Picture Books for the Questioning win!

Picture books are my go to! They support me broaching big topics with my LITTLES in Kindergarten. I use them as provocations to provoke wonder, connection builders to connect to our current interests and curiosities and as ways to introduce and provoke questions and questioning.

Here are some of my go-to picture books when I am working on provoking questioning with my learners. The list could go on, so I have picked five of my favourites to share with you. I’d love to hear what your favourites are, to add to my list. Please share below.

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‘Ada Twist, Scientist’ by Andrea Beaty, can be ordered here.
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This picture book is all about a young girl named Ada. She is FULL of curiosity and questions. She asks questions after questions, and realizes that her questions don’t always lead her to answers, but sometimes they lead her to more questions! I love how this book is centered around a young girl who is a scientist. Talk about empowering young girls to ask questions, follow their curiosities and all in a playful and scientist way! Yes, please.
Looking for a read aloud of ‘Ada Twist, Scientist’ click here. 


‘Not a Box’ by Antoinette Portis, can be ordered
here. 
NOT A BOX.jpgThis book is a fun book for all ages, and especi
ally for the littles in your life. The book is a conversation guided by questions. Each page begins with a question and then is answered by a young bunny. This young bunny is imagining various playful box ideas and creations on each page. This book is a great way to look at what a question s in a playful and imagination provoking way. Enjoy this fun read.
Looking for a read aloud of ‘Not a Box’, click here.

‘What do you do with an Idea?’ by Kobi Yamada, can be ordered here.WHAT DO YOU DO WITH AN IDEA.jpg
This beautiful picture books shares about what it feels like to have an idea. This book connects to questioning because we like to say that all great ideas begin with a question. The young person in the story follows their idea and realizes the power behind having an idea, how it can truly change the world. This book allows young learners to understand how important ideas and questions are, and how we have the ability to honour and celebrate them.
Looking for a read aloud of ‘What do you do with an Idea?’ click here. 

‘I wonder’ by Annaka Harris and John Rowe, can be ordered hereIWONDER.jpg
I wonder is a gorgeous picture book about a young girl that takes a walk with her mum. The illustrations are breath taking and so is the message in this book. The young girl learns that there is not always an answer to every question and that it is simply fair to respond with ‘I don’t know’ and continue to wonder. This picture book will provoke thinking and discussion around questions and wonders in your classroom.
Click here for a book trailer for ‘I Wonder’.

The Most Magnificent Thing by Ashley Spirescan be ordered here. THE MOST MAG.jpg
This book is about a young girl with an idea and following her idea to create something. This book ties into the idea that all great ideas do not always go as planned and sometimes we have to reevaluate through asking questions and challenging our own ideas. If you are working on following ideas, perseverance, using questions to refine thinking and ideas, and problem solving -you and your littles will love this book.
Looking for a read loud of the ‘Most Magnificent Thing’, click here. 

I hope these picture books have inspired and provoked some teaching connections and ideas for you and your littles. These are just a few of my favourite books for questioning and following our ideas. I would love to hear your favourites, please share them below.

For more books on questioning, wonder, collaboration, mindset and more, check out Inquiry Mindset, co-authored by myself and Trevor MacKenzie. 

Stay curious, 
Rebecca

 

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Top 5 Reasons your Classroom Should Become a Movie Cinema!

Here are my top 5 reasons your classrooms should become a Movie Cinema. Recently, we had a showcase of learning event in our classroom where my student learners turned our room into a movie cinema for their families. Families were invited to join us to watch a movie we had filmed, after school at 6pm.

 


Here are my top 5 reasons why you should do it as well! 

1. Learner Involvement: Having my learners involved in the process of planning, creating and setting up our movie theatre is my number one priority and focus! Right from the beginning, they are driving this event. Together, we started by brainstorming and trying to answer some essential questions: What does it feel and look like to go a movie theatre? What types of objects will we need to create our own movie theatre? How will we make and create these objects and set ups?
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Immediately, this has us tapping into prior-knowledge and getting the creative juices flowing! I love using Padlet as a brainstorming tool. I like it because it is a clear visual of ideas, it automatically saves (so I can refer to it later), it doesn’t take up any physical space in my classroom (versus a chart paper or using my whiteboard) and I can quickly share it with our families.

When learner involvement is my main focus I find that student ownership, empowerment and engagement sky rocket. My learners understand that their ideas are heard, valued and put into action and therefore the ideas are flowing and constant. Typically, during our morning sharing circle someone has a new idea or has brought in something that connects to our plan.

Also, everything for our movie theatre event is created by the students: the signs, the tickets, the set up of the room, the props for the movie, the backgrounds, the popcorn, and the list goes on. Here are a few snapshots…

 

2. Amplify Student Voice: Every student has a role in designing and setting up our theatre. Every student’s voice is captured, heard and celebrated in our movie. A movie or digital recording/response option seems to be much less intimidating for learners to share and broadcast their learning. This was a movie all focused on French oral language and therefore the goal was to have every child speaking in French independently (without me), we sure reached our goal! I had kids speaking in small groups, which also helped conquer the shy factor. The movie filming created an even playing field for all of my learners. I use a gesture approach to teaching french, called AIM, so I was able to gesture and coach along the ones who needed a bit more support during their speaking roles.

3. Celebrates Process & Learning: A movie allowed us to share our growth and development with our French oral language skills. BUT, our movie theatre showcase event allowed us to share about our process. With various pictures, artifacts, art and student work posted around the room, my learners became the tour guides and took their families around to explain their learning. How powerful! I heard kids sharing about our Empathy Inquiry (for the big bad wolf) and how we made him a quilt, because we thought he angry because he was cold. I witnessed kiddos using their retelling prompts to share (independently) the three little pigs story. I saw parents playing the maker space made guitars out of egg cartons and cardboard, so great!

 


Our showcase event was much more than just a movie, it was a time to celebrate all of our learning and work that led up to this event.

4. Sharing to a Wider Audience, FAMILY CONNECTIONS!: Sharing to an audience past your classroom walls is such a powerful experience for your learners. I find they become ambassadors of their work. They feel empowered and proud to share their learning and to explain their ideas to others. And, for some of them they take on a different role than we see most days in the classroom! It is exciting and inspiring to see.

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I also can’t say enough about creating relationships and connections with the families in your room. It is everything. Families want to feel connected to the learning and excitement that is going on in your room. In my experience, families leap at being involved and part of these types of showcases. Involvement and turn out rate is extremely high and the family engagement during the showcase always blows me away!!

5. Excited littles!: There is something to be said and heard about kids RUNNING into school at 6pm with their parents trying to keep up behind them! There is magic when our littles are leading their learning, driving the creating, setting up the event, sharing their ideas and voices, and take ownership of their learning. What more can we ask for!

 


If the idea of PUBLIC DISPLAYS OF UNDERSTANDING and SHOWCASE EVENTS are something that interest you and you wish to learn more about, you should check out our co-authored book, Inquiry Mindset. Trevor MacKenzie and I go into depth about the power behind having our learners display their understanding and learning to an audience and the power behind showcase events. 

Also, a ton of these pictures are from my Instagram stories. I try to update my stories daily (on teaching days)! I find I continually feel inspired by other teachers’ accounts and hope that mine might leave others feeling the same. Check out my profile: @inquiryteacher 

I hope these 5 reasons have convinced you to try something like this! You won’t regret it. I’d love to hear how your showcase event goes, or support you in planning it. Please reach out and stay in touch! 
Stay curious, 
Rebecca