Second grade signed up for a rotation through the library as part of their Thanksgiving feast celebration on the day before our holiday break. Their request was to read the book Balloons Over Broadway by Melissa Sweet. If you’ve never read this book, it is amazing! The illustrations are filled with details that you can search through for hours and it is packed full of information while being very readable as a read aloud. While I love biographies, sometimes it is hard to read a biography aloud because of the length. Balloons Over Broadway is just right.
Before we read the book, we looked at information about the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. Watching this parade has always been a part of my Thanksgiving tradition. I was very surprised to see how many students had never watched the parade or even heard of it. I was reminded of the importance of the picture book and how it brings out conversations that might never have happened without the sharing of a story. Some of our conversations included perseverance, immigration, failure, and growth mindset along with some other Thanksgiving traditions.
There are numerous resources you can use to share about the parade and the book:
- The official parade page
- The lineup
- History Channel History of the Parade
- Video of this year’s balloons being tested
- Balloons Over Broadway activity kit
- Author/Illustrator site
After we read the story, we used on of the pages out of the activity kit to design our own balloons.
I loved watching what students came up with. Once they finished, they had the option of sharing their balloon on a Flipgrid.
Students came up to the webcam on the projection board and I helped them click through the Flipgrid menus to take a picture and record. Then, students came up to type their name. I normally use the iPad app for Flipgrid, but this was a fast way of doing a lesson closing as students finished their coloring on their own time.
Click here to see and here about their balloon designs!
The book also made me think ahead. Last year in 2nd grade, we did a great project with the force and motion standards in science where students investigated Rube Goldberg and made their own inventions. Balloons Over Broadway was a perfect introduction to the idea of tinkering and using everyday objects and simple machines to take mundane tasks and make them interesting. I want to revisit the opening pages of the book where Tony Sarg invents a way t feed the chickens when we do the simple machine project later this year.
I also thought about the Hour of Code and how that event brought about so many conversations about failure and perseverance. This book would be a great example to share ahead of Hour of Code to think about a growth mindset and prep students for the failure that comes with coding and how you handle that failure as a learning experience.
Who knew that so many thoughts would come about from a simple request to read a story.