There were four optional extension activities. Students were free to work on these activities if they had completed their daily independent work. They also worked on them if there was time after morning work or during lunch recess. We did this for two weeks.
One activity students could choose was to draw the characters in the story and create a photo album. This engaged my tactile and artistic learners. I did not provide instructions on how to create the photo album. I wanted them to use their own creativity and seek out each other for support. This way, they shared their creativity and learned from the class community. I set out a variety of art supplies to use however they liked. The iPads were at their disposal, too. Some students worked alone while others chose to work in groups. I was impressed with my students’ resourcefulness and creativity. They used the iPad to look up pictures of Sarah, Caleb, Anna, and Papa. They used glitter to decorate a character’s photo page with a character trait.
Another activity was to use tissue paper and pipe cleaners to create some of the flowers mentioned in the story. This also engaged my tactile and artistic learners. They remembered how to use keywords in order to look up pictures on the Internet of the many flowers mentioned in the story. (The blue bonnet was a class favorite.) They decided to glue the flowers onto a large sheet of butcher paper with labels.
They also made up their own songs. They were silly and fun. They had lively discussions about rhyming words, which was a tie-in from our study on poetry. They used PowerPoint to create a slide where they typed the song and inserted pictures to match.
At the end each work session, students volunteered to share what they had worked on that day. This allowed them to verbalize what they had completed and answer questions from other students. It also gave other students ideas on what to include in their current work or what to work on next. Initially, only the girls elected to create the flowers, which required them to use the iPads. The boys were interested in the iPads so some of them decided to create flowers, too. This sharing of work is one of my ultimate goals for creating a true learning community in my class.