the dot, a picture book written and illustrated by Peter Reynolds is the story of Vashti, a reluctant artist and her supportive teacher who encourages her student to "make her mark," ultimately inspiring her to explore creativity and encourage others to do the same.
Inspired by the dot, a group of educators decided to celebrate bravery, self-expression, and creativity in the classroom, and International Dot Day was founded in 2009 and is celebrated on September 15.
To read about the author's experience writing the book and to see answers to the most commonly asked questions about the dot ,visit his website here.
Wanda discovers a thornbush growing in an abandoned lot, but she is certain that it is a rosebush ready to bloom. She clears away the trash and cares for it each day, bringing it water from the nearby butcher shop. While her neighbors are doubtful, Wanda does not lose hope and invites them to a tea party in her "rose garden." Everyone is in for a big surprise...
Grade 2/3 students discussed the IB Attitudes that found within this picture book- appreciation, creativity, cooperation, and commitment.
“To heal a sorrowing heart, give something that is dear to your own.”
When Kimeli, a Maasai tribesman and medical student at Stanford University who happened to be visiting the United Nations in Manhattan on September 11, 2001, returns to his Masai village shortly after the 9/11 attacks, a child asks him what stories he has brought with him. After sharing the story that “has burned a hole in his heart,” he asks the elders for permission to give the one cow that he has to the Americans because “to the Masai, the cow is life."
When the American ambassador comes to the village, the Masai present him with not one, but fourteen cows “because there is no nation so powerful that it cannot be wounded, nor a people so small they cannot offer mighty comfort.”
Students in grades 4 and 5 discussed how the poignant gift of 14 cows by the Maasai tribesmen bridges cultural differences and exemplifies empathy. We also learned about Ubuntu - humaneness- a philosophy of life that emphasizes showing empathy for fellow humans. This concept is often demonstrated in African customs through actions of compassion.
During the read aloud, students were captivated by the illustrations by Thomas Gonzalez and how they helped to tell the story. They wondered how this story became a book and what happened to the cows.
We watched the following video from the 2009 National Book Festival to learn more about the making of this picture book and the gift from the Maasai.
To learn more about 14 Cows for America, visit the book's website here.
Halibut Jackson is shy and prefers not to be noticed, so he makes his own suits that help him to blend into the background. He wears his flowered suit to the park and a book-themed suit to the library. When he is invited to a party at the palace, he almost doesn't go because he is so bashful. He decides to make a palace-themed suit so that he can attend the party without being noticed. How was he to know it would be an outdoor garden party?
The Preschool Class enjoyed searching for Halibut Jackson in the illustrations and students were excited to see how Halibut Jackson got over his shyness.
Children in the Preschool Class were able to make a connection between Halibut Jackson and Jeremy of Jeremy Draws a Monster. In fact, when they saw Jeremy looking out his bedroom window watching the neighborhood children play, one child exclaimed, "Jeremy doesn't want to me noticed- just like Halibut Jackson!"
For their first Unit of Inquiry, Grades 2/3 investigated the central idea: One human can impact the world. To deepen their exploration, we read many books, both fiction and nonfiction, to illustrate the many ways that one person can affect change.
Miss Dorothy and Her Bookmobile by Gloria Houston is the story of a young girl who loved books and people and wished to be a librarian. As an adult living in North Carolina in a community without a library, Miss Dorothy decides to start a bookmobile so that she can bring books to people in her community.
Grade 2/3 students were inspired by Miss Dorothy's perseverance and the way that her work as a librarian changed people's lives. Students decided to take action and create their own version of a bookmobile with the intention of collecting books for a local preschool library.
After the students showed such enthusiasm for Miss Dorothy's Bookmobile, we read Biblioburro: A true story from Colombia by Jeanette Winter. With the help of two donkeys- Alfa and Beto- Luis travels to faraway villages to bring books and reading to children of Colombia.
The video below shows Luis Soriano and his biblioburro in action.