post by Jamie Utecht, 2018-19 Associate of The Educator Collaborative
The 2019 Global Kind Project: Some Favorite Read Alouds
This past spring, a second grade colleague and I teamed up to participate in The Educator Collaborative’s Global Kind Project, a self-guided project that encourages teachers and students to interact with other classrooms and dig deeply into what it means to be kind in order to enact social change.We read books about kindness, engaged in activities that helped us reflect on what it means to be kind, and tried, as a group, to make our school a better place. One of our favorite aspects of this project was the regular read alouds we engaged in that connected to various topics we talked about. Why? Because all of our students were able to access higher level thinking as a result of the group conversations that we had related to the books that we were reading together. The following were some of our favorites!
The first week of the project we read the book The Last Stop on Market Street (2015) by Matt de la Peña and Christian Robinson.
This is a beautiful book about giving back to your community and being happy with the things that you have. Our class talked about this topic pretty deeply. We talked about how there are times when we would want more even though we don’t need more. We also talked about how good it makes us feel to give back to one another. The day we read this, we created “compli-mats,” where the students went around the room and gave each other compliments on their placemats. It was so fun to hear one student say, “This makes me so happy”.
The second week of the project we read the book Elwood Bigfoot Wanted:Birdie Friends! (2015) By Jill Esbaum and Nate Wragg.
This book is about a Bigfoot named Elwood who wants to be friends with the birds. He does just about anything he can think of to try to fit in with them, even at the cost of not being himself. This book struck up the conversation of being ourselves and talking about all of the wonderful things we offer each other. The students really grasped the idea that we should not change ourselves in order to gain new friends or to impress other people. It was a lot of fun as teachers to hear this.
The following week, we read the book Welcome (2016) by Barroux.
This book is about a group of polar bears who lose their home because the ice that they were on broke off and floated away. They try to find a new home, but the animals on all of the islands that they arrive at do not welcome them. This book sparked beautiful conversations about acceptance and friendship. The animals in this book always made up excuses about why the bears weren’t accepted. They said things like, “You are too furry” and “You are too bear-ish.” We decided as a group that these statements weren’t fair and that it shouldn’t matter what you look like. In our class, we can all be friends.
We read so many other wonderful books during the last few weeks of the project and had the best conversations together. The best part of these read alouds was that they helped us come together as a group to discuss friendship and kindness. It was such a fun experience participating in the Global Kind Project, and I can’t wait to team up with another teacher next year to do it again!
What were some of your favorite read alouds during this year’s Global Kind Project?