For some reason, my students this year love checking out cookbooks from our school library. I've had a few students in the past who will check them out from time to time, but right now we are on a serious cookbook kick. I love that cookbooks are an option for our students to take home to read for the week. It's reading that is applicable to everyday life. People who don't consider themselves readers, will inevitably need to read a recipe, a nutrition label, or put together a meal plan. Reading and literacy is important beyond reading novels because the way you read a recipe differs greatly from the way you read a novel. You have to process the information in different ways, and you are reading for separate purposes. I think that the readers who choose cookbooks to take home like the accessibility of the text. It's often in a list format, contains short paragraphs, and at the end you get a delicious treat. I mean, what's not to like? I've already been told what I should make for dinner on multiple occasions. It's not a great diet plan, since the majority of kids' cookbooks are dessert-based, but I'm not arguing. I think that our class might have to write some of our own cookbooks this year. I'll let you know how those recipes turn out...
I didn't grow up in a political household. I knew my parents watched the news and read the newspapers and I had a vague idea for whom they voted. Overall, however, I didn't know a whole lot about our political system. I learned a bit in school, sang a lot of Schoolhouse Rock, and then voted for Ross Perot in a mock election because our school magazine said he had horses. If there was ever a way into my 10 year old heart, that was it.
Flash forward to college. I was a freshman in 2004. I got to campus and realized kids my age were hardcore into politics. It seemed like everyone had picked a side and I was all like, but do any of them have horses? Just kidding...I knew a little bit more than that. I've always prided myself on my smarts and I felt defeated that this was an arena in which I had little knowledge. It also emphasized the fact that I grew up in a suburban bubble and the politics of the world had little affect on my daily life.
I'd like to say I jumped in head first, but I mostly asked a few friends on AIM (remember AIM?) who they were voting for and tried to pay closer attention to the ads on TV. It was cool that the first time I was able to vote was for president and I really did feel like I made a good choice. By the time I graduated, it was 2008 and we were ready to vote again. I had learned a lot in college about what I valued in a political candidate.
Ever since then, I vote every time. Big or small. I'm happy to say that I know a lot more about what's going on in the world. It's also never too late to learn more. Seek out the information you need to make a choice that is right for you. Ask friends, find a local official, go (carefully) online. Your voice matters. Do some research. Vote.
Here is a link to get you started on your quest. https://www.vote411.org/
No word yet on if any of this year's candidates own horses. Please advise.
Title: Meet Yasmin
Author: Saadia Faruqi
Illustrator: Hatem Aly
I read a portion of Meet Yasmin with my second graders today after buying it this past weekend. We love Yasmin! She is a second-grader just like my students. This book is a collection of 4 short stories, each broken up into several chapters. My students loved the first story about Yasmin exploring her neighborhood. I set the book on the shelf when I finished and there are already requests to read the rest of the stories tomorrow. Yasmin's family is from Pakistan. She calls her father 'baba.' One of my students heard this and shouts, "that's what I call my dad, too!" Watching her eyes light up when she realized Yasmin spoke the same language as her family was the best part of this read aloud. I love the way this book feels like a chapter book, but is a simple read for my students who need it. We need more books for this type of reader, especially ones that represent underrepresented cultures. I can't recommend this one enough!
Teacher, reader, tea drinker, and dog mom.