Last week I spent an evening with Teresa, an old friend of mine who just happens to be a fabulous grade six teacher at a nearby school. As it always does, our talk eventually turned to two of our favorite subjects––teaching and whatever good books we’ve read lately!
One thing I always admire about this friend is her ability to take an idea and run with it in the classroom. She inspires, elevates and motivates her students! Teresa often bases interesting lessons for her grade sixes on some little item she’s found in the newspaper, something she’s heard on a radio talk show or something that comes from a good book she is reading herself. She has a … >>>
I recently came across a book from the public library and thought that I’d pass along the title for those who enjoy reading about Level D!
The book is called “Everyday Greatness–Inspiration for a Meaningful Life.” It’s actually a book of excerpts from Reader’s Digest that have been organized into various themes. The Table of Contents looks like a list of virtues. In each theme there is commentary by Stephen Covey and then some related quotes.
I find that I can more easily motivate my students when I feel motivated myself! Reading stories about individuals who have acted from a place of internal motivation encourages me to think deeply about the value of such behavior. In turn, this … >>>
I’d like to share a new book I recently signed out from my public library.
It’s called Letters to a Bullied Girl; Messages of Healing and Hope by Olivia Gardner with Emily and Sarah Buder.
Just as the title suggests, the book is filled almost entirely with personal letters––presented in an easy-to-read format. The letters are all addressed to one of the authors, Olivia, expressing messages of encouragement to help Olivia get past the serious issues of bullying that she experienced for several years.
Olivia, now 15, suffers from epilepsy and was bullied relentlessly at school and on the Internet, to the point where she considered taking her own life. In March of 2007, two sisters read about … >>>
I’d like to share a picture book by Jacqueline Briggs Martin that connects wonderfully to many different types of lessons.
Snowflake Bentley won the Caldecott Medal in 1999. It could be integrated into science, literature, a snow and winter theme, a study of biographies, symmetry, art and beauty, and in addition could be used to highlight Level D of the DWS Hierarchy.
Martin’s award-winning book tells the story of Wilson Bentley, who is sometimes referred to as “The Snowflake Man.”
By learning about the life of Wilson Bentley, students have the opportunity to think about someone operating at a very high level of autonomy. This is always an inspiring thing to do! Being a picture book, it is best … >>>
Everyone knows the whimsical fantasies of Bill Peet, but you may not be familiar with his less well-known non-fiction book, Capyboppy. It’s one of my all time favorite children’s books!
Capyboppy is the true story of a South American capybara that was brought into the Peet home by Bill’s oldest son, a natural science major in college. Capy––who eventually grew to be 75 pounds––lived with the four members of the Peet family as a much loved and much spoiled pet!
Capyboppy is a great two-day read-aloud for younger children. With a large black and white illustration on every one of its 62 pages, it’s also the perfect book for transitioning older students into reading … >>>
I just got a book out of the public library titled, ANYWAY – The Paradoxical Commandments; Finding Personal Meaning in a Crazy World by Kent M. Keith.
In this book, the author tells the story of how the Paradoxical Commandments came to be written. They are sometimes attributed to Mother Teresa but were in fact written by an American, Kent Keith. As a 19 year old in 1968, he wrote them to inspire young people to leave their mark on the world by making it a better place.
The Paradoxical Commandments
by Dr. Kent M. Keith
People are illogical, unreasonable, and self-centered. Love them anyway.
If you do good, people will accuse you of selfish ulterior motives. Do good anyway.… >>>
I walk down the street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk
I fall in.
I am lost … I am helpless.
It isn’t my fault.
It takes me forever to find a way out.
I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I pretend I don’t see it.
I fall in again.
I can’t believe I am in the same place
but, it isn’t my fault.
It still takes a long time to get out.
I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.… >>>
Just like people, book characters often operate on more than one level!
Very often, the author has at least one character learn something about the discouraging outcomes of operating at the lower levels. In many cases, the character is transformed in some way during the course of the story.
Whenever I read such a book to children, I highlight this transformation by connecting it to the DWS Hierarchy.
What did this character learn as the result of experiencing or observing the outcomes of operating on a lower level?
What can we learn from this character’s experiences?
How might what has happened in this situation, affect how this character chooses to act in the future?
Hooway for Wodney Rat by Helen Lester is a great read-aloud, especially if you like taking on different voices!!
Camilla Capybara is a perfect character for introducing the concept of Level B of the DWS Hierarchy. Once the kids have correctly identified Camilla’s level of operation, the illustrations really lend themselves to discussing the outcomes and natural consequences of operating on Level B.
Look at the picture where Camilla is screaming out the answers. How are the others reacting?
Discuss the picture where she runs out over top of everyone to get to recess first. How do the others feel about Camilla? Will they be seeking her out to play on the playground? Not likely! They’re scared of her!
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