Rm. 202 Literary Lanterns Project

A few weeks ago I started seeing tweets about Literary Lanterns and they were so interesting to me.  Basically think of a pumpkin painted like your favorite book character, and that’s what they are.  We toyed with the idea of doing this on a school level, but it didn’t happen, so Rm. 202 decided to do it for ourselves!

First I showed my friends some examples of some pumpkins other kids had created, since I figured most of them didn’t really didn’t have any idea what I was talking about. 🙂

screenshot-2016-10-21-14-46-12

Then we brainstormed a list of characters kiddos would like to create, with two minor rules: NO ONE could do Piggie or Elephant and NO ONE could do the Pigeon, because well, EVERYONE would want to do those characters and that would be a very boring pumpkin display.  Once everyone was clear on those guidelines (which really meant that EVERY OTHER BOOK CHARACTER in the world was fair game), kiddos got busy creating a list of ideas.

I pulled up our book pictures on our ActivBoard, and many also studied our door display (see?  Another reason why this project has been SO GREAT!).

Originally I was going to take our ideas and make a list and then have everyone pick the one they wanted, but instead had them circle the one they most wanted to create on the list they first brainstormed.  Then I just had to cross-reference everyone’s choice (which was much easier and much less work!) and surprisingly it all worked out really nicely.  Some kiddos were paired up (if they chose the same book) and some worked alone.

These choices were made on a Friday, so that kiddos could then work at home over the weekend to secure their pumpkin and any other supplies they might need.  To my surprise and delight, this showed up on Monday:

img_4885

Once we had our pumpkins, our plans and some time, we got busy!!

Oh my goodness they looked great!

Then we had a super idea about how we’d share them with our Robinson friends.  I asked Mrs. Meihaus if she would let us make a display of them in the library so we could show up our hard work and creativity, and she so kindly said YES!  Most teachers at Robinson know about our #classroombookaday challenge and how this went along with our crazy reading love, so were interested in what we were doing anyway.

Then we had another great idea: we would use this project as the basis of our learning on elections and voting.  Our display was set up, we created a sign to hang above our pumpkins and then everyone of them was numbered.  I created a Google form for Robinson friends, family and teachers (anyone who views the display, really) to cast their votes and now we’re off!  We are so proud and very excited to see what happens with this project now that it’s in place in the library. 🙂

And without further ado, here are our final products:

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

We’d love to include you in our voting, too!  If you’d like to vote for YOUR favorite pumpkin, scan the QR code or click on the link below and cast your vote!  We’d LOVE to see how far this project can spread outside of our walls in Missouri, so please also share where you live!  THANK YOU in advance!!

screenshot-2016-10-31-20-36-24

goo.gl/PXrKZb

Series Reading Groups

We have been working with series of books in Readers’ Workshop lately.  Our newest unit, which has a focus on patterns, characters and changes, is asking students to look at a series of books (one per group) to find similarities and differences.  Each kiddo in the group is reading a different book (which is something I’ve never done before) and when they meet, the team is responsible for talking about what they’ve each found in their books individually.

We’ve worked on looking at what is always the same (patterns in the series), what we can learn about characters, asking ourselves why certain things are important, marking the text with post-its so we don’t forget what we’ve noticed, talking “long and strong” about our post-it notes, making sure we understand what our partners are saying by asking clarifying questions, and using a Venn diagram to model what we notice between the books in our groups.

We’ve chosen books series that match each level of reader in my classroom: Horrible Harry, Roscoe Riley Rules, Berenstain Bears, Clifford, Mercy Watson and Little House on the Prairie.

It’s been really exciting to see what they’ve been able to do with this study.  For many it’s the first time they have really read a chapter book.  While each group has different conversations based on the members and the books, each works with diligence and purpose as they discuss what they are learning about their texts.  They are really thinking deeply about their books, having fun with literacy and their reading conversations are leaking over into other parts of our day.  The other thing I’ve seen is that many have been positively pressured to higher levels of thinking and participating because of what they see their friends doing.  Love that kind of friendly competition!

I know this kind of thing would be best explained with videos, but all I have is pictures.  Imagine that you can hear quiet murmurs of engaging conversations around books that kids love and it would sound just about right!

What series do you enjoy reading?  We’d love some recommendations for our next choices! 🙂