Moving Isn’t Easy, and Books Can Help us Understand
After living near my hometown my entire life, I just recently moved to a new state that requires a plane ride or a cross-country road trip to get home. Moving is one of the greatest challenges I’ve faced. It was surprising how much harder doing anything was throughout my first month in a new state. I missed the days when leaving the house was easy, because I didn’t have to research simple things such as where to get my groceries. I currently survive off of my GPS system, and I would say I know where I am less than 10 percent of the time. Of course, the hardest part is not living near friends and family.
Although I cannot say I have totally enjoyed this new adventure (yet!), I know that it is something that I will always be glad that I did. I have gained a better understanding for what new students experience.
As an educator, empathy and understanding for students is vital to building relationships and consequently, their learning throughout the school year. In my experience, I found that building a relationship with my students was essential in order to have any big successes in the classroom.
There are always kids that are moving in and out of schools and classrooms. We call it student mobility. And, it can cause challenges in educating students. Although moving is something we cannot control, we can try to help all students understand the experience a little better.
One way to teach this understanding is through stories with characters who experience a move. As author R.J. Palacio says, “if a child can relate to a character or become immersed in a story, she begins to have feelings outside of her own direct realm of experience. The spark of empathy, delivered gently, can then grow.”
If your students gain empathy and understanding for the new student experience, this could make the first days of school for any future “new kid” a little less lonely.
Below are some stories that could foster this learning.
Before I Leave by Jessixa Bagley 9781626720404. 2016. PS-2.
Colette’s Lost Pet by Isabelle Arsenault 9780553536591. 2017. PS-2.
That Neighbor Kid by Daniel Miyares 9781481449793. 2017. PS-2.
Yard Sale by Eve Bunting 9780763693053. 2017. PS-2.
King of the Sky by Nicola Davies 9780763695682. 2017. K-3.
Upper Elementary/Middle School
The Turtle of Oman by Naomi Shihab Nye 9780062019783. 2016. 3-6.
Georgia Rules by Nanci Turner Steveson 9780062374578. 2017. 3-6.
Catching a Storyfish by Janice N. Harrington 9781629794297. 2016. 4-7.
The Goat by Anne Fleming 9781554989164. 2017. 4-7.
Far From Fair by Elana K. Arnold 9780544602274. 2016. 5-7.
R.J. Palacio, “You Can’t Teach Kids Empathy, But These Picture Books Inspire it,” in The New York Times August 25, 2017. https://www.nytimes.com/2017/08/25/books/review/why-am-i-me-paige-britt-empathy-children.html (Accessed March 30, 2018).
blogger: Lindsay Simmons