Acitvity 1: BIOPOEM
- teacher or student reads the selected children’s or YA book aloud
- select one or more characters in the book for the biopoem
- as individuals, pairs, or as a group, brainstorm elements of the biopoem
- read biopoem(s) aloud to class
- parents and children of all ages can participate in this activity
- some children (or adults) may elect to add a drawing or collage of the chosen character to accompany the written biopoem
Line 1. First name
Line 2. Four traits that describe character
Line 3. Relative (“brother,” “sister,” “daughter,” etc.) of _____________
Line 4. Lover of________________(list three things or people)
Line 5. Who feels ______________(three items)
Line 6. Who needs______________(three items)
Line 7. Who fears ______________(three items)
Line 8. Who gives ______________(three items)
Line 9. Who would like to see _______________(three items)
Line 10. Resident of ____________
Line 11. Last name
* from “The Course Journal” by Pat Juell
Roots in the Sawdust
Anne Ruggles Gere, Editor
Connections to Wish You Well
- listen to Wish You Well on audiotape, and/or read selected passages
- The biopoem is a great way to begin to talk about the characters in the book, as individuals and in relationship to one another. Write a biopoem on one or more of the characters, either as a class or in pairs or individually
- Read biopoems aloud. Why did students select the words they did? what in the book helped them draw these conclusions?
- Who is in your family? students write biopoems about family members, friends, classmates
- Children can draw or create a collage of photos to accompany the writing
- One of the enclosed books in this LARK kit is My Great-Aunt Arizona, a wonderful book about family and memories and the influence of family members on one another. Follow some suggestions in Story Stretchers for this book, which includes reading, writing, talking about the book. Art activities, easy recipes, games, maps, and planting trees are some of the many other ideas found in Story Stretchers, many of which can easily be applied to any book you select to read with your family literacy class.
- What is the relationship between Louisa Mae Cardinal and her great-grandchildren? Will she “go with them in their minds,” too? How do you know?
- Students can create their own family trees in class, or bring in family recipes and create a class cookbook. What kinds of things have class members learned from their family members? How do they remember them? What do they carry in their hearts?
- Read the books dear juno and Dear Annie, both included in this LARK Kit. What kinds of letters do children and grandparents write to one another? Why are letters important to a family?
- Families can create simple dialogue journals. Encourage families to write to one another, even at home. Or, if they have family elsewhere, start a tradition of sending the dialogue journal back and forth. Smaller children can include drawings or small objects.
- Lou finds her father’s old letters written to her great-grandmother from long ago, and also her mother’s from the most recent past. Read these letters with your class. What do these letters reveal?
- hold a lesson on addressing envelopes
- give learners time to write in class. encourage them to include photos, objects, or drawings in what they send
- teach a lesson on free email accounts, and set up class penpals
- Aunt Claire’s Yellow Beehive Hair and Grandmother Bryant’s Pocket included in this kit both show how simple items such as a pocket or a scrapbook can hold much more than the items that fit inside. Making Memory Books offers dozens of other simple and more involved art projects in which to keep tangible objects that help spark and maintain our family memories.
- Oz keeps a special bear, his baseball mitts, Diamond keeps a lucky rabbit’s foot, a lump of coal, and a special heart. What do some of the other characters keep?
- Imagine what the Cardinal family would put in a memory box of their own.
- With simple materials found at home (coffee cans, shirt boxes, oatmeal containers, construction paper, glue and crayons, etc.) a family can fashion their own memory box.
- Make a class memory box. Decorate it together and select what should go inside.