Saturday, August 10, 2013

10 Picture Books I Use In My Middle School Classroom

Thank you to Cathy Mere and Mandy Robek for hosting this Picture Book 10 for 10 event.  Head over to their blogs to link up and learn about picture books galore.

Math Books:

I love using the whole Sir Cumference series to teach geometry concepts in math.  The character names are clever word play and the students have a wacky story to think about when they need to remember a word.  Each book explores a concept that middle school students should be exploring.  It is fun to read these books in math class!


This is another book I use in math class.  The Pythagorean theorem is an important concept in 8th grade math.  This picture book introduces multiple contexts where the theorem might be used as well as providing a visual proof.  It is a fun way to introduce the theorem to students.


In this fun fairy tale spin-off, Rumpelstiltskin has a wand that can multiply anything. He wreaks havoc in the town by multiplying nuisances.  In order to fix things, the town has to get that wand.  They end up figuring out that if they multiply by a fraction they will actually be able to restore things.  I like this book because it helps students to see that multiplying does not always give you more of something.

Social Studies Books:


Pink and Say is one of my favorite books for talking about the Civil War and the devastation caused by the war.  It also always brings up the questions about race relations at that time in history and is great for discussions.  (Anything by Patricia Polacco is wonderful for discussions in the middle school classroom)


The amazing story of how a slave mailed himself to freedom is always a great discussion starter.  I love the pictures in this book and the simplicity of this complicated story.  


When I teach about WWII and Hitler, I teach students about the political Dr. Seuss.  We read Yertle the Turtle after talking about Nazi propaganda.  It is interesting to have the discussions about power that result from this read aloud.  It is always a good eye-opener for students about author's purpose as well.  

Books Used in Reading/Writing Lessons:


One of my favorite things to do during our unit on persuasive/argument writing is to explore conspiracy theories with this book.  The book is written as a series of case studies about the real reasons adults say certain things to kids.  It is laugh-out-loud funny and I love hearing the wacky conspiracies that kids come up with after we read this book.


I love this fractured fairy tale.  In this one, the wolf proclaims his innocence and tells the real story.  It is a great book for discussing point of view and narrators.  It is a wonderful mentor text for experimenting with our own fractured fairy tales by taking the point of view of a different character in a classic tale. Anything by Jon Sciezka is sure to be a crowd pleaser!


All of Chris Van Allsberg's books are great for comprehension lessons.  This one in particular is amazing for inferencing.  There really isn't an explanation of what exactly is going on so kids have to present their theories and back them up with evidence from the book.  It is a great example of fantasy writing and is intriguing enough to hook all your readers.


I used this book for the first time this year.  It is a great book for practicing with inferences as well.  It served to remind students about what it means when we make an inference.  Many of my students had audible reactions to the end of the book.  They may not all love the book, but they will certainly remember it!  I liked that I was able to read it quickly but have a big impact in solidifying their understanding of making inferences.

These are 10 books I use in my classroom.  My goal this year is to read picture books at least two days a week so I can increase the amount of great literature that comes into my 8th grade classroom.

Do you love these books too?  Did I miss a great one?  Please share in the comments.

1 comment:

  1. Here is one I love to use that you might like. It pairs nicely with Number the Stars. It is also set during WWII. Based on a true story.
    The Cats In Krasinkski Square [Hardcover]
    Karen Hesse (Author), Wendy Watson (Illustrator)