During one of my educational technology courses at UMASS Amherst, we were asked to create a resource for teachers. It didn’t have to be a website. It could have been a stand alone resource, a podcast, an online course, etc. We were to tap into our experience in education, our own in and out of school education, and the specific learnings from the course, to fill a need within education and a need within ourselves. This was truly a passion-project type of assignment and the options were endless. Our mentor and guide, Professor Torrey Trust, provided us her expertise, her endless possibilities outlook, a safe learning community, and LOADS of encouragement–inclusive of pep talks, memes, and pictures of her super cute pups.
Please take the time to check out Professor Trust’s work! She is not only a huge supporter of education and educators, she is one of the VERY BEST people that I know. Forever grateful to have had the experience of being one of her students. Click HERE to see her Design Projects and resources, and to keep up with her latest work, follow her on Twitter.
For me, the combination of my life education, my school education, my own interests, and my time as a teacher in Idaho, resulted in the research and creation of this site.
This site was designed to help educators find fictional stories to incorporate into their science lessons. I have experienced, researched, and learned that the use of fictional stories is an effective pathway to your student’s science background knowledge, interest, and understanding.
This site was also designed and developed in response to a Literature Review that asked:
How are females of color portrayed in science-based fictional picture books?
You can find a summary of the created Literature Review below, after a little bit about more about me…
Like many of us educators, I wear many hats. Currently I am a blogger, picture-book fanatic, traveler, and someone who is on a path of learning, listening, health, and healing. I am currently updating this page in February 2022, and the last two years have been, well…something. Am I right?!?
After 15 years of teaching, I took some time off to travel and finish up my Educational Specialist degree. I came back to teaching Fall 2021, but due to low enrollment for our online school I was faced with a decision. I decided to stay on with the school, as a contract worker, to support their needs in various ways (club leader, academic support for students, substitute, digital library needs, etc.) while pursuing some personal projects, like this blog.
My Educational Specialist degree is from the University of Massachusetts Amherst, within their Language, Literacy, & Culture Concentration–part of the Teacher Education Curriculum Studies department. My Bachelor’s and Master’s degree are from Boise State University (Bilingual; English as a New Language). I am also Boise State Writing Project Fellow (from their science strand) and my teaching experience includes all grade levels, with the majority of my teaching being middle school science within our Bilingual/Sheltered English program. More recently I was an elementary English Language Learner Co-Teaching Specialist.
I have many hobbies, including cooking, paper crafting, walking, reading, and streaming movies and shows. I am also the daughter of an amazing mom, the grateful sister to two kind siblings, the significant other to a full heart person, and the mom of two cats.
Sunshine, trees, and my close friendship make my heart very happy! 🙂
I hope you enjoy the site! I am so VERY GLAD YOU ARE HERE!
Literature Review Summary
Reading as an Identity Negotiation in Elementary Science Picture Books
How are female characters of color portrayed in science-based fictional picture books?
Why Fictional Books? It is a pathway that needs to be explored
“Girls and women often find reading a pleasure. This pleasure often comes from the ways in which literature allows them to relate to fictional characters and to understand how their lives are experienced. Girls, like women, often cite strong preferences for reading fiction” (Ford, Brickhouse, Lottero-Perdue, & Kittleson, 2006, p. 272).
Schema Theory: Previous experiences, knowledge, emotions and understandings affect what and how we learn
“Children need to know the text and to have an awareness of self in relation to the text to bring about understanding, they also need to be able to see themselves in the text and to position themselves as one of the characters in the narrative” (Evans, 2012, p. 325).
Keene & Zimmermann’s Work: Reading Comprehension–Text-to-Self, Text-to-World, Text-to-Text. These are common comprehension strategies used by teachers to support student understanding.
Combining schema theory with Keene & Zimmermann’s research that students have an increased level of comprehension as they make three different connections during the reading process, a literature review finding indicates-which books teachers select impact children’s understanding of themselves, their world and what is viewed as knowledge.
Transactional Nature of Reading
The transactional process of reading can be internalized by the reader and can lead to a positive view of self or a negative view of self, further impacting self-esteem, self-concept, and self-visualizing.
20 science based fictional picture books where a female was featured as one of the main characters were reviewed.
Findings show that females of color are rarely the main character and the majority of the examined books were not identified as science books, although there was a science theme throughout the book.
Examining how females of color are portrayed in science-based picture books is an examination of what is, and also what can be in the world of science literacy, science knowledge construction, and possible science identities.
Baghban, M. (2007). Immigration in childhood: Using picture books to cope. Social Studies, 98(2), 71-76.
Evans, J. (2012). “This is me”: Developing literacy and a sense of self through play, talk and stories. Education 3-13, 40(3), 315–331.
Ford, D. J., Brickhouse, N. W., Lottero-Perdue, P., & Kittleson, J. (2006). Elementary girls’ science reading at home and school. Science Education, 90(2), 270–288.
Gee, J. P. (2001). Reading as situated language: A sociocognitive perspective. Journal Of Adolescent & Adult Literacy, 44(8), 714.
Harvey, S. & Goudvis, A. (2000). Strategies that work: Teaching comprehension to enhance understanding. Portland, ME: Stenhouse.
Hefflin, B. R., & Barksdale-Ladd, M. A. (2001). African American children’s literature that helps students find themselves: Selection guidelines for Grades K-3. Reading Teacher, 54(8), 810.
Johnston, I., & Mangat, J. (2003). Cultural Encounters in the Liminal Spaces of Canadian Picture Books. Changing English: Studies In Reading & Culture, 10(2), 199-204.
Keene, E. & Zimmerman, S. (1997). Mosaic of thought. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann.
Lee, O. (1997). Guest editorial: Scientific literacy for all: What is it, and how can we achieve it? Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 34(3), 219–222.
Leonard, J., Moore, C. M., & Brooks, W. (2013). Multicultural Children’s Literature as a Context for Teaching Mathematics for Cultural Relevance in Urban Schools. The Urban Review, 46(3), 325–348.
Lowery, R. M., & Sabis-burns, D. (2001). From borders to bridges : Making cross-cultural connections through multicultural literature. Multicultural Education, 50–55.
Monhardt, L., & Monhardt, R. (2006). Creating a context for the learning of science process skills through picture books. Early Childhood Education Journal, 34(1), 67–71.
Nieto, S., Rivera, M., & Quinones, S. (2012). Connecting the interpersonal, instructional, and institutional contexts. Journal Of The Association Of Mexican American Educators, 6(3), 30-31.
Style, E. (1988). Curriculum as window and mirror. Listening for All Voices. Oak Knoll School monograph, Summit, NJ, 1988.