Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Activities for Books Without Words

There is more to literacy than reading words on a page, especially when it comes to a children's book. In these books the pictures are as important as the words. The pictures allow the children to not only see the words but visualize the images and put meaning to those images. Children first start comprehending literature before they can read.
With this in mind I have a couple of activities that teachers and even guardians can do with wordless books.

Kaleidoscope Journey- Meanings and feelings arise from certain colors and their placements. Have the children draw a character then give them papers with a variety of colors on them. Have them place their character on a page and then have them state what is going on, how the background makes the character feel, and how does the background make the children feel.

Write for a Picture- In this activity have the children get a wordless book, such as Do You Want to be My Friend? by Eric Carle. Then have them write a dialogue for each page. Be sure to have them include the names of the characters, and where the events are happening.

A Picture is Worth a Lot of Words- Write different words such as happy, hurt, skipping, ect... and put them in a bag. What ever word they pick out have them develop at least three pictures that have to deal with the word they chosen.

Create a Picture Book

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

The Reading Workshop Day

Hello everyone. It is a good day for a teacher when she or he is able to implement an activity that is engaging, useful, and fun. Very soon my students and I will partake in something I like to call the "Five Stops in the Three Little Pigs Workshop." What this entails is during class there will be five stations involving the classic story that builds on the students comprehension, reading skills, and creativity. The students will be divided into small groups of five and be at each area for 10-15 minutes. These stations are:

In Their Own Words with a TWIST- This station has each student tell the story of the Three Little Pigs. However there will be a number of variables that the students have to pick out of a bag and interject into their story. The variables may be having the wolf be a pirate, or have the pig's mother join the story in some way. This activity introduces improvisation, and build comprehension. Since the story is in their own words there will be no wrong way to tell it. An actual version of this story will be read the previous day to have this story fresh in the student's memory.

Interview with a Character- This station will call upon each student to "step in the shoes" of each pig and the wolf. They will be asked a series of question and have to answer them in the way they would think that character would answer them. Example question to the second pig- Why would you pick sticks instead of straw and bricks?

Video discussion- At this station they will watch a version of the Three Little Pigs and discuss it. They will be able to say if they liked this version, why/why not, if the chimney the best way to get into the third house. This will be a starting point for the students to think critically.  Reference- Kid's Story Corner at www.education.com

Different Versions- The students in their groups and the helper will take turns reading The True Story of 
the 3 Little Pigs by Jon Scieszka and The Three Little Wolves and the Big Bad Pig by Eugene Trivizas. This is the station were the students practice their reading skills and experience two retellings of a classic story.  Reference- www.amazon.com

Illustrating- Here the students will have to draw and illustrate the story of the Three Little Pigs. There will be paper, markers, stamps, stickers, pipe cleaners, glue, and more to use.

This activity came to mind because I wanted to teach reading and comprehension in a different way and I could not choose just one activity. I think doing activities like this every now and then will hopefully keep the students invested and attain knowledge in memorable ways.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Unique Choices and Responses in Early Childhood

Hello everyone.

I would like to start with a couple of questions. How many times have you loved one story but found out that your friend did not care for it? How many times have you thought a certain story had a happy ending but your sister disagreed? Whether it be in books, movies, or television individual people take away their own unique conclusion. This statement also holds true for young children as well. People do not grow into their personalities or always acquire their likes/dislikes through experiences. Individuals, even in the state of infancy, have their own personalities and preferences. Maybe as a child you wanted The Three Little Pigs to be read every night while your brother preferred The Three Little Wolves and the Big Bad Pig because all four of them lived happily ever after. Through literature teachers and parents alike can gain insight into a child mind's and get to know the individual a little better.

At a local preschool I brought in the books One Little Monkey by Ruth Martin and Go Away, Big Green Monster! by Ed Emberley. I got very different reactions from each student that I read to. Some children got into the books by asking questions repeatedly, while some sat contently taking in the story. I also got comments that I found intriguing. For example, One Little Monkey is about a monkey trying to find friends in the jungle while meeting different animals. According to the boy, every animal was nice except for the snake. The snake did nothing wrong in the book but the child "knew" that this snake was bad. When I asked why he said quite frankly "because snakes are bad". One other thing that I found interesting was discovering the reason why one little girl did not like Go Away, Big Green Monster. She said that she did not like the monster being told to "go away" because he was nice. 

Not only are we as teachers and guardians connecting and gaining insight to children through using books, we are doing much more. By asking opinions and listening to a child, that child hopefully realizes that what they say matters. Not only this but by being able to express themselves we are also helping them gain an interest into reading and confidence to speak out. I encourage you all to encourage your children to choose books that interest them and respond to what they think is important.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Taking Advantages of Resources

Hello everyone. I will always stress how important reading is, especially to students building their literary skills. In my mind the true beauty of reading has to do with finding a book or something in a book to open your mind to the material. Books that are right for an individual can build curiosity, answer questions, allow the reader to examine different points of view, or strictly be entertaining. A great place to find books like these is at our local library. I understand that you all know that libraries have books, but I have been asking around and I found out that this fantastic resource has not been taken advantage of enough. I am also to blame for not going very much but last week I went to our library with a few friends and became aware of the vast number of resources it has. Here are some resources that will not only be beneficial to students but anyone who would like to use them.

  1. There are a plethora of books that encompass all ages, styles,  types, and topics. Just a couple of days ago I found a novel, pop-up book, wordless picture book, and [poetry book that will be very helpful tools for my classroom. I can not wait to use them.
  2. I was not aware until just last week but our library has toys for checkout. They range for toys made to challenge your mind, to games that provide exercise.
  3. While I was there I caught a group reading time that the staff members put together. They did a very good job keeping the children's interest, making the atmosphere fun, having fun while doing this. I believe that if the person in charge, whether it be a librarian or a teacher, is not having fun the children are less likely too. 
  4. I was also pleasantly surprised by how knowledgeable and helpful the staff was. They helped me find books that I wanted, gave suggestions on helpful/entertaining books/activities, offered collaboration between myself and them, talked about times when their staff is available to read, among other things.
  5. They provide much more services as well.
As a teacher and a fan of what great things books and our library has to offer, I encourage you and your family to take full advantage of these resources.