Did you know that kids are naturally curious? If you’ve spent any time around them you know they can ask more questions than IRS tax forms. What happens to a naturally curious kid after they’ve been assigned worksheet after worksheet? My oldest son didn’t work at a fast pace and when the worksheets kept coming he couldn’t keep up so he became overwhelmed and frustrated. His solution was to stick the papers in his desk. His teacher soon became wise to his unsuccessful solution and sent the 23 papers she pulled out of his desk home with him for homework! Yikes!
As I reflect on my 35th year in education, I was blessed with another great group of kids. Note to self… Activity to definitely do again, simple-yes, easy-not. It all started with a Nelson Mandela picture book and we took the powerful story about a man who never gave up and turned the information into a bio poem which evolved into them later doing their own bio poems that blew me away.
I carefully chose 7 or 8 picture books that were biographies I knew my students would be interested in. They made their own groups according to their interests. Each group read the book and wrote a bio poem to share with the class. They were engaged for longer than I had allowed for the activity and were begging for more time when I was attempting to draw things to a close. When they pleaded for more time to read, write, and discuss I was putty in their hands. The extra time given was time well spent because their first attempts to write bio poems without any help turned out to amazing. As the poems were shared I could tell my students had even impressed themselves! That day we learned about Louis Braille, Audrey Hepburn , The Day-Glow Brothers along with several others!
I have always encouraged teachers and parents to read to their kids daily. I have always read my students and with my own kids however I wish I would have added more nonfiction. It has only been in the last 6 or 7 years have I been collecting well-written picture books about real people that accomplished something great using grit.
I’m learning right along with the kids, everyday was/is a learning adventure! I just got the Boys of Steel, it will be waiting for some eager readers next!