IB is a framework that enables teachers to navigate through the realm of concepts. It also allows students to imagine , recall , create meaning and form a solid understanding of the world that they live in. However, concepts are difficult to teach; as teachers, do we always have to explicitly teach concepts? In what ways can we introduce a specific one to them?
I am a PYP teacher. At this time being, I teach in the Early years. Too often, I can see Early Year teachers’ confuzzled faces about how and when they should introduce and dig deep into concepts.
I stumbled upon children’s books way, way back. As a newbie teacher, I fell in love to the endless possibilities of reading and learning using books not just as jump starters but a medium for me to smoothly walk my way through areas of learning and/or concepts ;such as growth and change, peace, conflict, interdependence, migration, etc. that seem too unreachable for children.
I started out with books that we have at home. I consider them my treasure, and from that small collection, it has grown and is continually growing. I have the new and the old collection. Modern and the not so modern books. But every time I get to read each one of them to children, a new idea pops up, thus, continuous learning not just for the students but for me as a teacher too.
Below is a list of time-tested books that as teachers , I feel and think should be part of our collection.
1. Butter Battle Book By Dr. Seuss – concepts: conflict and peace
2. Love You Forever By Robert Munsch– concepts: growth and change
Love you forever is a canadian picture book written by robert munsch and published in 1986. It tells the story of the evolving relationship between a boy and his mother. (wikipedia)
3. The Great Kapok Tree By Lynne Cherry – concepts: interdependence, biodiversity, conservation
The great kapok tree is a story about conservation and about interdependence .
4. A Chair For My Mother -concepts:relationships, interdependence
This is a story about a child, a mother, and a grandmother who saves every dime to but a comfortable armchair after a fire destroyed everything.
5. The Lorax By Dr. Seuss– concepts: conservation, environment
This book talks about the environment , the lorax and how one selfish act made by the once-ler caused environmental destruction.
6. From Far Away By Robert Munsch – concepts:migration and conflict
This is a true story about a girl who left war-torn lebanon and migrated to canada. It is a story of a girl’s struggle in a foreign land and how the people around her and an author, helped her go through it.
7. A Bad Case Of Stripes By David Shannon – concepts: influence, individuality, and understanding
This is a book about a girl’s struggle to be herself. She loves lima beans but her friends don’t so she felt ashamed, different and pretended that she dislikes it too. One day she wakes up to discover thick, solid-colored stripes on her body.at school, the other children tease her and call out colors and patterns which cause the colors on her skin to transform accordingly.
8. It Takes A Village By Jane Cowen – Fletcher – concepts: culture, relationships
It takes a village is about an older sister asked to take care of her little brother. But while she was busy doing other tasks, the people around the market kept their watchful eyes on her little brother.
9. Amazing Grace Series By Mary Hoffman – concepts: relationships, understanding, perspective
A series of books that tell about the life of a girl, grace ,on how she got through the different challenges in her life and how her family helped her along the way.
10. The Sneetches – concept: societies (discrimination)
This book discusses discrimination between races and cultures. It shows dr. Seuss’s opposition to antisemitism.
The list could go on and on. And to answer the question I posted above, yes, we do have to at one point introduce the vocabulary to children. But we do not have to always do the explaining. If we introduce and embed concepts through stories, inquiries, and well-planned activities, then children will figure it all out and eventually get the deeper meaning of what we want them to understand.
Hazel Ann Barbasa
Sekolah Bogor Raya