Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Children's Learning Activities, Feathers for Phoebe

Tomorrow is National Simultaneous Storytime in Australia. As part of Library and Information Week 2011, parents and kids and librarians and teachers get together all over Australia to share Feathers for Phoebe, by Rod Clement. (I wrote Children's Book Review, Feathers for Phoebe in March.)

If you're unable to make it to your local venue for National Simultaneous Storytime, why not grab a copy of Feathers for Phoebe to share with your child? Sharing a picture book with kids not only makes treasured memories for them, it puts their feet firmly on the road to reading - and what a wonderful road that is!

Here are some learning activities you might like to do with children after reading Feathers for Phoebe aloud:

  • I suspect kids will be fascinated by the artwork in this beautiful picture book. Can they create their own bush scene featuring birds using some art techniques they know? Consider collecting feathers or leaves for a collage, using crayon rubbing over feathers to give texture to drawings, trying a combination of pencil, crayon and paint to produce vibrant colours. Clement has a strong eye for detail. Can kids use their observation skills to do a life-like detailed drawing of something they find outside? Can you use your own handprints or fingerprints or even footprints to make some birds?

  • Make a model of a small grey bird. Consider a cardboard cut-out, a sock puppet or a sculpture built up from found objects and a glue gun. Invent some fantastic accessories for your bird - tails, crests etc. What can your kids suggest that will make accessories as bright and colourful as Phoebe's?

  • Phoebe made some songs and moves to show herself off. Can you put some movements and nonsense words together to come up with your own moves and grooves? What sort of music would be a great accompaniment for it?

  • Do you know any other nonsense words songs or poems? Play Gobbledygook - act out a scene talking only in nonsense words and see if you can make the other person understand what you're saying.

  • Try writing your own story about an animal or human character. Give your character a name, then fill in the rest of the blanks to start your story off. "@@@ was _______ and _______ and he/she didn't like it. Not one little bit." Why not create a comic strip about your character, or making a poster about them. I've started one about Phobia, who's black and prickly, in the image above.

NB Harper Collins have some excellent teaching notes to support the book too. These are thorough, and provide all sorts of discussion questions and activities to use with kids. Go right to the end for a flip book template your kids will love.
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