Symbolic seals, crests, and coats of arms are a common concept across cultures. From the simplicity of Japanese mon to the regality of English coats of arms all the way to America’s Great Seal, humans around the world create graphical representations of themselves.
Previously, we discussed using morality, multiple intelligences, and scholarly habits to analyze characters. Not only does this add deep layers to questioning, but (more importantly) it provides opportunities to discuss gifted students’ unique emotional needs. Personality types are another tool that serve these two needs.
I came across these drawings by Adam Watson. They’re scenes and characters from Star Wars, remade in the style of Dr. Seuss. What a fascinating way to extend a typical writing assignment: ask students to recreate a story as if it were created by another author.
Some little genius might suggest the environmental impact of creating bricks versus using the easily renewable sticks and straw. Perhaps there is a negative economic effect of using bricks for a house. Now students can evaluate the choice in a whole new light. And all we did was add a couple words to the question.
Here’s an idea to integrate two-dimensional graphing with deep character analysis. Use the right characters, and you’ve got an exciting debate on your hands. Plus, it leads to a beautiful product that’s perfect for Open House.
I have a class set of HG Wells’ The Time Machine. It was affordable, a classic, and recognizeable to my students. The problem? It was written in the 19th century and is simply above most of my students’ independent reading levels. However, this book was definitely within their instructional reading level, so I turned this novel study into a read–aloud.
Up near the top of Bloom’s taxonomy is “evaluating.” A great use of this level of thinking is to evaluate a character’s ethical choice. But we can go deeper! Let’s ask students to evaluate characters’ actions based on another character’s point of view. To add another layer, we’ll teach kids about philosophers and use their points of view as well.
Here’s how I differentiated the Houghton Mifflin comprehension skill of “Compare & Contrast” for my gifted sixth grade students, who have been successfully comparing and contrasting since kindergarten. Students investigated artists, developed a haiku, and learned how to shade with pencils.
Symbolism, a mainstay of literature discussion, seems too abstract and ephemeral to teach to younger students. However, with a well-constructed lesson, students will quickly get the hang of symbolic representation. We’ll finish this unit up with some great pixel-art and computer painting.
This week, we’re tackling the comprehension skill “story structure” featured in the Houghton Mifflin reading program. It’s absolute nuts and bolts (identify setting, character, and plot) and is part of the reading program beginning in Kindergarten. A quick pre-assessment verifies that my sixth graders have a thorough understanding of this material.