Celebrate Children’s Book Week with characters from the past! People like you and me, facing life’s challenges. In the midst of this pandemic, living our own piece of history, we can all benefit from learning how others persisted through difficult times. Pictured are six new picture books to inspire children. And there are many more!
Here are some simple activities for kids to do with any biography or historical narrative that highlights a person from history. I’ll feature one each day on social media this week for parents, grandparents, teachers, librarians, and educators of all kinds who are helping kids keep learning at home.
- BIO CUBE from Read Write Think. Click HERE. Print the planning sheet from the available link. Then use the interactive cube creator to make a bio cube featuring key ideas and details from one of the biographies you’ve read. You can make a cube about yourself, too.
- BIO POEM. HERE is an easy method to write a bio poem from Read Write Think. Bio poems help kids delve into the emotional journey of a character. And HERE is a link to write a bio poem about yourself. [Decorate it for a special gift!]
- BIO WORLD. Draw the “world” of the person you read about. You’ll need 2 or 3 pieces of paper, glue, scissors, and coloring tools. Trace a plastic lid or round object 6 – 8“ wide to create 4 circles. Cut them out. On 1 draw the setting showing the time and place the person lived. On circle 2, draw the person’s conflict or challenge. On circle 3 show the character‘s strengths. And on circle 4 draw their accomplishment or why they matter to us today (resolution). Then fold the circles in half vertically and glue or tape them, the back of one half against another to create a 4-faced stand up “world.” Trim the bottom flat so it can stand up, or hang it with a string through the top.
- Compare, Contrast, Connect: After reading a picture book biography, use a VENN DIAGRAM to compare and contrast yourself with the person you read about. You can draw 2 overlapping circles (overlap area is for similarities, outside areas of the circles are for differences), or use the interactive format HERE on Read Write Think.
You can also use a Venn to compare and contrast 2 two historical figures from one book. Here are a few examples of recent picture books that feature 2 people from the past. Stories like these might be about friends, working partners, or people who didn’t even know each other. You can add a third circle to show how you are the same and different, too!
- Cause and Effect Paper Chain. Make a classic paper chain, but use it to link cause and effect from the story. Cut a sheet of paper into horizontal strips about 1” wide. On the first one, write the first problem (cause) you find in the story. Tape the ends to form a ring. Then use another strip and write the effect that event had. Loop it through your first ring and tape the ends. Then consider what that event caused to happen. Continue linking cause and effect from the story. End your chain with an effect that the person’s actions had on you.
All of these activities incorporate learning standards. They don’t require a classroom or special materials. By engaging with people from the past, we can all BE INSPIRED to cope with our own challenges.
Download a copy of these activities HERE.