Monday, October 8, 2018

I’ve been extremely busy the last few weeks teaching various library workshops.  One of my favorite ones is for Interdisciplinary Learning. This workshop lets me introduce student-teachers to some really fantastic resources from the Doucette Library’s collection.

Showcasing resources is only part of what the workshop is about, though. We talk a lot about concepts and conceptual thinking. Concepts often will facilitate connections between disciplines. The Arrival by Shaun Tan is an example of a resource with a plethora of concepts associated with the story. Check out this wordless, graphic novel about a man who leaves his family to settle in a new country with the intention of giving them all a better life. The brilliance of the book is placing us in the same situation as this man as he struggles to find his way in this sort-of-familiar-yet-very-different environment.  We, too, struggle to make sense of what’s going on.  Conceptually, there is so much to dig into like immigration, power, identity, family, community, communication, conflict and so many more.

Today, a new book arrived called Our Planet by Jimi Lee.  It’s an older title that I hadn’t come across until now but was thrilled to find.

Maybe it’s just because I’ve been immersed in conceptual thinking for the last several weeks but I see this small board book filled with concepts that will work at the classroom level.

It starts with a small single plant growing along the edge of a hole (an actual hole has been die-cut into the centre of the book to represent the earth). As we flip pages we see more plants/trees growing, then a tree cutter starting to cut them down and houses popping up. After the houses, we see tall buildings taking over and then industrial buildings encircling the earth/hole. The cost of progress, however, is overwhelming refuse and pollution, which in turn, impacts the natural world causing glaciers to melt to the point where there is extreme flooding. Turn the page and a girl and a boy begin to scatter seeds and the cycle begins again with new plant growth. But instead of over-exploitation of resources and total domination over the environment this world is depicted with more balance.  Trees, plants, animals, houses, and buildings can co-exist with each other.

There are so many concepts embedded within Our Planet: cause and effect, change and continuity, transformation, sustainability, regeneration, balance, harmony to name the ones that came to mind for me.

One possible design flaw is a page (paper not cardboard) that comes at the end of the book with a message from Jane Goodall.  My copy arrived damaged and without this page so I didn't even know it was missing the first time I looked at it. Because of the die-cast hole in the middle the book the paper page is at risk to be damaged.  I think... I haven't seen the undamaged book yet.

I would recommend this book for all grade levels even without the message from Jane Goodall.


Template Design | Elque 2007