One of the most used books in my teaching library is “The Important Book” by Margaret Wise Brown. Have you read it? It’s simple – a repetitive format for identifying the important thing about a set of objects in life. But I’ve used it with students more times than I can count! Students got so good at writing “Important Poems” that we would even write these as a ticket out for the day’s lesson! But let’s switch the script and talk about how you can use this amazing book to be intentional, encouraging, and reflective.
The important thing about an apple is that it is round.
It is red.
You bite it,
and it is white inside and the juice splashes in your face,
and it tastes like an apple,
and it falls of a tree.
But the important thing about an apple is that it is round.
The book continues describing wind, grass, a glass, spoons, and the sky – all using this same format and one repetitive line.
This simple format – what we coined “Important Poems” became the staple format in our class. We used it to identify main ideas and supporting details, to fuel our careful observations during science, and even to notice the important moments of our day.
This book can be used 10,000 ways – and here are some suggestions for using Important Poems to be intentional, encouraging, and reflective – especially here at the end of the year.
Using The Important Book to Be Intentional
We get caught up in the busy-ness of the day-to-day. Our lives seem to be run by schedules, deadlines, and our to-do lists.
Nearing the end of the school year, those lists can seem endless and the finish line is so near. We are tempted to hunker down, put our nose to the grindstone, and power through.
And that strategy may work if our goal is getting everything done.
But is that really the goal?
Or is the goal something bigger? To leave our students with something bigger?
Reflect for a moment on what you want “the important thing” to be for these next few weeks.
Using The Important Book to Be Encouraging
I wrote a few weeks ago about end of the year teacher hacks and one suggestion was doing something for students that will leave them with a keepsake. You can use this book and write Important Poems about each other or to your students. This was one of my students’ favorite things to do, and we read them on the last day of class (and they got to take them home).
Another suggestion is to actually write one for this school year and this class as a whole. Something like this: “The important thing about Room 26 is that we always do our best. We have learned together and from each other, we took field trips to A, B, and C, we did X, Y, and Z. But the important thing about Room 26 is that we always do our best.” Then place your class picture on it, have all the students sign it, write the year on it, and post it in your classroom. Students love coming back to visit and seeing their picture and poem.
Using The Important Book to Be Reflective
Allow students to write Important Poems to the students who will be coming to your class next year. They can start it with “The Important things about 4th grade is…” or “The Important Thing about Mrs. Smith is…” Read these to your incoming students on the first day of school.
Finally, use The Important Book to reflect on this school year – for yourself. The important thing about this school year was …
- I made it
- I learned how to ___.
- I prioritized self-care.
The important thing about you is that you are you.
It is true that you were a baby,
and you grew,
and now you are a child,
and you will grow,
into a man,
or into a woman.
But the important thing about you is that you are YOU.
This is how this sweet book ends. And this wisdom is so true – the important thing about you, sweet teacher friend, is that you are you. You try your hardest, you put your students first, you look for ways to engage students’ minds, and hearts, you work hard all year round, and you never give up. But the important thing about you, sweet teacher friend, is that you are you.
Thank you for being you.
All my love,
What now sweet teacher friend?
All quotes in this post are directly taken from “The Important Book” by Margaret Wise Brown