Dr. Dee Dee Dynamo’s Saturn Surprise by Oneeka Williams M.D. – BHM 2016: Daily Picture Book Reads: Day 1

When I was a full time classroom teacher, we studied and celebrated Black History, from September to June. February, Black History Month, was dedicated to creating our own histories, inspired by they who came before us. If I was still a full time classroom teacher, as opposed to now being Educator at Large, I would surely include author Oneeka Williams’ third book in the Dr. Dee Dee Dynamo series, Dr. Dee Dee Dynamo’s Saturn Surprise. The Dr. Dee Dee Dynamo picture book series includes fictional characters to educate children on nonfictional content. Main character, Dr. Dee Dee’s mantra is: Not even the sky is the limit! This is the mantra I wish my students to embody when creating their own histories.

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KinderSteam

Hi, All. It’s been a minute since I’ve posted a ….post. Lots of half-posts in drafts. My creative process is deficit of attention, at times. I blame it on cool-experience-overload.

At least I'm organized

At least I’m organized

Let me tell you about KinderSteam though. It’s a blog I just became hip to today, after its founder, slash- friend of mine, slash colleague, called me today.

I’m not one to blast my friend’s blog in the good name of Friendship. No. I’ve observed in myself, the quality of being an objective admirer; while simultaneously having the privilege of just knowing really talented educators and artists.

KinderSteam just happens to be knee deep in enjoyable children’s books and leading edge science activities, for the K2 crowd. We all know I’m all about that; so.I especially enjoyed the post from April 12, 2015; a post highlighting the kindergarteners’ competition submission of their “biomimicry living lab.” What? Nice. Check it out.

Thanks for reading,

The Picture Book Pusher

S.T.E.A.M.ing Up Afrofuturism at The Studio Museum in Harlem

Renegade Futurism

As a moderator for the Enlightenment, Strange Mathematics & Rhythmic Equations panel at The Studio Museum in Harlem I am tasked with generating questions for the panelists. Here’s the museum’s description:

Conceived in dialogue with the exhibition The Shadows Took Shape, this panel discussion will be moderated by Nettrice Gaskins, Ph.D. candidate and researcher at Georgia Tech’s Experimental Game Lab (EGL) (part of the Digital Media program at the School of Literature, Communication and Culture), and features artists Coco Fusco, Jacolby Satterwhite and Saya Woolfalk, whose works are included in the two exhibitions currently on view at the Studio Museum, The Shadows Took Shape and Radical Presence: Black Performance in Contemporary Art. The program will introduce artists and their works in relationship to “STEAM” (science, technology, engineering, art, math) education. Presentations and discussion will explore topics such as fractal geometry, quantum physics and symmetry, and how…

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K2 Read Alouds: Week 9

School week of Nov. 4 – 8, 2013.

Monday

Everett Anderson’s 1•2•3 by Lucille Clifton, illustrated by Ann Grifalconi. Protagonist Everett analyzes his changing family dynamics, in this 3rd-person narrative, when Mommy has a new man in her life.

Everett Anderson's 123 By Lucille Clifton Illustrated by Ann Grifalconi Published by Henry Holt & Co. 1992

Everett Anderson’s 123
By Lucille Clifton
Illustrated by Ann Grifalconi
Published by Henry Holt & Co. 1992. OUT OF PRINT

Tuesday and Wednesday

A Weed is a Flower by ALIKI

A Weed is a Flower  by ALIKI  Published by Aladdin. 1988

A Weed is a Flower
by ALIKI
Published by Aladdin. 1988

Our “Scientist of the Month” is George Washington Carver – American inventor. A Weed is a Flower is a bit advanced for a K2 class in November, but we did quite a bit of scaffolding. Published in 1988, and yet it was not a part of my childhood education, and I went to a reputable public school system. I didn’t learn about George Washington Carver until I myself became a teacher. I’m surprised, but grateful, it’s stayed in  print, being that so much fine children’s literature is no longer in print.

Thursday

How a Seed Grows by Helene J. Jordan. Illustrated by Loretta Krupinski

How a Seed Grows By Helene J. Jordan. Illustrated by Loretta Krupinski

How a Seed Grows
By Helene J. Jordan.
Illustrated by Loretta Krupinski

Friday

Green Eggs and Ham by Dr. Seuss

Green Eggs and Ham By Dr. Seuss

Green Eggs and Ham
By Dr. Seuss

Thanks for reading The Picture Book Pusher

K2 Read Alouds: Week 1

We just completed our first week back at school. As I wrote previously, I’m teaching Kindergarten this year.  These are the titles I read aloud this week:

Monday

“If you stare at a painting and do not see yourself there, paint your own portrait. Let the world see that you do exist and that you are truly special – like the boy whose style was so unique.” – Lee, Giant Steps to Change the World

Giant Steps to Change the World By Spike and Tonya Lee Illustrated by Sean Qualls

Giant Steps to Change the World
By Spike and Tonya Lee
Illustrated by Sean Quall

I have a confession to make though. I adlib and sub-lib some of the words in this beautiful picture book. As mentioned in an earlier blog post, as a radical teacher I don’t use the word ‘dark’ in reference to anything with a negative connotation in my classroom, regardless of how harmless or minute the reference may be perceived by others. Young children today, are a different generation than our’s. There *may* be more opportunities for them but self-image is all amuck. I know this because I have the honor of observing the hearts & eyes of 18 beautiful 5-year olds daily.

The page that reads, “Press on through the darkness…” I replace ‘darkness‘ with ‘bad place’.

We talk about skin hue in the classroom. Well, the kids talk about it, and I listen, and guide, and praise, and embrace, and then listen some more. I’m not going to reference ‘darkness’ in a readaloud as something undesirable, or as something you must evolve out of,  to then witness children commenting, with no ill intention, “You’re dark too”, or “I’m dark but my mama’s light” or whatever their perfect voices may say, regardless, they’re not going to hear me reference dark as something undesirable. We amp up the concept of darkness actually in the classroom. “Ooh lets use the dark green one.” or, “Dark vegetables are better for you. They have more of the good stuff, like vitamins and other nutrients.”  or, “I love your dark blue backpack.” Yup. That’s my classroom. My practices are based solely on my observations of young children’s delicate states of mind. The more diverse the classroom, the more conscious children are of their delightful darkness, their shades, their piece in the puzzle, their self-worth.

Tuesday

Frog and Toad are Friends By Arnold Lobel

Frog and Toad are Friends
By Arnold Lobel

I read chapter 2, “The Story” from Lobel’s beloved Frog and Toad are Friends. This story was a perfect segue into talking about ‘storytelling’, an activity that my students will engage in often in the classroom this year.

han some more. I’m not going to reference ‘darkness’ in a readaloud as something undesirable, or as something you must evolve out of, and then also witness children commenting, with no ill intention, “You’re dark too”, or “I’m dark but my mama’s light” Or whatever their perfect voices may say, regardless, they’re not going to hear me reference dark as something undesirable. We amp up the concept of darkness actually in the classroom. “Ooh lets use the dark green one.” or, “Dark vegetables are better for you. They have more of the good stuff, l                                                                                                                                                                        

Wednesday and Thursday

Leola and the Honeybears By Melodye Benson Rosales

Leola and the Honeybears
By Melodye Benson Rosales 

Leola and the Honeybears is a classroom favorite already! Took us two days to get through because the children had so much to say about it during the readaloud. Which is great in K2! I love when they speak up because their voices are important.

Leola 

I set up these two classic Seussian tales for two very mindful and strategic reasons: 1) It’s what I had ready and available! 2) It’s what I had ready and available!

No for real though, there’s nothing more appropriate for K2 kids than phonetically-based rhymes at the start of the school year. The kids dug ’em.

and the Honeybears is a classroom favorite already! Took us two days to get through because the children had so much to say about it during the readaloud. Which is great in K2! I love when they speak up because their voices are important.e already! Took us two days to get through because the children had so mimp.Friday

The Tortoise of The Hare By Toni Morrison & Slade Morrison Illustrated by Joe Cepeda

The Tortoise or The Hare
By Toni Morrison & Slade Morrison
Illustrated by Joe Cepeda

Perfect. Just perfect!…way to end the week. The last page of this story pretty much sums up our classroom ideology for the first week. I suggest you snag a copy for your classroom.

Perfect. Just perfect!…way to end the week. The last page of this story pretty much sums up our classroom ideology for the first week. I suggest you snag a copy for your classroom.

Perfect. Just perfect!…way to end the week. The last page of this story pretty much sums up our classroom ideology for the first week. I suggest you snag a copy for your

Oh wait….here’s a little more:

In the Listening Center

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I set up these two classic Seussian tales for two very mindful and strategic reasons: 1) It’s what I had ready and available! 2) It’s what I had ready and available!

No for real though, there’s nothing more appropriate for K2 kids than phonetically-based rhymes at the start of the school year. The kids dug ’em.

 

Thanks for reading The Picture Book Pusher.

 

S1E2 : Science Verse : Study One – STEM-themed Picture Books

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Science Verse by Jon Scieszka. Illustrated by Lane Smith
Published by Viking, a division of Penguin. 2004

There is much reason in the rhymes that make up the 18 unique poetic verses in Jon Scieszka’s Science Verse ; illustrated by Lane Smith.

Image

Words by Jon Scieszka.
From Science Verse. 2004

Many of the poems are plays off of classic nursery rhymes; but hey…it’s creative, scientifically accurate, and a great way to introduce kids to a plethora of scientific concepts; as well as providing teachers with an informal way to assess what students’ individual science interests are too:  Which poems stand out for the student? Which words do they ask about? Which pictures do they question the purpose of?

Image

Illustration by Lane Smith
from Science Verse. 2004

 I first read Science Verse, this summer with a student who’ll be entering 3rd grade. He made connections from two poems to what he had learned in Science class the previous year. He questioned the first poem entitled “Evolution”, stating that he thought that we human beings began as “Amebo or something” (Amoeba). We pondered our origins for a moment and then began to read more poems. Eventually we actually came to a poem entitled “Amoeba”, and he corrected his “Amebo” reference and remembered learning that the organism is neither boy or girl.
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            Science Verse is not designed to be read from front to cover in one sitting. It’s a volume of poetry. I like to think of it as an encyclopedic resource for Science teachers; using a poem at the beginning of specific Science units to introduce vocabulary in a stimulating, rhythmic way.  Cross-curriculum at its most splendid.

The pictures are a’ight. I’m more into the verse. Perhaps I’d re-write selected poems on the dry erase board or something, or on large oaktag, like teachers do, and include images of children that resemble my students.

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          This copy is from the library, Boston Public – South End branch,  but I’ll buy my own for this up-coming school year.  I recommend introducing it even as early as Kindergarten. We’ve got readers at four years of age, others begin at eight. Regardless of curriculum standards and developmentally appropriateness, there’s no reason for us, as the gatekeepers of knowledge, to ceiling our students’ learning environments. ‘Boundaries’ and ‘STEM’ have nothing in common really anyways. So let’s keep pushing those academic boundaries in the classroom.

    Speaking of ‘pushing’,….thanks for reading The Picture Book Pusher.

Study One: STEM-themed Picture Books

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Future Technologist

My interests in picture books come in phases. I get an idea of what I want my students to learn and then I begin hunting out the perfect picture books to support my teaching.  Hopefully, I can blog my studies, over a period of time, with each blog entry being another book. Currently, I am all about uncovering the perfect picture books that can spark my students’ interests in STEM-centered thinking and activities. Science Technology Engineering and Math. STEM. It’s the latest buzzword  buzz-acronym in the  K-12 world, so you may have heard it. Or maybe you haven’t heard it yet, but are still sufficiently fostering students’ minds in science, technology, engineering, and math activities.

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Future Marine Biologists

Each blog entry within a study will begin its title with the study number and entry number in short form. Example: S1E2 would represent “Study One, Entry two”. Followed by the blog entry’s unique title, and then ending with the study number and title of study. For example, the study number and title of my first study is, “Study One: STEM-themed Picture Books.

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Future Biochemists

I’m a Boston Public School (BPS) teacher, so it’s BPS’ student population that I have in mind, when researching STEM-themed picture books. Fortunately, Boston has such a diverse student body, that whatever your student population is, the books I study and blog about are surely to be relevant and highly beneficial to whomever you teach as well. My goal will be to discover less known picture books, and less known scientists. My second goal is to include books that are highly relevant, authentic, and well-written. Unfortunately, every good-intentioned picture book, is not written in a way that is purposeful, or mindful of it’s readers’ academic needs. If a good-intentioned and enticing picture book is not up-to-snuff, then I will state it as such in my post. I want to push caution, to my blog readers, towards ill-allegorical picture books masquerading as educational.

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Future Environmental Scientists

And with that, I leave you with a preview of some of the picture books I will be blogging about during Study One: STEM-themed Picture Books. One of the books I preview below, is not up-to-snuff for the classroom. Do you know which one it is, even before I blog about it? Let me know if you do! I would love for you to contribute your insights on the book’s shortcomings.

Some of the STEM-themed books I will be blogging about throughout the upcoming school year:

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Maritcha: A Nineteenth Century American Girl
By Tonya Bolden
2005
Published for Abrams
New York

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The Beeman
By Laurie Krebs. Illustrated by Valeria Cis
2008
Publisher: Barefoot Books
Boston, MA and London, UK

Dr. Dee Dee Dynamo's Mission to Pluto By Oneeka Williams, M.D. Illustrated by Valerie Bouthyette 2013 Publisher: Mascot Books Herndon, VA.

Dr. Dee Dee Dynamo’s Mission to Pluto
By Oneeka Williams, M.D.
Illustrated by Valerie Bouthyette
2013
Publisher: Mascot Books
Herndon, VA.

Senefer: A Young Genius in Old Egypt By Beatrice Lumpkin Illustrated by Linda Nickens 1992 Africa World Press, Inc. Trenton, NJ

Senefer: A Young Genius in Old Egypt
By Beatrice Lumpkin
Illustrated by Linda Nickens
1992
Publisher: Africa World Press, Inc.
Trenton, NJ

I'm Gonna Be! By Wade Hudson Illustrated by Culverson Blair 1992 Publisher: Just Us Books Orange, NJ

I’m Gonna Be!
By Wade Hudson
Illustrated by Culverson Blair
1992
Publisher: Just Us Books
Orange, NJ

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What Color is My World?: The Lost History of African-American Inventors
By Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Raymond Obstfeld
Illustrated by Ben Boos and A.G. Ford
2012
Publisher: Random House

A Weed is A Flower By ALIKI 1988 Publisher: Aladdin 1965 Publisher: Turtleback Books

A Weed is A Flower
By ALIKI
1988 Publisher: Aladdin
1965 Publisher: Turtleback Books

The Boy Who Harnessed The Wind By William Kamkwamba and Bryan Mealer Illustrated by Elizabeth Zunon 2012 Publisher: Dial Books, an imprint of Penguin Books. New York

The Boy Who Harnessed The Wind
By William Kamkwamba and Bryan Mealer
Illustrated by Elizabeth Zunon
2012
Publisher: Dial Books, an imprint of Penguin Books.
New York

These books pictured above, are by no means a full representation of the books, I plan to study, relating to the STEM fields. These are all just books that I already know, and have read. Let’s see what else I discover in the weeks to come.

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Future Engineer. Future Architect

Thank you for reading The Picture Book Pusher.

* All photos taken by me,  The Picture Book Pusher.

Fear & Opportunity: How education can respond to digital natives

Amazingly well written, highly insightful, and relevant article, about how we as teachers educate, or don’t educate, students on using technology to learn. – The Picture Book Pusher

Sullivan Leadership

Many teachers have a real fear that students in the classroom are more tech savvy and process information differently than the teacher. Flat out terrifying for many teachers. I get it, as a teacher you are the captain of the ship steering the ship through the treacherous waters of adolescence. The captain must be master of his/her domain. Technology represents a mild form of mutiny with its allure of distraction and dissidence. Here’s my question does a ship captain fear a crew member who has spent more time on a boat than the noble captain? – I don’t know, depends.

The Marc Prensky’s term digital native has become somewhat popular, speaking to the gap in society between those who grew up before the most recent boom in the availability of technology and those who grew up during. While the term speaks to the acquisition of knowledge as well as the mastery of technology, digital immigrants (most adults) tend to just focus on the…

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