A Virtual Star Wars Day for your Students!

NOTE: This is a revised post from a year ago where I shared how my students and I created a school-wide Star Wars Day! You can still do a virtual one with your students and here’s some resources! 

During my last year before retirement, while working as a GT Facilitator, my entire theme for my gifted and talented students was Growth Mindset. Check out this past blog on how I used this theme throughout the year. My students and I were all big Star Wars fans, and I realized the “Force” that’s prevalent in all the movies, is really just another term for Growth Mindset!

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Above is the wall display we used to invite all students to write on a sticky note about how they use the FORCE in school. For your virtual day, I have changed this to a Padlet, and I’ve created a board that you can copy and use! You can either have YOU and your students post right on the Padlet board I created below, or you can copy this one and make it just for your class; use THIS LINK! Once you get to the board, just click “Remake” in the upper right, change whatever you want, and use as you wish!

Made with Padlet

 

No Prep activities for Star Wars Day!

  • Have your students dress up using any type of space/Stars Wars theme (even a T-shirt or hat) and show everyone in a virtual class meeting!
  • Share a link to the YouTube page with all of the original read-along cassettes now online; WITH PHOTOS!
  • Have your students write OR read a fan-fiction Star Wars story on kidfanfiction.pbworks.com – they can both post their story, if an account is set up for them, or just READ Star Wars stories other kids have written. If they do the latter, you can have them write a review of the story using THIS book review template!
  • Star Wars Trivia for kids! – This would be so fun to play live via screen share with your kids (or just asking them in a virtual class meeting!); there are several options!:
  • Give your kids a link to Star Wars games they can play on their own!
  • I’m a fan of having kids respond to and analyze quotes…which are really just another genre of reading! Here’s a link to some great quotes from the movies!
  • I use MadLibs with my tutoring kids all the time to help them review parts of speech; here’s a link with Star Wars MadLibs you could do in your virtual class meeting!
  • Here are even MORE lessons and resources!
  • And from my Google Drive folder:
  • Hoopla has a wide variety of Star Wars books that you can read aloud to your students…even if it’s just a chapter as a teaser! You can borrow these for free through your local library!
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Be sure to check out my Pinterest board on Star Wars in the classroom!

A huge thank you to George Lucas, creator of the Star Wars saga, and founder of the George Lucas Educational Foundation (Edutopia)!

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Genre Study: Comic Books & Graphic Novels

The motivational quality of comic books constitutes an enticing appeal to reluctant readers that may serve to hook them on reading. If we can get students to read and enjoy reading, strategy instruction will become both meaningful and effective.

Melissa Barbee, ILA Literacy Daily

In my last post, I discussed how I used to teach literacy to my 5th and 6th graders through genre study… the best thing I ever did in teaching literacy! I also introduced my new Teachers Pay Teachers product, a complete genre study unit for both elementary and secondary teachers!

TpT Genre Study Unit Cover

One of my genre categories in the product is graphic novels and comic books. I was a HUGE fan of comics back in the 60s and 70s…my two favorites were the Archie comics and DC Illustrated Classics (two VERY different comic book genres!). I was already a passionate reader of regular books, so unlike other children, comics weren’t instrumental in me learning to read, but just another genre I loved!

However, for many of today’s children, who grow up surrounded by a plethora of visual media, comics can provide the perfect gateway into reading, as can graphic novels. While teaching my genre units back in the 90s, I did not even remotely think about using comics as a genre (I wish I could go back and yell at myself!), and graphic novels were not common yet. Today’s teachers have a wealth of resources in both of these areas to share with their students!

Back in May of this year, I attended the Denver Pop Culture Con, which is presented by Pop Culture Classroom, whose mission it is to “inspire a love of learning, increase literacy, celebrate diversity and build community through the tools of popular culture and the power of self-expression” (taken from the home page of their website). This organization provides a wealth of resources for teachers who want to introduce the genres of comic books and graphic novels into their classroom, as well as resources on how students can create their own comics!

I attended several sessions led by authors and artists of comics and graphic novels who shared some of the latest and greatest graphic novels out there; so many of them turn events and people in history into a comics format; others include more diversity in their characters.  I took plenty of photos of the books they were discussing…check them out below in the slideshow with my descriptions/thoughts!

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Back in my literacy coaching/training days (2006=2009), I learned about Comic Life and loved all the ways the teachers in my district were using these! I’m sure Comic Life is bigger and better now, so students can do so much more with this app! Take a peek at the slideshow:

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Of course, being a tech geek, I had to try it out as well, so I made a comic about my cat! But see how much fun your students could have both writing and reading through a comics medium?

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I plan to have several of my tutoring students explore this genre in the near future, and will share what they read and create. See below for all kinds of resources for you…and thanks for reading my blog!

Pop Culture Classroom:
Graphic Novels Teaching Guides
Educational Comix Series
Curricula Units
Lending Library (currently only for schools in the Denver Metro Area)
More Comics Resources

Other Resources:
Comic Life in Education
Copetoons: Comic resources for kids and educators from Mike Cope
Abdo Digital Bookshelf (Comic books that can be checked out digitally!)
My Google Drive Folder
Hoopla: Check out digital comic books with a library card
Comics Plus app: Another site where you can check out digital comics with a library card
My Pinterest board for elementary comic books and graphic novels, and my secondary board for the same genre

If you have or are currently using comic books and graphic novels in your classroom, please add your thoughts and ideas down in the comments!

Pinterest Poster: Comics & Graphic Novels
Image by InspiredImages from Pixabay

Our School Wide Star Wars Day

A long time ago (well two years ago today), in a school far, far away (actually about a 30 minute drive), my students and I planned a school-wide Star Wars Day for May the 4th!  Enjoy our photos and hopefully this will give you some ideas for your own classroom or school Star Wars Day! May the 4th be with you!

During my last year before retirement, while working as a GT Facilitator, my entire theme for my gifted and talented students was Growth Mindset. Check out this past blog on how I used this theme throughout the year. My students and I were all big Star Wars fans, so I led them through some project-based learning to plan and carry out a school-wide Star Wars Day! I gave the reins to the kids and had them meet with the principal to get permission, plan with the building engineer for what we would need for the day, and create presentations, a trivia game, and morning announcements promoting the event.  Check out the slideshows below to see all we did! And a HUGE thank you to my former students who helped me plan and carry out this day!

Planning

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The Big Day

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Star Wars Day Fashion

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Be sure to check out my Pinterest board on Star Wars in the classroom!

A huge thank you to George Lucas, creator of the Star Wars saga, and founder of the George Lucas Educational Foundation (Edutopia)!

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