I thought it might be helpful to add my regular twitter posts which share ideas for using picturebooks on this blog rather than expect you to scroll down a crowded twitter feed.
Please do add any success stories you have had with books mentioned or any picturebooks you and the children have used in the comments box.
You might want to ask for ideas on certain books or themes and I’m sure we can help out……
- Not a Box by Antoinette Portis.
Observe box play.
What is the best sort of box?
Do grown ups play in boxes?
Are all boxes fun?
Would a box that contained a smelly monster be good or bad ?
What if you had to live in a box?
Is there such a thing as an empty box ?
Thank you to Louise Brooks @lobroo for sending this video – Beautiful boxes. Great for discussions
- Not a Stick by Antoinette Portis.
Is a stick a living thing?
Where does our imagination come from?
If it comes from a living tree does it hurt when the stick is broken off ?
Decide what the stick could be for a selection of fairy tale characters
What if an old man’s walking stick gets mixed up with a witch’s stick wand?
- The last Noo Noo-Jill Murphy
A great stimulus for enquiries about aquisition of language , bullying, choice & our own decision making
Provide dummies for the children & ask them to go about their normal business Set a time limit for using them. Make observations and then return to the enquiry circle.
Facilitate their discussion on positive / negative experiences
Why do we need dummies?
Can adults use dummies ?
What else could we have instead of dummies .?
Would they use dummies if someone famous they all knew and liked used one ?
Set up a baby’s role play nursery. Record dialogues from their baby play. Create a philosophical play enquiry.
Invent baby words and noo noo snatchers
- Zoo -Anthony Browne
Create a toy zoo scene populated by people with animals visiting. Play alongside the children acting the roles of visiting animals.
Get children to design a zoo enclosure for children.
What will they need? Build it and observe their play in it
After playing, hold an enquiry about the book.
What questions arise? Can we justify denying animals & people freedom?
A comment in reply to this post was
“My daughter asked; Would you rather be a human who thought they were an animal, or an animal who thought they were a human?”
- Where are you Blue Kangaroo?-Emma Chichester Clark
Ask children to create plasticine kangaroos.
They must now spend the whole day looking after the kangaroos.
What if they see neglected kangaroos? Do they have a responsibility to intervene?
Hold an enquiry based on this activity
Should children have to be responsible?
How can the kangaroos be protected?
Is it a good idea to keep the kangaroo in a box?
Is it fair that the kangaroos in the boxes can’t come out and play all day?
Is everything you do your fault?
- Oh No George -Chris Haughton .
How do we decide what is good & bad behaviour?
Have a dog day.
Turn the classroom environments into a dog training school.
Ask the children what lessons they will need ?
Then compare dogs and humans,
What would dogs teach humans in order for them to behave like good dogs?
- Denver-David McKee .
“Truly a book for our times. divisive, anti-democratic, frightening propaganda.”
Create an art gallery and allow children to price their own art and sell and buy.
Each child must start with equal “money” (chocolate coins or children’s own designed currency)
At the end of the days play does everyone still have equal amounts of currency?
Hold an enquiry about what happened.
Do those with talent and money deserve it?
Can we live in a democratic world?
Can we live without money?
Would any system of “payment” ever work?
- Elephant Elements Pittau & Gervais
Ask whether they think all people are the same?
If your children wear school uniform ask them why?
What if 1 person dresses differently ?
Now ask all children to play at dressing up.
Observe and record dialogue and stories in the dressing up area .
Return to the enquiry circle
Do clothes change us?
Now compare Tusk Tusk with the double page spread from Elephant Elements showing 2 identical elephants labeled “Stupid” and “Intelligent”
What makes elephants different?
Is it difference that causes conflict ?
Are there such things as angry elephants and peace loving elephants?
Create a scene where each set of elephants would live.
Make a cardboard maze to represent the jungle.
Create colour mixed elephant art.
- When a Monster is Born by Sean Taylor & N Sharratt
Draw round 2 children & turn these outlines into monsters.
How do we tell the difference?
Do we have to change appearance?
Using descriptions the children offer make 1 look good & 1 look bad
Does physical appearance always make a difference?
Why might a happy smiley monster be happy and smiley?
Why might an angry monster be angry?
Ask the children to vote on which monster they prefer and why
Now plan & build the children’s chosen monster a perfect place to live.
Record how children play in this area.
Retell their dialogues as stories
NB Why Think? Explores an enquiry on When a Monster is born with yr 5′s facilitated by Maria Cornish .They enquiry about whether monsters can ever successfully impersonate humans and the nature of ” humanness”
“Even if they wore a human suit they would still have monster manners “
“Their breath would need to smell human “
- Where the Wild Things Are-Maurice Sendak (A sports themed play enquiry)
Challenge the children to create a Wild Things Olympic Park
Ask them to suggest events eg dog chasing, rowing, swimming, piggy back races.
What does a rumpus involve?
Allow the children to create the rules for races and try the activities they have created.
What happens if there are no rules?
Is it ok to cheat if someone else does?
Should Wild Things compete against humans?
Is a race ever fair?
Should long legged Wild things compete against short legged Wild Things?
- Cheese Belongs To You- Alexis Deacon & Viviane Schwarz
“Rat law is simple. Cheese belongs to you. “But what if a bigger rat wants it ? Or a stronger one , or a big strong scary hairy rat ?”
Place pieces of cheese around classroom without comment and ask the children to go and play. Observe what happens. Will anybody claim it?
Hold an enquiry about whether anybody ate the cheese, who & why ?
What if it had been sweets? Or money?
Now read the story.
What if you have more baby rats to feed or are too old to catch cheese ?
And if you are a lazy good for nothing rat should you expect others rats to bring it to you?
What if the rats eat cows milk cheese AND LOVE IT but then discover it is cat milk cheese? Do they still love it??
Is there anything we cant share ?
Vivianne Schwarz replied with the following question
“What happens if we take the cheese away from the rats?”
- The Stamp Collector. Jennifer Lanthier
Recently discovered courtesy of Marilyn Brocklehurst. A fantastic picture book for older children. Political oppression, freedom of speech & the power of stories.
Read the book together
Agree on a no communication rule in class for a set time period then find ways to tell a story without using voice
Share an enquiry to discuss their experiences based on this.
What would happen if we could only speak the truth?
What if we could never speak the truth?
Which would be better ?
Should there be a story that can never ever be told ?
- Angry Arthur by Satoshi kitamura.
Read the story
Help the children create a roleplay universe of shattered planets using pallets that children paint & decorate.
As the children play ask them to problem solve some of these issues;
How can Arthur travel between these pieces?
Does Arthur meet other aliens?
Can they create new species with clay?
How can they rebuild the universe together?
What improvements can they make? Look at what the universe is made from- explore rocks .what could an alternative planet be made of? What if it was chocolate? What will Arthur need to survive? How will he travel between the new planets he creates? Will he ever be angry again? Is anger always bad?
Question from a 5 year old… would the world be different if we had never seen the moon or stars ? This question prompted a mixed group of 3-6 yr olds to discuss the possibilities & impossibilities of the unknown Leading to is there such a thing as “Impossible”
We later created a great game out of this discussion