Thursday, August 23, 2007

Happy Birthday Brian Pinkney - August 28!

Happy Birthday Brian Pinkney! Born August 28, 1961.

When I started the school year I always reviewed the terms illustrator and author. Brian Pinkney is a great person to describe both of these literary terms. As artist who creates pictures for books, an illustrator, Brian Pinkney's first book was The Boy and the Ghost in 1989. As person who writes a book, story, or other work, an author, Brian Pinkney's first book was Max Found Two Sticks in 1993.

Brian Pinkney uses an illustrative technique called scratchboard in most of his books. Scratchboard is defined at Wikipedia as, a technique where drawings are scratched into ink painted over a thin layer of white clay which has been laid over posterboard or another stiff paper. Here is link to make your own scratchboard.

I was always taught at reading seminars to get your children or students to think about the book before they read it. One of my favorite activities is Pre-Voc, stated "prevoke". This activity is extremely simple. Pick vocabulary words from the story you are going to read and list them on the chalkboard, or a piece of paper. Read the words together with your children or students. Then, have them write or draw what they think will happen in the story. Predicting is a great higher level thinking activity. While I was in the class room I read aloud to my students, The Boy and the Ghost, by Rober San Souci, Illustrated by Brian Pinkney. Before reading the book, I pre-voc'd them with the following words: family, Thomas, pot, box of matches, man, treasure, house, chimney, ghost, soup, shovel, tree, poor, coins, share, farm. Try this activity and see how close your kids can come to predicting the story.

Another of my favorite activities to get children to think about the story after they read is called Agree, Disagree, and Why? This is another simple activity. The children read a statement and write down whether they agree or disagree with it. Then, they must explain why they feel this way. I did this activity with my students after reading, JoJo's Flying Sidekick by Brian Pinkney. Here are three Agree, Disagree, and Why? statements:
1. JoJo's Granddaddy, her mother, and her friend P.J., didn't help her break the board.
2. The creepy tree bandit was important to the story.
3. I get butterflies in my stomach sometimes.

The above activities are great not only to celebrate Brian Pinkney's birthday, but can be adapted to any children's book.

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