Sunday, October 21, 2012

Review: My Teacher for President

My Teacher for President by Kay Winters
Illustrated by Denise Brunkus

This book starts out with a letter to the press:
Dear Channel 39,
I saw on TV that elections are coming. At school we have been learning about the president's job. My teacher would be just right! Let me know what you think.
What follows is a cute little story about why a student thinks his teacher would be a good president. The duties that the president has are depicted in a "teacher way." The little boy says that she would be a good president because she's already used to people her following her all the time and the illustration shows her playing follow the leader with the students and the other page shows her as the president, being followed by the Secret Service and the press. She would make a good president because she goes to a lot of meetings. She would make a good president because when she walks in a room, people pay attention!

Then the book ends with the end of the little boy's letter to the press, which is so cute!
Love, Oliver
P.S. Just make sure she doesn't leave before the end of the school year.
It's very cute to see this student interpret the duties and responsibilities of the President of the United States as he sees in his teacher. I'm using this book for my Social Studies Methods course when a group of us teach a lesson on the 2012 Presidential Election for a kindergarten class. I'll also share that lesson when I have it completed too! So check back later :) We're going to use this book to start a discussion of the various roles of the president. It's relatable for the students because they all obviously have a teacher and maybe they can see these traits in her too!

I really liked the illustrations in this book by Denise Brunkus. Her illustrations depicted the teacher doing her presidential role, like having meetings with student groups, parents, and other teachers on the left page. On the right page, it shows her in a meeting that the president would attend would a lot of different people. Denise Brunkus is also the illustrator of the book series Junie B. Jones, which I reviewed Junie B. Jones Is A Party Animal earlier on my blog!

There are so many cool activities for using with this book specifically or just when teaching about elections. Below are some other great books we were looking at using when we were told we would be teaching this lesson. Check some of them out too!

I really like the idea of having students write about what they would do or change if they were president. My kindergarteners would not be able to do the writing, but they could brainstorm good ideas or draw pictures. Older students would definitely be able to write some good things though.

Overall, I thought this book was really cute. I hadn't heard of it until another person in my group's Cooperating Teacher let her borrow this book.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Review: Me on the Map

Me on the Map by Joan Sweeney
Illustrated by Annette Cable

This book is adorable. Follow the main character, a little girl just like your students as she shows you how to make a map! She starts with the concrete location that students could understand and gradually gets farther and farther out. Her first entry is a picture of her, then a picture of her in her room. Then a map of her in her room. She shows her house and a map of her room in her house. She shows her street and a map of her house on her street. She does this for her town, her state, her country, and her world. Then she turns it around! If she wants to figure out where she is, she finds her country on the map of the world and her state on the map of her country all the way until she finds her in her room. Then she speculates how every person all over the world has their own special place on the map.

I thought this book was great as an introduction to maps for young children because it starts out with what they know and works it's way all the way to the world map. I'm using it in a unit I am creating for Kindergarteners for my Social Studies Methods course. Maybe when I get some feedback on it from my professor, I can share it with you all! I've been planning and teaching some pretty fun lessons and I hope to share them like the many other lessons I have read about on all the other blogs! My lesson focuses on how to use maps and directional words to tell where something is in relation to something else. When I just now looked for an image of the book, I found so many great projects teachers have done with this book, they are amazing! Check out Jenn's from Finally in First. This one is my favorite! Houghton Mifflin Reading also has an awesome site where you can learn about the book and meet the author, Joan Sweeney and the illustrator, Annette Cable.

It is so important to find quality children's literature when teaching about the content areas for young students. In my kindergarten class, we don't have specified time for social studies and science everyday. When it is incorporated, we read a book about it aloud and then students do their language arts work based on the book that we read. And really without textbooks in the younger grades, the literature is really the only way students learn about these topics. I am very happy to find out about this book and I look forward to using it when I teach my lesson this spring! 

There are a lot of great illustrations in this book. They're mostly all full bleed pictures with a lot of color. I liked that the maps the little girl drew looked like they were hand made maps that a child could've made. The coloring on these maps looks realistic and the way things are drawn really looks like a child's work. Because I'm sure the cat isn't laying on it's side with all four legs out and the lamp on the side table isn't laid on it's side either. Not that I'm critiquing the maps! Just pointing out how they're realistic and probably similar to how a student would draw their room.

I found this adorable video of a First Grade class performing a song adaptation of this book. It is so cute! Definitely check it out! It's also a great way to integrate the performing arts into your social studies curriculum! An interdisciplinary lesson my professor would love!!

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Review: A is for Abigail

A is for Abigail: An Almanac of Amazing American Women by Lynne Cheney
Illustrated by Robin Preiss Glasser

This book is awesome. It goes alphabetically through amazing American women in history! And there are not just 26 amazing women represented because some of the letters include many more. For example, P is for the Performers and it includes two fold out pages that have soooo many actresses, musicians, dancers, and singers! Mary Martin, Grace Kelly, Rita Hayworth, Joan Crawford, Sophie Tucker, Patsy Cline, Sarah Caldwell, Mary Tyler Moore, Carol Burnett, and Judy Garland, to name a few.

Every page also has a quote by an amazing American woman! On the page T is for Trailblazers, the women who showed us the way, the quote is "I will not follow where the path may lead, but I will go where there is no path, and I will leave a trail." - Muriel Strode.

A is for Abigail Adams, who knew that women should be heard. (Page 1)
I love every page in this book, it is amazing how many women the author and illustrator were able to include! The illustrations are beautiful and depict all the women doing what they are most known for. The illustrator, Robin Preiss Glasser, created wonderful images throughout this book. She is also the illustrator of the Fancy Nancy books! The illustrations in that book look very similar to the illustrations here.

Glasser is also the illustrator of many other ABC history books written by Lynne Cheney, including America: A Patriotic Primer and Our 50 States: A Family Adventure Across America. Read this interview with Robin Preiss Glasser by NBC regarding her relationship with the author. Lynne Cheney is the author of many other children's books relating to history. Her books cover topics including the Constitution, the Executive Branch, and Washington crossing the Delaware. Watch this video of Lynne Cheney reading her book, America: A Patriotic Primer, to a group of first grade students in Washington, DC.

I found this awesome book when I was preparing my social studies unit on Our National Leaders for my Social Studies Methods class. It provides a great way to integrate women and other ethnicities into social studies education. I think it would be great for young girls to have this book to look at in their classroom and see how many women have had a profound impact on our country. The book opens with a short introduction from Lynne Cheney were she writes "The transformation of women's lives from then to now is one of our great national narratives, an inspiring story that our children deserve to know." She also mentions that children need to know about the things that women have achieved.

I'm very happy with this book! I definitely recommend it to be included in every classroom! It is great! :)

In the back of the book, there is a Notes on the Text section that lists every page and discusses the women and issues that were mentioned. This helps to support the historical part of the book. One thing I think is missing though, is an index with all the women in the book listed alphabetically. It is hard to figure out where certain people might be located. Other than that, I love it!