I apologize to my two readers for my silence.  Life has been busy.  I know there are some people who are interested in what happens in my classroom, so I thought I’d give you a little peek at what it is like to be a student for Mrs. Cookie.  We recently finished reading Bridge to Terabithia, a book that I and the kids really enjoy.  I used it as a launching point to teach literary devices like metaphor, simile, onomatopoeia, foreshadowing, and hyperbole since Katherine Paterson employed all of those things frequently in the book.  I also had them look in depth at the characters, considering things like what they looked like, what their motivations where, and what they were feeling at different points (using inference).  Overall, I think the unit was well received and the kids did exceptionally well on the challenging test they were given.

One of the things I had them do was occasionally, I would issue challenges to kids for prizes.  One such challenge was the “Monster Mouth Myers” challenge.  Students were tasked with drawing the best picture they could of Jesse and Leslie’s teacher, who is said to “shoot flames” and is, in general, that teacher.  You know the one I’m talking about.  It yielded several great drawings, but these took the cake:

I just love how the one on the left is actually shooting flames and has horns.  Also, notice the miniature student at Monster Mouth’s feet.  The student featured on the right drew a more literal translation.  I think my favorite thing about this one is the book- 101 Ways to Discipline Children.  Is that even a real book?  It probably is.

For a final project, I had my students create a Facebook profile page for Jesse Aarons, the main character.  They had to take into account what the book said he looked like for the profile picture, where he went to school, what his relationship status would be, who his friends would be (and what they would look like), where he was from, and what sorts of messages his friends would leave on his wall.  They LOVED it and it really helped them in their exploration of Jesse’s character.  After each chapter during reading, students wrote down 2 to 3 wall posts or status updates in their journals so that at the end of the book when they were in groups doing their posters they could look through them and pick the best ones.  Here are just a couple examples of great work.

Hope you enjoyed this and, if you are a teacher, I hope it inspires you to jazz up your curriculum in ways that still force kids to think critically but also keep them engaged.  Let me know if you would like to see any of the worksheets the students used for this project or for the book as a whole!

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