Nancy was none too fond of thunder. (It had something to do with her being shot out of a cannon one time too many as a young child.) Fortunately, Nancy had no inkling of the coming storm.
Click on a title below for book recommendations; reading, writing, and art information and activities; and discussion questions.
Conversation! Annotated List of Suggested Read Alouds and Independent Reads
by Thom Barthelmess, Curator at the Butler Children’s Literature Center at Dominican University
James, Simon. Dear Mr. Blueberry. 32P. Gr PreK-3.
Raschka, Chris. Yo! Yes? 32p. Gr. PreK-2.
Shulevitz, Uri. The Secret Room. 32p. Gr. K-5.
Konigsburg, E.L. Silent to the Bone. 272p. Gr. 5-9.
Myracle, Lauren. ttyl. 234p. Gr. 6-12.
Pratchett, Terry. Nation. 384p. Gr. 9-12.
© 2010 Thom Barthelmess
by Kristina Fitzgerald
R.A.F.T. is an activity that integrates reading and writing. It is a way for the reader to take an active role in the story and creatively explain a situation in the work from the perspective of a character. In addition, it is a higher-level thinking activity that requires the reader to go beyond basic comprehension of the material. The reader has to abandon his or her own opinions of the story and enter the mind of a character.
The critical aspect of this activity is that the reader must truly understand the chosen character and his or her motivations and personality traits. By accepting this adventure, you have the opportunity to become the author of the story who creates an adventure for the characters you have learned about in this journey through The Exquisite Corpse Adventure. To complete this adventure, let’s first understand what R.A.F.T. means.
R.A.F.T. stands for…
Below you will find a graph that contains options for each part of the R.A.F.T. You begin by choosing one option for each topic. Think about what character you would like to become, who you would like to write to, how you would like to write to the chosen person, and what type of writing you would like to complete. Choose options that you feel strongly about in order to make the most out of this activity.
As an example you might choose to be Nancy writing a friendly letter to Sybil Hunch inquiring what the future will bring. Another example might include you being Angel designing a brochure for the members of the Sick and Tired Circus to try and convince them to join you on your adventure. The possibilities are endless. Chose one topic from all the categories, and then you can begin to create your writing adventure. Use the graphic organizer below to help you organize and record your thoughts.
by Geri Zabela Eddins, NCBLA
Episode Eight ends with Nancy, Joe, Genius Kelly, and Baby Max setting off toward the Saline Solution Sea. As they approach the sea in Episode Nine, Genius Kelly admits he is afraid of water. Nancy is understanding, but says to Genius, “If we’re going to find our parents, we have to cross the sea.” Genius explains matter of factly that he will find another place where he can walk across, then leaves the kids. How did you react when Genius Kellywho is the twin’s guardianleft the kids? Were you surprised? Worried? Thinking “good riddance?!” What does this action reveal about Genius Kelly’s character? What other stories or books have you read in which a supervising adult character leaves the children he or she is responsible for? Do the children rise to the challenge? How do you think Nancy, Joe, and Baby Max will fare without Genius Kelly?
Lightning strikes as Nancy enters the water with Baby Max. In the sea’s reflection, she sees, “….a man and a woman, their faces pressed against a door. The image only lasted a brief second, but Nancy’s heart told her these were her parents, and they were calling out to her.” What do you make of this “reflection?” Is it a vision? Do you think she imagined it?
Angel tosses a bottle to Joe that contains a key and a note. The note reads, “Guard this key with your life. Godspeed…When you see your folks, tell them Angel sends his felicitations.” This is the first time Nancy and Joe have been given any type of object or token since they left the circus. Nancy declares that she knows what the key will open. Do you know? Imagine for yourself what the purpose and usage of this key will be. Will it open a real door somewhere? An enchanted door to a fantasy place or another dimension? Or perhaps might the key be a magical object that opens some type of knowledge they need to complete their journey? Write a paragraph or two or tell what you think will happen next with the key!
Think about what types of objects might be helpful to Nancy and Joe as they search for their parents. If you could enter this quest as a helper or a villain, what would you give them? Something utilitarian? Magical? Dangerous? Is it shiny, rusty, or glowing? Describe the object in detail, and be sure to explain how it is to be used.
© 2010 Geri Zabela Eddins
Chris Van Dusen’s Illustration for Episode Nine and James Ransome’s Illustration for Episode Ten
By Mary Brigid Barrett
In their illustrations for The Exquisite Corpse Adventure, both Chris Van Dusen and James Ransome have skillfully contrasted light and dark values in their paintings creating drama and depth. Instead of imagining a source that sheds light from the front of the picture plane, Chris and James have imagined a light source emanating from the back of the picture plane, creating a backlit illustration.
In most illustrations and paintings, figures and objects in the foreground are frontally lit so that details and expressions are easily read by the viewer. Backlighting in an illustration or painting accentuates figures or objects in the foreground, dramatically separating the foreground from the middle and background, adding great depth to the picture. Atmospherically, because details in the foreground figures and objects are obscure and deeply shaded, the use of backlighting can add a sense of heightened drama, mystery, excitement, and even danger to an illustration.
Even more, backlighting is a technique that draws the viewer into the picture. In both Chris’ and James’ illustrations, backlighting the figures in the illustrations makes us feel like we are right behind or above the figures, looking over their shoulders, watching, perhaps even worrying.
Chris and James have shaded the figures in the foreground, using contrasts of dark against light values, giving form and weight to the figures. One of the masters of light and dark shading in both drawing and painting is Rembrandt van Rijn, a 17th century Dutch painter. In his painting here, Christ at Emmaus, you see a beautiful example of backlighting and chiaroscuro, the visual modeling and shading of light and dark that gives a sense of volume, of three-dimension, to figures and objects.
Supplies: White or cream paper; soft lead #2 pencils or Ebony pencils; a kneaded rubber eraser; a light board or heavy piece of cardboard to be used as a drawing board; a spotlight, lamp, flashlight, or independent source of light that can be moved easily; whatever objects you have on hand to create a still life (fruits and vegetables, pile of blocks, simple geometric objects, etc.)
Create a value chart for a handy reference
Most young people love to draw, and love to experiment with “shading” the figures and objects in their drawings. But, most young people are hesitant to use strong darks in their drawings. Creating a simple value chart on paper is a drawing exercise that raises their awareness not only of the dark values that are needed to give a shape form and depth, but also makes them aware of the wide range of middle values available.
On a white or cream sheet of paper, you and your kids draw a long vertical rectangle of at least six inches and roughly, and lightly, sketch out ten somewhat equal sections within the rectangle (see the drawing to the left). The top section will be the white of the paper; the last section will be the darkest dark you can create with your pencil, black if possible. In the eight sections in between the “white” and the “black,” you and your kids should try to make a gradated flow of pencil graphite that take the shades from the sharpest darkest dark of the bottom section, gradually getting lighter and lighter until it blends into the pure white of the top section.
It sounds easy, but it can be very hard to make this value chart. Experiment and don’t worry if the first time you or the kids try that it does not show a gradual blending of shades. It is important to try to make a value chart, not only to raise the kids’ awareness of the wide variety of shadings available, but it can also be used as a guide when shading their own drawings. Most often, in realistically inspired drawings, most of the values used in shading objects and figures will be those eight middle sections in the chart. But importantly, all drawn object and figures will also need both the lightest white and the darkest dark to really give the shape weight and dimension. Kids can use the value chart as a comparison point when working on their own drawings as it is a helpful reminder that all the values should be represented when they are trying to render figures and objects three dimensionally.
There are many different ways to shade objects and figures. One way is to gradually blend the different shades, which can be done by applying different levels of pressure on a soft lead pencil, and also by rubbing and blending the graphite with a tissue, a figure, or lightly with kneaded eraser. You can also use a kneaded eraser to reveal whites of the page, and to lighten areas that are too dark. Another method of shading is to cross hatch lines over and over again to attain needed dark shades. A third way to shade is to use small dots, or pointspointillismto achieve light and dark areas. You and your kids may want to experiment with all three methods by drawings simple spheres, like in the above drawing, and then shading them.
A still life is an “artful” arrangement of intimate objects. The object can be simple, like round pieces of fruit standing on the table or in a bowl, a vase of flowers, or a tower of blocks. The still life can be more personalan arrangement of beloved stuffed animals or favorite toy cars and trains. It can be anything you and your kids would have fun drawing, but for the first time, simple may be best.
Have your kids arrange their chosen objects on a table. See if you can get rid of all natural and man-made lights sources in the roomclose the curtains and shades, turn off all overhead artificial lights. Then get your portable light source and place it somewhere near the still life. It can be behind the still life to get a backlit effect. It can be to the right, left, or way abovewhatever you and the kids like! You may want to try a series of drawingsdrawing the same objects from a variety of different viewpoints with a different lighting source direction each time.
The kids should pull up a chair near the table, resting their “drawing board” at an angle from the table to their laps. A piece of drawing paper can be masking taped to the board. They will also need their soft lead pencils and an eraser. You can sit right next to them and draw, too! Everyone should lightly and loosely sketch in the objects in the still life, and use the entire sheet of paper!!! Once you have an idea of where you want the objects on the paper, draw in details and shade the objects so that they begin to have dimension, weight, and form.
When everyone is donehave a tea party and tape your drawings all around the living room or your classroom for your own gallery showing!!
© 2010 Mary Brigid Barrett