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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Of Trains And Cockroaches

Final-poster-jan2ndI think this is a great way to restart this blog that’s been lying in cold storage for almost a year. On Saturday, Jan 11th, 2014 I had  a cracker of a storytelling session at the Rangoli Metro Art Center (R-MAC). First up, it’s a big honour to have performed there, right in the heart of Bangalore city and just below the purple metro line. The folks at R-MAC are doing a fabulous job of promoting the Boulevard as the city’s cultural hotspot. Get this: in one day there was a ‘Coffee Santhe’, a photography exhibition, storytelling sessions and poetry reading, all in the same  stretch of Bangalore’s most famous, MG Road. Whether you’re an adult or child, you were spoilt for choice. The ambience was just what a storyteller wanted: people of all ages everywhere, lovely bright sunshine and the smell of fresh coffee.

So, ‘Tale Trail’, a series of storytelling sessions that will be held at Rangoli, every second and fourth Saturday of Jan and Feb will feature unusual and unheard of folk-tales from around the world. It’s a humble attempt to educate and entertain people about the different cultures of the world through fascinating narratives. I have partnered with two other wonderful storytellers and my dear friends, Aparna and Sowmya from Kid and Parent Foundation to run this initiative.

For the first session on Jan 11th, we decided to tell stories about trains and coffee, in keeping with the ‘Coffee Santhe’ theme and given the fact that we were performing at a train station. The show started with us playing the popular Karadi Tales song, ‘Train.‘ Once the audience was familiar with the beat, we had them sing another song—dedicated  to Bangalore Metro—with the same tune but with altered lyrics that went something like this: “Metro Metro, Namma Metro; Stand behind the line yellow, the train is here and in we go…”  Just a small but spirited way of showing our gratitude to the Bangalore Metro Rail Corporation for encouraging art and performers like us.

The first two stories were about trains and  journeys. Aparna and Sowmya do a fantastic job of tandem telling. This time they presented Calabash Cat, a West-African folktale that talks about a cat’s journey to find out where the world ends. Out came the puppets as A & S, invited kids onto the stage to help them tell the story. There was laughter and happiness all around as every child wanted to be up on stage. At one point, all the kids–and that’s about 20–formed a huge train and circled the stage in their quest to find where the world ends! Right after this, Aparna presented a quick segment on the first steam engine and some factoids on George Stephenson, the father of the first steam locomotive. Sowmya then narrated the legend of John Henry, a worker on the railroads. In a poignant story that captured his struggles as a steel-driver in the Chesapeake and Ohio Railway in the 1870s; he had to eventually give up his job to a steam powered machine that was capable of laying tracks faster than a human. It was a tale of his prowess with the hammer and his almost super-human strength that kept him going till the very end. Sowmya, known for her inclusion of music in all her tellings, played a clinking tune with a pair of spanners and a hammer, while singing a soft ballad about his life. A brilliant rendition that humanized the railways for the audience.

The final act was mine. I chose to tell the story of Martina, The Beautiful Cockroach, a Cuban folk-tale. I was scouring the internet for coffee-based stories when I found this. What a gem, this one turned out to be. I had to learn the Spanish accent to add authenticity to the story, so I had to listen to some Spanish speakers of English to understand the phonetics behind it. Penelope Cruz and Salma Hayek helped! As I was reading the story, I realized I was opening tabs to look up information on coffee, Spanish, Cuba and cockroaches. Did you know Cuban cockroaches (Panchlora nivea) are green? And did you know Kaldi, a goatherd from Ethiopia accidentally threw coffee beans in the fire only to realize that it gave out the most beautiful aroma, which in turn led him to make the first cuppa. And that to me, is the power of story. These are not topics I would look up on a normal day. I mean, I do love my coffee but to scout around for in-depth information on these matters is another issue altogether. One simple story has such far-reaching applications. You can get involved at any level you want. On the face of it, it might seem like a simple, funny, children’s story but can give rise to deep, enriching discussions about related topics. So powerful is the trigger. The reason I ended up reading about all these associated topics is because I was emotionally involved in the story. It made a connection with me. And real learning takes place only when a meaningful relationship has been established. It works the same way for everyone: children to adults. To be able to appreciate something, it must talk to you. Only a story can do that! The quantum of research we have all done to put together this one-hour show has been tremendous. In the bargain we have learnt so much more about this world, about the story behind things we take for granted, about the magnificence in the mundane.

I assure you, once you’ve read about Martina, the roach, you’ll never look at those critters in your kitchen the same way again! This morning when I saw one in mine, I simply swept her out without hurting, while the words “Martina Josefina Catalina Cucaracha” rang in my head.

From trains to coffee, from cockroaches to Cuba, this Tale Trail journey has begun on an excellent note and has set the tone for the New Year. The next session is on 25th Jan at the Rangasthala auditorium, Rangoli Boulevard, MG Road, 5 to 6pm. Do come over for an evening of stories about freedom and liberty. You never know what you’ll take back home!

-Deeptha