Hello everyone! Hope you all had a restful weekend and were able to celebrate all the great moms out there! I know some districts and provinces are in the process of gradually returning to modified versions of “in person teaching” but many are still trying to determine what that looks like. No matter what your teaching situation is at the moment, I am sending you positive thoughts and energy!
Many of you have been using my OLLI – “Online Learning Lesson Ideas“. (You can see my first OLLI HERE and second HERE. Last week, I shared a “How To” lesson connected to Mother’s Day. You can see that lesson HERE.
This week, I’m excited to share “Everybody Needs A Rock” by Byrd Baylor, one of my favorite books, (yes, I say that a lot!) with your students. This book and lesson invites students on a wonderful “outdoor” activity, as well as an act of community kindness!
I love rocks. I love their feel, their color pallet, their smell, their spirit. Rocks are magical – each has its own history; its own journey; its own story. Like snowflakes, no two rocks are the same. But unlike snowflakes, rocks can be held, saved, and collected. I collect them wherever I am at a beach. I have pebbles from Spanish Banks, Haida Gwaii, Horby Island, Mayne Island, the Sunshine Coast, Quadra Island, Saltspring Island, Hernando Island, and many other West Coast beaches.
Some people have certain rocks that they are always on the lookout for. My mum loved striped pebbles. She called them “Licorice All-Stones”.
Others are on the lookout for speckled pebbles. Size and shape matter less to collectors than those splattered speckles.
My childhood friend’s mother collected “wish rocks” – grey rocks with a single white line circling the center. She said they were good luck. The thicker the white stripe, the better chances of your wish coming true.
Another friend of mine loves searching for heart-shaped rocks. These are harder to find, but when you find one, it is like discovering a hidden treasure.
Me – I am a collector of smooth, shiny, flat stones that fit perfectly in the palm of my hand. There is something comforting about these rocks to me. Something sacred.
Because of my love of rocks, this week’s anchor book Everybody Needs a Rock by Byrd Baylor is special to me. (Can you say connections?) It was first published in 1974, and while the black and white drawings may not grab you initially, I guarantee the engaging, fresh voice of the narrator certainly will. The story outlines ten simple, but important rules to finding the perfect rock and inspires the reader to follow the rules and go out to find their own special rock.
Everybody Needs A Rock Rules:
Find your rock anywhere.
Shhhhhh… choose a rock quietly.
Look at your rock eye to eye.
Don’t choose a rock that’s too big.
Don’t choose a rock that’s too small.
Choose a rock that fits into your hand.
Look for the perfect color.
Choose a rock that has an interesting shape.
Sniff your rock. (they all smell different!)
Don’t ask for help. You can do this all by yourself.
The other thing I like about this book is that, while it can certainly be read literally about the joys of hunting for rocks, following ten tips, and finding one that you want to save, there is also the underlying idea that everyone needs something solid to hold onto during challenging times. A rather timely book, wouldn’t you say? It is also a gentle reminder to time to notice and connect to nature and to the things that really matter.
Watch the Youtube Read Aloud here:
After the students watch and listen to the story, invite your students to use these rules to go rock hunting this week. They can do this in their yard, at a local park, or perhaps on an outing with their parents. Encourage them to follow the 10 rules to find their special rock (they can download the rules so they don’t forget!)
After they find their perfect rock, they can draw and color a detailed picture and write about their rock finding experience – where they found it, why they picked it, etc.
Here is the Ten Rules Template (students can use this when searching for their rocks and also add their own rule!)
Lesson Extension – The “Giving Back” Rock
(Thank you, Cheryl, for this wonderful idea!!)
During our morning runs since the city shut down in March, my friend Cheryl and I have noticed painted rocks with lovely messages placed under trees along the trails. Each time we run, in fact, we notice more and more of these cheerful, encouraging rocks.
To extend this lesson, why not encourage students to find a second special rock to paint and leave somewhere in their neighborhood to brighten up someone’s day. This “Giving Back” rock can be something the students paint at home, perhaps with their family. They could drop off the rock on a neighbour’s porch or yard, or find a spot in a local park to leave it. Younger students will likely need some help with the painting and planting of this special rock but I could see this being an activity the entire family could get involved in. Invite your students to take photos of their sharing rock where they leave it in the neighbourhood.
Here is the “Giving Back Rock” template for Primary
Here is the “Giving Back Rock” template for Intermediate
Thanks for stopping by! Have a great week, everyone! You are doing a great job!
Happy Rock Hunting!
Check out more writing lessons in my new book, Powerful Writing Structures
See you soon for more OLLI posts!