3.20.2011

Wimpy Kid at it Again

 In just a few days, the second movie inspired by one of Jeff Kinney's Diary of a Wimpy Kid books, Rodrick Rules will open in theaters across the U.S.  Author Kinney is featured in today's issue of Parade Magazine.

If you're excited about the new movie and the Wimpy Kid books, you're not alone.  The book series has sold over 47 million copies domestically and many more internationally; the series has been published in 30 languages.  Whether you're anticipating the new movie release or just getting into Kinney's journal-like series, visit WimpyKid.com to see the Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Rodrick rules movie debut countdown and check out lots of fun, wimpy activities.
Then, listen to the new song by Joshie, Rowley's favorite fictional pop star.  For other wimpy ideas and online access to the entire first Wimpy Kid book, check out these ideas I published in November, when book five,  was released.
Play Wimp Yourself 2.0 (which is actually exactly like Wimp Yourself 1.0 but still fun) to give your wimpy self a new look.  The Wimpy Kid Movie site promises more Rodrick Rules games are to come, so check back after the movie comes out on March 25th.

 In the mean time, play a round of Cheese Touch and check out The Party Animal blog's Cheese Touch cupcakes for snack time inspiration.

If you and your student readers have read up all five Wimpy books and are just waiting for the rumored #6, bide your time with some similar, kid-approved series.

My students can't get enough of the Dork Diaries books by Rachel Renee Russell.  Also written in a journal format, this series is also realistic fiction about adolescence.  Students can visit the Dork Diaries website to create their own comic online.

Another favorite is the Amelia's Notebook series.  Marissa Moss has written more than a dozen books, some about elementary school and others about middle school, in the hand-written journal format.

After enjoying some of these series, encourage your students to keep their own journals like the main characters in the books to reinforce writing and reflective learning skills.

3.12.2011

Origami Yoda

A few days ago, I wrote about the Texas Bluebonnet Reading List.  One of the books included on the 2011 list is The Strange Case of Origami Yoda by Tom Angleberger, an illustrated novel about school, preteen dances in the cafeteria, and taking advice from a fortune-telling paper Star Wars character.

At the Origami Yoda site, Angleberger is offering a free signed Origami Yoda to anyone who sends a self-addressed stamped envelope and a nice note.
This offer reminds me of the Free Stuff for Kids book I had in elementary school. I spent lots of afternoons writing off for stickers and other freebies by mail.  Today, I mailed off this photo of my husband who loves Yoda.  Now, I am excitedly waiting to receive our very own Yoda from Angleberger.

This would be fun activity to build anticipation before reading the book.  Students, who tend to be more familiar with digital communication methods, will also benefit from practice writing and addressing a traditional letter.

3.06.2011

Mardi Gras - Fat Tuesday - Carnival

 This Tuesday will be Mardi Gras, the last day before Lent brings forty days of sacrifice for Catholic people.  Share the traditions of this lively holiday with your students this week.

Start by reading Mimi's First Mardi Gras from Pelican Press, Alice Couvillon and Elizabeth Moore's detailed account of a little girl's first experience at Mardi Gras in New Orleans.  Readers will learn about local traditions like beignets for breakfast, Mardi Gras Krewes, Second Line Dancing, and parades with beads, cups and doubloons.  This story is long, but Marilyn Carter Rougelot's beautifully detailed illustrations will engage attentive audiences.  If the story is too long for your time frame, the illustrations alone can supplement a description of New Orleans Mardi Gras traditions.

After reading the story, let students make shoe box Mardi Gras floats or masks using the traditional Mardi Gras colors: green, purple and gold. Listen to streaming Mardi Gras music from Basin Street Records while you craft.

Finish up your study with a Mardi Gras treat.  Learn to make a King Cake and then retell the tradition that says the person who finds the tiny toy baby inside the cake will host the next King Cake party.