Friends Forever

For Valentine’s Day classroom celebrations this year, our principal asked the staff to focus on friendship. Here in the library, I often have lessons that incorporate social emotional themes, so I decided to take the week prior to, and the week of, Valentine’s Day to share lots of information about what being a friend looks like and sounds like.

Using print books, ebooks, videos, and databases (and a super cute STEAM activity), I created lessons that I believe my readers truly connected with during those two weeks.

The first week, my lesson was entitled, “What is Friendship?” and the big question was, “What does it mean to be a good friend?” In the lesson I used the wonderful PebbleGo article, Making New Friends, and the books  My New Friend is So Fun! by Mo Willems and Snail and Worm Again by Tina Kügler.  My students and I had insightful discussions about friendship and specific ways in which the characters were good friends to each other.  We also had a great time creating snail art!

PreK-Gr2 What is Friendship

The second week, my lesson was entitled “Be a Fantastic Friend” and we continued exploring what it means to be a friend. Scholastic Watch & Learn has two wonderful friendship videos:  Fantastic Friend Countdown and Can You Be a Good Friend?  which gave my young students some concrete examples of things that they could do in the classroom and at recess.  The books I incorporated were again by author/illustrators Mo Willems (The Big Guy Took My Ball!) and Tina Kügler (Snail and Worm).  I love that my young learners appreciated the humor in each of these books and laughed out loud at the characters’ silliness, while also understanding the message of friendship in each.

K-Gr2: Be a Fantastic Friend

The Year of the Tiger

February is such a fantastic month for learning!  Not only is it Black History Month, Valentine’s Day, Love Your Library Month, in 2022, we also celebrated the Lunar New Year and the Winter Olympics.

Today’s post focuses on the Lunar or Chinese New Year, which is the most important holiday in Chinese culture. Because I believe it is extremely important to celebrate the diversity of our school community, I was excited to invite my students to learn about this wonderful two-week celebration. 

As I started pulling together resources for my lesson, including print and ebooks, articles in our PebbleGo database, Gale in Context – Elementary database, video in our Scholastic Watch & Learn database, and a couple of other vetted YouTube videos, I started looking for a good Google slide theme.  SlidesCarnival   and are two of my “go to” resources for awesome slide templates – for this presentation, I used the beautiful SlidesGo Year of the Tiger template, which also included information about the Chinese New Year.

Just as I did with my Mid-Autumn Festival lesson in September, I consulted one of my colleagues, Chanru, who is Chinese-American, to have her review my Chinese New Year lesson for authenticity and accuracy.  She gave me positive feedback, and also asked if she might bring in Chinese New Year decorations to help me decorate the library. While we hung the decorations, she explained what the characters on the banners and window clings meant. She has been an amazing primary resource to me!

In addition to my lessons, I also displayed nonfiction books about China and other countries where the Lunar New Year is celebrated, as well as displayed and spotlighted fiction chapter and picture books written and illustrated by Asian-Americans.

K2: 2022 Year of the Tiger – Chinese New Year

Gr 3-5: 2022 Year of the Tiger – Chinese New Year

Our principal calls for weekly “Shout Outs” to include in his Monday morning newsletter, and Chanru and I gave each other kudos that week. I shared how thankful I was that she reviewed my lessons and shared her decorations. Her comment to me was, “Shout out to Melissa, for you spent your time making the amazing Chinese New Year lesson slides for all grade levels and are willing to set up the Media room with all theme decorations. I feel so embraced and represented.”   This was a timely reminder that while we are helping to expand knowledge of our students by honoring the culture of our diverse community, a delightful outcome is that our colleagues can also feel the love.