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Archive for the ‘nature’ Category

Stop by the library to check out our latest acquisitions, praying mantis nymphs. Bring a container – I am giving them away!

 

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The Two Sisters, a tale from the Squamish Nation, that explains the existence of two iconic peaks on the north shore of Vancouver. If you live in the lower mainland, you probably know these peaks as The Lions. This beautifully illustrated book is loved by teachers and students. Never in the library and always in use, I hope to purchase another two copies. As one grade 4 student told me, “I can see them from my front window!”

An essential library book. Great for launching writing and art projects.

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When you walk in the doors of Strathcona School Library, one of the first things you see is the new Discovery Table. Here students can investigate and explore natural objects with their hands, eyes, and noses. They can use the magnifying glasses and read bits of related books I’ve left there. The Discovery Table is inspired by our wonderful Kindergarten teacher and winner of the 2014 Prime Minister’s Award for Teaching Excellency, Colleen Sturrock’s classroom. Full of wonderful natural objects, beautifully displayed and arranged to invite children to explore, play, learn and tell stories, Mrs. Sturrock’s classroom is engaging and inspiring place. Tucked to one side of the classroom, is a sand table. Its not just any sand table, though, this one also contains fascinating natural objects such as fresh water drift wood form Pitt Lake, shells, rocks, and pine cones. When I saw this sand table, my heart leapt, and my imagination  soared.

How could I incorporate this into my school library without creating a giant headache for myself? Borrowing some shells, pine cones, and pieces of wood from Mrs. Sturrock, I arranged these objects on a low, natural wood table my mom gave me. A few books and a couple of magnifying glasses completed the table. I was surprised by how interested the children were. Gathering around in small groups of two to five, they explored the objects, picking them up, peering closely, and smelling them. they compare information in the books with the objects on the table.

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As interested waned, I replaced the natural objects with some simple puzzles and building materials. Kids were thrilled. Changing the materials every so often seems to work well. My colleague Annie gave me some evergreen branches with needles and cones that she used for a writing and math provocation inspired by the Reggio method (see book below). I am inspired by the provocations Annie and Colleen use that invite and inspire children to inquire and express.

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What’s next? I plan to read the book above, learn from my colleagues, and try Story Workshop with some intermediate students. I am grateful to work with such amazing colleagues.

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Two more gorgeous books by author and illustrator, Steve Jenkins. Discover fascinating facts about animals with great infographics. Steve Jenkins never disappoints with his beautiful paper collage images and captivating lay outs. And great facts. Did you know that in a 24 hour period, elephants sleep 3.5 hours while squirrels sleep 15?

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All about the eyes of animals!

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Another wonderful book by local author, Deborah Hodge, West Coast Wild is a gorgeous ABC book with lots of information about local wildlife and habitats. Read aloud and make connections, be inspired to research local animals and write a class ABC book, and learn more about the area we live in. An essential library book for all westcoast schools. Karen Reczuck‘s stunning, realistic watercolours are evocative and compelling.

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Gorgeously illustrated with felted art by Kiki van der Heiden and children from Haida Gwaii, Taan’s Moons follows a bear through the year and the different stages of the moon. Although neither author nor illustrator are of Haida descent, this book and the art work were completed in consultation and collaboration with elders, teachers, and children of Haida Gwaii. There are print and audio translations available in the Skidegate Haida dialect.

When teachers request a book that will explore Aboriginal understandings of seasons and this is what I will recommend. This book was chosen as the book given to prospective Kindergarten students during Welcome to Kindergarten.

 

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Looking for the perfect picture book for your inquiry on animal habitats and adaptations? Here it is: Welcome Home Bear by Il Sung Na is a gorgeously illustrated tale of a bear looking for a new home. Bear tries out many the many different homes he sees other animals enjoying, but finds that they aren’t quite the right fit for him.

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