I recently completed a two year residency project at the Pioneer Valley Chinese Language Immersion Charter School in Hadley MA. Students in each of the classrooms created illustrated books that showcased their literacy skills in two languages. Each grade level built a different book structure and teachers chose a variety of themes to integrate curriculum units. At the end of the project, books were on display at the George Walter Vincent Smith Museum in Springfield, during a family festival. The project was funded by the Massachusetts Cultural Council.Assorted book structures
book display at Museum
Kindergarten classes created books about the life-cycle of butterflies and frogs. Each page of their "brook book" was torn at the top and colored with pastel to create the waves of water. Four page spreads followed the life-cycle in words and pictures. The final page contained an author blurb. The books were bound with bamboo skewers and rubber bands.
bamboo and rubber band binding
waves in the "brook book"
First grade classes retold a Chinese folk tale called Hou Ye and the Ten Suns. Books had side-stitched Chinese bindings and rubber stamped covers. Books contained a title page, 4 page-spreads, and an author blurb. stamped covers
Chinese folk tale
The Second grade class created an accordion book with pop-up images on each page. Children compared themselves to various animals and drew delightful images. Books were displayed stretched out, or tied in a circular star-format. Covers had paw-prints.
Amazing Animals" books with colorful paw-print covers
pop-up accordion pages
book displayed as a star
"I am like a monkey. I love to eat bananas."
The third grade class combined math concepts and art history to create books filled with geometric watercolor paintings inspired by the work of four famous artists (Mondrian, Klee, Picasso and O'Keefe). Paintings explored concepts such as "perimeter", "circumference", and "rotation symmetry". Books opened in the center to a four-page spread of colorful tangran designs, and closed with button and string. button and string books
geometric designs inspired by Mondrian
geometric shapes are drawn and measured
author blurb contains a self-portrait
Grade six students each did a research project on China. Using the same book structure as grade 3, they filled their books with information and pictures that told about a different aspect of Chinese culture. Chinese characters, spelling "China" were on the covers, and an assortment of creative images unfolded in the large center pages.
Chinese characters on the cover
books on display
Chinese celebrations with a dragon pop-up
painting of the Great Wall