Creative Educator Contest – First Place: Rajeswari Devadass

Rajeswari Devadass’s entry – a lesson plan based on a wordless picture book – has been adjudged the best entry in our Creative Educator contest. Rajeswari, we confer the title of ‘CREATIVE EDUCATOR’ on you! And you also win a Flipkart voucher of Rs. 1500!

Well done and many congratulations, Rajeswari! It was a comprehensive lesson plan, indeed.

Here is Rajeswari’s winning lesson plan:

Name of the book: Journey (A wordless picture book – first in the trilogy series), A 2014 Caldecott Honor Book.

Author : Aaron Becker

Theme/Topic: Travel, creativity and imagination

Lesson Objectives:

Through listening, discussing, and participating in the given story-based activities students will demonstrate –

  • How to read and interpret a wordless picture book in their own way.
  • Their imagination to extend the story.
  • Their ability to illustrate in pictures.

Time Taken: 40-50 minutes.

Grade Level(s) or Age Group:  Ages 6+.

Materials Required:

  • Aaron Becker’s picture book, Journey
  • Crayons or markers
  • Drawing papers or card paper

Instructional Plan:

Introduction/ Pre-reading:

  • Take out the Journey. Beneath the book jacket, on the hard cover of the book is a parachute. Ask the children what they think the book is about.
  • Discuss the jacket cover and probe the children to talk about the red crayon in the girl’s hand.
  • Explain to them that the book is about a journey that the girl with the read crayon is about to embark on.
  • Explain to them that this book is picture book without words and the story is meant to be interpreted by them in their own way using the pictures.

Read the story to the class:

  • This being a wordless picture book, allow for the illustrations to be seen clearly by all the children. Ask questions like “What do you think is happening on this scene” or “What are the characters other than the girl that you can see on each page?” or What emotions the characters on the page show? for each picture (illustration).
  • As you turn the pages, if the children fail to notice some obvious characters or elements, either give them sufficient hints or reveal what they missed them in the next subsequent read once the plot is uncovered.
  • Ask more questions urging the children to share their observations. For example –
    • What are the things that they notice on each page?
    • How do the soldiers welcome the girl when she enters the palace?
    • Is the girl scared when she about to fall off a cliff?
    • What do the soldiers feel when the girl runs away with the bird in cage?: Angry? Helpless? Defeated?
    • Do you notice the King watching over the girl?

Discussion questions for assessing students’ comprehension:

  1. Why did the girl decide to embark on this journey?
  2. The soldiers held a purple bird captive? How did the purple bird come into this palace?
  3. Did you notice on the very first page – a boy who was holding a purple crayon? If the children did notice that – did they think that he would be part of this story in this role?
  4. How did the girl save herself from the soldiers who tried to kill her? Who helped her in this?
  5. How did the girl meet the boy on her journey? Who led her to the purple door?
  6. How and when was the boy part of this place that she traveled to?

Subject/TopicTravel/ Creativity/ Imagination:

  • What have you done at home when you were bored – while mum and dad are busy? Things other than TV / Games?
  • The boy with purple crayon – did the child notice it in the first read? If they didn’t, where did they think the purple bird came from?
  • Why did they think the boy drew a cycle in the end? On the first page, the boy’s friend were on a cycle and he didn’t have one? Did he wish for a cycle?

Activities for sparking imagination and building a story:

Worksheet 1.1- Draw a Journey that you think the two friends will take on now.

  • Ask the children if they too have an imaginary dream or journey that they want to go on – a  place that they long to visit, an expedition that they dream of?
  • Ask them to tell you their imaginary dream or journey by drawing the same in the worksheet 1.1.

Worksheet 1.2: Draw the next scene or add details to the image to save/help the character.

  • Ask the children if they have encountered difficult situations like in the story – a bird kept captive, a hurt puppy, an old woman on a cold night without warm clothes – Have you helped in such a situation and how?
  • Hand over Worksheet 1.2 – To draw the next scene/ additional objects to the image to save/help the character.

How to use this worksheet?

Worksheet 1.2 includes some images or scenes (see below) from different picture books. These pictures are set in different stories in different picture books. Yet there is one thing similar to all these images: all of these pictures depicts a problematic situation in the course of the story – like a character needing help or rescue – so that the problem is resolved.

For example, image 2 is from the story, Brave Irene. The dress that Irene carries to the palace in a box gets whisked by the strong wind and it flies out of the box. Encourage the children to draw an object or the next scene so as to save the dress from flying off.

To conduct this activity, first print these scenes from different picture books on 6×6 card papers. Along with each picture give a blank card of the same size. In the blank card, ask the children to draw the next scene based on what they think would happen next.

IMAGE 1

My Friend Rabbit by Eric Rohmann - Ever After's Creative Educator Contest Entry by Rajeswari Devadass

My Friend Rabbit by Eric Rohmann

IMAGE 2

Extra Yarn by Mac Barnett in a lesson plan by Rajeswari Devadass for Ever After's Creative Educator Contest

Extra Yarn by Mac Barnett

IMAGE 3

A Bit Lost by Chris Houghton in a lesson plan by Rajeswari Devadass for Ever After's Creative Educator contest

A Bit Lost by Chris Houghton

 

IMAGE 4

Pete the Cat I Love My White Shoes by Eric Litwin in a lesson plan by Rajeswari Devadass for Ever After's Creative Educator contest

Pete the Cat I Love My White Shoes by Eric Litwin

 

IMAGE 5

Brave Irene by William Steig

Brave Irene by William Steig

 

Further Reading:

Quest – Aaron Becker – The sequel to this.

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Madras Day 2014 Special: Children’s Books Based on Madras

I love Madras (now Chennai), my birth city. Once a quaint little port town, it has now metamorphosed into a bustling metropolis of South India.

Madras was born on August 22, 1639 when Francis Day who belonged to the East India Company bought a small piece of land (where Fort St. George stands now) from the then Vijayanagara king, Penda Venkataraya. The said piece of land was under Darmerla Venkatapathy, a local Nayak ruler who granted permission to the British to build their commercial establishments on his land.

The British built Fort St. George in 1640. As the Madras Day website says, ” Out of the fort grew settlements. Then the villages around it were brought together. And then, the old and new towns linked up. And then we had the city.”

This grand city has a vibrant cultural and historical heritage. Madras boasts of filter kaapi, idli-sambar, kanjivaram sarees, carnatic music, bharathanatyam, beaches, temples, educational institutions, heritage buildings, poets, litterateurs, kolams, Tamil cinema and much more alluring delights. Go to Chennaiheritage.in to know more about the city’s rich culture and heritage.

So, as the Madras Day 2014 celebrations kicked off, I asked my friends and fans on Facebook to suggest children’s books based on Madras and depicted even remotely the people, life, culture, geography and traditions of Madras. Below is the list that I compiled with inputs from my friends and followers.Thank you everyone for helping me compile this booklist.

Flat Traack Bullies  - Children's Book based on Madras by Balaji Venkataramanan

Picture Credit: Amazon.in

Flat Track Bullies written by Balaji Venkataramanan, published by Duckbill books is a YA book that traces the life events of a teenage boy in Chennai as he turns his nondescript summer vacation into a thrilling adventure. This book is packed with references to the City’s summer life.

Madras Booklist - 123, I Love Chennai by Rupa Jacob

Picture credit: itchingtoread.blogspot.in

123 I Love Chennai written by Rupa Jacob is a brilliant book that portrays the city through a counting book. Ideal for 1-3 year old children, this book helps them count from 1-10 using photographs of different things unique only to Madras: 10 Filter Coffees and 7 Toppi Dosas!

Madras Booklist - Where's the Cat by Manjula Padmanabhan

Picture Credit: Amazon.in

Where’s the Cat? written and illustrated by Manjula Padmanabhan and published by Tulika. There is no mention of Madras in this book, but the book’s illustrations has strong resemblances to Madras especially the school girls uniform which very similar to Etwarts School’s!

Madras Booklist - Susheela's Kolam by Sridala Swamy.

Picture Credit: Prathambooks.org

Susheela’s Kolam written by Sridala Swami and published by Pratham Books is all about Kolams, an integral part of the culture of Madras and other parts of South India.

Madras Booklist - The Dog Who Wanted More by Soumya Rajendran and Arun Kumar Kaushik

Picture Credit: Amazon.in

The Dog Who Wanted More written by Soumya Rajendran and Arun Kumar Kaushik is the latest and the first middle grade title published by Karadi Tales. The story is set in Chennai.

Madras Booklist - Mayil Will Not Be Quiet by Soumya Rajendran, Niveditha Subramanium

Picture Credit: Tulikabooks.com

Mayil Will Not Be Quiet written by Sowmya Rajendran and Niveditha Subramaniam, illustrated by Niveditha Subramaniam and published by Tulika Books. This is a pre-teen story about Mayil Ganeshan. From Saroja Patti to Rajinikanth movies – two things very Madras – Mayil has an strong opinion on everything. And where does she give vent give to all her thoughts? In her diary, of course.

Madras Booklist - My Friend The Sea by Sandhya Rao

Picture Credit: Amazon.in

My Friend the Sea written by Sandhya Rao and illustrated by Karuna Sesh and Pervez Bhagat is a book about a little boy’s feelings about the sea, after the city is ravaged by its fury in the 2004 Tsunami.

Madras Booklist - Trash! On Ragpickers and Recycling by Gita Wolf and Anushka Ravishankar

Picture Credit: Amazon.in

Trash! On Ragpicker Children and Recycling written by Gita Wolf and Anushka Ravishankar, illustrated by Orijit Sen and published by Tara Book depicts Madras, the city through the eyes of a ragpicker boy as he lives on its streets and ekes out a living, picking trash from its alleys.

Madras Booklist - Excuse Me, Is This India? by Anushka Ravishankar and Anita Luitwiler

Picture Credit: Tarabooks.com

Excuse Me, Is This India? written by Anushka Ravishankar and Anita Leutwiler, published by Tara Book is brilliant book to introduce kids to the people, places, sights and sounds of India and of course, Madras too. This book has been illustrated using quilts made from Indian fabrics.

Madras Booklist - Ponni the Flower Seller by Sirish Rao

Picture Credit: Tarabooks.com

Ponni the Flower Seller  and Babu the Waiter, both written by Shirish Rao and published by Tara Books features the City’s people and their work.

Mylapore (out of print) by Tara Books, is a book that features children’s views about Mylapore, a prominent neighbourhood of Madras.

That’s all for now. Do you know any more books based on Madras/Chennai? Do let me know please.

 

 

Football World Cup 2014 Post: Children’s Books by Football Players

The Football World Cup, 2014 will kick off (literally) in Brazil in a couple of hours.

As the world gears up for the Football fever, here are three children’s book about football written by football players:

1. Frankie’s Magic Football: Frankie and the World Cup Carnival written by England’s midfielder, Frank Lampard. He is in the English squad or this World Cup. Written for children 5 years and above, this is just one of the many books in the Frankie and the Magic Football series.

A children's book on football written by England's midfielder, Frank Lampard

Picture Credit: Guardian Bookshop

2. T.J and the Cup Run by Theo Walcott, also plays England, but will not feature in this year’s World Cup due to a knee injury. This book for children 9-11 years old. There are more in this series too – T.J and the Penalty, T.J and the Hatrick, T.J and the Winning Goal.

Children's book on Football written by England player, Theo Walcott

Picture Credit: Random House Publishing

3. And then there is For the Love of Soccer written by football’s legend, Pele.

Pele's children's book, For the Love of Soccer

Picture Credit: Amazon.com

Those were three books written by football players.

Now, here is one not by a football player but one that will make a really great read if you are looking for something simple, colorful but highly informative to read with your children and introduce them to the history of ‘the beautiful game’. The book is The Story of Football written by Rob Lloyd Jones and Illustrated by Paddy Mounter

A book to teach young children the history of football

Picture Credit: Usborne Books

Now, if you are wondering how these super busy football players found the time to write a children’s book, read Frank Lampard’s interview with The Guardian’s young reader members.

Teachers and educators, find some very useful, free downloadable teaching resources about football in general and the World Cup in particular to use in your class or learning studios here and here.

We will keep posting more books on football on our Facebook page everyday for the next one month of World Cup, 2014. Visit our Facebook page daily to discover learning (All about football) through stories.

Meanwhile, do you know any other past or present football players who have authored children’s books? Do let us know via and we will add their works to our list. Also, have you used children’s storybooks to teach about sports? Which is your or your children’s’ favorite? Tell us.

About Ever After Learning:

Ever After Learning, Bangalore based learning and development organization that uses stories to make education fun for children. Ever After is a learning and development organization that uses stories to make education fun for the young and the old. We swear by the power of stories to communicate concepts, inspire individuals and impact lives.

Visit our website to know more about Ever After’s services and programs offered. Also, stay connected with us through Facebook or Twitter.

World Environment Day, 2014 Post: 20 Children’s Storybooks about Environment Conservation

Yesterday was the World Environment Day. There were events across the world to mark this occasion. However, we at Ever After Learning, believe that our environment conservation efforts must not be restricted to just one day; it must be an ongoing, continuous activity for every single day of the year.

One of the best ways to keep your environment conservation efforts going is by creating enough awareness about this issue especially among the future residents of this world – our children. And what better way to do this than using storybooks?

Tell your kids the story of earth, trees, rivers; tell them how pollution, soil erosion, deforestation is harming our environment; tell them about importance of adopting ‘green’ ways of living, recycling, lessening carbon footprints, conserving flora and fauna.

We have listed below 20 children’s storybooks based on environment conservation. Make them more aware about the need to conserve our environment. Do your bit to save the environment by reading stories on environment to children.

1. Earth and I by Frank Asch

A little boy is best friends with the Earth. He cares for it just as it cares for him. A very simple but  powerful book that beautifully explains the interdependence of man and nature for each other’s    survival.

EARTH AND I

2. Michael Recycle by Ellie Bethel

The young boy, Michael Recycle is a superhero who teaches the people in his town how to recycle.

MICHAEL RECYCLE

3. The Lorax by Dr. Seuss

This story cleverly tells how factories and giant manufacturing houses have exploited our gentle environment in the name of development and business.

tHE LORAX

 

4. Compost Stew by Mary McKenna Siddals

This book is a delight. It teaches young children the ‘recipe’ to make a “Compost Stew”. In other words, it encourages children and adults to start a compost pit at their homes and explains what is fit for the compost pit and what isn’t.

THE COMPOST STEW

5. The Good Garden: How One Family Went from Hunger to Having Enough by Katie Smith Milway

Based on a true story, this book traces the struggle of one farming family in Honduras as they transform their garden from barren to bountiful using sustainable methods of farming.

THE GOOD GARDEN

6. The Magic School Bus and Climate Challenge by Joanna Cole

Ms. Frizzle is at work again! This time telling kids everything about climate changes – from increased temperatures to raising sea levels.

THE MAGIC SCHOOL BUS

7. Snowy White World To Save by Stephanie Lisa Tara

This award winning book is a great resource to introduce children to the need for habitat conservation and global warming, this is the story of a mother polar bear and her cubs as they struggle to find food in the depleting snow of the Arctic.

SNOWY WHITE WORLD

 

8. Stories for a Fragile Planet: Traditional Tales about Caring for the Earth by Kenneth Steven

A collection of ten stories from around passed on through traditions and cultures, each of which shows children why and how to take care of their world.

FRAGILE PLANET

9. An Environmental Guide From AtoZ by Tim Magner

This book introduces our environment in an all new way. The publisher’s words describe this book best – “Like the letters of the alphabet connect to build words and stories, the countless pieces and parts of nature weave, connect and link everything together. An Environmental Guide explores nature’s connections and brings awareness and a deeper understanding of how the world works.”

ENVT GUIDE

10. Ma Ganga and the Razai Box by Geeta Dharmarajan

River Ganga is flooded and she is flowing helter-skelter. When a little girl demands to know why, Ganga gets very angry and hides inside the girl’s Razai box and refuses to stop flowing until Lord Shiva stops her with his matted hair.

MA GANGA

11. Wangari’s Trees of Peace: A True Story from Africa by Jeanette Winter

This book introduces kids to the work of environmentalist and Noble Peace Prize winner, Wangari Mathai who was responsible for restoring Kenya’s forests to its natural glory after being subjected to mass deforestation.

WANGARIS TREES OF PEACE

12. The Tree by Dana Lyons

An ancient Douglas Fir has been testimony to the grand Pacific Rain Forest and her resident’s growth for 800 years. Now, as the bulldozers prepare to raze the forest, the grand old tree wonders what will happen to its inhabitants.

THE TREE

13. The Great Kapok Tree by Lynne Cherry

A man falls asleep as he is cutting the great Kapok tree. While he is sleeping, the inhabitants of the forest – birds, animals, and insects whisper in his ears the consequences of cutting down such a rich natural resource.

And if you are looking for more Tree stories, you must read some great Indian publications like Thea’s Tree by Judith Clay, Best Friends by Nina Sabnanai, Let’s Plant Tress by Vinod Lal Heera Eshwar, Meera’s Friends, The Trees by Geethika Jain and Jaishree Mishra.

THE GREAT KAPOK TREE

14. City Green by DyAnne DiSalvo-Ryan

The story a young Marca and her friend Miss Rosa who turn a vacant plot in their city block into a green patch, surprising and inspiring their neighborhood’s residents.

CITY GREEN

15. Let’s Catch the Rain by Vinod Lal Heera Eshwar

A very simple book that tells young readers why and how they can conserve rain water.  This book also comes with a free app.

Lets Catch the Rain_Tulika

16. Out of the Way, Out of the Way by Uma Krishnaswami

Can development and conservation co-exist? They sure can is the message of this book as it traces the growth of a sapling into a tree and dusty village path into a busy city street.

OUT OF THE WAY

17. Andamans Boy by Zai Whitaker

This year’s World Environment Day’s theme was  saving the island from the rising sea levels. With a mixture of adventure and environmental concern, The Andaman’s Boy is a just the perfect book for older kids to celebrate this year’s theme.

andamans boy

18. The Seed by Deepa Balsavar

A liitle girl finds a seed and puts in a pot. See the seed grow into a plant. This award winning book is just perfect to introduce young kids to plants life.

the seed

19. I can Save the Earth! One Little Monster Learns to Reduce, Reuse and Recycle by Alison Inches

This is the story of Max, the Little Green Monster whose excessive of everything – from power to toilet paper leaves the environment hurt and results in a major power cut. With no TV or video games Max learns that there is a world outside of his home too and discovers how to reduce, reuse and recycle. Printed on recycled paper using soy ink, this book is part of a “Green Series”.

i CAN SAVE THE EARTH_GB

 

20Uno’s Garden by Graeme Base

When Uno makes his home in a small corner of the forest full of fascinating animals and plants, it soon turns into a town and then a city full of houses and people.

UNOS GARDEN

So, how many books in this list have you already read? Which one of these is your or your child’s favourite? Do you know other children’s books on environment? Do share it with us and we will add it to our offline book list.

 

About Ever After Learning:

160Ever After is a learning and development organization that uses stories to make education fun for the young and the old. We swear by the power of stories to communicate concepts, inspire individuals and impact lives.

Visit our website to know more about Ever After’s services and programs offered. Also, stay connected with us through Facebook or Twitter.