Monday, December 28, 2009

December 2009: Annette Hilger, Making Breakfast Cereal a Part of a Healthy Tutoring Session


America Learns Strategy of the Month 

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Breakfast cereal.  It can be a part of a healthy breakfast.  Thanks to Annette Hilger, it can now be a part of a healthy tutoring session.

Annette Hilger Annette Hilger is a coach with IUPUI’s America Reads*America Counts program (a Federal Work-Study tutoring program for children in grades K-9). 

Annette, a freshman Pre-Physical Therapy/Exercise Science student at IUPUI, was recently looking for a better way to engage one of her students in the stories they read together.  She also wanted her student to think more deeply about stories’ events and characters.

So, she turned to breakfast cereal.  Seriously.  And what she did is seriously outstanding. 

Her supervisor told us that at the end of each tutoring session, Annette’s students give her a huge hug and tell her that they can’t wait until she comes again.  After you read her strategy, you’ll want to give her a hug, too. 

The Strategy

Breakfast Cereal, Reading Comprehension Style

Created by: Annette Hilger, America Reads*America Counts Programs at IUPUI (America Learns Network Federal Work/Study Member since 2007)
Topics: Reading Comprehension
Grade Levels: Second – Fifth
Adult Intermediate
Arrangements: One-on-One; Small Group; Large Group
Materials: - Empty cereal box or cracker box
- Construction paper OR this cut-out printed on construction paper
- Markers, pens and/or pencils
- Scissors
- Glue or tape

- - - - - - - - - - - -

Situation: I wanted to create an educational activity that didn’t seem too school-like, but would still engage my tutee in thinking meaningfully about a book he just read (from the story’s events, to its characters and setting).
Step 1: After reading a book together, tell your tutee that rather than simply talking about the book or writing up a report, he’s going to be creating a brand new kind of cereal based on the book he just read.
Step 2: Ask your tutee to think of a name for a new kind of cereal that relates to the book.

The cereal can relate to the entire book, or just to a particular character, group of characters, setting, or even to a particular event or to an emotion that your student felt while reading the book. Your creativity and your student's creativity are the limit.
Step 3: Ask your tutee to make a list of "ingredients." Include that list on a side panel, just as a regular box of cereal does.

If the cereal is about the entire book, your ingredients will be each character and a short description of each one.

If the cereal is about a particular character, your ingredients will be that character's traits (e.g., bravery, cowardice, thoughtfulness).

If the cereal is about a particular scene, the ingredients may be particular objects from that scene, as well as adjectives that describe it (e.g., fear, excitement).

If your student thinks of actual food-based ingredients that go well with the cereal, definitely include those as well.
Step 4: Ask your tutee to decorate the rest of the box by drawing pictures of specific scenes or descriptions in the book.  The back of the box or the second side panel should also include a summary of the book, scene or characters that the cereal is about.
Keep Going! Extension activities for this project from America Learns:
  • At the beginning of the activity, tell your student that he’ll be marketing his cereal to a specific group of characters in the story.  As he creates his cereal and designs his box, he’ll have to think about what would lead those characters to purchase his cereal.

  • Create a toy (or series of toys) that people who purchase the cereal will find inside.

  • Create multiple back covers with different games and activities related to the story (e.g., mazes, word hunts, riddles, suggestions for outdoor activities based on the story).

  • Take a picture of each side of the box and mail it to the book’s publisher and author, asking for feedback on your tutee’s creation.

  • If your cereal involved real ingredients, create the cereal to see if it “tastes like the story”.  (Before doing this, be sure to talk with a supervisor about any food allergies your student may have, and if you’re allowed to bring food items to your session.)  If the cereal doesn’t taste like the story, how can it be modified?  Does it need an extra dash of bravery?  A huge dose of steadfastness?  Much less sugar?

  • Make a duplicate box and send it to CEOs of various cereal companies.  Your tutee can write a letter asking the CEO to consider adding it to their product line.  You’ll also include a cover letter summarizing the purpose of this project and a request that they review the cereal and send a note back to your tutee on their suggestions.

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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Thanks so much for this resource!!!