Wednesday, July 3, 2019

Books To Create Risk-Takers

I had an interesting exchange with a student at recess this past year. One of the girls climbed up on a part outside the playground structure and another girl wanted to do it too. She was scared and didn't know how to go about it. I asked the first girl to show her a way to climb up and the second student tentatively made her way to the top. I told her how proud I was that she had taken the risk and tried it even though she was scared. (They were never in any danger, I was right there spotting them).

I don't think as educators that we spend enough time encouraging our students to take risks. And these kids in this generation certainly aren't being encouraged often by their parents-if anything they go out of their way to remove obstacles their children may face.

On Twitter, I saw a tweet from a man who saw Google did not recognize Juneteenth in their opening design on that day so he tweeted them one he had drawn-they offered him a job working for them. Taking risks in life can pay off and if you don't go out on that limb every once in a while, your scenery will never change.

As teachers, I think it's important to model risk-taking for your students. I often share with them if I'm heading into a meeting where I will have to get up and speak and I'm nervous-but I am going to take that risk. We also identify this in characters of our favorite books. (We are very specific in the difference between taking a risk to raise your hand and ask a question and taking a risk like skateboarding of the roof-the latter is definitely not what I'm talking about).

Here are some books that I recommend:

Jabari has a lot of anxiety when it comes to jumping off that high diving board-but he doesn't let it stop him. 

Stephanie wears her hair in different ponytails even though the students make fun of her for it. 

Woolbur wants to be different from the other sheep much to the consternation of his family. He takes a risk to be himself.

I included this even though it's a classic because I meet teachers every day who have not heard of this story. Tacky is an odd bird. He doesn't walk like the other penguins or dress like the other penguins or sing like the other penguins. But he takes a risk in standing up to the hunters and in just being himself.

It's safe up in the tree, but is hiding out up there really living your life to the fullest?

Friends take a risk to be friends when the rules say otherwise. One of my favorite authors tackling an important topic.

It's a clunky title and I don't think the text has the best flow-but a great message. You have to learn how to fly in order to soar-even if it's scary.

The whole family is scared of a strange dog that shows up in their yard-all except one child who takes a risk that pays off big time.

I was attracted to this book because of the illustrator but I really think this story has many opportunities for activities-including the risk he takes to get to know the "dark".


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