Warning: I may change my mind.
For the past many years, I have done a Mock Caldecott unit with students as we come back to school in January. The year is quietly winding down which means the reflection begins on which illustrations took my breath away. And there were many. This year being out of the classroom, I won’t get to do it with kids, but I will be cheering from afar as the awards are announced on January 30th, 2023.
I have loved doing this unit with children, it is a way to really sink into the beauty of picture books, to have them consider critical components of the books and how the images are synthesized with the text. It is also a great unit leading up to our major nonfiction picture book writing unit, which is a favorite of many.
Over the years, I have made a few tweaks to make it more manageable and enjoyable for kids:
One, I read all of these books aloud during our unit. While the students will still read them in their group, they will have experienced the full text with us all first.
Two, I limit our choices to 12, with 4 “extra choices.” That way we can leisurely work through the unit, savor the illustrations, and give it the time it needs rather than skim through pages in order to come up with a winner.
Three, each group will pick their winner. Every year we have had a vote for class pick, but I switched it a few years ago by letting each group select and root for their individual winners. We will, however, vote for an overall winner in all of my English classes combined.
Your choice – every year there are a few books that I think might be a winner or honor book but that I for some reason didn’t select. I then have students browse through them and they can choose one or more of them to score as well if they want. It has been fascinating to see which books they gravitate toward from these four choices.
The lessons will not change much; I use previous winners to discuss the different components of the award and then students grab the books they will discuss that day and rank. Each group gets a packet with the titles and a voting sheet. The slides I use as well as all resources can be found in my Patreon (where I share a lot of resources, book lists, and do mini pd’s) and are pretty straightforward. The voting packet is updated and students end the unit doing a persuasive speech to try to convince their classmates that their choice is, of course, the best one. Then we watch the awards and celebrate them with a class party!
So which books have I chosen for the year? It was so hard to choose!
Extra choice selections:
There you have it? My choices for 2023 – which ones are you rooting for?
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