Every fall our Media Center is transformed into a whimsical pumpkin patch displaying “Literacy-O-Lanterns” from books our students love. This year I thought I’d introduce the new characters along with some past pumpkins as well.
Painting the pumpkins is fun, but the thing that I’m most excited about is how our students are absolutely crushing creativity with their pumpkin designs. Our entire 3rd grade team is in on the fun…that means more than 150 pumpkins are now on display. As you can probably imagine, all of the pumpkins are pretty awesome. I’m sharing a few student projects that used different media to capture the personality of their respective characters below.
A few educators have inquired about how we do this…so here’s a final picture that pretty much sums it up! The crop of characters always starts by drawing a Sharpie outline on a pumpkin. The outline is then painted with acrylic paint. It’s fun to see all of the pumpkins scattered throughout the Media Center and kids LOVE them too. The overarching goal is to celebrate reading and grow a culture of literacy.
Be sure to check out Twitter and search for the hashtag #LiteracyOLanterns to see some additional pumpkins from students in other schools.
Each year our school displays several “Literacy-O-Lanterns” in the Media Center for students to enjoy. Armed with only a Sharpie and some acrylic paint, I decorate the pumpkins with characters or cover art from popular children’s books. This year’s crop features some new titles and old favorites. Our ultimate goal is to foster a genuine love of reading, and to get kids talking about their favorite books.
How many of the characters & books represented on the pumpkins can YOU guess?
- One of the pumpkins above is connected to the 2014 Global Read Aloud created by Pernille Ripp. Check out the hashtag on Twitter #GRA14 and be sure to follow @PernilleRipp for more global literacy opportunities for students.
- One of the pumpkins features a boy named Wendell (who also happens to be the world’s worst wizard). The title is also part of the #WorldBookTalk project. The book’s cover is a trigger image powered by Augmented Reality. Huge shout-out to John Spencer for co-authoring this enchanting read! Be sure to follow @EdRethink on Twitter to catch all of John’s blog posts too.
- One of the pumpkins pictured above is part of a series that my daughters LOVED. With more than 100 titles, the series kept them reading, and reading, and reading…it was awesome!
- One of the books below was written by my friend, Todd Nesloney. The message of the book is that we all have something important to offer the world. You can read more about the book, Spruce and Lucy, in this blog post.
Looking for a way to integrate cooperative learning, research, tech integration and FUN into a super cool “autumnal lesson of awesomeness?!?” Click the link below to take the challenge!
Several years ago I combined my passion for art and reading to create some “Literacy-o-Lanterns” that were displayed in our Media Center. The tradition continued each year until I had amassed quite a few pumpkin pics. Through collaboration with our school’s magnificent Media Specialist, talented Technology Para-professional and book recommendations from my own children the project evolved into this year’s challenge.
The challenge is simple…students are to work cooperatively in teams to complete a chart representing various authors and storybook characters. The characters range from classics to newer student favorites! This activity is ideal for a classroom that has access to at least one digital device for research (iPad, BYOD, or desktop computer). However, technology is not required to participate. This year we’re taking the fun to a whole new level using Augmented Reality (AR).
You might be wondering, “What’s the deal with this Augmented Reality stuff I keep hearing about?!” FANTASTIC Question!! The Great Character Carving Challenge is powered by AR. This means that if you follow three easy steps your students will be able to access some additional book clues and YOU will be able to see this lesson’s learning targets. The technology has been meaningfully integrated into this activity to engage students and to support their learning. Besides that….AR is just plain cool! For me, the technology represents possibilities, creativity and new learning (all really good things if you’re a principal).
You’re just 3 Quick Steps away from using AR:
1.) Download the app called Aurasma on a mobile device.
2.) Using your mobile device, go to http://auras.ma/s/cqE9t
3.) Open the Aurasma app and aim viewfinder at the pictures of the pumpkins on the PDF (see link above)!
**If you need ANY support in accessing AR please don’t hesitate to contact me via Twitter @GustafsonBrad.
Some of the “Clues & Book Facts” spaces on the chart have been left intentionally blank…they’re open-ended for a reason. Use the blank spaces to customize this activity to skills your students are working on (author’s purpose, genre studies, digital citizenship and more). Challenge students to dig into their research and cite multiple sources as time allows! I’ll update this post closer to Halloween with some possible answers for the chart that’s on the PDF. Here’s the link to the challenge once again…HAVE FUN!