Wednesday, February 5, 2014

More portraits!

 I'm not sure where I found this lesson idea-- somewhere in Pinterest-land probably,but I thought it was a great literacy integrated project. Kids did a 4-square organizer to plan out the cover of their favorite book (title/author, characters/setting, 2 sentence summary, impressions of the book). We talked about how the information they wrote about the characters, setting, and plot should put pictures in their head and help them come up with an illustration for the cover.
 We learned about the parts of a book, and noticed where designers put all the information that makes us want to read the book. After completing the covers,we broke out the construction paper and made collaged self-portrait. What a messy, crazy room it was with paper everywhere!!! It seemed a bit wasteful, but the kids did a great job making interesting hair,slightly in relief. The books were added on,sticking out from the page. Although most of the faces were covered by the books, you can peek down between the layers to see their expressions.
 It was very interesting to see what books were chosen, and how that reflected the reading levels of my 2nd graders. Lots and lots of Dr. Seuss books were chosen, a few Diary of a Wimpy Kid and Magic Treehouse chapter books showed up, and then there were a few kids who stole my heart by selecting Alice in Wonderland and Voyage of the Dawn Treader from the Chronicles of Narnia.
 At their age,I might have chosen Little House on the Prairie as my favorite book series. Of course, I was the early reader and perpetual bookworm always lost in another world of an author's creation.  I hope my students caught some of my enthusiasm for reading through this project- I think kids need to see that adults love reading. Reading gets bogged down in academics and testing. I tricked them into doing a book report with this project, but for the most part the kids seemed engaged in the stories they were showing me.
For the few kids who seemed lost for an idea, I reminded them that there are ALL KINDS of books- including comic books, instruction manuals, fact books, dictionaries, etc. And I have several projects that show Minecraft and Lego building guides.There's even one or two book covers with the words "written and illustrated by" on them because a child wanted to write their own book! 
I greatly admire authors- theirs is a greater art than mine. I make pictures a viewer can explore, but an author paints a whole world of characters and story making us create the images in our own heads actively. This is a great feat....
Keep reading everybody!!