I just finished reading The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe with my students, and we spent some time discussing C.S. Lewis’ descriptive sentences. I wanted my students to mimic Lewis’ style in a writing assignment, but I needed a vehicle to make their word choice meaningful. I pulled two passages out of the book and removed key words. I replaced the key words with a blank line and labelled the space with the type of word or part of speech that should go in the blank. Basically, I built a literary Mad Lib.
The students spent some time thinking about their mothers (or another loved one) and brainstormed words to describe that person. Following the brainstorming, they re-read the original passages in The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe and then plugged words into the frame I gave them to create their own beautiful description with a C.S. Lewis vibe.
We typed the paragraphs, and students added small images that corresponded to details in the descriptive writing. We printed the text and pictures on a piece of cardstock and cut them apart. The students folded a small pocket folder using colored cardstock and decorated the cover. The pictures and small paragraph were no bigger than 3″ x 3″ each and fit nicely in the small pocket card.Not all of my students are quite finished with this project, but the ones I have read so far make me tear up because they capture such sweet thoughts about a loved one. If you need a thoughtful card or gift for a mother, father, grandparent, sibling… pull a favorite passage from a story and use the basic structure to write a special message.
Pocket Card Materials
8 3/4″ x 7 1/4″ colored cardstock
4″ x 3 1/2″ white cardstock (optional)
Pocket Card Directions
Place the colored cardstock on a flat surface in the landscape direction.
Fold the bottom edge (8 3/4″ edge) up about 2″, match the corners carefully, and press firmly to fold the crease.
Open the flap and fold the paper in half, so the two 7 1/4″ edges meet. Match the corners carefully and press firmly to fold the crease.
Open the paper flat and fold the 2″ section up creating the pocket. The pocket sides will be open but create a little “shelf” to hold the small pieces of paper. Fold the paper in half down the center fold.
If you would like, glue the 4″ x 3 1/2″ white rectangle to the front of the folder as a cover for writing a title or salutation.
Want to try your own literary Mad Lib? Click Author Mad Libs to download a free copy of my activity page. To purchase other Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe activities, CLICK HERE.
I love teacher gift ideas. I won’t lie. It consumes quite a bit of my time around back to school, holidays, Teacher Appreciation Day, and end of the school year. Since I am both a teacher and a parent, I am conscious of both sides of the gift giving process. My goal when choosing teacher gifts are to think of small items that are cost efficient, practical, thoughtful, simple, useful, and I like the gifts to be attractive.
Here is what works:
a thoughtful aspect– there is a personal touch to the gift like a handwritten note (and a handwritten note of thanks is always enough!)
a useful aspect– the gift can be used in the teacher’s daily life
generic– if you do not know the teacher personally, stick with items that most people like (do not get too specific like Red Hot candies because you think your child had a “red hot” year)
Here is what does NOT work:
cute for cute’s sake– a gift that has great packaging but has no purpose
teacher stereotypes– things that fall in the apple or school supply motif arena
Below are links to 10 ideas that have a range of cost and crafty levels. All have been tested and received well by teachers, coaches, school support staff, helpful neighbors, party hosts, friends… Click on the name or image to learn how to make the gift.
I have lots of posts with teacher appreciation gift suggestions. Search Teacher Gifts in the search box on my blog, click on the Teacher Gifts link in the side margin of the blog, or click on the Sirsees tab near my blog header.
Thanks to everyone who participated in the giveaway for two journal notebooks and an Amazon gift card.
Congratulations to the winner, Robin D! Robin, please look for an e-mail from me, so I can get your notebooks in the mail to you promptly.
For those who did not win, it is easy to make your own ribbon bookmarks for Teacher Appreciation Day this year or to just have for fun. For the full directions, CLICK HERE. There are many other fun ideas for small, simple, inexpensive teacher appreciation gifts. To see some of my other suggestions, CLICK HERE. And remember, you can never go wrong with a personal note.
One Lucky Winner will receive TWO ribbon bookmarks and journal books plus a $25 Amazon giftcard!
Just in time for Teacher Appreciation Day on May 3, 2016, I am giving away two (2) ribbon bookmarks with coordinating journal books and a $25 Amazon giftcard to one (1) lucky winner! You can keep one journal book set and give one to a teacher friend (or make two teachers, friends, co-workers, neighbors… super happy and give both as gifts). Giveaway ends this Wednesday, April 13 at midnight (EST). Shipping addresses must be within the USA or Canada.
Winner will receive 2 ribbon bookmarks with a matching journal book and $25 to spend at Amazon. See this BLOG POST for more details about the ribbon bookmarks.
Honestly, I need an Etsy store for all of my craft project overages (or I need craft counseling). Currently, I am over-producing ribbon bookmarks to wrap around journal books. I was testing an idea to make some riboon bookmarks to give to my children’s teachers for Teacher’s Appreciation Day on May 3. Come to find out, the ribbon bookmarks are easy to make; the color combinations look super cute, and I like making things in large batches.
I thought these would make nice teacher gifts because, as a teacher, I always need something to mark my page in all of my teacher materials. Teachers use bookmarks for class novels, textbooks, manuals, planning books, grade books… I currently have about 8 Post-it notes, 3 notecards, and 11 scraps of paper peeking out of the stack of teacher books near my school computer. A few ribbon bookmarks would definitely come in handy for me. Plus, they have the added benefit of not dropping out of the book when I pick it up, and I can slide my scraps of papers with notes under the edge of the bookmark where it will hold.
durable ribbon, at least 1/2″ wide (like grosgrain ribbon)
buttons in coordinating colors
Fray Check (a little like clear fingernail polish to keep ribbon ends from unraveling)
covered hair bands in coordinating colors
thread in coordinating colors
Cut strips of ribbon to match the size of the book you will use with your bookmark. I used 5″ x 8″ journals, which are a similar size to a basic paperback book. I cut my ribbons to 15″. This allowed for the length of the attached rubberband not stretched too much and a little end piece to fold around the rubberband when sewing. Your finished bookmark stretches a little because of the rubberband, so the bookmark will fit a book that is a little bigger and smaller than the book you use as a guide for measuring.
Drop Fray Check onto each end of the ribbon to prevent the ribbon ends from fraying. Let dry.
Place the rubberband near one end of the ribbon and fold the ribbon end over. Stitch across the width of the ribbon with the rubberband held in place. You can hand sew or use a sewing machine.
Loop the ribbon over and let the ends meet to see which side of the ribbon will need the button attached. Sew the button to the non-rubberband end of the ribbon. The button should be attached with only a little ribbon showing beyond the edge of the button.