Wednesday, June 3, 2009

What a Wonderful World

"Skies of blue, clouds of white?... The bright blessed day? The dark, sacred night?"...

What are your favorite things in nature? What a Wonderful World , by George David Weiss, is a bright, colorful, wonderfully illustrated picture book based on Louis Armstrong's classic song, and it serves as a great nature conversation starter (and it converts well into an easy-to-make felt story, too.) I often use this book as part of an introductory preschool lesson plan, with the goal being to help kids look for and focus on the natural beauty that surrounds them. When noticing nature, children make personal connections with the environment, and they begin to develop a more defined sense of place. While the kids walk the trail, we think about our favorite animals, plants, and places. When we return to class, we write those favorites on heart-shaped pieces of paper, and tape them to a big-huge hanging classroom globe. The kids love coming in each morning to check on their little hearts.

Lots of teachers also use this song/book to introduce sign-language. Instead of doing the whole song in sign (which seems a little much for my 2-5 year-olds...), I pull out key words that are easy for the kids (and me!) to remember, like: Trees, Rainbow, Grow, I-Love-You, Wonderful-World, and Think-To-Myself. If you're superambitious, watch the whole thing in sign here.

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