Sunday, May 2, 2010

Final Blog Reflection

After completing my blogging for this class, I felt that there were so many benefits that resulted. Not only did I get a chance to explore children's literature and get a good idea of what kinds of literature I would like in my own classroom but I got an experience of a critical look at children's lit. I feel like I have a better grasp on how to use children's literature in my class. I had never given much thought to how I would tackle some tough topics that may come up in various books but now that's at the forefront of my mind. Now when I open a book, I think about how I can use this is my classroom, how it may benefit my students and if I feel comfortable and appropriate using it in my classroom. Not only have I learned about the professional use of children's books but I also appreciate them for my own entertainment. Reading all of these picture books for this class has made me learn a lot about myself and what I expect to find in a book written for children. It has also let me experience some of the books that I experienced as a child which I also really enjoyed. It gave me an excuse to get to read all of my childhood favorites. Overall, the benefits from this class are numerous. The biggest impact for me was how I feel like I am prepared to choose books to bring into my classroom. Before I took this class, I'm not sure that I would have chosen books as critically as I will now. This class benefited not only me but my future students as well.

Come to the Great World: Poems From Around the Globe

Come to the Great World is a book of poems from around the globe. This is a great book for a multicultural aspect. Not only are there great representations of poems from different places around the world but there are also great drawings to go with each culture as well. It would be a very interesting book to use in the classroom and to see if there were any differences or similarities between the poems from different places. It's a great way to show students that kids are kids, no matter where they are from. It's also a great book to use teaching poetry because the poems are written by children so they are easy to read and to relate to. I know as a student, I was bored by poetry. I think that if I was given poetry written by kids like me that I would have enjoyed it a little more.

Celebration Song

Celebration Song by James Berry is a beautiful book of the celebration of the birth of Jesus. This is a different kind of story for me personally, because the birth of Jesus is set against a Caribbean background instead of the traditional story. The illustrations are bright and gorgeous and really go along with the Caribbean background of the story. The lines of the poems are written along on flags and banners across the page which adds to the flow of the story. I could see this book of poetry coming across as being controversial. For one thing Jesus is born as a Caribbean native. Many people would find this hard to believe. Also, the traditional story of Bethlehem has now been replaced by a new backdrop. Being a Catholic, this book doesn't offend me at all, but I could see how some people could find issue.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Sol a Sol

Sol a Sol is a bilingual book of poetry put together by Lori Marie Carlson. Each page contains one poem written in English and the same poem written again in Spanish. I thought that this would be a great option for both home and the classroom. It could benefit ESL students who shouldn't be exposed to only English throughout the day and it could help them learn their Spanish words written in English. It could also just be beneficial for a student who doesn't speak a foreign language but is in the process of learning. The poetry is written about things like a grandmother or a cat, so it isn't too far away from the kids schema for them to understand. The colors go along with the bilingual theme of the book, lots of bright tropical colors such as orange, yellow and green. It has a very Hispanic feel to it, so it could be beneficial for learning about culture while at the same time learning the Spanish or English language. Overall, I think that this is a great way to expose kids to poetry while also exposing them to a new language at the same time.

Strawberry Drums

Strawberry Drums is an assortment of poems put together by Adrian Mitchell. There's plenty of variety within this book and I was surprised to find Yellow Submarine by Paul McCartney and John Lennon. I never would have thought that I would find that in a book of poetry. But this collection introduces the idea that not all poetry starts out as a written poem. The creator points out that many of the poems in this book are traditional songs or chants from around the world and he said they were all picked because 'they are bright and sweet like strawberries. and all of them have a beat- like drums." The illustrations are bright and colorful and I think that this book would be beneficial in the classroom. It introduces the world of poetry to children with other ways than just the typical poetry that we tend to hear in the classroom. I still am not sure how I personally enjoyed the book because I am still hesitant about poetry but I do think that the book is worthwhile.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Mirror Mirror

Mirror Mirror by Marilyn Singer was a really cool book. I picked it up off of the new shelf not even knowing that it was poetry until I opened it up. It takes classic fairy tale poems and turns them around called a "reverso" and then makes a whole different poem. It was so interesting to read a classic poem about a fairy tale and then see it reversed and see how the meaning managed to change. There was a note in the back from the author how she did a reverso containing her cat one day and then had so much fun with that, that she wanted to write a whole book of them. The illustrations are classic which is fitting along a fairy tale book and they were really colorful and bright. But it wasn't the illustrations that I really cared about. I thoroughly enjoyed seeing how just a simple reversal could change the entire meaning of a poem and I think that a classroom of students would really enjoy this book. The students could then try to come up with their own reversos. Overall, a great idea and a fun read.

Love That Dog

I was very hesitant about this book before I started reading it. I am hesitant about anything that has to do with poetry. From childhood, I have never particularly enjoyed poetry. I never liked the poetry units in school and I especially never liked when I had to write my own poems. Once I began reading this book, my opinion changed. Yes, this is probably not what you think of when you think of typical poetry, but it still is. As the boy in this novel says, almost anything can be poetry if you space the words right. I really enjoyed his character. He had humor and was really believable as a school aged boy. He seemed like he would be an easy character to relate to for both boys and girls. I read most of the books by this author, Sharon Creech, when I was younger and I was a huge fan. I'm not sure that if I read this book back then if I would have appreciated it like I do now.
In a classroom I think that this book would be a great one to open up a discussion about poetry. Many kids, not just me, are hesitant to write poems. This book could help to show them that a poem doesn't have to rhyme, it doesn't have to contain vocabulary that you need a dictionary to decipher and that it could even be enjoyable. The main character is skeptical of poetry in the beginning and he eventually begins to find authors that he really enjoys. This could be a real situation for a student who reads this book. It could open up their mind to more than just fiction books and authors.