Every one of our students at school keeps a field journal, so we're always looking for good mentor texts to share with them, to give them ideas from others who keep their own journals. The other part is to learn what to look for, why to capture it, what details to note in words and sketches? Of course those younger students do all of their notes in pictures, or by carefully copying down a few words. Slowly everyone improves their noticing. It's a great thing to practice, and then to know one is improving.
Today I discovered three wonderful picture books that will enhance most any student's learning in field journaling. One many of you have reviewed. I'm sorry I haven't read it sooner. The other is a marvelous example of one year in a journaler's life. It's lovely and creative, and I hope you'll look for it!
Look Up! Bird-Watching in Your Own Backyard - written and illustrated by Annette LeBlanc Cate
The book is filled to the brim with ideas for journaling, and many, many facts about birds. The pages showing the color in birds, including those in shades of brown or black and white are simply breath-taking. There are how-tos and jokes, all presented in cartoon-like drawings. Balloon speech is everywhere! Besides learning much from the book about journaling and details, it's a beautiful mentor text for a creative way to share research, much more entertaining than a report!
The Robin Makes A Laughing Sound, a birder's journal - written and illustrated by Sallie Walf, designed by Micah Bornstein
Sallie Walf chronicles her birding year in this book, sharing that she's journaled since seventh grade, when a teacher taught the class how to identify birds. Each page shows a few sketches and observations and a poem that looks as if it's been prepared on another paper, then taped into the journal. It's a lovely presentation. You can find an example of one of the pages here.
Morning, Noon, and Night - written by Jean Craighead George and illustrated by Wendell Minor
Here's an old book discovered in our library, that I believe, if you can find a copy, would make a beautiful mentor text for children. It has clear, basic and beautiful language showing the day from morning until night. It's written by wonderful Jean Craighead George who makes facts seem like poetry, and illustrated by Wendell Minor, whose paintings always inspire. One beautiful page: "Good evening, the evening,/when the earth has turned from light to dusk/and vesper begins." The painting is the ending sunset with bats in flight-gorgeous.