It’s no secret that I love books. I use picture books in all my classes! It’s a great way to introduce a new concept, share a story, and give visual aid to what we’re learning about. Here are some of my favorite books from Spring after school classes about animals, plants, and the ocean!
For Elementary grades, I enjoy adapting books we’ve read in class into short plays. A picture book is a great way to learn about the beginning, middle, and end of a story. It also provides a rich setting and basic characters to draw from. Once we start acting out our version of the book, the characters grow and take on new qualities and quirks as we explore how the characters move and speak. Adapting a book into a play gives the play structure that we can refer to--and allows the students to improvise specific character lines from there. Here are two books we acted out in my Kindergarten Ocean Adventures class.
The Three Little Fish and the Great Big Shark
By: Ken Geist and Julia Gorton
This is an ocean-themed spin on the Three Little Pigs story. The students were already familiar with the story, which made it accessible. The setting of the ocean and characters of underwater creatures was new, and we had a great time getting creative with how these characters moved (swam) and interacted in their watery world.
By: Eric Carle
This stunning book was written/illustrated by Eric Carle of The Very Hungry Caterpillar fame. Each page has collaged illustrations of underwater features such as reeds, rocks, and seaweed. Students enjoyed creating the varied settings of each page with their bodies as the character of Mister Seahorse traveled throughout the ocean.
Reading picture books is a great way to reinforce concepts learned in school, and learn new things! Nonfiction picture books are fantastic, and tell the story of how the world works in a way that is informative and entertaining. Here are two books we read in my 1st grade Theatre Buds: Plants and Animals class.
What Am I? Where Am I?
By Ted Lewin
This book is also a guessing game that introduces the five major biomes. Students tried to guess from a sneak peak image, which animal they saw. Upon turning the page they were delighted to see the answer revealed and the habitat that animal lives in.
Planting a Rainbow
By Lois Ehlert
This beautiful book describes how plants grow from bulb to flowering, using flowers of every color in the rainbow. It even includes the name of every plant depicted. Students loved the rainbow pattern and asked me to say the names of each and every one of the flowers--and there were many!
You can find all of these titles at Arlington Public Library. The authors listed above have written/illustrated several more fantastic books that are worth a look. If you have favorite picture books that you'd like to share, comment below with the titles; I'd love to read them in my camps this summer.
Happy Summer Reading!