Lesson Strategies

 

Big Book Strategy

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Introduction
How to Use a Picture Book in the Classroom


How to Start Creating a Picture Book
Resources


Examples within On the Job website

 

 

Introduction

Big books or Picture Books can be used at any stage of learning.

Picture books can help middle school and high school readers build background knowledge and visual literacy, and they are also deeply engaging. The range of topics presented in picture books, in the hands of skilled storytellers and artists provides many opportunities to explore different paths for learning and getting excited about reading and information.

One of the most overlooked resources for engaging middle grade and teen readers is the picture book. Many educators, librarians, and parents believe once readers leave the elementary grades, they should leave picture books behind. Topics and the contents of some of today’s picture books suggests otherwise.

How to Use a Picture Book in the Classroom

Today’s middle grade and teen readers have grown up in a highly visual environment and have an affinity for the combination of text and image. Further, the skill of visual literacy is an important one that can enhance the ability to interact with information and story. In addition to contributing to skill building, picture books are useful tools for introducing complex ideas and concepts.

The endless range of subject matter presented in picture books, in the hands of skilled storytellers and artists provides many opportunities to explore different paths for learning and getting excited about reading and information.

PhilosophyPhilosophy

Picture Books are a great way to look at the Philosophical concepts that arise in the story. If you want to conduct a deeper reflection, use the Community of Inquiry strategy.

 

There are many Australian authors and Picture Books with amazing concepts and topics to investigage.

To see the extensive list - look below under resources to see Potts Point Book Shop listing.

 

The following activity is an example of a Community of Inquiry using Anh Do's Picture Book: The Little Refugee.

Philosophy [Community of Inquiry], the Question Quadrant,  and "The Little Refugee"

PrimaryPrimary MiddleMiddle High SchoolSecondary

LiteracyAustralian Curriculum General Capability: Literacy
CriticalAustralian Curriculum General Capability: Critical and creative thinking
Personal and social capability
Australian Curriculum General Capability: Personal and social capability
Australian Curriculum Cross Curriculum Priorities: Asian Priority

PhilosophyPhilosophy

Cooperative LearningCooperative Learning Activity

 

 TeacherTeacher Instructions:

1. Get the students to form a circle with their chairs or directly on the floor. Everyone is to be in the circle. Read "The Little Refugee" by Anh and Suzanne Do by asking the students to take turns to read out loud each paragraph.  

The Little Refugee

OR

You could listen to the YouTube Video

The Little Refugee by Anh Do & Suzanne Do
https://youtu.be/yShmK_PhE0s?si=gu1FTDiZtbfPaozo

 

2. Set up a Question Quadrant on the floor or on a whiteboard:

Question Quadrant

3. Get the students, in pairs, to come up with 4 questions - one for each quadrant. The questions for thinking are the hardest to come up with – but that is what we are aiming for. Example: What is Hope?

4. List all the questions on the board and put the students' names next to their question.

5. Ask the students to think about grouping the questions - the ones that are the same or similar - together.

6. Start the discussion with the most asked question.

7. Make sure the students follow the rules of Philosophy in Schools:

  • Only one person speaks at a time
  • Pay attention to the person who is speaking
  • Give other people a chance to speak
  • Build upon other people's ideas
  • No put-downs (Source: Phil Cam)

8. Discussion should involve students in critical, creative and caring thinking:

Critical Creative Caring
give reasons
explore
disagreement
consider implications
apply criteria
weigh evidence
generate questions
raise suggestions
imagine alternatives
formulate criteria
make connections
build on ideas
listen to other's points of view
consider other's reasons
explore disagreements considerately
build on other's ideas
explore other's opinions
help to synthesise suggestions
 

9. Provide Closure: Example: Get the students to reflect in their journals a time when they felt lonely.

10. Leave the questions on the board or copy them so that the other unanswered questions can be used in the next lessons.

 

How to Start Creating a Picture Book

Creating Class Big Books enables whole class or smaller learning groups to participate in the reading process, the joint construction of the big book text and drawing of the concepts within.  

Students can create their own ideas, or rewrite some of their favourite literature and predictable books. Each student is able to contribute to a page. In doing this, students are practising many important reading, writing and drawing strategies.

You can use a wide variety of materials to make your own big books. Large poster size cardboard is useful for the pages. Make sure you laminate the covers to protect them from "wear and tear".

Big Books can be bound in different ways. Sometimes using plastic binding and the school binding machine works well. Alternatively, coloured duct tape is effective. Another binding method involves punching holes in the cardboard pages and using curtain rings to bind them together.

You can also use photo albums, sheet protectors, poster-board, felt, scrapbooks and paper plates to make your big books. It is fun to try different types of books, so that students don't get bored with the same old thing! You can also make your books in different sizes and shapes.

Process for creating big books:

  • Ensure that there is teacher and student clarity on the purpose, context, generic structure and formatting of the big book.

  •  Exhibit a repertoire of big books for students’ perusal and discussion

  •  Scaffold written text and discuss a repertoire of possible illustrations

  •  Use sentence starters or some type of text support for all learners

  •  Assist students to make decisions on the design of their page or pages of the big book.

  •  Have students complete a first draft.

  •  After consultation students complete their final draft.

  •  Assemble the big book.

  •  Read big book to the whole class or learning groups.

  •  Use the big book for further learning.

 

 

Resources

A Literacy Based Unit for the book "Diary of a Wombat" by Jackie French and Bruce Whatley.

PrimaryPrimary MiddleMiddle

PDF (4 pages of interesting activities for students) Local Copy. Included:

  • Spelling, Grammar
  • Reading & Viewing
  • Writing Activities
  • Talking & Listening Activities
  • Other Key Learning Activities

Read Along: "Diary of a Wombat" by Jackie French, illustrated by Bruce Whatley. Children's book.
https://youtu.be/DSP9EKDa11Y?si=Jstnx6iNuqU0aZ_n

The words are under Creative Commons.

 

Prof. Phil Cam used this book, Diary of a Wombat, to teach some of us how to use Philosophy in the classroom.

Using the concepts here, this picture book can be extended to include high school students. High SchoolSecondary

 

Another Jackie French big book - The Fire Wombat - can also be used to teach about Australian fires [based on the 2019 - 2020 bushfires] and the wildlife.

Carmen's Australian Storytime - The Fire Wombat - No2
https://youtu.be/yKdk4QWK5Wk?si=jVsM7zqgETZ4A320

 

 

This book can be used as a Community of Inquiry see the Counsellor

Counsellor

 


The Fire Wombat - Classroom Resources [PDF]

PrimaryPrimary MiddleMiddle

Resources created by Barbara Braxton - Local Copy [6 pages] and are around:

Natural World
• Identity
• Resilience
• Belonging
• Sustainability

Although the book can be read from an early age, the concepts are universal and can be used accordingly.

 

"The Rabbits" by John Marsden & Shaun Tan

High SchoolSecondary

LiteracyAustralian Curriculum General Capability: Literacy

CriticalAustralian Curriculum General Capability: Critical and creative thinking
Personal and social capability
Australian Curriculum General Capability: Personal and social capability

Ethical Understanding Australian Curriculum General Capability: Ethical Understanding

IndigenousAustralian Curriculum Cross Curriculum Priorities: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander histories and cultures

 

John Marsden and Shaun Tan's The Rabbits [1998] is a particular example for teachers to use with students in Years 11 - 12 and in conjunction with The Conversation and its commentary on the Opera "The Rabbits". This opera shows how a picture book can be extended to Music and Drama classes as well as Australian History, English, RE, Ethics, Philosophy, and, Indigenous Studies.

This big book can also be used as a Philosophical Community of Inquiry.

 

The Rabbits by John Marsden and Shaun Tan
https://youtu.be/T128Y-0h6Wk?si=b2R8eyyAp5Ob0LwB

 

The Conversation 6 October 2015

The Conversation


Get the students to read "The Rabbits" and using a Community of Inquiry set up a Question Quadrant on the floor or on a whiteboard:

Question Quadrant

3. Get the students, in pairs, to come up with 4 questions - one for each quadrant. The questions for thinking are the hardest to come up with – but that is what we are aiming for.

4. List all the questions on the board and put the students' names next to their question.

5. Ask the students to think about grouping the questions - the ones that are the same or similar - together.

6. Start the discussion with the most asked question.

7. Make sure the students follow the rules of Philosophy in Schools:

  • Only one person speaks at a time
  • Pay attention to the person who is speaking
  • Give other people a chance to speak
  • Build upon other people's ideas
  • No put-downs (Source: Phil Cam)

8. Discussion should involve students in critical, creative and caring thinking:

Critical Creative Caring
give reasons
explore
disagreement
consider implications
apply criteria
weigh evidence
generate questions
raise suggestions
imagine alternatives
formulate criteria
make connections
build on ideas
listen to other's points of view
consider other's reasons
explore disagreements considerately
build on other's ideas
explore other's opinions
help to synthesise suggestions
 

9. Provide Closure: Example: Get the students to reflect in their journals a time when they felt lonely.

10. Leave the questions on the board or copy them so that the other unanswered questions can be used in the next lessons.

11. Get the students in groups of 3 - 5 students to read The Conversation article. What more can this article tell them about "The Rabbits" and its production?

 

Potts Point Book Shop has pages and pages of Australian Picture Books for all ages.

Click here to see and work out which book you would like to introduce your students to.

For example, you could use the following 3 books:

The Arrival The Arrival by Shaun Tan

Haunting, original and told entirely through exquisitely imagined black, white and sepia pictures, THE ARRIVAL is the story of one man's encounter with life in a strange new world. It's a timeless, universal story that will resonate with anyone, anywhere who has struggled to start again in a place that is different to the one they have always known. Much loved around the world, THE ARRIVAL has also won numerous awards including the CBCA Book of the Year and 'Best Album' at the Augouleme Festival in France. "Tan's lovingly laid out and masterfully rendered tale about the immigrant experience is a documentary magically told." -- Art Spiegelman, author of Maus "An absolute wonder." -- Marjane Satrapi, author of Persepolis "A magical river of strangers and their stories " -- Craig Thompson, author of Blankets "A shockingly imaginative graphic novel that captures the sense of adventure and wonder that surrounds a new arrival on the shores of a shining new city. Wordless, but with perfect narrative flow, Tan gives us a story filled with cityscapes worthy of Winsor McCay." -- Jeff Smith, author of Bone "Shaun Tan's artwork creates a fantastical, hauntingly familiar atmosphere... Strange, moving, and beautiful." -- Jon J. Muth, Caldecott Medal-winning author of Zen Shorts "Bravo." -- Brian Selznick, Caldecott Medal-winning author of The Invention of Hugo Cabret "Magnificent." -- David Small, Caldecott Medalist
(Source: Potts Point Bookshop))





The Black Cockatoo The Black Cockatoo with One Feather Blue by Jodie McLeod; Eloise Short (Illustrator); Melissa Mylchreest (Designed by)

What happens when the one thing that makes you special is stolen? Join the Black Cockatoo in this fun, read-aloud adventure through the Australian bush as she searches for her missing feather... and discovers what's truly important. "Do you know who took my one feather blue?" Featuring iconic Australi an birds and animals, this story combines adventure with rhythm and rhyme to highlight the value of friendship, kindness and self-belief over materialism. Kids will love the repetition of the title chorus line as they join the hunt for the feather thief - all the way to the book's uplifting end.
(Source: Potts Point Bookshop)

 
For 60000 Years For 60,000 Years by Marlee Jade Silva

For 60,000 years, as sure as the sun rises and rests, our people have thrived and survived. Originally penned as a poetic response to January 26th, this is an empowering story of truth, strength and community, told by Gamilaroi and Dunghutti woman Marlee Silva and illustrated by Yamatji man Rhys Paddick .
(
Source: Potts Point Bookshop)

 

The following site is excellent for students or teachers who are interest in creating interactive/digital big books.
www.kented.org.uk/ngfl/pembury/lessons.html

 

Examples of Big Books on the On the Job website

#TC means that The Conversation is used as stimulus material.

Life on the Job

Anh Do


Famous or Historic People

The Littliest Refugee

Philosophy [Community of Inquiry] the Question Quadrant,  and "The Little Refugee"

PrimaryPrimary MiddleMiddle High SchoolSecondary

LiteracyAustralian Curriculum General Capability: Literacy
CriticalAustralian Curriculum General Capability: Critical and creative thinking
Personal and social capability
Australian Curriculum General Capability: Personal and social capability
Australian Curriculum Cross Curriculum Priorities: Asian Priority

PhilosophyPhilosophy

Cooperative LearningCooperative Learning Activity

 

 The Little Refugee - Activities created by Reading Australia - Elizabeth Baker

PrimaryPrimary

 

Plumber

Plumber


Plato Platypus
Plato the Platypus Plumber (part-time): Goes ICT!

PrimaryPrimary MiddleMiddle


ICT
Australian Curriculum General Capability: Information and Communication Technology Capability
LiteracyAustralian Curriculum General Capability: Literacy
Critical
Australian Curriculum General Capability: Critical and creative thinking



Cooperative LearningCooperative Learning Activity
Wig Maker

Wig Maker
Big Wig by Jonathan Hillman (awaiting authors' response)

Material sourced from
A-Z Strategies [Pg 3] PDF
Ad Lit [All About Adolescent Literacy ]
Scholastica Canada [A Guide to using Big Books in the Classroom - PDF]

 

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