"What is one of the hardest things you have ever learned to do?"
After a quick brainstorming session, I reveal the book we will be reading this morning. Students giggle when they see the cover illustration and read the title: Walk On! A Guide for Babies of All Ages.
This charming picture book by Marla Frazee has a retro feel which is reminiscent of old sixties cartoons. The all-knowing narrator talks down to the protagonist, which in this case is a diaper clad, Cupie doll-like toddler:
"Is sitting there on your bottom getting boring?
Has lying around all the time become entirely unacceptable?
It's time to learn how to walk!"
After the first few lines, it is obvious the students are hooked! The story gets many laughs as the determined toddler struggles to master the art of walking.
After a quick review of the story elements, we begin to dig deeper. The students are familiar with the concept of metaphor, and many are quick to make the connection. One student offers that we are all "babies" each time we learn a new skill. The class agrees with this insightful thinking. Now we can really "Dig Deep."
We relate this metaphor to our ongoing discussion of "Stamina" and "Endurance". Just as the baby doesn't give up even when the going gets tough, we have to work through the difficulties in our own learning. We have to practice a lot, especially when something does not come easy such as reading, writing, or memorizing math facts.
I am amazed when one student makes a connection between the story and our discussions about building and maintaining "Momentum". The baby has to let go of the chair and take that first step, which is followed by another and another. Just as we have to "Get the Ball Rolling" in our reading and writing. We compare the obstacles the baby faces to the obstacles that get in the way of our momentum.
The following day I introduce the concept of "Theme" in literature. The students easily identify the theme of "Perseverance" in Walk On and support their thinking with details from the text.
At first glance, you would never guess that this seemingly simple picture book could lead to such rich learning!
Skills and Concepts Addressed:
-Higher Level Thinking Skills
Giving Credit Where Credit is Due