Five Fun Ways to Practice Sight Words

Tara from Looney's Literacy here checking in to share some fun ways we're practicing sight words! 





 Sight words are an important part of literacy learning. However, there are not many strategies to teach sight words other than memorizing them. Committing information to  our long term memory requires repetition. Repetition can become monotonous. So it becomes critical to find ways to change up sight word learning besides the same old flashcard method.

Today I'm going to share with you five ways you can change it up a little with your sight word learners. Hopefully making sight word learning fun and effective!




Sight Word Slap

You could do this game several ways. I would say, adapt this game to fit the materials you may already have available so as not to spend a lot of extra money on supplies. You can also adapt this game to one or multiple players.

Materials:

Large paper, post-it notes, flashcards, etc.
Flyswatters
small container

Directions:

Write sight words on large paper, post-it notes, or just use flashcards you already have. Write the same sight words on little pieces of paper and put them in a small container. Player one will draw a card and read the sight word. Player two will then "slap" the sight word with the flyswatter. If they get it correct they get to keep the card.  Whoever has the most cards and can read them wins.

Alternative with just one or  more player(s): The adult will call out a sight word from the list and the child(ren) will "slap" the word with a flyswatter. If there's multiple children, whoever slaps the card first gets to keep it and whoever has the most cards at the end wins.


Sight Word Bracelets

Materials:

letter beads
colored beads
elastic bands
(I purchased all of this at Dollar Tree for $3)


Directions:

Give the students a list of words they are working on. I let them choose 2-3 words (unless they're small words - then you may need to do a few more). My groups consist of 2-3 students so I just lay out a handful of each of the  beads. Have the students find all the letters they need to build their words and the color beads they will need to put between words.



{Video Clip Coming Soon}

Sight Word Sentence Showdown

Materials:

Sight word sentence strips


Directions:

Type up simple sight word sentences with  a variety of punctuation marks to work on expression. Distribute sentence strips evenly. They take turns reading sentences. They usually just get a kick out of reading them in silly voices! They really don't need any other incentive to enjoy this activity!



Shaving Cream Rainbow Writing

We didn't get a chance to try this one but it is next on my list! I found this at Kids Play Box.


Sight Word Chain Links

We haven't gotten a chance to try this either but it's been added to the list as well. You can find this at Maggie's Big Home.




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4 Sight Word Strategies for Emergent Readers

I won't drone on about the importance of sight words.  I believe even the earliest learners can be taught to recognize sight words...even before they know the letters.  I, personally, don't want them to think of the words as parts (l, o, o, k).  I need them to think of the words as a whole.

Here are 4 ideas for making sight words (word wall words) meaningful and easy for all students.



1.  In a recent post on Virginia is for Teachers, I talked about personal word walls.  This is a great tool for students.  This personal word wall is Jamie's.  He is a struggling reader and this personal word wall is focused on just the words he has been introduced to through his guided reading lessons.
2.  Sight word phrases are an easy way to get students to use the words in context, not just in isolation.  Having a phrase section on the word wall can help them practice the phrases as they read.  They can use them in writing and in centers.

3. Sight word games are a fun way to help the students practice their words.  The Roll-a-Word game can be played independently or as a team.  Independently students can roll the dice and color a square to build  a tower.  When they roll one word enough times to make a tower touch the top, they are done.  Adding a quick tally lesson, the class can tally which words make the tower each day.  At the end of the week, you have have a sight word winner.  If you want it to be a partner game, each student will need a different color crayon.  Each student will roll the dice and color a square with their color.  Whoever colors the square that reaches the top, will be the winner.  The Fluency Races are especially fun.  Students roll the dice and read the column as fast as they can. They have to start over if they mess up, but they think it's fun.
4.  Having a sight word component to centers makes the centers strategic, as well as independent.  Each week the Art Center and Poetry Center are the poem of the week from the week before.  The poems are familiar.  They circle word wall words and color in yellow.  The ABC Center above was an activity with in/on.  The Dry Erase Center is set up with sight words and phrases.  Students can practice writing.  

CLICK HERE to get a FREEBIE set of Sight Word Activities.








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Silent Reading Partners

Reluctant readers versus avid readers.  We all have them.  We work hard to keep the avid readers excited and challenged.  We work hard to get the reluctant readers excited and challenged.

How do we do this?  In so may different ways.  Engaging lessons, book choice, celebrated successes, providing books of interest, book clubs...the list goes on.  And I know as teachers, we will never stop searching for those ways to excite, engage, and challenge.

To become better at anything in life, we need practice.  To become a better reader, students need to read.  And some of our reluctant readers don't read as often because they feel that they can't or that it is too hard.  They need to feel successful and there is something to be said about reading without any judgements being made. Silent reading partners can provide this.


This past week my daughters participated in a "Tail Waggin' Tutors" program at our local library.  The energy was at all-time high in our home before and after the event.  They each picked out a book to take with them and they read to two dogs each.  Bookmarks with a picture of the dogs were in each of their hands on the way out the door.


These silent reading partners provided both excitement and challenge to my readers.  For my youngest (kinder), she walked away with a book that she wanted to try to read to me--but would have told me prior that she could not read it.  For my oldest (firstie), she walked away eager to share her experience and tell about all the jokes she shared with the dogs.

The dogs listened.  No judgements made.

Don't get me wrong...students need to have the feedback that we provide them during guided reading groups or that parents provide when reading at home.  Students need the modeling of a choral read, echo read, or repeated reading.  Students need to hear strong, engaging read alouds.  They need to read books at their instructional and independent level.

But they also need to read because they just want to read-without judgement, without feedback-without agenda.  Just read to read.

This doesn't have to occur only through a great program that comes to the library or our schools.  Maybe it is a pet in the home or a baby sibling.  The opportunities for a silent reading buddy may already be present. 

 
At the beginning of the year, my teammate lined up all the reading buddies she had bought at garage sales over the summer.  Each student in our grade got to take home a buddy to read to each night.

Some students do not have a family member to read to, or a parent that is going to encourage read aloud time each night.  The hope is that this little silent reading partner can excite and challenge our reluctant and avid readers.

As spring begins to show its face and summer is on the horizon, I begin thinking about what I have done and what more I can do to ensure that my students keep reading.  Even when I am not there to listen.
 







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Math and Literacy Connection: Vocabulary

One of the big connections between math and literacy is teaching academic vocabulary.  Without understanding of key vocabulary in math, students will struggle with each concept.  Because a teacher cannot assume that students will automatically understand content vocabulary, the teacher needs to employ the vocabulary strategies used during literacy instruction to mathematics.

Mathematical literacy is dependent on vocabulary knowledge.  Many of the words have meanings in math that are different from the meanings in every day use.
  • Product
    • something that is manufactured for sale
    • number or expression resulting from the multiplication of two or more numbers or expressions
  • Mean
    • deliberately unkind
    • a number equal to the sum of a set of numbers divided by how many numbers are in the set (average)
Knowing a word is more than just knowing the definition, which means that looking up definitions in the dictionary/glossary is not an effective way to help students create a firm foundation.  A fellow instructional coach and I created an interactive vocabulary strategy to help our students.  We used this strategy in grades PK-12 in all subjects.

The strategy has five steps that are easy to follow and help you create a plan to teach vocabulary more explicitly.


  • Choose the Words
    • The goal of this step is to choose 3 words per topic that are the most important to understanding the concepts being taught.  They are "umbrella" words that other vocabulary would fall under during the study of that topic.
  • Introduce the Words
    • Introduce the words without directly telling students the definitions of the words.  Give clues about the words using images and objects associated with the word.
    • Have students infer the meaning of the word and write a description.  This description is a starting place for their understanding of the word and the description will be modified as they learn more.
  • Infer Meaning using Context Clues
    • Read aloud a passage that has the vocabulary words in context (from a novel, textbook, article, teacher-created paragraph, etc.)
    • Create a class chart with three columns:  word, text clues, inferred meaning.
  • Create a Graphic Representation
    • Model creating a graphic representation (see FREEBIE below for template for this step) of one of the words making sure to think out loud for students about why the graphic was chosen.
    • This is a great step for students to do in groups.
  •   Interact with the Words
    • After being explicitly taught the vocabulary with the above steps, students will begin to interact with the words in a variety of ways:  graphic organizers, games, word association activities, etc. (see FREEBIE for ideas on how to do this)
One last thought (and a freebie) before you go:


CLICK HERE to download this strategy and CLICK HERE to download an example way to interact with the words - Word Association.

What do students think about this strategy?  Here are some direct quotes from eighth grade students:
  • "I think vocabulary strategies this year are a lot stronger than ones last year.  Now I can understand what words mean without struggling to memorize a definition from a dictionary.  Also, things are easier to sink in now."
  • "I love doing the skits and pictures, and I also love Pictionary and the clues.  Last year I didn't like learning vocabulary so much, but this year it's easier to learn the words when we're having fun."
  • "I love doing vocabulary this way instead of just looking up the definition the old way where you just copy out of a glossary.  It was much easier to learn this way."
If you missed the first post in the Math and Literacy Connection Series, go back to read about why the connection is important and learn about another vocabulary strategy - Word Splash.

Next month I will continue the series with poetry...math and poetry make a fantastic connection.

Math and Literacy Connection Series at Adventures in Literacy Land


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Reading is Seeing: Let's Visualize!

Every year, I spend a lot time teaching my third graders why it is so important to visualize a text. Visualizing is a proven way to improve reading comprehension and help engage readers with a text in ways that make it personal and memorable.  Students gain more of an understanding of a text when they use specific words to create mental images.  The more students practice visualizing, the more automatic this skill will become.

We are currently reading one of my favorite class read-alouds, The Lemonade War by Jacqueline Davies.  (Side note--this is a great book that encompasses reading, math, and social studies. Plus, it leaves the students wanting to read the sequel!!)  The Lemonade War is about a brother (Evan) and a sister (Jessie) challenging each other to an all-out war to see who can sell the most lemonade before school starts.  As I started reading chapter 7 the other day, I had an "ah-ha" moment.  A few days prior to reading the chapter to my class, I was browsing on Pinterest one evening and came across a post about visualizing a setting from Teaching in Room 6.  I saved the pin, not thinking I would be utilizing it so quickly!  But as I was reading chapter 7 to my class, I thought now would be a perfect time to use the activity.

Needless to say, the lesson was a success!  I just have to share!!


Chapter 7, which is called Location, Location, Location, is an important chapter for Evan in the story because he decides that he needs to change his lemonade stand location to a place where there are more thirsty customers.  Turns out, this chapter would be perfect to visualize setting.

After reading the chapter, I handed the students a paper that displayed the part that described Evan's new location.  I had the students dissect this part of the chapter by finding specific text evidence to prove the setting of Evan's lemonade stand.  I didn't just have the students look for the when and where the story took place.  The students had to look for text evidence to prove the weather, environment, and landscape.

After completing the chart, I handed the students a piece of white construction paper.  The students had to use the text and visualize Evan's location of the lemonade stand by drawing the setting.  But there was one stipulation.  The students could not draw anything that they could not prove from the text.  Whatever they visualized, they had to prove it by cutting out the sentence from the text, and gluing it on their picture.  I used a 4-point rubric (which I printed on post-it notes to stick to the back of their construction paper) to grade their end product.  Check out some of the finished results below!  The students really enjoyed this activity and it was helpful to see which students were able to use the text evidence to prove their drawing.





What are some of your favorite visualizing activities?

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Using Literature to address Character: A Team Approach to Teaching

Are you ready for your next PLC meeting? You know the one where everyone sits around the table wondering how to help the strugglers over the testing hurdle and how to ease tensions between your strong personalities. After reading through this post, I hope that PLC meeting will give you a chance to catch your counselor and tech specialist so that you can put your heads together and build a great cross-curricular instructional plan. Last year, I reached out to our guidance counselor and technology specialist, and what we came up with was a smashing success. I want to share it with you in case you'd like to try it out too. Here's how it worked...
Working with colleagues on a common piece of curriculum can make a big impact on your students. Check out this post to see how this model was implemented with one unit and get ideas you might try with your teammates.
One of my favorite authors is Patricia Polacco, and last year, as I was developing materials to use with her book, Bully, I decided I wanted to involve our guidance counselor and technology specialist in some of the lessons I had planned. It just happened to be February when I was using this book, so the timing was just right. Here's an outline of how it worked.
  • Our counselor addressed bullying with the fifth grade groups with classroom guidance lessons.
  • This book also happened to have cyber bullying themes, so I involved our technology specialist by asking her to come in and team with me with a group discussion on internet safety. 
  • In the meantime, we wrote about how to handle situations when someone bullies you, and I taught comprehension skills with this book as the mentor text. My students were quite pleased to have their writing pieces highlighted in the classroom guidance lessons.
  • Finally, the three of us working together demonstrated to the students that teamwork is important in the classroom AND in the workplace.

Using Literature to Ease Anxiety

Working with colleagues on a common piece of curriculum can make a big impact on your students. Check out this post to see how this model was implemented with one unit and get ideas you might try with your teammates.
Around this time of year, we are analyzing our data to see what interventions need to happen for those not progressing as they should. Anxiety begins to build for teachers and for students since we're talking about progress more. Luckily for us, we can reach for wonderful books to model perseverance, determination, and managing our worries.  Salt in His Shoes, Wilma Unlimited, Wilma Jean, Worry Machine, and Wemberly Worried are just a few favorites of mine. The books can get you started with discussions (in guidance and during ELA block), but you might use Today's Meet to bring in technology too. Your tech specialist and guidance counselor will also be deeply involved in helping your group prepare for testing too, so it is certainly good to be prepared so that your students are confident and ready. With Salt in His Shoes, you can talk about things students find challenging. Setting measurable goals can help your students have a sense of accomplishment which also builds confidence.

Using Literature to Build Relationships

Working with colleagues on a common piece of curriculum can make a big impact on your students. Check out this post to see how this model was implemented with one unit and get ideas you might try with your teammates.Another great topic for this time of year is friendship. This book collection is all about building relationships. You can share books like Wilfred Gordan McDonald Partridge to demonstrate how we can support and help the elderly. This book is just wonderful for character development, sequencing events, and theme. Students can write about their best older friend, and once again, we can bring in guidance as we talk about aging and responsibility. You might have students interview an "older friend" and create a movie with Animato in your lab. 

Last year, I used the book, Owen and Mzee, to talk about friendship. We researched tsunamis and the countries around the Indian ocean where Owen and Mzee were rescued. I was lucky to find several links to articles and movie clips about them too. Your guidance counselor might talk about uncommon friendships and how important to reach out to those who need a friend. Have you read, Each Kindness by Jacqueline Woodson?  Grab your tissues. You will need them. Sometimes challenging books can make us think too. [This set] in my store features Each Kindness, and after sharing it with my students, we created a class "Welcome Book". Having students introduce themselves is a great way to learn trivial things about them that you might not learn otherwise.

Using Literature to Deal with Grief and Loss

Working with colleagues on a common piece of curriculum can make a big impact on your students. Check out this post to see how this model was implemented with one unit and get ideas you might try with your teammates.
Sadly, at some point in our career, we are faced with helping a child through a loss. It might be the family pet, a grandparent, or even worse, a parent or sibling. For my own children, the first death that hit them hard was the loss of our family dog and then, a month later, my father passed. It really caught us all by surprise, and with that experience, I learned that we need to be prepared and we need to prepare kids. This is challenging for everyone, and I am certainly not recommending a month long set of lessons. However, I would try to gather resources for when they are needed. Having a basket of books put together and/or a book list that you can share will help you feel prepared. If you wish to share a book or two, I would recommend Memory String by Eve Bunting and The Tenth Good Thing about Barney by Judith Viorst. By gently touching on the topic, we can help provide a little schema for our students that might help when the time comes. (okay...enough of this topic).

Using Literature to Address Bullying

Working with colleagues on a common piece of curriculum can make a big impact on your students. Check out this post to see how this model was implemented with one unit and get ideas you might try with your teammates.The last topic I thought I'd share is the topic I started with, Bullying. Believe it or not, there are books at all age levels on this topic. For the primary grades, I love Swimmy by Leo Lionni, Goggles by Ezra Jack Keats, Stand Tall Molly Lou Melon and The Recess Queen.  In upper elementary, you could pull many of Patricia Polacco's books, Enemy Pie, or Tough Boris. You can also explore this theme with chapter books with The Hundred Dresses, Esperanza Rising, Wonder, and Maniac Magee.  There are so many options. I gave you a few thoughts early on about how to involve your teammates. [Here] is the link to the unit for Bully if you're interested. You might modify these ideas for primary grades to be about including others and friendship.

How do you work with your colleagues? Have you thought about cross-curricular units? Maybe you pair with a primary teacher for reading buddies? You might choose books with one of these themes each month to work on school climate, or maybe pair your classes for a group project. There are certainly lots of options if you put your heads together. I think it's a great way to use your PLC time to improve school climate, don't you? 

Until next time, happy reading and see you next month, literacy fans. Now let's collaborate!
5

13 Picture Books That Get Your Students UP and MOVING


Looking for ways to engage and motivate your young readers?  Here are 13 picture books that will get early readers up, moving, and having fun while reading.   Simple, repetitive, and rhyming texts for emergent readers in pre-k, kindergarten, and first grade.
Hi, this is Jessica from Literacy Spark.  If there is one thing I have learned teaching young students, it's that reading needs to be fun!  If reading is a forced chore  for a child in first grade, it will likely remain that way for years to come unless an awesome teacher comes along and makes an impact. 

One of the ways to make reading engaging for young readers is to use books that encourage movement.  This makes reading books a desirable activity because it is fun!  It's that simple.  I am going to share with you today 13 books that you can use to get your students up and moving.  The majority of them are most appropriate for pre-k, kinder, and first.  Many also incorporate rhyming and repetitive text.

Note:  This post contains affiliate links.  Click the book images or links to find the them on Amazon.

Looking for ways to engage and motivate your young readers?  Here are 13 picture books that will get early readers up, moving, and having fun while reading.   Simple, repetitive, and rhyming texts for emergent readers in pre-k, kindergarten, and first grade.
From Head to Toe by Eric Carle is a favorite in our house!  My daughter is only 15 months old and she has learned the movements of the animals from this book.  She even opens it up and does what the animals are doing all by herself.  And now if she sees or hears "gorilla" she pats her chest.  Amazes me!  I used to have a big book of it when I taught first grade and it is really fun book for early readers.  It's very repetitive ("Can you do it?  I can do it! I can do it!") and on every page a movement is encouraged, for example, turning your head like a penguin or stomping like an elephant.

Looking for ways to engage and motivate your young readers?  Here are 13 picture books that will get early readers up, moving, and having fun while reading.   Simple, repetitive, and rhyming texts for emergent readers in pre-k, kindergarten, and first grade.
The Little Old Lady Who Was Not Afraid of Anything by Linda Williams is a classic and Halloween favorite.  The little old lady is walking outside late at night when she starts being chased by shoes, pants, gloves, etc. Each of the items chasing her makes a special sound or motion (the gloves clap, for example).  This book would be great for working on sequencing with little ones as well as problem and solution.
Looking for ways to engage and motivate your young readers?  Here are 13 picture books that will get early readers up, moving, and having fun while reading.   Simple, repetitive, and rhyming texts for emergent readers in pre-k, kindergarten, and first grade.
Silly Sally by Audrey Wood is silly book about dancing, leaping, tickling, walking backwards, and more.  While not much depth, it does rhyme and have repetitive phrases so it would be good for fluency practice.
Looking for ways to engage and motivate your young readers?  Here are 13 picture books that will get early readers up, moving, and having fun while reading.   Simple, repetitive, and rhyming texts for emergent readers in pre-k, kindergarten, and first grade.
Huff and Puff by Claudia Rueda is a very simplistic take on The Three Little Pigs with a surprise ending.  There is not a lot of text and the pictures allow for kids to tell and interact with the story themselves. The book itself has holes in it so that the reader can pretend to "blow" down the houses like the wolf.
Looking for ways to engage and motivate your young readers?  Here are 13 picture books that will get early readers up, moving, and having fun while reading.   Simple, repetitive, and rhyming texts for emergent readers in pre-k, kindergarten, and first grade.
In Oh! by Kevin Henkes, the animals all want to come out and play after a snowfall.  Each page has a different motion being performed by an animal so this would be a great book to use for teaching action words to young readers.
Looking for ways to engage and motivate your young readers?  Here are 13 picture books that will get early readers up, moving, and having fun while reading.   Simple, repetitive, and rhyming texts for emergent readers in pre-k, kindergarten, and first grade.
There is something about The Gingerbread Man that makes me (and my students) feel like running!  Kids into second grade still love this story!  I've had second graders work together to put this into a play.  Since the text is repetitive, it's easy for them to remember and they absolutely love running around and role playing it.   This is still my favorite version.
Looking for ways to engage and motivate your young readers?  Here are 13 picture books that will get early readers up, moving, and having fun while reading.   Simple, repetitive, and rhyming texts for emergent readers in pre-k, kindergarten, and first grade.
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Today I Feel Silly by Jamie Lee Curtis is a really cute book all about feelings.  It also rhymes and reads to a rhythm.  Kids love acting out the different emotions shown in the text. Great for helping students learn to express their emotions using words other than happy and sad.
Looking for ways to engage and motivate your young readers?  Here are 13 picture books that will get early readers up, moving, and having fun while reading.   Simple, repetitive, and rhyming texts for emergent readers in pre-k, kindergarten, and first grade.
Up, Down, and Around by Katherine Ayres describes how some plants grow up, others grown down into the ground, while others grow around so it would work perfectly for a science lesson  with young students. The text is simple and rhymes making it fun to read while learning how plants grow.
Looking for ways to engage and motivate your young readers?  Here are 13 picture books that will get early readers up, moving, and having fun while reading.   Simple, repetitive, and rhyming texts for emergent readers in pre-k, kindergarten, and first grade.
All kids know this song, right?  I mean I listen to it in the car every day now...   I bet your students would be surprised to know that it is a book and I bet they would also find it very fun and easy to read!  If You're Happy and You Know It! adapted by Anna McQuinn has colorful illustrations of children around the world and also comes with the music CD.
Looking for ways to engage and motivate your young readers?  Here are 13 picture books that will get early readers up, moving, and having fun while reading.   Simple, repetitive, and rhyming texts for emergent readers in pre-k, kindergarten, and first grade.
Like a Windy Day by Frank & Devin Asch would be an excellent book to use for visualizing.  The little girl in the story basically imagines that she is the wind.  It has fairly decent descriptive language for young readers too ("zoom down the hillsides") that they would have fun trying to replicate.
Looking for ways to engage and motivate your young readers?  Here are 13 picture books that will get early readers up, moving, and having fun while reading.   Simple, repetitive, and rhyming texts for emergent readers in pre-k, kindergarten, and first grade.
Quick as a Cricket by Audrey Wood has simple sentences that describe a boy pretending to be certain characteristics of animals, such as  "I am as small as an ant."  This text would be a good model for having students write their own similar sentences.
Looking for ways to engage and motivate your young readers?  Here are 13 picture books that will get early readers up, moving, and having fun while reading.   Simple, repetitive, and rhyming texts for emergent readers in pre-k, kindergarten, and first grade.

Move! by Steve Jenkins and Robin Page would be a another book to use for teaching about action words or even for science as it specifically describes how different animals move.  Kids love trying to act out the motions, which are pulled out of the text and written in large print on each page.
Looking for ways to engage and motivate your young readers?  Here are 13 picture books that will get early readers up, moving, and having fun while reading.   Simple, repetitive, and rhyming texts for emergent readers in pre-k, kindergarten, and first grade.
We're Going on a Bear Hunt by Michael Rosen brings the famous song to text.  I'm actually not sure which came first since I never knew this was a book!  Kids love singing along to the rhythm and patting their knees while they role play the actions.  Here's a good You Tube video with the song and photographs to go along with it.
I hope you have found something new to use with your students or even your toddler at home.  Just remember to let them move and have fun reading!
Follow Literacy Spark's board Student Motivation on Pinterest.
If you are looking for other ways to motivate your students, follow my Pinterest board above.




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Out-Of-The-Box Biographies

Hello Literacy Lovers!

Thank you for stopping by to read about one of my FAVORITE ways to integrate art into language lessons!  Please indulge me while I sing the praises of and wax poetic about Hanoch Piven and his picture books!


Students will enjoy reading the collage-style books of Hanoch Piven and using the Faces iMake iPad app to create their own "out-of-the-box" biography projects!


Oh picture books by Hanoch Piven!  How do I love thee?

Let me count the ways.....


  • Collage illustrations made with quirky and colorful everyday items.  Click {HERE} to see a gallery of portraits an his inspiring TED Talk.
  • Repetitive, patterned text that encourages students to "write their own version of the story."
  • Extensive use of  similes, that provide great models for student learning to use figurative language in their own writing.
  • Anecdotal facts about famous people that highlight a personality quality or character trait not often depicted in history books or the news.
  • Encouragement given to young readers, writers, and artists to "look at the world in a new different, playful way."
  • "Faces" or caricatures made with found objects or "happy accidents" that not only represent the outside features of the person, but also symbolize their inside personality traits.
  • Art created without pencil and paper that encourages descriptive writing and tells a story.
  • iPad app called FACES iMAKE that lets students create their own collages without you having to collect a variety of materials for them to use.  Creativity without clutter at it's finest!


Students will enjoy reading the collage-style books of Hanoch Piven and using the Faces iMake iPad app to create their own "out-of-the-box" biography projects!


Students will enjoy reading the collage-style books of Hanoch Piven and using the Faces iMake iPad app to create their own "out-of-the-box" biography projects!


If you are TIRED of the same old research report or timeline formats you've used with your primary grade students to gather facts about famous Americans, why not encourage them to create caricatures and then use figurative language templates to expand upon and share what they've learned with their peers?  Studying biographies in this "out-of-the-box" fashion is sure to interest and engage your students!

Piven's What Are President's Made Of? and What Are Athlete's Made Of? both have a wonderful format where each famous person is defined by their most outstanding character trait, a collage made of real-life objects that symbolize achievements, interests, or important aspects of their life, and a lesser-know anecdote about them.  For example, the true story of how Washington extinguished a neighborhood fire at the age of 67 is captioned by this succinct sentence.....

George Washington is....made of good deeds.

I created this FREEBIE that I am going to use with my second graders as we learn more about the lives of people that made America great, and I thought that you might like it too!  If you download it, please be kind and leave thoughtful feedback!  You will find it {HERE} in my store.


Students will enjoy reading the collage-style books of Hanoch Piven and using the Faces iMake iPad app to create their own "out-of-the-box" biography projects!



Students will enjoy reading the collage-style books of Hanoch Piven and using the Faces iMake iPad app to create their own "out-of-the-box" biography projects!



Students will enjoy reading the collage-style books of Hanoch Piven and using the Faces iMake iPad app to create their own "out-of-the-box" biography projects!



Students will enjoy reading the collage-style books of Hanoch Piven and using the Faces iMake iPad app to create their own "out-of-the-box" biography projects!



Students will enjoy reading the collage-style books of Hanoch Piven and using the Faces iMake iPad app to create their own "out-of-the-box" biography projects!


Students will enjoy reading the collage-style books of Hanoch Piven and using the Faces iMake iPad app to create their own "out-of-the-box" biography projects!
Find it {HERE}!


Students will enjoy reading the collage-style books of Hanoch Piven and using the Faces iMake iPad app to create their own "out-of-the-box" biography projects!


As always, thank you for your continued interest and kind support of Adventures in Literacy Land! We hope that you continue to find our posts full of inspiration, new ideas, and useful materials that help you help children love reading and writing!

Be sure to visit me over at my personal blog, Stories and Songs in Second, for more ideas that will help you work "smarter not harder" in your classroom! You might also be interested in this Pinterest board of Black History Month ideas I've compiled!


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Students will enjoy reading the collage-style books of Hanoch Piven and using the Faces iMake iPad app to create their own "out-of-the-box" biography projects!


Keep calm and teach on!







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