I spent a delightful few days up in Logan for Summerfest. The temperature was perfect. The company was great. I had a chance to talk to many people. Thanks to all that took home a bit of Meidell Art with them. I hope it gives you many hours of joy.
Kim Meidell graduated with a dual degree in Elementary and Early Childhood Education. She has taught students from pre-school to 6th grade. She has agreed to post from the teachers viewpoint on picture books from time to time. Give a big welcome to Kim Meidell.
How to Babysit a Grandpa: A Teacher’s Point of View
by Kim Meidell
How to Babysit a Grandpa is a great book, teaching important skills: sequencing, listing, and most of all instructions. The book is one giant “how to” that incorporates smaller “how to” lists throughout for more detail.
“How to” writing is popular throughout elementary and can take many forms: an instruction book, pamphlet, newspaper article, or as simple as a recipe. It is a great way for children to think about the world around them, and how things work–or how they ‘think’ they work, like Grandpa-sitting.
Allowing children to write their own “how to” articles allows them to become the expert on a subject. I believe children should have as much choice in their writing as possible, therefore I would allow them to pick their own topic–what they want to be an expert in–whether it be how to use an iPod, or how to feed an alien that doesn’t have a mouth…Give the students choice and they will succeed in what you really want from them–writing with a purpose, and, oh no, actually enjoying it!
Below are some ideas for younger and older grades, along with some examples of work, example rubrics (can be adjusted to apply what you are focusing on in class), and outlines.
Lesson idea for younger grades:
Keep it simple so it can be enjoyable. I would have them pick their topic, but provide some guidance so they don’t become overwhelmed, for example, around Thanksgiving you could suggest “How to Cook a Thanksgiving Dinner” or around St. Patrick’s Day, “How to Catch a Leprechaun.” Then have only 3-5 steps on how to do it. In grades where students can’t write yet, have them illustrate their steps and have an adult help write the step with their picture. (See example, “How to ride a bike”)
In grades where writing is prevalent, have the students write their ideas and then illustrate. Have students write their ideas first, that is why an outline is useful, so they will know what illustration to do, otherwise you might end up with a picture of a 6 legged horse, when is should be a picture of a pizza. I would suggest just making simple booklets for the younger students. (Again, see the example, “How to ride a bike”)
Lesson idea for older grades:In the older grades students should be capable of planning and writing instructions. So it would be appropriate to encourage their choice of topic along with the type (ie, newspaper article, instruction manual, pamphlet, etc.) Provide the students with a rubric so they will know exactly what is expected of them. You may even want to have your students include why it is important to know how to do what they are explaining.