By Pat Kelly
Visas, immunizations and packing aside, traveling to Zambia for A to Z takes planning. I’m talking about lesson planning. Having the opportunity to teach a few lessons while I am there is something I’m taking seriously. Therefore, I have been looking at children’s books with a different eye than I usually do as a book gatherer for our organization.
Searching for multicultural picture books, I came upon numerous stories which will bring universal messages to children at the schools we will visit. The Patchwork Quilt by Valerie Flournoy tells the tale of a girl and her grandmother piecing a quilt over a year’s time. After reading this story to the children, I will have them draw on a quilt square a picture or design of their choice. Later, we will have a basic sewing lesson to piece the squares into a wall quilt.
I will read All In a Day by Cynthia Rylant early one morning to a class. It will give us a chance to have a conversation about the potential a new day holds and the patterns our days have. A writing activity will be the final piece of this lesson, as the children write about their days and the patterns in them.
Mem Fox’s Whoever You Are will make a grand read aloud with its’ global family illustrations. Students will share what they see in the pictures and make connections. Creation of self portraits will culminate this lesson along with a paragraph each student writes about him or herself. These will be compiled into a class book.
All supplies and materials need to be taken with us as we head to Zambia next month. Even the scissors and tiny needles have to be thought out and packed. While the space and weight of what we carry is limited, our ideas and creativity aren’t.
Zambia, here we come.