Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Happy Birthday Faith Ringgold - October 8!

Happy Birthday Faith Ringgold! Born October 8, 1930.

Sorry this post is a little late. I was a little busy with the birth of my second child! This post will also be a little abbreviated since I am typing a portion with a sleeping baby in my arms.

I focused on three Faith Ringgold books this week, Tar BeachAunt Harriet's Underground Railroad in the Sky, and Dinner at Aunt Connie's House. Many of Faith Ringgold's books have historical references. I spent time gathering non-fiction articles from school social studies textbooks to accompany the Faith Ringgold books. For example, texts on the underground railroad, slavery, and Harriet Tubman would fit with Aunt Harriet's Underground Railroad in the Sky. Texts on the Great Depression would work with Tar Beach.

I exposed my students to the names of many important figures in the civil rights movement and black history with the book Dinner at Aunt Connie's House. Students were able to read about Rosa Parks, Sojourner Truth, and Dorthy Dandridge. I assigned parts of this book for the students to practice for their weekly oral reading. I always seem to work an oral reading assignment into the weekly author birthday celebration. This book has a perfect set up because there is about a paragraph on each important person.

I have talked about an activity in past blog posts call PRE-Voc (pronounced "prevoke"), in which, the students are given vocabulary from the text and are asked to write a prediction about what they think the story will be about based on the provided words. A variation of this is called PRE-Sent. Students are actually given sentences from the story, instead of giving vocabulary words. I had the students complete a PRE-Sent activity before reading Aunt Harriet's Underground Railroad in the Sky. Here are the sentences:

1. We came across an old ramshackled train in the sky.
2. If we tried to escape and were caught, we might have a foot cut off or get sold away from our families.
3. Follow the North Star.
4. If you don't see the quilt, hide in the woods until it appears.
5. Until you reach Canada, your are not safe.

Faith Ringgold is also a very successful artist. She often uses fabric as a medium for her artwork. The book Tar Beach is based on a piece of artwork (quilt painting) of the same name. I had my students create there own piece of artwork after reading Tar Beach, a story of a little girl who imagines herself flying. Each students was given a square piece of construction paper. I used two light colors (light gray and white). The students were asked to finish the sentence "If I could fly I would..." and then draw a picture. We then assembled the individual squares into a class quilt.

Click Here to read the 2010 Faith Ringgold Birthday Post.

2. Faith Ringgold's Blog
3. Faith Ringgold discusses Quiltmaking - YouTube
4. Faith Ringgold shares a few thoughts at book signing of Invisible Princess - YouTube
5. Faith Ringgold Printable Lesson Plans - Denver Public Schools
6. Study Guide for Last Story Quilt Video - PDF
7. Faith Ringgold Artist Study - Art Heritage

Updated: October 5, 2010

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