Tuesday, January 10, 2012

It's OK to be Colorful & Creative

Do you know Todd Parr? Oh, how I love him. At home we have his book "Underwear Dos and Don't."

My twins can't get enough of that book. My son is 6 and he loves it, but he's a 6 year old boy and underwear is funny. The girls are still in diapers so the humor is lost on them, but yet they go nuts for it.

Because it is so bold and colorful.

So as I was reading it for the 847th time in a row the other night and idea popped into my head.

And the perfect lesson for today was born.

I love when all the ducks are in row and the stars align and everything comes together.

While my 3rd graders would be thrilled with me reading a book about underwear, it certainly isn't "school appropriate." Luckily, I have another one of Todd's books at school.

It was a perfect book for this week, but this project would totally rock at any time of year.

I wanted to do something different from my typical "I have a dream" writing project.

Today's lesson combined anti-bullying, Martin Luther King and our celebration of diversity, computer skills and writing. Plus, it allowed my friends to use their art boxes and scissors and glue.

And seeing them create always makes my teacher heart happy.

If you are interested in the pages, I just uploaded them and you can get the packet here.

We kicked off our biography unit with a study of Martin Luther King Jr. yesterday. I used Todd Parr's "It's OK to Be Different" as my read aloud. I pointed out the style of the illustrations, the bright pages, the look of the book, etc. We talked about the writing trait of organization and how each page starts off with "It's Okay to..."

Some of the pages in the book are serious ("It's okay to be small.") and some are silly ("It's okay to eat macaroni and cheese in the bathtub"). I then gave my students the brainstorm page and had them use markers to list things that make them unique.

I LOVED reading their pages. They really provided me with a new perspective on my friends. It was great to read such personal snippets. They were sweet and honest and personal, but fun and positive as well.

"It's okay to want to have your birthday party at Chuck E. Cheese."

"It's okay to not like pizza."

"It's okay to sleep with a stuffed rabbit."

"It's okay to wear hand me downs."

I had them each pick one to use as their topic. I was going to have them do an illustration (in the style of Todd), but opted to have them use Kid Pix and do a computer drawing. Oh my cuteness! They colored them with bright markers, cut them out and glued them to construction paper squares. I typed their single sentence for them and they colored in each word as well.

Each student took the phrase they selected, used it as a topic sentence and composed a paragraph on the draft paper. I edited their writing and they then completed the final copy. One of my friends came up with the idea to color in the holes of the letters in the title...just like Todd.
I displayed the artwork with the writing and I simply adore the finished product. This will certainly be one of those projects I do again each year.

When I modeled this for my class, I choose to write, "It's Okay to drive a minivan." (It was a close call between that and "It's Okay to like country music.") And now I ask you to complete the sentence that tells us little bit about you. What do you think it's OK to do?

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  1. I love that book! We do that same project in first grade as a class book but I love your idea of using the computer to create the illustrations.

  2. how fun are those people they made on the computers! love the ideas :)
    The Teachers’ Cauldron

  3. SO cute! I havent ever heard of Kid Pix. It looks cute. I'll have to check it out!

    Ms. Smith

    The Adventures of Ms. Smith

  4. its ok to be scared to show your clutter to the blogging world!
    I heart you and this idea.

  5. I love this lesson idea and the technology integration. Thank you for sharing your idea.

  6. It's okay to eat breakfast for dinner!

    This is such an amazingly cute and wonderfully appropriate lesson for this week! Wow!

  7. how about, "It's ok to NOT have an iPhone"? I know my students' parents wish I did though, since I only check email once or twice a day! This looks like a great activity for community building, thank you!

  8. Mine would be...
    It's ok to be on my MacBook, iPhone and iPod at the same time.

    What can I say I am a bit of a Mac-o-phile.

    Ms. M
    Ms.M's Blog
    A Teacher's Plan

  9. It's okay to be afraid of roller coasters.
    This is a great project. I'm wondering how my first graders would do with this.

    1. I do this in k every year. With black marker and watercolor. Turns out great. I mount and type their sentence. They get it !!!!! :).

  10. SO cute, thanks!!!! I've had this book waiting in the wings for the perfect lesson like this! I'm a big fan of Todd Parr as well. I use his books often as writing example s for the trait of ideas.

  11. I LOVE this! Todd Parr is a favorite with my preschooler. We read "The Peace Book" nightly. I may be borrowing this idea from you!

    Teaching in Room 6

  12. What a great idea!

    It's okay to be obsessed with your dog and think of him as your child.

    I'll have to check the book out-thanks for sharing!

    Living A Wonderful Life

  13. I love this idea. Thank you for sharing it. I have done it in the past, but used colored construction and the shapes Todd uses for body parts. kid Pix looks fun too.

    My topic sentence would be...It's okay to put your jammies on at 7pm. (And pray nobody comes over to visit. Hee hee)

  14. This is a great book! Last year I used a similar idea, and created a class book of all their super cute "it's okay" ideas!

    A Cupcake for the Teacher

  15. This is SO cute! Now to work out how to adapt it for 10 year olds and to see if they have those books here in Australia!

  16. I love Todd Parr! I love the idea of doing it on the computer. Super cute! Thanks for sharing!

    First Grade Garden

  17. I have done his characters with construction paper but now I am going to try Kids Pix...I LOVE the b. board!!! Melissa

  18. I have done this same lesson as well, but I have the students draw out the picture on black card stock with pencil. Then we go over the pencil with elmer's glue and let it dry. The last step is adding bold color with oil pastels. The kids love it because of the materials we use, and everyone always raves about how they love passing the display in the hall because it cheers them up.

  19. Love this! I am a school counselor and I do a differences unit in third grade - this would be perfect!
    Today mine would be "It's okay to have poison ivy!"

    Thanks for sharing,


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