Grandma has activities on eight stories to give you. These are out of her book (6). She has give you video's from Youtube of four and an extra bonus video. The first book to be covered is Anancy and Mr. Dry-Bone by Fiona French (Little Brown and Co.,1991, 28 pp.). It is an African, Jamaican book. "Rich Mr. Dry-Bone and poor Anancy both want to marry the very clever and very beautiful Miss Louise. Miss Louise decides that she will marry the man who is able to make her laugh. Mr. Dry-Bone tries hard with conjuring tricks, but it is poor Anancy (who must borrow courting clothes from his animal friends) who finally makes Miss Louise burst out laughing.
Before Reading Anancy and Mr. Dry-Bone
Show the children the strikingly beautiful illustrations in the book. Ask the children to describe what it is about the art work (bold, black silhouettes against dazzlingly brilliant Carribean-inspired backgrounds), that makes us want to read the book. If possible, compare these illustrations with the art deco-inspired illustrations found in Ben's Trumpet by Rachael Isadora (Greenwillow Books, 1979).
After Reading Anancy and Mr. Dry-Bone
Locate Africa and Jamaica on a map. Note that Jamaica is an island in the Caribbean. Inform the children that Anancy and Mr. Dry-Bone is only one of many Anancy stories that can be found in both places. Explain that sometimes similar stories develop in cultures that could not possibly have communicated with each other to share stories. In this case, however, natives taken from Africa and enslaved in the Caribbean took their stories with them, so people in both places now tell Anancy stories.
As does Tower to Heaven, this story demonstrates how different cultures often tell stories with the same concept, conflict or storyline. Tell the children the story of the "Golden Goose" from The Complete Grimm's Fairy Tales (Random House, 1972). In this story, which originates in Germany, a princess who never laughs has a father who decides she will marry the man who can make her laugh. How is this story the same or different from Anancy and Mr. Dry-Bone? Ask the children to speculate on why similar stories might spring up in very distant cultures.
Act It Out
Place clothing in the drama trunk so children may act out Anancy and Mr. Dry-Bone. Ask ... for donations which can be returned to the owners, if desired. ... You may also rewrite Anancy and Mr. Dry-Bone as a play. Use a large chart pad to help record simple dialogue and setting descriptions. Divide the play into three acts. Act one can use soliloquies to introduce the characters, act two can center on Mr. Dry-Bone's visit to Miss Louise, and act three can depict Anancy borrowing his courting clothes and making Miss Louise laugh.
Anancy and Mr. Dry-Bone is really the story of how two people fall in love. Have (the children) interview their parents or other relatives or adult friends to discover how the two interviewers met and fell in love. (The children) should rely on the five W's (Who, What, When, Where, and Why?) to get as much specific information as they can. (The children) may discover that parents from different cultures may have had "arranged" matches, or they may have had to obtain their own parents' approval before the marriage could take place. If so, class discussion can focus on the pros and cons of such customes in comparison with the relative freedom Americans expect in choosing a marriage partner. Place a favorite story on a pretty trimmed paper. They can place a portrait in the middle even if made up or drawn."
The next story to be used with Book (6) is Amoko and Efua Bear by Sonia Appiah(Macmillan, 1988, 28 pp.)
"Amoko Efua Mould lives in Ghana, West Africa. Her middle name, Efua, means that she was born on a Friday. Amoko is sure that her favorite toy, a little stuffed bear, was born on a Friday, too, so she named her Efua Bear. Usually Efua Bear is first in Amoko's heart, but when Amoko receives a gift of a toy drum from her aunt she is so excited about the new toy that she accidently leaves her beloved bear in the yard overnight. The story allows young readers to feel close to Amoko and her predicament, even though she lives in far-away Ghana.
Before Reading Amoko and Efua Bear
Ask the (children) to tell if any of them have favorite dolls, puppets, or stuffed animals that are special to them. (Older children who may not still feel an attachment to such a toy [or who might be reluctant to admit such an attachment in class] can tell about toys they used to care about when they were little.) Locate Ghana on a map or globe. Tell the class that this is a story about a girl from Ghana and the little stuffed animal that she cared about--even though the girl did forget about her stuffed bear for one whole night.
After Reading Amoko and Efua Bear
Ask the children to tell about times they may have forgotten a favorite toy. Ask them how they felt, and then have them look at the picture of Amoko that shows how she felt when she discovered Efua was missing. Have them describe what she might be feeling. Ask the children to explain how their feelings could be so similar to those of a child who lives so far away.
Same Different Card Game
To help children understand how much they have in common with Amoko and her life in Ghana, use a pack of index cards to create a set of same/different game cards" for each child. For each set write the following statements on each card for each child. (The statements presented are based on the book's illustrations.)
-Amoko takes a bath outside using buckets of water.
-Amoko carries her bear tied to her back.
-Amoko sees a lizard sunning on a wall.
-Amoko drinks milk from a coconut.
-Amoko helps her parents make dinner.
-Amoko likes to play hide-and-seek.
-Amoko likes getting new toys.
-Amoko feels sad when her bear is hurt.
Have the children sort their cards into two piles representing ways they are the same as Amoko and ways they are different from Amoko. After all the children have had a chance to sort and count their two piles of cards, have them discuss whether they were surprised to discover they have a lot in common with a girl from such a faraway place.
Grandma has changed their activity to one of her own because theirs just wouldn't work well for our children. The objective of this activity is to relate themselves to their own feelings and develop imagination of creative communication with sympathy and passion. It is very similar to the books only with a little flair.
They are to gather all their favorite toys and characterize them by their most favorite to their least and the largest to the smallest. Ask them what each of the toys names are. Then they or you are to ask their toys how they feel about their owners or what feelings they may have.
"Write "Otherwise" Books
Remind children what happened when Amoko forgot her responsibility for Efua Bear. Then, have students brainstorm a list of responsibilities they have at school. Record these on a chart pad. Then, have children create a corresponding "otherwise" list of consequences for not fulfilling these responsibilities. (For example, we hang up our coats in the closet, otherwise, the coats fall on the floor and become tangled and dirty.) Have children refer to the list to create their own "otherwise" books. Provide paper for the children to record and illustrate their ideas as illustrated below. Staple completed pages between sheets of construction paper and share finished books."
The next book from Book (6) given with a video from youtube is an African-American tale called Ben's Trumpet by Rachel Isadora (Greenwillow Books, 1979,32 pp.)
"With limited text and striking black and white art deco-inspired art, the author tells the story of a young boy in the 1920's who sits on his fire escape longing to play jazz music like he hears coming from the nearby "Zig Zag Jazz Club." Aside from introducting young readers to the instruments used to create jazz sounds, the book shows how one boy's artistic bent can feed a dream only another artist can truly understand.
Before Reading Ben's Trumpet
Ask the children to talk about their favorite types of music. Invite children who understand about different types of music to share what they know with the group. Show the group the book. Ben's Trumpet. Ask the children to tell how the book looks different from other picture books they know (Possible responses: the pictures are in black and white, the illustrations are comprised of outlines, silhouettes and abstract designs).
After Reading Ben's Trumpet
Ask the children what problems Ben has in seeing his dream of playing jazz come true(e.g., He doesn't own an instrument; his friends make fun of him). Do they believe Ben will ever learn to play the trumpet? Why? Why doesn't Ben's family buy him a trumpet? (Remind children that in the 1920s many families didn't have much money to buy expensive things for their children.)
Help students to understand that, especially at the beginning of the jazz movement, most of the jazz musicians were African-American men. Tell the children that many of these musicians were not allowed to play in the muical clubs with white owners (or, even in those white-owned clubs where they were allowed, other black people were not allowed into the audience). So, they created their own jazz clubs, much like the "Zig Zag Jazz Club."" Study about the jazz music and the jazz clubs. Find out about the roots of jazz music, or "share portions of the book Jazz by Langston Hughes (Franklin Watts, 1982). Jazz offers a brief history of jazz as well as mini-biographies of jazz greats. Also included is a glossary of jazz terms.
Point out to the children that the writer has chosen an art deco style of art (popular in the 1920s) to illustrate the book. Show the children art books featuring other examples of art deco works. Ask the children to describe how the artist used this style of art to make the book's illustrations "look like" the sounds of jazz music. Offer the children black tempera paint and white paper. Play selections of jazz music and have the children paint what they hear. Have children share their paintings and their reactions to the music. How does it differ from other music they know?"
Multicultural Music Festival
(Grandma is changing this because what they have will not fit for us.) Make out invitations to friends and neighbors as well as family to get together and bring any friends to form a music festival of different kinds of music to play. Therefore, to share musical or other talents together, explaining the history, origin and mechanics of their talents to each other. Hopefully there will be plenty of variety. Else play various types on CD's, Dvd's, Youtube, videos, tapes, or records. Whatever you can do to introduce the children to various types of music.
The next video and book to share together from Book (6) is Cornrows by Camille Yarborough(Coward, McCann & Geoghegan, Inc. 1979, 44 pp.) It is also African-American.
"In a "story-within-a-story," this author tells of the significance that braiding hair into cornrows holds for African-Americans. The book underscores the power that symbolism holds for a culture, and offers a perfect starting point for exploring the symbolism present in other cultures.
Before Reading Cornrows
Show the (children) the illustrations and ask them what they notice. (The illustrations--soft, muted black and white sketches without edges--are meant to blend past and present into one dream, one reality for the people who share a heritage.) Point out how illustrations of the present overlap illustrations of ancient peoples and ask the children why the illustrator chose to present the artwork this way.
After Reading Cornrows
Celebrate ...unity by having the (children) make and eat Braided Bread, following the recipe below. You may want to start the yeast mixture and put the bread aside to rise before the (children) come, or have the children help you with it early in the day, as it needs 1 1/2 to 2 hours to rise before the class arrives, or have the children help you with it early in the day, as it needs 1 1/2 to 2 hours to rise before it is ready to work. This is a wonderful group activity: children can help with measuring, mixing, kneading and shaping the loaves--and of course, all can share in the eating!
3 packages active dry yeast
1 1/3 cups warm water (100 degrees to 115 degrees, approximately)
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
1 tablespoon course salt
3 tablespoons softened butter
5 to 5 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 egg yolk mixed with one teaspoon cold water
poppy seeds (optional)
Dissolve the yeast and sugar in 1/2 cup of warm water in a large bowl. Stir well and set aside for a few minutes. The fermentation should become evident as the mixture swells and bubbles appear--if this does not happen, the yeast is not active: it must be discarded and the process begun again, with a new packet of yeast and the same quantities of water and sugar. If the yeast is active, add the salt, sugar, butter and eggs and the 5 cups of flour (one cup at a time). Beat thoroughly with a wooden spoon (children can help). The dough should be very stiff. Add up to 1/2 cup more flour, a little at a time, if it is not stiff enough. Turn the dough out onto a floured surface. Knead approximately 10 minutes. Children can take turns kneading (after they wash their hands) until the dough is smooth and elastic. Place the dough in a very large, well-oiled bowl, and turn it once to coat all the surfaces with oil. Cover and let rise 1 1/2 to 2 hours in a warm, draft-free place until doubled in bulk. When doubled, punch down and divide into six equal parts. Roll each portion into a rope about 1 inch in diameter on a lightly floured surface. Braid 3 ropes together to make 2 loaves. Place about 6 inches apart on a well-oiled baking sheet. Cover and let rise again until almost doubled in bulk. Then brush the tops of the loaves with the egg yolk and water mixture and sprinkle with poppy seeds if desired. Bake in a preheated oven at 400 degrees for 35 to 45 minutes. Cool completely before sharing....
Look on a map to find the places Mama mentions where people wore cornrows (I.e., Egypt, Swaziland, Senegal, and Somali). Invite someone (you know to your home or visit someone who can) demonstrate how hair is braided into cornrows. Have children braid lengths of yarn together into bracelets to present to each other as a similar symbol of tightly woven friendships.
Learning About VIP's
In the book, Mama lists people for whom the cornrows may be named (e.g. Robeson, Malcolm, Dr. King, DuBois, etc.). Have students research these names to discover why they are significant to the African and African-American culture. (The children) may then report ...on why these would be good people to honor with the symbolic hairstyle.
Symbols and Traditions
Reread the page in the book that tells how it was possible to tell which clan or class people belonged to by the way their hair was braided. Ask the children to (demonstrate) examples of similar "wearable" symbols they're familiar with (e.g., sports' papaphernalia, scouting uniforms, school uniforms, buttons, native costumes, logo-laden tee shirts, caps, etc.)." Make two seperate lists of symbols and their significance. One labeled Symbols of Unity and the other Significance of Symbols. "Ask: Why are such symbols important? (possible answers: They unite people in a visible way; they make people feel as though they belong together, etc.)"
The next African-American book to be read and activities carried out with from Book (6) is Everett Anderson's Goodbye by Lucille Clifton (Holt, Renehart and Wnston, 1983, 21 pp.)
"In simple, but elegant rhyme, the author shows a small boy's pain as he progresses through five predictable stages of grief in an effort to cope with his father's death. The story line is complemented by rich and tender black and white pensil sketches of Everett Anderson as he experiences emotions ranging from denial to acceptance. Together, the storyline and illustrations effectively evoke some of the feelings we all experience when we grieve.
Before Reading Everett Anderson's Goodbye
Show the (children) the illustrations in the book. Ask: What do you think the book is about? How do you think we will feel after reading the book?
After Reading Everett Anderson's Goodbye
Ask the children for their reactions to the book. Ask the children to explain in their own words what Everett must be feeling inside. Even though the book doesn't tell us how Everett's mom is feeling, have the children speculate about her feelings. Have children volunteer to tell about times they've felt the same as Everett Anderson. Ask the children if they think it's ever wrong to feel sad or to cry as he did.
Exploring Ethnicity and Feelings
Use a chart pad or chalkboard to list the five stages of grief (located in the front of the book). Then, reread the book to discover how Everett behaves during each stage. (The states are numbered in the text.) Ask the children if during each stage. (The stages are numbered in the text.) Ask the children if during each stage. (The stages are numbered in the text.) Ask the children if they think the story would be different if the character looked different from Everett (e.g., if the character was a girl or was not black). Help the children to notice that the setting isn't specified. Have the children speculate as to why the author and illustrator created a book that could take place almost anywhere. They may conclude that the main character's feelings are universal, too. Help the children to understand that doctors who study the science of how people think and feel (psychology) have learned that nearly everyone who is saddened by a death goes through the same five stages: They are universal, too.
Collaborative Big Book
Reread the book (paying special attention to the illustrations) to discover what Everett's mother does to help him feel better. Ask each child to think of one way they help others when they are feeling sad. (Help children understand that it is not always necessary to "cheer up" a sad friend in an effort to help him or her. While sad feelings are uncomfortable, they sometimes help us accept things we cannot change and they are an inevitable, transitory part of life, not something wrong or bad.) List these helpful ideas on a chart pad, beginning each contribution with the sentence starter, "One good way to help someone who is feeling sad is..." Help children transfer each contribution to a large piece of construction paper or oaktag. Have children illustrate their own contributions. Bind pages together into a collaborative "Big Book of Helpful Hints for Helping Someone Who Feels Sad."
Feelings in Common
To help children understand that, despite our differences, we all share feelings in common," provide a chart like the one that is in Grandma's book (6). Turning a page sideways make a chart with different emotional faces across the top after leaving space of about two inches for questions and the statement beginning the questions of "How do you feel When..." then the faces happy, sad angry embarrassed woried, frightened, shy, and surprised. Then the questions under "How do you feel When..." are as follows:
1. a classmate gives you a hug?
2. it's the last day of school?
3. you have to do a lot of homework?
4. an adult says you're "so cute."
5. someone else gets blamed for something you did.
The child must mark a check under each face or feeling for the question asked.
Then on another piece of paper list the feelings and if possible the faces; for each have the children write an experience they had with this emotion. They can compare with others. They are as follows:
The next book is an African-American book from Book (6) called Me and Neesie by Elouise Greenfield (Thomas Y. Crowell Co. 1975, 33 pp.)
"Before Neesie came along, Janell was a lonely little girl who had no one to play with her. Neesi likes all of the same things as Janell. Of course, grown-ups can't see Neesie, but she behaves just like Janell, even getting into the same trouble as Janell. But, when it's time for Neesie to go to school, Janell doesn't want to come along... and young readers will probably understand why.
Before Reading Me and Neesie
Tell the class that, in the book they are about to read, the main character named Janell has a make-believe friend named Neesie. Ask the children if any of them have ever had an imaginary or make-believe friend. Talk about the pros and cons of such a friendship. As they listen to the story, ask the children to be aware of the problems Neesie causes for Janell.
After Reading Me and Nessie
Ask the children to offer possible explanations for why Mama asks Janell not to tell Aunt Bea about Neesie. After getting to know Aunt Bea, do the children believe she would have been upset if she knew about Neesie? Why do the children believe Neesie didn't want to go to school?"
Real Research on Imaginary Friends
Ask the children to hypothesize about imaginary friends. Talk about it if they have an imaginary friend or had one. Research to see if children all over the world create imaginary playmates? Have the children talk about their thoughts. See what the therapists say about it in their research. Make a record of their findings. Record it in the Newspaper you work on in the family.
Remind children that Neesie and Janell looked and behaved almost identically. Book (6) has a chart given that could be used for each of your children that can interview someone they know well that will not feel defensive if asked some questions about their favorite things for the children to compare themselves with. The chart is just like the below information only it has lines dividing the sections you can draw in when it is printed out. It is as follows:
Criteria ______________________ _______________________
Name Classmate's Name
Favorite pet or
The next African-American book to come out of Book (6) is called Peter's Chair by Ezra Jack Keats (Harper & Row, 1967, 32 pp.) One of the video's covers it also.
"Peter's new baby sister, Suzie, seems to be taking over the whole house. Peter's mother tells him to play quietly because Suzie is napping. Father is painting Peter's old crib and highchair pink because they belong to Suzie now. When Peter spots his old chair, he decides to take the chair and run away so they won't give that to the baby, too! How Peter finally comes to volunteer to paint the little chair pink himself makes for a delightfully universal story about growing up.
Before Reading Peter's Chair
Find out how many of the children have younger brothers or sisters at home. Do they remember when their younger siblings were babies? Have the children take turns describing in as much detail as possible what it feels like to be jealous of the baby. What did they do when they felt jealous? Tell the group that they are going to learn a story about a boy who is jealous of his little sister.
After Reading Peter's Chair
Have the children imagine all the reasons why Peter was jealous of Suzie (e.g., she got to use his crib and high chair, Mother and Father were paying lots of attention to Suzie, etc.). What made Peter change his mind about giving his chair to Suzie?"
Bring 'n Brag Baby Pictures
We are going to do this activity different than the way Book (6) does it. They put a classroom of baby pictures on half of a bulletin board and let the children try to match it with pictures of the children now on the other half by string. What we are going to do is dig out all the baby pictures you have and see if your children can find their own. Then take all the pictures and make a family scrap book of them. Have lots of fun and be sure to add little messages and explanations on them. Let them help decide what to put on each page and what it is about.
"Collage a Room Design
The author-illustrator uses collage materials to create the illustrations for Peter's Chair. Have the class examine the book page by page to see if they can identify the common materials Keats incorporated into the illustrations (e.g. wallpapers, lace dollies, and newspaper). Provide the children with similar materials along with catalogs featuring housewares and furniture. Also, provide each student with a piece of lightweight cardboard or oaktag (approx 9" x 12" or larger). Have the (children) cover the cardboard with glued-on pieces of wallpaper scraps (gluing a strip of contrasting paper along the bottom of the cardboard to create a ground line. Encourage the children to add a construction paper window or a door to the collage. Then, have children cut items from the catalog and glue these onto the wallpaper to design a room of their dreams. Have children share their results. How many of them incorporated similar elements into their rooms? Do any of the rooms look exactly alike? Why or why not?"
(Grandma is going to add a few notes here. Rooms are usually based on 3 different colors. The black and white are considered neutral and are not counted in the colors but can go in as 1 of the three. Paint color cards are great for putting colors together. Teach the children about different styles of homes and decorating as contempory, colonial, victorian. Teach them that some people have collections and what they might be. Also teach them that not everything has to be modern on small budgets but some places and people will help with grants and showing their work. Also teach them that if a home is free of trees on the fences, weeds, trash and junk stuff as well as fireplaces, natural wood, some places nice carpeting, etc. all add value to a home. Sometimes it is just a new flooring on the kitchen or bathroom. Getting things clean and sturdy add to value also. Sheets hung on a rod are better than anything else, but learn to hang rods and shades because it tells what kind of person someone is otherwize. Metal rods are only $1.50. Many things for homes can be found at the used stores or garage stores. Just don't get carried away and spend for something that will do you no good at all. Budget yourself with only so much to spend on certain things as decor, clothing, etc. Many fabric stores will give you a swatch of something to try if necessary and carpet companies usually have a swatch of carpet they can give.)
A chart is provided that we will have to improvise on again in which it compares the child with Peter and how much they are like them. Just draw the lines in between the statements of the following:
All about Peter: I am the I am
same as Peter different from Peter
1. Peter owns a pet.
2. Peter sometimes has
3. When Peter was mad, he felt
like running away.
4. Peter liked helping.
5. Peter felt jealous when he
thought someone else (his sister)
was getting all the attention.
6. Peter liked looking at his baby
7. Peter liked fooling his mother.
The last African-American book to cover from Book (6) is called Tar Beach by Faith Ringgold (Crown Publishers, 1991, 28 pp.). There is a video at the beginning of this blog with Tar Beach on it.
"In 1939, Cassie Louise Lightfoot is an eight-year-old girl who wants to fly wherever she pleases. From her New York City apartment building's rooftop--dubbed "tar beach"--she lets her imagination soar until the stars lift her up and she can fly over the city. Tar Beach is the story of endless possibilities and the universal longing for freedom.
Before Reading Tar Beach
Have children look carefully at the unusual and exquisite illustrations in Tar Beach. From looking at the illustrations, ask the children to tell where they believe the story takes place. Have the children suggest whether the story is fact or fiction; have (them) offer statements to support their reasoning.
After Reading Tar Beach
Ask the children if they believe Cassie really could fly over the city. Tell the children that when Cassie says she can "fly," the author is making use of figurative language. Have children look on a map to locate New York City, Harlem and the George Washington Bridge. If possible, show the class photographs of these places. Inform the class that the author is writing about the rooftop of a neighboring apartment building she sees from the roof of her Harlem apartment. (When the author was a child, her family often spent hot summer nights up on the roof--the adults played cards and the children stayed up late, lying on mattresses.)
Have the (children) lie on the floor or on mats, and close their eyes. Reread Tar Beach and have each of the (children) imagine that he or she is Cassie flying over the George Washington Bridge. When you are finished, ask the children how it felt to fly. Then, have the children lie down again. Reread page one of Tar Beach and then call on the children to imagine what they see as they fly. Tape record this session. Provide paper for the children to illustrate what they looked like while flying, and what they noticed during their flight. Help children traanscribe their narrations from the recorder to their illustrations. Bind pages into a book with observations in the order that they occurred in your recording session. Accompany the book's classroom debut with the taped narration.
Weaving Fact and Fantasy
According to the summary on the Tar Beach book jacket, Tar Beach's story line "is a seamless weaving of fact, autobiography and African-American history and literature. "Help the children to understand the meaning of "autobiography." Then, have the children create picture books depicting a part of their own lives. If they want, the children can mix fiction into their autobiogrpahies by claiming to possess magical abilities as Cassie did. But, if their stories are to resemble the structure of Tar Beach, at least part of each autobiography must be true.
In Tar Beach, Cassie wants to be free and she wants to free her family from their problems, so she daydreams that she is free to fly." On paper "list the problems Cassie mentions in the book. Help children understand the discrimination African-Americans went through at the time the book takes place. Help them also to understand that just looking or behaving differently is often the basis for such unfair treatment (of African-Americans and others) even today. Following your discussion," look at the following scenario and record solutions to each of the situations. "After all of the students' ideas have been recorded, have students notice which solutions suggest changing (rather than accepting) the situation. Faith Ringgold was born in the Sugar Hill section of Harlem, NY, the setting of Tar Beach. She continues to live there today.'
Kids you know make fun of the color of your skin. They call you mean names. It feels like no one will be your friend.
Kids you know make fun of another kid's skin color. You want to be friends with the one they are picking on, but don't want to lose your friends.
Someone you meet or work with doesn't speak English.
You receive a birthday invitation to a party for a classmate. The birthday child is from a different ethnic background from yours. You have never been to her house before.
In class, you are celebrating a classmate's birthday. Another student refuses to eat a cupcake because his religion doesn't believe in celebrating birthdays. Other kids begin to tease him.