Saturday, January 19, 2019

Kat Makes

A fortuitous encounter. My kindergarten writers are currently experiencing the How-to writing genre and I've discovered an opportunity to weave and widen their schema with this simple 8-page text. With simple repetitive sentences such as, Kat makes mud and Kat makes pizza, this book is ideal for kindergarten readers. To go with this reader, I will make the kids their own 8-page blank books, where they can draw a self-portrait and write the title with their own name on the cover. The kids will have the opportunity to fill in their book with things they know how to make and do.  They can copy the sentence structure (Jill makes toast), make up their own (feed the cat), and label or illustrate their ideas. After they have filled their book with their personal expertise, they will put their resource into their writing folders. Having established some of their of their own ideas already, will allow them to spend less time thinking of what to write about, and more time writing and drawing instead. With a publishing date of February 15, 2019, I'll be ready to buy multiple copies for guided reading groups. I highly recommend this for K-1 teachers, reading specialists, and special education educators. Those teachers using the Units of Study will find this of seamless value to your writing or reading mini lesson.

Friday, January 18, 2019

When Spring Comes to the DMZ

When Spring Comes to the DMZ- is a stunningly illustrated picturebook. Uk-Bae Lee sneaks us into the middle of the forbidden ecological gem flourishing in the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ), a heavily fortified military gray boundary dividing North and South Korea. We see glimpses of contrast...razor wire fences, armed military soldiers training and guarding their side, and we feel the tension of two sides lacking cohesion. And we see lush floral and fauna, an abundance of animal activity, and the woven perfection of a healthy protected ecosystem. Sometimes you can see things of immense beauty where one expects to see only unfriendly sterile silence. And sometimes the natural beauty that comes invited or not- will thrive in those places, in spite of the once unwelcoming space. This book has wide age appeal and can offer various purposes, from discourse about habitats to human ecology to boundaries formed by conflict.  I love the diversity of illustrations and formats;  borders, double spreads, full bleeds, vignettes. Such a clever scaffolding to the narrative. I also love the details in the architecture, the street signs, and the animals frolicking in their perfect home and space. This is a really high quality picturebook that could lead to questions about endangered animals and plants, reflections about the historical value of habitats, and opportunities to construct critical wonderings about the vast and incredible world we live in.