Song Lyrics as Poetry: Integrating Language Arts, Music, and Visual Arts

Like Lisa, I absolutely love scouring Pinterest for inspirational ideas. One of the images that I found was for “Draw Me a Song”, a beautiful website full of illustrated posters of song lyrics. I really want to order one, but I‘m having trouble deciding between “Imagine” and “Over the Rainbow.”

I thought it would be fun to let my students choose a song and illustrate it in this manner. We started off our lesson by looking at songs as poetry (so I could include some of my favourites) and then we discussed how and why songwriters express their feelings and experiences. Students were asked to choose a song that they found inspirational and illustrate it using various fonts (we looked at FontSpace for ideas) and then used some graphic design elements to illustrate their chosen section of lyrics. Once the illustrations were completed, students worked on a written response where they reflected on their song choice, the meaning of the lyrics, and why they found those lyrics inspirational. Since we are working on making connections for our TLCP cycle, I also had my students connect the song lyrics to one of their previous experiences.

My students did a phenomenal job and they all looked beautiful together:

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Here’s a close up of a few of them:

closeups lyrics

Note: My apologies if this post showed up in your reader numerous times! I have no idea what happened and why it posted at least five times…but hopefully all issues have been fixed!

 

 

Lenten Trees: Helping see the good

Lenten TreeAs we are in the season of Lent, many Catholic teachers are working with students and developing their understanding of this very special season.  How Jesus’ sacrifice and love for everyone, works within us to be better people and a better world.  But sometimes, no matter how much we discuss, students go out for recess or lunch and come back in with tonnes of issues that they could not resolve themselves.  If you teach primary grades, then you know this all too well.  But don’t be surprised when the same happens in the junior and intermediate grades!  We need to re-direct their focus, find the good, find the peace, and develop a sense of family within our students. For this lenten season I make the following suggestion.  As students come in from their breaks, have them record a positive occurrence in the school yard that they were able to experience.  Maybe not everyone will have one, but they will definitely start looking for the good instead of the negatives.  You can use this as part of a discussion on how people solve problems, help others, do good deeds, the list is endless!  Now what you do with these recorded items?  Place them on the Lenten Tree.  You can definitely create what you see in the image with branches and construction paper, or if you have the space you can create a Lenten Tree on your wall where students can tape it on.  Just ensure you have the materials all prepared for students to be able to record as soon enough your tree will be overflowing with good deeds!

Image from http://lillightomine.com

Playdough from scratch!

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Ofcourse it’s simple to just buy playdough, but if your keeping your toddler in mind or your JK’s and SK’s (even the older kids), your thinking more along the lines of using something that is safe and edible! As we all know, kids are curious and most often they explore things with their mouths. So, here it is – yet another great pin from my all time favorite: PINTEREST! Have I mentioned just how much I love it?! I am constantly finding great, new ideas for home, school, my little one, and just life in general! Since our previous posts on chalkboard paint and homemade finger paint were such a success in the making, I just had to add this one as well. I made the playdough using this recipe. I did have to add more flour and I will suggest that you do the same, to create a thicker dough, otherwise your in for a sticky mess! You definitely have to try this! It is so easy to make, takes very little time and is inexpensive as well!!! Again, we had a blast playing with it, making tiny creations, rolling it, stamping it, squishing it – the works!!! Have fun!

Chalkboard Paint?! What a clever idea!

chalkboard paint

I have seen this on numerous boards on Pinterest, and quite frankly, I think it is an amazing idea!!! Kids love chalk!  Driving by houses in the summer, you see kids out writing on their driveways, on the sidewalks – they love it! How many of you have students who just can’t resist doodling or writing on the board and will do so any chance they get?  Let’s face it, most of our students particiapte in answering questions and sharing their answers with the class simply because they want to write on the chalk board! Well, at least I think so for many of them! As a mother looking for ideas to keep my toddler busy, I came across this great idea of chalkboard paint. Yes, you can definitely buy it at the store, such as Michaels Crafts store, but here today, I have provided you with the site that tells you how to make it from home. Best part is, all you need is 2 ingredients: Any color paint and Non-Sanded Tile Grout! Imagine that! Inexpensive, creative and fun!! My next project is to pick up a table from Ikea and paint the table top with chalkboard paint, so that especially during these cold days, we can sit inside and doodle and write with chalk! My little one is going to love it!

Click on the image above and read on! Give it a try and let us know how it goes!!!

Home Made Natural Finger Paints

Slide1It’s the long weekend here in Ontario, and most of us are trying to catch up on our backlogged items as well as have some fun.  If you are a teacher, you  are definitely still thinking of next week!  That’s what we do!  If you are a parent, you are thinking of how to find ways to entertain your kids.    We have  found a great recipe for finger paints and we must tell you all about it!  It works fantastically well,  and is natural and most of all inexpensive!

First and foremost, you will need containers.  Small glass jars would work!  They have lids to keep the paint fresh! So here goes:

  • 3 Tbsp of sugar
  • 1/2 tsp of salt
  • 1/2 cup of corn starch (keep some extra on hand in case mixture is too runny)
  • 2 cups of water

That’s it!!  All you do is combine all the ingredients in a small saucepan, stir until the mixture thickens.  Once it cools, pour it into containers.  Add food colouring to create your desired colours!  Now for an all natural, use natural food colouring (can be found at Natural Food stores).  If the mixture is too clumpy, then you can definitely add water.  But do remember this is finger paint so it should be thicker!

We would love to see your results!  Do share and definitely do enjoy!

The Tuesday 12: 12 Distinctly Canadian Picture Books!

As I was strolling through Chapters the other day looking for new books for my sons, I came across several picture books that were distinctly Canadian in either content or authorship.  So, here’s a list of 12 excellent picture books that proudly proclaim “our home and native land!”

12 canadian picture books

1. “The Hockey Sweater” by Roch Carrier (Translated by Sheila Fischman and Illustrated by Sheldon Cohen)

I bought this classic “Canadien” story for my sons.  Despite the NHL lockout, hockey is still a big topic of conversation and who can resist this tale of the little boy who receives a Toronto Maple Leafs hockey sweater instead of his beloved #9 Maurice Richard Montreal Canadiens sweater?

2. “Crosby’s Golden Goal” by Mike Leonetti (Illustrated by Gary McLaughlin)

A great story about a boy who abandons hockey, a game he loves so much.  After witnessing Crosby’s golden goal at the Vancouver Olympics, he returns to the ice and the sport he loves. Other famous stories about hockey heroes by the same author include Wendel and The Great One, The Rocket, and The Mighty Tim Horton.

3. “The Salmon Twins” written and illustrated by Carroll Simpson

A visually stunning book that celebrates Canada’s First Nations by looking at the groups of the Pacific Northwest. Although it would be perfect for the grade 6 social studies curriculum, the theme of community values makes this a great addition to any classroom library.

4. “A Promise is a Promise” by Robert Munsch and Michael Kusugak (illustrated by Vladyana Krykorka)

Together, Munsch and Kusugak take you to the Northwest Territories to tell the story of Allashua, a little girl who encounters the qallupilluit, Inuit monsters that live below the ice.  In this book, children learn the importance of listening to their parents, keeping their promises, and Inuit story-telling traditions.

5. “Goodnight, Canada” written and illustrated by Andrea Beck

A wonderful book that takes you through the Canadian provinces and territories, while saying goodnight to children living in these different locations.

6. “M is for Moose: A Charles Pachter Alphabet” by Charles Pachter

This is a beautiful book that is filled with tons of visual information about Canadian history, pop culture, and heritage.  A stunning book! Also, check out “Canada Counts: A Charles Pachter Counting Book”

7.  “Picture a Tree” by Barbara Reid

I still remember reading “Have You Seen Birds?” with my grade three class and making our own plasticine bird pictures in Barbara Reid’s distinctive style. “Picture a Tree” is a great book to use during Earth Week, learning about the environment, and helping students develop respect, appreciation, and stewardship of our Earth.

8. “The Cremation of Sam McGee” by Robert W. Service (Illustrated by Ted Harrison)

I love this poem and teach it to my students each year.  The illustrations are beautiful and remind me of the Group of Seven. It would be great to integrate an art lesson with this poem and book by creating oil pastel drawings of the Northern Lights.

9. “Alligator Pie” by Dennis Lee (Illustrated by Frank Newfeld)

 

“Someday I’ll go to Winnipeg
To win a peg-leg pig.
But will a peg-leg winner win
The piglet’s ill-got wig?”

What’s not to love?! My son and I love reading these hilarious poems before bed each night!

10. “Wishes” by Jean Little (illustrated by Genevieve Cote)

I’ve been a Jean Little fan since I read “From Anna” in grade 4.  I bought this book for my youngest son for Christmas It would be great to create a collaborative class book where each child writes and illustrates their own wishes.

11. “A Porcupine in a Pine Tree: A Canadian 12 Days of Christmas” by Helaine Becker (illustrated by Werner Zimmermann)

Another Christmas gift for my sons! Can you tell I buy a lot of books? A great twist on the classic Christmas song! My favourite verse? Ten Leafs a-leaping!

12. “M is for Maple: A Canadian Alphabet” by Mike Ulmer and Melanie Rose (illustrated by Melanie Rose)

A beautifully illustrated book that takes you from British Columbia to Prince Edward Island.  Filled with Canadian history, personalities, geography, and pop culture.  If you like this one, check out the province specific ones including “A is for Algonquin: An Ontario Alphabet” and “B is for Bluenose: A Nova Scotia Alphabet.”

Don’t forget to check in next week for another edition of The Tuesday 12!

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