Using Picture Books With Upper Elementary Students (e.g. Math, Science, etc.)
OK …. so if you were a fly on my Grade 5 classroom wall you would see picture books everywhere (e.g. on shelves, on display, in hands … and yes, even sometimes left on the floor 😉
I love reading/exploring/sharing picture books with my Grade 5 students. I use them in all(!) subject areas: Language Arts, Math, Science, Social Studies, etc. They are quite simply a fantastic resource.
So when a colleague recently asked me for a list of pictures books that I use to teach math in the classroom I was thrilled!
Rewind: Same School – A Different Time:
I’ll never forgot the day:
I was teaching an upper elementary homeroom for the first time and I had gathered my students on the “imaginary” (I didn’t have one in the room) carpet to listen to a picture book read aloud.
I was reading “The Greedy Triangle” as a springboard into geometry.
Shortly after starting the book two teachers walked by and I swear I could “hear” them rolling their eyes! After all, what was I doing with those big kids at the “carpet”? & reading a “baby book” no less!
Well, that belief system didn’t last long, and needless to say one year later not only did I have a real(!) carpet in my classroom but most upper elementary teachers were using pictures book regularly as an additional means of teaching math, science, etc. concepts. Yippee!
& Now down to the nuts & bolts of it:
I love using math picture books during math (for example) because they …
… both educate & entertain
… provide a great transition from one subject area into another
… provide a springboard / narrow a purpose
… set the stage: provide a background & develop a theme
… build vocabulary
… make otherwise “dry” facts & figures come alive/fun
… make otherwise abstract concepts concrete
… introduce & develop reading strategies
… model fluency & expression
… develop reading comprehension, predicting and inferential skills
… develop listening and speaking skills
… excellent, non-threatening, encouraging forum for discussion & exploration
Picture books are ….
… great for all (especially visual & auditory) learners
… fun, playful, entertaining
Finally, there is something comforting about gathering everyone at the carpet to listen to a picture book … it’s community building.
PS If you are looking for picture books to use in your class for math for example, please see the bottom of my blog entitled: “How to Structure a Weekly Math Program (A Most General Approach … + Picture Books)”at http://bit.ly/aMV6RD