When EdTech Meets Children's Lit

Being primarily a teacher of language arts, my lessons often revolve around picture books. And if I am being completely honest, I am a tad obsessed with picture books. I love how we can sit together and read them as a class in a more intimate setting. Illustrations always vary and exposing students to various expressions and emotions through illustrations is always a win-win. But maybe one of the main reasons why I love using picture books in the class is because they are responsive—they are a result of people’s reactions to the world around us. Picture books help me pivot. They help me change up what I am doing to connect with and meet the needs of the students I currently have in the classroom.

A while back I wrote and received a grant from a local organization who works very closely with teachers and schools in our district. Normally when I write grants I steer toward technology and other things for the class that I may not be able to provide my students with on my own. But this grant was different—it was for books! I have always been an advocate—maybe now more than ever—to not only use technology in meaningful ways in my classroom, but also to teach students how to use it responsibly on their own. I just received the order of books and I thought it would be fun to share them with you!

When Charlie loses his ability to be online or access his technology, he becomes frantic and even a tad angry. But, after he gets through his initial feelings, he finds other things to pass the time while learning to connect with the world around him.

Little Chicken gets really caught up with all she can do and buy online. She has innocent fun until her clicking has her meeting a new friend online. Chicken leaves to go meet this new friend only to realize that not everything on the internet is like it appears.

Similar to Chicken Clicking, in this book Popcorn the chicken becomes a bit obsessed with her new “friends” she meets online to the point where she neglects and offends the friends she sees face-to-face. But when her new “online” friends come to meet up, Popcorn ends up needing the help of her real friends to stay safe.

Fourth graders in Mr. Dickinson’s class learn all about finding reliable information online as they work on their presidential fact-finding contest. Students learn that the Internet can provide true facts but not everything there is true!

Technology can be useful and fun, but it can also be used to trick others. Billy Goat and his friend Cyril get caught up in using their words against someone they haven’t met in person. When they finally do meet they are in for a surprise and owe an apology for what they’ve done.

This book isn’t about technology, but I plan to pair it with the book above—Troll Stinks. It shares the theme of how words can hurt and how we need to put time into our interactions with others whether face to face or online.

A bored little mouse takes an iPhone and immediately becomes entranced into a world where all else fades away. He loses sight of what’s around him and possibly misses out on the real fun.

Video game addictions are on the rise and Jasper helps illustrate how kids can balance real life with their game life by gaining control.

This story does a great job illustrating to kids the importance of being responsible when posting texts, tweets, posts and pics. This story helps illustrate to kids how their decisions online will be around forever and helps them learn how to navigate technology that is every changing.

Nerdy Bird and his friend Vulture are very different—Nerdy loves technology but Vulture finds it boring. When Nerdy finds new friends online on Tweetster he has to learn how to balance his new “friends” with his real one.

After receiving a hand-me-down camera phone, the art of selfie taking leads to adventures and photos of everything. But at the end of the day kids needs to recharge their batteries too!

I am looking forward to reading these books with my students, and I will blog in the future as I find fun and engaging ways to integrate them into my ELA standards. You can also head over to our Instagram page @themerrillsEDU and check out our story where I unboxed the books live and shared a little about them. I would love to see any lessons you do with your students so tag me on social media @themerrillsedu with any great lesson ideas or experiences!

Until next time!

-K

The Merrills