Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Post #13 - Symbolism

Does it annoy you I have seemingly no pattern or themes that tie together one lesson/activity from the next?

It annoys me a little. I would say I am a fairly well-organized teacher, so this haphazard posting disturbs me. Oh well. It builds character.

Objective: Identify and discuss symbols in a literary text; discuss symbols and their meanings in application to theme
Materials: 6-10 children's/picture books, Symbolism handout

This particular offering is an activity - about 20-25 minutes - and not a full lesson. You should preface it with some sort of explanation of symbols & how to find them, of course!

1. Handout the Symbolism worksheet. If you need to save paper, you could have one worksheet for the entire group. I prefer to have each student turn in a paper, since some students put different answers than their groups, and I like to see those (for a variety of reasons).
2. Break students into groups of 3-4.
3. Give each group a children's/picture book that you've selected for symbolic elements.
4. Have groups read their stories and complete the worksheet!

Last year, I had students stand up and introduce book & symbols to their peers, but that didn't work so well. It was a little pointless to talk about certain symbols when not everyone had read the book.

Most of my suggested books are actually from Kim's Korner 4 Teacher Talk; I am only listing ones I've actually used, including ones not on her list that I found. :)

Suggested Picture Books for Teaching Symbolism:

  • Fly Away Home - Eve Bunting
  • So Far From the Sea - Eve Bunting
  • I Have An Olive Tree - Eve Bunting
  • The Yellow Star - Carmen Agra Deedy
  • The Lotus Seed - Sherry Garland
  • The Rag Coat - Lauren A. Mills
  • The Keeping Quilt - Patricia Polacco
  • Tar Beach - Faith Ringgold
  • Grandfather's Journey - Allen Say
  • Home of the Brave - Allen Say
  • The Sneetches - Dr. Seuss
  • The Lorax - Dr. Seuss
(another recommendation I found that I couldn't use because my library didn't have is Chris Van Allsburg's The Wretched Stone - you recognize his name from Jumanjii and The Polar Express. With his track record, I feel confident that's recommendable, though I can't actually vouch from personal experience).

If you already do something like this and have other suggestions for picture books, please let me know!

source: me, with a little inspiration from Kim's Korner