SPECIAL PROJECTS can grow naturally from your children’s studies and interests. When they invest in a such a project, it can benefit them by:
- Providing the opportunity for delight-directed learning;
- Opening doors to more deeply explore a topic;
- Appealing to their unique interests;
- Allowing them to use their individual skills and abilities;
- Helping them experience greater success with writing.
When kids are inventive, artistic, or crafty, it’s important to find ways to incorporate those interests into other subjects. They’ll more readily embrace a history, science, or other writing assignment when they can use their gifts and talents alongside the writing.
Here are a few ways imaginative students can combine art and creativity with writing:
1. Alphabet Book
Create an illustrated alphabet book or scrapbook representing a historical era, single historical subject, civilization or country, or science topic.
- First, make an alphabetical list from A to Z. Brainstorm and write down several words, phrases, or terms for each letter of the alphabet that directly relate to your overall topic. Narrow your choices and make your final selections before creating pages.
- Make one page for each letter. Choose a word or phrase that relates to your book’s theme. Example: xylem (Plant theme, letter X)
- Write a sentence that offers a brief explanation. Example: Xylem are plant tissues that transport water and minerals from the roots to other parts of a plant.
- Draw pictures or cut photos from a magazine or online source to illustrate the sentence and embellish pages.
Possible Themes: Japan, Incas, the Renaissance, the Civil War, the Victorian Era, nutrition and health, plants, rocks and minerals, weather
2. State Birds or Flowers Book
Research the birds or flowers for each of the 50 states, and make an illustrated booklet.
Include the name of the bird or flower. In your own words, write a few sentences telling interesting facts about each.
This activity will take time, so spread it out over several months, perhaps drawing and coloring two birds or flowers each week. This would also make a great family or group project!
What period of time are you studying? Design and make a collage about a certain decade, historical era, invention, or historical figure. Collect pictures from online sources or old magazines such as National Geographic, which you can often pick up at library sales or thrift stores for pennies.
Alternatively, create a college that reflects the popular cultureof a particular time period. Your collage could include painters/artists, books/authors, sports figures, entertainers, musicians/music titles, and clothing for a certain decade or era.
Either way, prepare a written guide that explains the symbols, people, and other images you chose, telling the importance of each.
4. Coloring Book
Do you draw or sketch? This would be a great way to use your artistic skills!
- Create 12-15 outline drawings that illustrate the life of a famous historical figure, the historic events of a particular era, sea creatures from an oceanography study, leaves or flowers from a plant study, or other subject-specific area you’re learning about.
- Add a caption to each page.
- Include an appendix for the back of the coloring book that features a brief paragraph about each of the coloring pages.
- Design and color a cover.
- Assemble the pages into a book, which you can have bound inexpensively at most office-supply or copy stores.
Consider photocopying the originals to create several coloring books to share with others.