Programs Ideas from Year of the Book Teachers
When CLiF partners with schools, libraries, shelters, prisons, and summer camps, we count on them to help us improve our programs by offering us feedback and by sharing their creative literacy ideas. Each Year of the Book school has access to five $400 grants for their teachers. We receive wonderful proposals for these mini-grants and are always thrilled to hear about the results. Here are some of the 2014-2015 grants - a variety of low-cost, creative programs designed by teachers to make literacy fun!
Victorian Puppet Show
One art teacher had students adapt a Victorian children’s story and a puppet show. Students worked on project planning, developing dialogue, designing settings and creating their own puppets. The result: “It was great to see them be just as excited to work out their ideas on a storyboard as they were to paper mache. One of the students that struggles the most with literacy skills, became our best performer. He was able to help others on how to use expressive voice.”
“I teamed up with a 5th grade mainstream teacher for the nonfiction genre study. We launched the unit by creating a timeline of major periods in American history. Students made paper chains (color coded with a key) representing centuries of American history (blue/water for exploration, purple/royalty for colonization, pink/infancy for independence, green/growth for expansion, yellow/electricity for invention). We selected mentor texts from among the CLiF grant library I purchased. We chose texts that represented men and women from different time periods, as well as historical figures from different ethnic backgrounds. The students then selected a famous American of their choice to study and then write a report about. Students presented their reports to each other in class during the Author’s Chair time.”
One teacher had students read cookbooks and prepare an international lunch in conjunction with researching different countries. He used the grant for supplies and international cookbooks. “Food is a great way for them to learn about the culture, and climate of a particular place…The opportunity to make and eat an international lunch broadened their scope of the world. Using cookbooks to learn about the food of a country sparked greater curiosity and questioning from the students about how places are similar and different around the globe.”
A middle school teacher worked on a poetry unit - students read poetry, learned about form, rhyme, rhythm and many other elements of poetry, and then progressed to writing their own poems. “Each student was able to include an original poem and an illustration with the poem." The funding enabled them to purchase an original, hardcover copy of the book for each student. "The students were out of this world happy when they received their books. I believe this is a project that I will need to do every year.”
The idea of the teacher mini-grant leading to a literary tradition inspires us at CLiF. We hope your summer has been filled with similar inspiration for new and fun ways to help the kids you work with to love reading and writing!