Happy Family Day!

Family cloudOur family is the proverbial egg that we were hatched from. Everything about who we are, both our nature and nurture stems from our early interaction with this group of people we call family.

There is no doubt that we all lead busy lives and the daily hustle and bustle make it difficult to stay connected with the ones we love. Special times like Family Day are opportunities to re-connect and re-evaluate those important relationships in our lives. As such, I will continue to focus on friendship and family with my students throughout the month of February.

Considering that many children no longer grow up in traditional nuclear families, the need for literature that is inclusive of varying experiences is of paramount importance in the classroom. I’d like to share a poem I wrote that can be used to springboard a discussion on what constitutes a family, moving away from a pre-defined understanding of what a family should look like and embracing what makes families unique.


My Family
Lora Rozler

She brings the sky within my reachgrandma
And bakes the best of brownies.
She tells me stories of long ago
And forgets about my bedtime.
Grandma Nia is the greatest – she is my family!

brotherHe piggy-backs me to my room
And makes monsters disappear.
He plays with me even when he’s tired
And let’s me win at checkers.
My stepdad is my superhero – he is my family!

They take me places all the timefamily
And buy me books and toys.
They care for me and teach me things
And help me with my homework.
My parents love me endlessly – they are my family!


Creative Commons License
My Family by Lora Rozler is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.


Below is a Family Day Resource package you can download for your personal use in the classroom. It contains the poem above and other fun activities for your students. The download link is found below the samples. Enjoy!

Poems

 ‘My family’ Poem, ‘my family is my treasure’ interactive poem,
‘love is…’ writing template


Creative Commons License
My Family is My Treasure by Lora Rozler is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.


Here is a fun activity I can’t wait to share with my class. Invite students to draw and colour a portrait of their family. Then have students cut the page along the faint lines to create puzzle pieces. Send the puzzle home in a zippy bag to share with families. It’s one I’m sure they’ll cherish.

Puzzle blank   Puzzle sample

‘we stick together’ Family puzzle


Students use the blank template rectangles to draw, colour and label their family members. They then cut and paste the images around their own on the family tree.

tree sample

my family tree


To download this family activity pack for your personal use in the classroom,
click on the family icon below.


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Words on a Limb Interviews Jeff Kinney


Jeff Kinney is a successful cartoonist, producer and game designer in addition to being the bestselling author of the Diary of a Wimpy Kid children’s series. His collection is a global phenomenon, selling 75 million copies, translated into over 30 languages, sold in 40 countries. But, as we will discover, it was not an overnight success.

Jeff grew up in Fort Washington, Maryland with an older brother, an older sister and a younger brother. From a young age he fancied authors Judy Blume, igdoofBeverly Cleary and J.R.R. Tolkien. Later, when he attended the University of Maryland, his creative juices began to flow. He created Igdoof, a character that became a comic strip for The Diamondback, his campus paper. After a move to New England in 1995, he began working on the Wimpy Kid idea during 1998.

His idea did not reach an audience until FunBrain posted an online version of Diary of a Wimpy Kid in 2004. It became an online success with 20M+ views in just over 3 years. The popularity of the story led to a printed version in 2007 by Amulet Books. The rest as they say, is literary history, including 11 follow-up publications and 3 feature films.

Around the time his first book was hitting the presses, he began work on designing the now wildly successful game website, Poptropica, that would provide kids with a fun yet educational outlet. The role-playing game design transports 6 – 15 year olds to a collection of fictional islands where they embark on quests that present them with challenges and thought-inducing obstacles.

Jeff went on to feature in TIME magazine’s 100 Most Influential People of 2009. All things considered, not bad for a kid from a town of just over 23,000. He presently lives in beautiful Plainville, Massachusetts with his wife, Julie and their two sons, Will and Grant.

We are happy to share with you a telling interview with the brilliant creator of the enigmatic favourite, Greg Heffley.


How old were you when you first created something you wanted to share? Was it a watershed moment for you?
I was in the fifth grade, and I had drawn a giant mural of dragons and warriors in colored inks. It was a big moment for me. I unfurled it for my class upside down as a joke, but it didn’t work. Everyone thought I just wasn’t that bright.

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Something from Nothing by Phoebe Gilman

something-from-nothingSomething from Nothing by Phoebe Gilman
Published by Scholastic Press

When Joseph was a baby, his grandfather made him a shimmering blue blanket adorned with the moon and stars. As the boy grows and the blanket wears out, the old tailor recycles it, in succession fashioning a jacket, a vest, a tie and, finally, a cloth-covered button. But when Joseph loses the button, even his grandfather cannot make something from nothing. With its judicious repetition and internal rhymes, this thoughtfully presented Jewish folktale will captivate readers right through the ending, in which the boy discovers one last incarnation for his beloved keepsake.