Thursday, January 2, 2014

Frames for Depth and Complexity

If you use depth and complexity concepts in your classroom, you are probably familiar with frames. You can do it a number of different ways-put an idea, character, concept, or story in the middle and have the kids write about the different ways the D&C concepts apply. For this activity, we used the concept of perspective, but the perspective different characters had of another character. You could do this with another one of my faves, The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane. It would even work with a story like the Lorax-the perspective of the trees through the eyes of the different characters.

I read them the story The Magician's Elephant. I love Kate DiCamillo and honestly, I don't know how she can come up with such varied themes in her stories, a very creative mind! There is always great vocabulary and also deep meaning to talk about.

If you are not familiar with this one, a kind of hackneyed magician wants a bouquet of lilies to appear in the middle of his act and ends up bringing an elephant through the ceiling. Not good for him or for the elephant. I think it's about connections we have to other people and how important even little things we do are, in furthering those connections---like in an It's a Wonderful Life way. Because this elephant comes, there are many people affected. I think it was a challenging story for them, but I once I started they wouldn't let me stop-these same kiddos who I used to have to practically tie down to do chapter read-alouds! So we finished it.

 I asked my kiddos to create a frame using the perspective of different characters about the elephant. How does the Magician feel about the elephant? The boy who is told the elephant is a portent to find his sister? The little girl who dreams of her and of course, the perspective of the elephant herself.

I would feel happy because Peter might rescue me ( I liked this answer because almost everyone wrote how sad the elephant felt).

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  1. I've never heard of frames for D and C. What a cool concept!
    I'm definitely checking out that book.
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  2. Wow, talk about increasing rigor! This is something I will have to look into. Thank you for sharing.