It's is my favorite picture book to use for so many reasons. It is the first book I read to my students (at least I have the last 2 years... I've only been teaching for 3 and you all know how that first year goes...).
There is so much I can say about it: it has beautiful illustrations, a wonderful message that I (and students) can connect to, themes and symbolism... I could go on and on. But one of the reasons I absolutely love it is because it instills a growth mindset for me and my students from day one and shows them that I am there to help them grow and then sadly- send them on their way to their next adventure.
The author AND illustrator is Eliza Wheeler. And some of her lines resonate so well with me. I turned them into some free posters (just save them to your desktop... they are jpegs)
"She learns each seed by heart all similar, yet none the same. "Take care little ones, for the world is big and you are small."
-Each one of my students is different and requires different things. Miss Maple points this out by saying some will need to be planted in deep, wet soil while others will fly in the wind before finding their place to grow; much like how each of my students will require my care, but it might look different.
"Don't be afraid- raindrops help us grow!"
- We weather storms constantly throughout our journey, especially when we are learning new things. Don't fear the difficulties, embrace them, as they help us grow and become stronger.
"Never forget- even the grandest of trees once had to grow up from the smallest of seeds."
-Even though they are small, they will all do amazing things- it just takes time, care, and energy.
Anyway, we read this story at the beginning of the year. And we compare the students to the seeds and Miss Maple to me.
|[they are too sweet- they later found out that I don't ALWAYS have a smile haha]|
We incorporate growth in our units. When we start a new unit in reading, we slowly add smaller concepts to a larger one by using a tree visual. Throughout the unit, we add more to the tree until the very end we have this full tree to look back at all that we learned and how much we grew in that unit.
|[On the left: Our Character Unit------- On the Right: Our Mystery Unit]|
Do you know what the best part is about this book though?
When you read it again as your last read aloud and you have students who cry because they've realized this connection and why their teacher choose it as our first and last read aloud. Even without revisiting our very first chart that we created, they found all the original connections and even more.
"You are like Miss Maple because you took care of us and helped us grow, but now you have to let us go to 4th grade."
"We're like seeds because some of us are moving to other schools, but we will continue to grow because of all we learned here."
"Miss Maple is sad, but also proud of her little seeds leaving... just like you."
AHHHHHHHHHHHH! Cue the tears! Yes my little seeds. "But never forget-
Even the grandest of seeds once had to grow up from the smallest of seeds."
And I will be using this seed and growth thing in my classroom theme and decor this year because I love it so much!