Tuesday, 11 December 2012

Cures for the Common Core Blues: BOOKS, Vol. 7

Like me, Patricia and Fredrick McKissack are Tennessee-born-and-bred. This teacher and civil engineer started writing because of their concern about the lack of stories written for African American children; since 1984, they've published a number of books set in the segregated South where we grew up. 

An author study on this writing couple would provide cross-curricular opportunities for learning about the Civil Rights Movement and Jim Crow laws, and Black Americans who have made great contributions to our society and culture. Researching primary sources and reading their biographies would offer opportunities for close reading of (and writing about) informational text, a major tenet of the CCSS: "Read closely to determine what the text says explicitly and to make logical inferences from it; cite specific textual evidence when writing or speaking to support conclusions drawn from the text."

Their picture books are wonderful; one of my favorites is Goin' Someplace Special, written by Patricia and illustrated by Jerry Pinkney.
The book is described by Barbara Bader in "For the McKissacks, Black Is Boundless," which appeared in The Horn Book Magazine in 2007: "Though she’ll be allowed into the downtown library, ’Tricia Ann has to ride in the back of the bus, finds that the bench in the nearby park is for 'Whites Only,' and has a real scare when she innocently follows a white crowd into an off-limits hotel."
You and your students will enjoy seeing and hearing Patricia and Fredrick McKissack talk about their work in this Reading Rockets video interview:

Kemp Elementary School in Cobb County, GA chose Goin' Someplace Special as its book of the month in February 2005, and provides reading and writing strategies and a connecting activity to Rosa Parks. In January 2010, the K-2 Exquisite Prompt on the Reading Rockets website was based on Goin' Someplace Special.

You can teach SO much, including vocabulary, visualization, making inferences, time line activities, mapping, US history, and cultural understanding using this beautiful book. Share it with your kiddos and let its important themes help cure your Common Core blues!