By the end of this week I will have made 32 visits to school classrooms in my neighborhood. I’m doing observations and meeting with the eight education students I supervise for the University of Winnipeg. For the last month I’ve been popping in and out of three different schools where my students are working in classrooms. I get to see so many interesting things happening.
First thing in the morning I might be watching grade fives make paper mâché planets or going along on a walk with grade ones to find different circles, triangles and rectangles in their school building. After lunch I could be learning how to do cartwheels or listening to a group of junior highs discuss how they would define feminism .
I’ve seen lessons on learning basketball skills, lessons on giving fractions common denominators and lessons on the problem of child labor.
I’ve watched kids go on an imaginary trip to the zoo with their gym teacher stopping to imitate all the different animals they see. I’ve seen kids writing letters to their parents to tell them about an upcoming class trip to the Manitoba Museum. I’ve had children show me the giant moose they made with their art teacher out of paper and cardboard.
I’ve listened to kids give presentations on the rotation and revolution of the earth and moon using models they’ve made. I’ve listened to kids discussing a movie they’ve watched about Nobel prize winner Malala Yousafzai. I’ve listened to kids read journal entries they’ve written about making decisions that will lead to healthy living.
Now I need to get ready for the day. I’m off to see kids write limerick poems, learn about the Holocaust and make posters to classify animals into different groups. The past month has been a whirlwind of popping in and out of schools and I will breathe a sigh of relief when I write the last of my 32 reports and hand the final ones in to the university on Friday. But it sure has been fun and I’ve learned so many things.
Note: The art in this post was all photographed at the different schools I visit.
Learning Cool Things
Oh the Things You Learn
The Fab Four Learning More
He’s from Winnipeg and he’s receiving an international award for his life time of work researching, critiquing, writing about, teaching about, and creating children’s literature.
On November 12, I attended a distinguished lecture by Perry Nodelman a University of Winnipeg Professor Emeritus. Perry is one of my colleagues in the education department at the Winnipeg Art Gallery. He was being recognized by the university because he is the 2015 recipient of the Brothers Grimm Award presented by The International Institute for Children’s Literature. You can learn more about Perry’s long list of accomplishments in the field of children’s literature here.
Perry’s lecture last week traced the history of children’s picture books in a very personal way as Perry compared his own experiences with picture books as a child, with those of his children and grandchildren.
In 1998 Perry wrote a text about children’s picture books called Words About Pictures: The Narrative Art of Children’s Picture Books. It has never been out of print during the ensuing twenty-seven years, a rarity for a university text. In his lecture Perry talked about how he might expand the ideas in Words About Pictures if he was writing his text today. What developments in the world of children’s books would he address?
Perry said he would need to write about the current popularity of comics and graphic novels. He would have to discuss the growing demand for more diversity in picture books so that children of different cultures, races and income levels would have their lives reflected in picture books. He would include more books from other countries and he would examine picture book apps and e-books.
It was clear from the former colleagues of Perry’s who introduced him and thanked him at the University of Winnipeg reception in his honor that he is indeed a ‘giant’ in the world of children’s literature and most worthy of the award he will receive in Osaka, Japan later this month. His lecture gave me some interesting things to consider as I continue my own journey in the writing of children’s books.
They Remembered the Books
The Writing Life