Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Novel Activities - Popsicle Emojis & Re-creating Scenes

Some of my favorite activities and/or mini-projects that I use with students are ones that can be used with more than one specific novel. This semester I tried two new activities when we were reading the novel, El Escape Cubano, by Mira Canion, but they can easily be used with other novels and with other languages.  

Popsicle Emojis
The first is an activity that Mira Canion gave to me to try that is coming in the teacher's guide for the novel El Escape Cubano. Think of it as your insider's SNEAK PEAK into the teacher's guide. With her permission, I am blogging about it while we wait for the complete guide. (If you have bought a teacher's guide from Mira for her other novels, you know it will be packed full with useful materials!)

First I created a document on an 8.5 x 11.5 paper with 6 emojis: happy, scared, in love, sad, nervous, and angry. I made 30 copies for a classroom set and cut out the individual emojis. (Use the school paper cutter and it will go quickly. Your students can glue the emojis on the popsicle sticks. Save the class set and they'll be ready to use at a moment's notice.)

I bought large popsicle sticks and gave students instructions on which emojis to pair together. Then they glued two emojis (front and back) on the popsicle sticks. When completed, each student had 3 popsicle sticks with 6 emojis.

We had read and discussed the chapters in which the characters in the story are on a raft between Cuba and Florida, with no land in sight. Then I chose sentences from the text for students to identify how a character was feeling at the time. I read a sentence and students chose an emoji to hold up. Sometimes students held up different emojis which provided the perfect opportunity to discuss why each student had chosen the emoji. There doesn't always have to be the same answer and it's interesting to see which students choose which emoji.

This activity involved listening comprehension AND it required students to think about how the characters were feeling which helped the students to connect and relate to the characters more than they would have by merely reading the text.

Re-creating Scenes

In chapter 9 of El Escape Cubano, the characters are on a raft in the middle of nowhere and they have a dangerous encounter with a shark. I wanted students to highlight the events of the chapter by using cutouts of the characters, the shark (which they drew earlier - read about it in this post), and a raft.  

Some of the students were creative and added other objects and color to their scenes. 
(Please, no judgement on my artistic skills, or lack thereof, of the stick figures above; as usual, this idea came to me at the 11th hour so the people and raft sketches were done in record-breaking time!)

The students followed the instructions as shown below:

Mini-Project for Chapter 9 of El Escape Cubano

1. Read chapter 9 of El Escape Cubano

2. Find a sentence that is part of a scene from ch9. Use the manipulatives and create the scene. You may make a speech bubble and write the dialog (if there is dialog) and lay the speech bubble on your scene OR create the speech bubble in Google Slides.

3.  Take a photo of the scene with the iPad.

4. Create a Google Slide presentation with the photos. Title it "Ch9 recreations & your name"

5. Add 4 slides after the title slide.

6. Upload the first photo to slide 2 of the Google Slide presentation.

7. If you didn't add any speech bubbles before uploading the photo, add them now on the slide. Pull sentences directly from the book that describe the scene and add those sentences on the slide.

8. Create 3 additional scenes using the same instructions.

9. Upload your finished Google Slide presentation to Schoology.

Students worked with a partner to create the 4 scenes. This mini-project required the students to reread the chapter to (1) find scenes which could easily be depicted with the cut-outs, and (2) be able to arrange the characters, the shark, and the raft in the correct positions to match the text. 

After the projects were uploaded, it was easy to project them on the board and I used them as a review of the chapter.

FYI, when I give mini-projects like this, I want the focus to be on reading and/or creating with the text and not to spend a huge amount of time on sketching. By having the characters and shark already sketched, the majority of the students' time was spent on reading, writing, and arranging the characters in the scenes. I gave them 30-ish minutes to complete the project which meant there wasn't time to waste.

Below are several slides from 3 different presentations that students completed: