This week I am reading the new book by Diane Z. Shore (a local Atlanta author) titled This is the Feast. It is a book in rhyme, about the Pilgrims journey to America and the tough road to their first Thanksgiving.
I started reading it today and I guess growing up in Massachusetts and driving through Plymouth quite often on our way to Cape Cod, I somehow always knew the story of the Pilgrims, the first Thanksgiving and how to say all those crazy Indian names. Oh and lets not forget the trips to Plimouth Plantation during the summers when I was a kid and then there was an ill fated trip in college to see Plymouth Rock at about 2am.. but that's for another blog...
I also knew what clams were and lobster and what a cranberry bog looks like in the fall at harvest time. I forget that many of the students I teach here in the South don't have those same experiences. So when I shared this book, many of the children today asked "what is a lobster?" when it is mentioned in the book. I pointed out the clams and oysters on the Thanksgiving table and many of them looked at me like I was crazy - they ate shells??
This is why I am so glad that I can share storytime with so many of my students (and wish that some of the older grades would take me up on it!) Storytime is not just about reading a book, it is also about sharing experiences with your students. I am right now searching through some pictures from my sisters wedding two years ago on Cape Cod for the picture of the cranberry bog in full harvest mode to show my students (but of course, I can't find it!) I also see a trip to Plimouth Plantation this summer and some virtual field trip video being filmed.
I think as teachers and media specialists (and even parents) we all bring different experiences to the table and although the curriculum is important to teach, it is also important to bring those experiences into our teaching to help these kids learn about the world around them.