Monday, June 20, 2011

Costumes,Crafts, and Creative Writing Fun!

Nothing says fun to kids like a party.  Yeah, all we teacher-librarian-writer folks know that writing is good for students (like academic broccoli), but we also know that a playful touch can help create a truly memorable experience.  Occasional cupcakes, costumes, and crafts can perk up classroom writing and reading.  And your “book party” may well become the highlight of the school year.

Fellow blogger/author Pam Smallcomb gets the sparkly crown for her edu-taining ways.  At events for her most recent picture book, Earth to Clunk, about space buddies, Pam has the kids make their own aliens.  Her go-to spot for inexpensive craft items and doodads?  Oriental Trading Company

Dressing up and doing a dramatic reading can help bring a book to life for students—and provide insights on creating dialogue and story tension.  Okay, I admit it:  I love dressing up as a book buccaneer for my picture book Pirate vs. Pirate.  And at Maret School recently, librarian Lisa Triggs asked the children to dress as pirates—and did so herself.  She decorated the library with homemade Jolly Roger flags and enticingly displayed other pirate books.  Arrrr, we had a fine time, mateys, acting out the story, learning about the writing process (with a piratical plume pen), and writing a pirate poem.

And, oh, kids love a setting that mirrors a book!  Librarian Jess Stork transformed Palisades Library into a pirate hang-out with treasure map and chest, gaudy bling, and wanted posters of the author.  Refreshments added a celebratory note.  (Ginger) ale flowed freely, and the Jolly Roger cupcakes were a welcome change from hardtack.  “Captain Jess” sported pirate duds and helped the excited attendees to make their own spy glasses with the paper-towel rolls, markers, stickers, sequins, feathers, and glue arranged like jewels on the table.

Both Lisa and Jess bring a certain “magic” to their book interactions with kids.  The key to the good times—and the learning--lies with them.  Lisa and Jess get excited about writing—and communicate that by word and example to the youngsters.  A big pirate huzzah to them—and to like-spirited teacher-librarian-writers!

Jess shares piratical decorating tips, activities, and photos at
My website has pirate writing exercises.


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