Dog Video in Vancouver). Part 1 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VQ4paZjtt6E&feature=related; Part 2: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xr2i6wkZxA4&feature=related; Part 3: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CG5z-5hgnwE&feature=related
Summary: An evocative, fiction Canadian film, created through the animation of several drawings, The man who planted trees is based on of a short story written in 1953 by Jean Giono. It tells the story of a young man who goes on a hiking trip by himself through Provence, France and into the Alps. Along the way the man runs out of water in an area where there is no vegetation. He is rescued by a Shepherd who he ends up spending time with and discovers the man has been planting trees by himself in order to rejuvenate the land. It is an incredible art form that was ahead of its time and remains a valuable resource.
Critical Analysis: Although an older video, The man who planted trees is a classic film, having won an Academy award in 1987 for Best Animated Short Film that will resonate with anyone who watches it. There are a couple of darker scenes, depicting the horrible life people lived when the land was desolate, however, they are not gruesome and the animation does not linger on these moments. I would use my judgement based on the students in a class before showing it to primary students, however, would not hesitate to show it to any intermediate classroom. I have chosen this resource as one of my top ten because it is incredibly moving, expresses the impact one person can make, and is in a unique format (not only a video, but an animation of drawings). As this story is told through a video it will reach a wider audience, allowing our reluctant readers and ESL students to enjoy literacy through a different format.
The drawings, combined with the pleasant voice of Christopher Plummer, will hold children's interest and leave the viewer wondering whether or not this is a true story. This resource is available to watch for free via YouTube, and can be show using any data projector onto a white board or Smart Board.
How to use this resource: This film may be used alone, or as an introductory lesson about the enormous impact one individual can make in their lifetime. I would begin this lesson by showing before and after pictures of landscapes that were devastated by human destruction, such as the cutting down of trees or mining and then show uplifting images of the same landscape after it had been rejuvenated by planting efforts. I would then tell children they are in for a treat; they get to watch a film that was made many years ago but that tells the story of a man who made a positive impact on the earth all on his own.
Not your typical book about the environment. by Kelsey, E. Toronto: Owlkids Books Inc., 2010. Hdbk.$24.95 Pbk. $12.95. Grades 4-7
Summary: This is innovative "book about the environment that makes you happy" (Kelsey, 2010, p.4). It is an uplifting, interesting non-fiction book which provides information that children can easily relate to. As reviewed in the Quill and Quire, "Kelsey has gathered together enough eco-friendly life strategies and feel-good stories from around the globe to get budding environmental warriors started" (Grainger, 2010, p.37). Hanmer's illustrations are colourful and humorous making this book a top-read.
Critical Analysis: As a Canadian teacher I am thrilled to have found a fantastic resource that is both published in Canada, written by a Canadian and uses Canadian examples. But this resource is special in that it does not only give North American examples; it expands to include nations from all continents of the world. This book has many wonderful, unique examples which show surprising connections that most children and adults will likely never have heard of. For example, it is possible to make a bicycle out of bamboo. Ideas such as drinking water from the tap instead of bottled water, shopping for food locally, and washing clothes in cold water are also included but not without detailed explanations.
As this title was published in 2010, the content is extremely current. The author, Elin Kelsey, a professor at the School of Environment and Sustainability at Royal Roads University in Victoria, is said to be involved in many environmental projects and has had her book endorsed by Jane Goodall - Founder of the Jane Goodall Institute & UN Messenger of Peace (information found on the book cover). I recommend purchasing the hardcopy version of this title as you can be certain it will be well-circulated.
How to use this resource: This book has a lot of detail and because of this it does not lend itself to being read-a-loud in its entirety. A book talk would be best suited and would get students excited about not only the topic but about reading an informational text.
Hook: Dress up as Captain Environment (wear a cape with C.E. on it, a plant for a hat, recycling symbols on the clothes, etc.)
Introduce the book: "Hi, I'm Captain Environment and I am here to tell you about one of my favourite books because there are so many interesting ideas in it that I never ever heard of and I am Captain Environment. It is called Not your typical book about the environment by Elin Kelsey, and has clever and very funny illustrations by Clayton Hanmer."
"This book talks about how some clothing is better for the environment than others, how these clothes are made and tons of interesting facts. Like, did you know, "25 plastic bottles = 1 new fleece jacket'" (pg. 14). *hold up a fleece jacket*
"And guess what, there is an entire chapter on the power of people. This book discusses how a bicycle can be made out of bamboo, about innovations that may occur in the future and get this, the power of human and animal poop to create power! It may sound gross but it can really work." *Show pages 56 and 57*
"While there are many books about the environment, there is no other book like this one written for students your age. As an ambassador for the environment, I love this book because it is hilarious, unique, does not make me fear the earth is in trouble but rather makes me feel like I can do something to help. Also, there are comic strips!" *show one of the comic strips*
"I have helped your teacher-librarian, Ms. Pallen, create a display of books about the environment. You may sign out any of these books from the library, including, of course, Not your typical book about the environment. You have TWO copies in the library. Have fun!"
Annotations by Juniper Ridington
Science on the Loose. Amazing Activities and Science Facts You'll Never Believe. by Becker, Helanie. Maple Tree Press, 2008
Summary: This book opens with the query, "Do you know who asks weird questions - all the time? A scientist!" It then goes on to give readers the opportunity to think weird thoughts too, with the colourful directive to, "Let Your Inner Scientist Loose." It then gives a succinct run-down of the Scientific Method and lets readers on the loose with a series of science facts and experiments on a wide range of topics all paired with eye-catching graphics and illustrations. Becker finishes with another question, "Has this book whetted your appetite for more wacky science? Then grab a hypothesis, gear up your theories, and get to work on your wonderfully weird experiments." Of course, it also appeases teachers by finishing with a list of Science Concepts and an index.
Critical Analysis: One of the strengths of this book is how simple the experiments are. Many of them require only a few simple items like a flashlight and mirror, or an onion, an apple and a radish. One experiment while simple, (the requirements are 10 friends willing to eat baked beans) will garner giggles and interest (which are other strength of this book) since it tracks the fart output after a regular breakfast and then after a breakfast of baked beans. And the zippy writing style this is delivered in is a perfect example of how a love of reading can be fostered with non-fiction materials as well as fiction, because it's certainly fun to read such lines as "meet the beasts who put the roar into lab-roar-atory." Our peers agree; Science on the Loose was nominated for the 2009/2010 Red Cedar Awards.
How to Use This Book: Well, I won't be demonstrating the baked bean experiment in front of a class! But there are lots of simple experiments to introduce the book, like the one testing if yawns are contagious. I know that getting an entire class to yawn might not seem like the best way to get them excited about a book, but getting them actively involved in an experiment is.
Scary Science: 25 Creepy Experiments. by Levine, Shar & Leslie Johnstone. Scholastic Canada, 2010.
Summary: This non-fiction book consists of 25 experiments unified by being creepy, ghostly, ghoulish or gross. It begins with an Introduction asking the reader if he or she is the "kind of person who loves creepy sounds and enjoys a good scare" and goes on by letting the reader into a secret; they won't be using magic to perform "spooky feats" but rather science. The introduction also includes a list of Dos and Don'ts which contain safety tips and also a Note to Parents and Teachers explaining that the book is designed to "help young children discover some basic scientific principles." What follows are fairly simple experiments with catchy titles like Festering Ooze (using borax and glue to make ooze) and Levitating Spirits (using electrical charges to make objects repel each other). Each experiment includes a You Will Need section, a What to Do section and an Eeew! What Happened (or Gosh! What Happened or Shriek! What Happened) section which explains the scientific principles involved. Each experiment also includes a Strange...But True text box containing a social science or cultural connection. For example, the Strange..But True part of the experiment called Goblin Lamp talks about legends of goblins and Chupacabra. There's also a one page Glossary. Throughout the book there are drawings (well executed by Ashley Spires) of a boy and girl scientist who interact with an adult mad scientist and his Igor-like assistant. As a review in CM magazine pointed out, these characters tend to "reinforce the mad scientist persona" yet they tell a story on their own and fit well with "the gross and spine-chilling contexts in which the activities are presented" (McMillan, 2010).
Critical Analysis: I brought this book home to read and it was sitting on the back seat of the car when I picked up my eight year old son. He immediately noticed it, picked it up and spent the rest of the drive home poring over it. Unbeknownst to me, as soon as we got home he set about doing one of the experiments (without asking adult permission first - so much for the Don'ts of the Introduction!)
The instructions to ask for adult help may not have worked, but the enthusiasm generated by the scary, creepy theme was undeniable. Any information book that a student wants to read unprompted, containing experiments that a student will perform unbidden, is obviously doing something right!
How to Use This Book: Definitely a teacher or TL would want to point out the safety precautions that a student might gloss over if reading this book on their own. However, a teacher could easily capitalize on the ick factor that might draw in students who would be otherwise unmoved by science. Boys in particular are often drawn to this type of material (although I often get as many girls taking out ghost stories like the Haunted Canada series as I do boys). The TL and teacher could use this text to generate enthusiasm for science fair projects by suggesting a student choose a project with a similar creepy or gross premise. And of course demonstrating a particularly ‘gross' experiment would be a fantastic way to introduce this book with or without an "Igor" costume.
www.ScienceFairs.ca by the Science Fair Foundation of British Columbia
Summary: This website, from the Science Fair Foundation of British Columbia, is the official website for science fairs in British Columbia. It contains information about locations of Regional Fairs across the province, awards, pages for teachers and students, an Alumni Mentorship Program (containing a guide to completing your project and a Project Content Checklist), resource links, and more. It also has a Year of Science page with information about a Science Challenge offered by the Provincial government in partnership with the Science Fair Foundation, which includes interactive science quizzes for all grade levels.
Critical Analysis: One of the key documents in this site is a PDF entitled 2011 Science Fair in the Community Information Booklet which is chock full of information about Science Fair projects. It includes things like the exact dimensions of the poster display for Regional Science Fairs and a list of previous winning projects. One of the more useful pieces of information in the Booklet is an explanation of the different types of possible projects (an Experiment, a Study or an Innovation/Invention) and the requirements for each.
How to Use this Site: Because this website is so information rich, I think that it would help students to have the teacher-librarian guide a class through its sections. This can easily be done with a digital projector and screen or Smartboard. I recently showed a grade six class this site as an introduction to their Science Fair Research. The classroom teacher and I showed the class how to navigate the site and where to find the most useful information. I introduced the site (and got lots of interest and chuckles) by pointing out the interesting names of some previous Fair winners like "Does Nagging Help?" and "Emergency Preparedness Hat." I've also used the library's Smartboard to do the site's Science Challenge quizzes even for primary classes not doing Science Fair. So far, I've done grades one and four and the students loved it, especially since it was delivered in a whole class format rather than as an individual challenge. The idea of the quizzes is to make science fun and accessible rather intimidating.
I would also use this site to help teach reading strategies for information texts. This site could be difficult as it's so thick with information and students may have trouble discerning which information is useful. So I'd talk about how to make sense of it using meta-reading strategies, such as those discussed in the article "Improving Reading in a Middle School Science Classroom" (Radcliffe et al., 2008).