Rhyming Dr. Seuss

Since March 2 was Read Across America Day, a celebration of Dr. Seuss’s birthday, I have been reading various Dr. Seuss books with 1st grade. Last week we read Oh, the Places You’ll Go and talked about how pictures can be a clue to a story character’s emotions. This week, we read Green Eggs and Ham. The story consists of only 50 words and lends itself beautifully to develop phonemic awareness — rhyming skills in this case (another great title for this lesson would the The Cat in the Hat). After reading, students brainstormed the different rhyming pairs Dr. Seuss used in the story.

I am — Sam — ham
fox — box
mouse — house
tree — see
train — rain
here — there — anywhere
car — are
goat — boat

A 1st grade teacher’s blog inspired this lesson. I created a Seuss hat template and added the words I will read to each hat section.

Hat Template

Using red markers, students then colored every other hat section in red. They used black markers to complete the I will read sentences by either using one of the rhyming pairs we had brainstormed or creating their own pairs.

Student Sample 2

Student SampleColoring can be such a Zen-like experience for the kids! It did not take long for one girl to sing “I will read, I will read” and so on (interesting melody, same lyrics) and for the rest of the class to chime in. A fun 30 minutes with a great group of kids!

1st Grade Authors

A discussion of basic literary elements (character, setting) using several different picture books led to the creation of eBooks by my first grade students. By creating the eBooks, students were to demonstrate understanding of character, setting, and a sense of sequencing, while practicing their written storytelling skills. To begin the process, I used a wordless picture book (relies entirely on illustrations to tell a story) to allow the students to show off their creativity and imagination while developing their writing skills. They needed to interpret the illustrations (visual literacy) and then write sentences about each picture (reading and writing literacy) to tell a story. I chose a total of six pictures from The Red Book by Barbara Lehman (2004). Students used the Book Creator app on the iPads to create their masterpieces. Following are the various steps:

1. We began by looking at an example, the Butterfly ebook created by our school’s last First grade class (in 2011). We discussed how this book is visible to anyone in the world with an Internet connection and the importance of doing a really good job when publishing.

2. As a class, we used our visual literacy skills to briefly describe all six pictures I had preselected from The Red Book.

Book Creator 1 - Google Drive

3. With a copy of the six pictures in hand, students then each decided on the order of the pictures for their own stories and used a storyboard template to develop their stories.

4. The next lesson was spent transferring (typing) handwritten text from the storyboards to the Book Creator app.

Transfer to iPad

5. Once typing was completed, students created the artwork on paper with colored pencils. I then used each student’s iPad to take photos of the pictures and  imported them into each story.

Transfer text

6. An important part of the eBook creation process was the review and edit process. Students used a Book Checklist while reading through their stories and carefully marking off each box.

Using Checklist

Check out some of the very creative eBooks by the 1st grade authors!

7. Reflections

Lastly, it was time to reflect on our learning. We first reviewed the process of creating our eBooks by remembering all the different steps. We also discussed the different products used (iPad, pencil and paper, storyboard template, editing checklist). Finally, we talked about the skills we learned (identifying literary elements in fiction, using different products, matching illustrations with our sentences, editing our work). Before video recording student reflections, I offered my own reflection as a model for the students.

My Reflection

  • I’ve learned that 1st grade students are very creative.
  • I’ve learned that even though they cannot yet spell many words perfectly, 1st graders like to write. And they like to draw too!
  • I’ve noticed that 1st grade students know all about setting and character and used both in their books.
  • I’ve discovered that 1st grade students quickly learn new words, like font, end mark, and checklist.
  • Also, I’ve discovered that 1st grade students love working with the iPads. They are little wizards with this tool! Swiping and tapping comes naturally to them, and even though I only asked them to change the font size to make it more easily readable, they immediately discovered how to change the font style altogether.
  • I’ve learned that creating eBooks is a great skill builder.
  • I’ve truly enjoyed working with 1st grade on our very first eBook creation!

Student Reflections

Listen to the student reflections in the following brief video. I am looking forward to your feedback!