Variety is key, and it’s not always super pretty. It’s all about access. Which means it should be ever-evolving, based on our observations of our kids’ shifting needs. And access wins over pretty every time.
This might look like…
…pulling out books from our tightly-packed shelf onto the display area with the library books to remind our kids of gems they’ve forgotten.
…giving them their own shelf to organize favorite books (and to keep them safe from book-shredding little brothers for now).
…letting them go to town arranging their own personal “library.”
What are ways you help encourage book access with your kids at home? How does that shift over time?
I still recall my surprise as a kid to discover how unlikely animals cultivate symbiotic relationships. Particularly the crocodile and the Egyptian plover bird (for the longest time, I had no idea Tomie de Paola’s “Bill & Pete” was based on science)!
As fascinating as these studies are of working relationships in the animal kingdom, I think their value goes beyond observational science. An inquiry into symbiosis is a great way to get kids thinking about concepts like collaboration, relationships, and problem-solving.
That was one of the reasons I was so excited about receiving “Friends Stick Together” by Hannah E. Harrison from Penguin Young Readers, along with the invitation to participate in its book tour. It finally gave me the push to share the following resources to help students inquire into symbiosis.
Resource #1: “Friends Stick Together” by Hannah E. Harrison
Beginning with a definition that introduces the way symbiosis isn’t necessarily as clean as we might think, Friends Stick Together sets the tone that it takes time to learn to work well with those around us.
I especially loved the zany Levi the tickbird (his “epic” air guitar solos were my favorite). His over-the-top behavior, especially when contrasted with prim Rubert the Rhino, definitely reminded me of one of my childhood favorites, Tacky the Penguin.
I feel like it’s easy for these kinds of books on friendship to get overly didactic, but I feel like Harrison struck a good balance, thanks in large part to her humor. Be sure to check it out when it comes out
Resource #2: “The Wolf, The Duck, & the Mouse” by Mac Barnett & Jon Klassen
Ok, so this one is total make-believe symbiosis. But it’s still a fun way to get kids thinking about how we can rely on and help one another.
Resource #3: How Wolves Change Rivers by Sustainable Human
This resource is much more direct to the science of symbiosis; it’s a great launching point to discuss the complexity of relationships.
One of my earliest and most vivid memories is of puttering around my preschool’s trays of outdoor loose parts. I can still smell the paste and egg cartons; I can feel the fistfuls of pebbles; I can recall the sense of pride at my creations. Making is something that resonates with me right down to my core, and I love that maker mindsets and makerspaces continue to gain traction in schools today.
If you’re looking for a good way to introduce your makerspace this year, why not begin with a provocation to get students wondering?