I can’t imagine a more pleasant place to finish up the GOODNIGHT, ARK blog tour than here with Tina. Tina and I are writing partners, but we are also both teachers at heart. I taught elementary school for eight years before writing and she taught elementary for eleven years. Today, I’d like put on that teacher hat and think about creating extension activities for the picture books we write.
But how do you get started? Here are four brainstorming strategies I recommend.
Notice what your readers notice. Even before ARK officially released, I read my advance copy to my children and young relatives. I showed it to friends. I was even lucky enough to get to share a folded galley with my mom. As we read, I listened carefully to what each reader noticed. My mom, for example, was fascinated by Jane’s use of stripes, dots, and other patterns throughout her illustrations. Other readers noticed the pattern in rhyme and meter. Yet others commented on the patterns of repeated words and sounds. Pulling those pattern-thoughts together, I created “Going on a Pattern Hunt”, an extension activity that challenges kids to find picture, text, and sound patterns in GOODNIGHT, ARK and then create their own. That extension activity is now available on my blog.
Build upon the Common Core. A close look at your book’s listing on Amazon or at your local library will show you which common core standards your book meets. The three listed for GOODNIGHT, ARK are:
1.CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.1.2 Retell stories, including key details, and demonstrate understanding of their central message or lesson.
2.CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.1.3 Describe characters, settings, and major events in a story, using key details.
3.CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.1.4 Identify words and phrases in stories or poems that suggest feelings or appeal to the senses.
I am now in the process of using these as jumping off points for creating fun activities that include the learning elements above. Stay tuned… they’ll be up on my blog soon.
Get input from a teacher. Whether you are a teacher or not, I highly recommend showing your story to several teachers. I did and I was amazed at the lesson suggestions. One teacher in particular got really excited about all the spelling lesson possibilities that can be drawn from GOODNIGHT, ARK. And she’s right! The text is full of short vowels, long vowels, adverbs, blends galore, digraphs, rhyming words and more! I would never have thought of this, but I’m now creating fun spelling extensions for primary graders. I’ve also got lessons in mind that will focus on cause and effect, making predictions, and counting by twos. Thank you, teachers!
Think multi-sensory. Kids learn and process things differently and so don’t forget to take a multi-sensory approach. My son, for example, is very visual and verbal, so visual/verbal activities work well for him. My daughter is more of a kinesthetic, artistic learner. So, as I brainstorm, I strive to meet all kinds of learning styles with activities that include movement, art, and interactive activities. I also love crafts and will definitely include extension posts that require glue and scissors.
So there you have it.
Writers, I hope these strategies will spark your creative teaching juices as you think about extension activities for your own stories. Teachers, I hope you will check out my blog in the coming weeks as I continue to post extension activities for GOODNIGHT, ARK.
Thanks, Tina, for having me. It’s been a lovely last spot for a tour.
*If you're an educator and would like to win a free Skype visit for your classroom, please leave your name and and the grade you teach in the comments below. A winner will be drawn on Saturday, 9/27. Please check back on Sunday for the results!
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