One of the teachers in my teaching team arrived this year with a great idea for a unit theme. Each year we select a theme for the unit (grade) and each class chooses a relevant class name. This year we are Uno's Garden based on the book by Graeme Base. Our class names are Magnificent Moopaloops, Talented (instead of Timid) Tumbletops, Super Spectacular (instead of Sneaky) Snagglebites and Great Galloping (instead of grazing) Gondolopes.
On our first read through of the book, we did not show students the pictures. I'm sure this is some kind of sin when it comes to the amazing work of Graeme Base, but our motives were pure!
In line with the Australian curriculum we want our students to: identify visual representations of characters' actions, reactions, speech and thought processes in narratives, and consider how these images add to or contradict or multiply the meaning of the accompanying words (ACELA1469) We thought a good way to get students to start thinking about this would be to take away those images and see what the students would create in their minds. Our students then drew what they imagined the class' mascot to look like. They wrote a description of the character below the picture using this model:
A Talented Tumbletop is ... small, soft, and furry.
It has... big eyes, a tiny nose and a long tail.
It (does)... swings in the tops of trees and tumbles back down to the ground.
The students' work was marked, collated in a plastic sleeve folder and then used for an overnight take home book. Students take turns to take the book home, share it with their family and return it the next day. Parents leave a comment for the class in the back of the book.
Image: Uno's Garden book by Graeme Base. You can buy the book here.