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October 29, 2014

Unity Through Reading

By Kriscia Cabral
Grades PreK–K, 1–2, 3–5

    The school shooting in Washington state marked another tragedy in our world. And while I feel such sorrow for the victims and their loved ones, it also pains me to think of the young person who committed such a hate-filled act. It upsets me that there is ever a child who chooses violence over peace. I did not want to bring up this tragic story with my second and third grade students, but there was a message I did want to share with them about unity and how although we are all very different, we are all very much the same. I wanted to find a way to make the message really resonate with them and I found a great book that does just that.

    I ordered the book One World, One Day by Barbara Kerley, from Scholastic Book Clubs and am so happy that I did. This beautiful book of exquisite photographs digitally journals the course of one day in our world. From early morning to the end of the day, life is captured in the everyday things that people do all over the world: eating breakfast, going to school, working, playing after school, etc. Wherever they are in the world, people are doing the same things, but in different ways. Kerley uses short, yet meaningful words to share a theme of unity. Read on and see how to design a lesson around the author's message.

     

    Activate Prior Knowledge

    I started with our "essential question" for students. This is the question around which we design all of our English language arts, social studies, and often, science lessons. It is the question that guides students’ discovery while they learn. We’ve used our essential question, “How does where something lives affect how something lives? to look at animals and how they adapt to their surroundings. The same question can be used to guide students' thinking while reading this book.

    So first I reviewed the question and what we have learned so far. Students talked about animals of the desert, and how they could not survive in tundra because of what they need to survive. Other students spoke about different animals that live and interact with each other in the ocean, like the pilot fish and how they clean sharks, whales, and turtles.

     

    Spark an Interest in New Learning

    I asked students, “How does where we live affect how we live?” I gave students a moment to share with a neighbor their thoughts about this question. I asked students to keep this question in their minds while I read the book.

    I read the book aloud, pausing with great purpose as I asked students to use inquiry skills and observe what they saw on the pages. I wrote student responses on the board so we could look back at what we noticed throughout the book. Notes on the board included: “Everyone eats breakfast, just different kinds.” “School happens and then a lot more comes after that.” and “A day here looks similar to a day that is somewhere else.”

     

    Debrief Together

    After the story ended, we discussed our notes on the board. I asked students to talk with a neighbor about what might have been the purpose of this book. What was the message the author was sharing? Students talked with neighbors sitting close by and then turned to the front of the room to share their responses.

     

    Make Time for Reflections

    I went back to our essential question and the “WE” variation I put into it. I asked students to answer this question using the book as a resource for arriving at their answer. I also asked them to extend their learning, and answer one more question. Does where we live matter as much as how we live our lives?

    I left students with an opportunity to ponder both questions. I call this a “three-minute think time.” Students can write ideas down in their notebooks or draw a picture of their reasoning.

    My final thought for students to consider came from reading the last few pages of the book where Kerley shares the story of when she lived in Nepal and then traveled around the world. Kerley shares her purpose, followed by thumbnail images and detailed captions from the photographs used in the book.

     

    Close With Writing

    Students were then asked to write about Kerley’s message. What did it mean to them? How did it relate to our learning? What could we do to keep her message alive? I asked these questions as prompts, and students were not required to answer. I wanted them to write what was on their minds. Some students were in need of a little help in organizing their thoughts.

    For my writers who struggle to get started, I offer a PowerPoint slide (also in worksheet form) of prompts that they can choose from as a starting point. These kids also sit in a small group with me as I scaffold them through a "getting started with your writing" process. This entails choosing a question, brainstorming ideas aloud, and then putting them down on paper.

    We concluded with an open mic period for students to share what they had written.

    There is so much power that comes to life when words and photographs meet. Kerley’s book was an engaging piece of poetic literature that captivated my second- and third-grade audience. Besides the fascination with the beautiful photographs, students found a deeper understanding in the author’s message, “We share every day together.”

    Do you have a book that displays global unity for students? I’d love to hear about it. Please share in the comment section below.

     

    Thank you for reading.

    Smiles,

    Kriscia 

    The school shooting in Washington state marked another tragedy in our world. And while I feel such sorrow for the victims and their loved ones, it also pains me to think of the young person who committed such a hate-filled act. It upsets me that there is ever a child who chooses violence over peace. I did not want to bring up this tragic story with my second and third grade students, but there was a message I did want to share with them about unity and how although we are all very different, we are all very much the same. I wanted to find a way to make the message really resonate with them and I found a great book that does just that.

    I ordered the book One World, One Day by Barbara Kerley, from Scholastic Book Clubs and am so happy that I did. This beautiful book of exquisite photographs digitally journals the course of one day in our world. From early morning to the end of the day, life is captured in the everyday things that people do all over the world: eating breakfast, going to school, working, playing after school, etc. Wherever they are in the world, people are doing the same things, but in different ways. Kerley uses short, yet meaningful words to share a theme of unity. Read on and see how to design a lesson around the author's message.

     

    Activate Prior Knowledge

    I started with our "essential question" for students. This is the question around which we design all of our English language arts, social studies, and often, science lessons. It is the question that guides students’ discovery while they learn. We’ve used our essential question, “How does where something lives affect how something lives? to look at animals and how they adapt to their surroundings. The same question can be used to guide students' thinking while reading this book.

    So first I reviewed the question and what we have learned so far. Students talked about animals of the desert, and how they could not survive in tundra because of what they need to survive. Other students spoke about different animals that live and interact with each other in the ocean, like the pilot fish and how they clean sharks, whales, and turtles.

     

    Spark an Interest in New Learning

    I asked students, “How does where we live affect how we live?” I gave students a moment to share with a neighbor their thoughts about this question. I asked students to keep this question in their minds while I read the book.

    I read the book aloud, pausing with great purpose as I asked students to use inquiry skills and observe what they saw on the pages. I wrote student responses on the board so we could look back at what we noticed throughout the book. Notes on the board included: “Everyone eats breakfast, just different kinds.” “School happens and then a lot more comes after that.” and “A day here looks similar to a day that is somewhere else.”

     

    Debrief Together

    After the story ended, we discussed our notes on the board. I asked students to talk with a neighbor about what might have been the purpose of this book. What was the message the author was sharing? Students talked with neighbors sitting close by and then turned to the front of the room to share their responses.

     

    Make Time for Reflections

    I went back to our essential question and the “WE” variation I put into it. I asked students to answer this question using the book as a resource for arriving at their answer. I also asked them to extend their learning, and answer one more question. Does where we live matter as much as how we live our lives?

    I left students with an opportunity to ponder both questions. I call this a “three-minute think time.” Students can write ideas down in their notebooks or draw a picture of their reasoning.

    My final thought for students to consider came from reading the last few pages of the book where Kerley shares the story of when she lived in Nepal and then traveled around the world. Kerley shares her purpose, followed by thumbnail images and detailed captions from the photographs used in the book.

     

    Close With Writing

    Students were then asked to write about Kerley’s message. What did it mean to them? How did it relate to our learning? What could we do to keep her message alive? I asked these questions as prompts, and students were not required to answer. I wanted them to write what was on their minds. Some students were in need of a little help in organizing their thoughts.

    For my writers who struggle to get started, I offer a PowerPoint slide (also in worksheet form) of prompts that they can choose from as a starting point. These kids also sit in a small group with me as I scaffold them through a "getting started with your writing" process. This entails choosing a question, brainstorming ideas aloud, and then putting them down on paper.

    We concluded with an open mic period for students to share what they had written.

    There is so much power that comes to life when words and photographs meet. Kerley’s book was an engaging piece of poetic literature that captivated my second- and third-grade audience. Besides the fascination with the beautiful photographs, students found a deeper understanding in the author’s message, “We share every day together.”

    Do you have a book that displays global unity for students? I’d love to hear about it. Please share in the comment section below.

     

    Thank you for reading.

    Smiles,

    Kriscia 

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