Thursday, October 3, 2013

Lessons from a Picture Book

Recently I was reading a post on A Year of Reading where Franki Sibberson shared how she was teaching the concept of community to her third graders. One of the books she shared was, What if Everybody Did That? Like many books Franki mentions on her blog, I immediately went out and ordered it.

This quick picture book arrived on Friday. As chance would have it, I grabbed it off of the porch after reading a conversation among friends who were lamenting a rule one of our schools had in place for an event they were holding. Some of my friends didn’t like the rule and one friend said to just ignore it and do what they wanted anyway. I then picked up this book.

The child at the center of the book breaks a different rule on each page. For example, what is the big deal if he beeps the horn once while waiting for his dad? One honk doesn’t matter. The next page shows everybody honking with the words, “What if everybody did that?” written across the top of the page. While simplistic in style and the overall message, this might be exactly what I need to help my students see the importance of their actions.

We’ve all been there where we think something we’re told to do, or not do, is inane. Why does this rule even exist? This book reminded me of a few things. One, while we don’t think our small actions make a bigger impact, they do. And two, I have many kids watching me – my own and my students. My actions are teaching them. Every time I break a rule,  *cough* *texting and driving* *cough*, I am teaching those that watch me that they can break rules too. I think this book will be a lesson not only to my students, but to me as well. And for that, I am grateful.