January 10, 2011

Red Sings from Treetops: A Year in Colors

Title:  Red Sings from Treetops: A Year in Colors

2010 Caldecott Honor Book

Joyce Sidman (author), Pamela Zagarenski (Illustrator)
Comprehension Strategy:  Visualizing                        
Art Modalities:  Visual Arts, Poetry

Summary: Color comes alive in this whimsical, innovative book: blue dances on summer lakes, green drips from spring leaves, black wafts mysteriously through autumn evenings. Together, an award-winning poet and a brilliant painter inspire us to look closer at the thrilling colors of the seasons. (Summary from the book.)

white art paper
crayons, markers, oil pastels or other art supplies for creating illustrations

Read aloud one page of the book at a time. Encourage students to visualize the objects described in the text. After the students offer guesses to identify the objects, reveal the illustrations and reread the text for the page. Be sure to provide plenty of time for the students to observe and discuss the illustrations and poetic elements in the text. (My students had fun finding the windows and following the white dog through each scene. They also enjoyed finding the crowns on the animals. The more we studied the illustrations under the document camera, the more they noticed. In fact, I discovered many more details with them than I had seen on my own!)

As a poetry writing extension, invite students to create pages for a class seasons book. Lead the group in brainstorming lists of items and animals that are associated with each season. For example, your chart might look like this:

hot chocolate
Easter egg
suntan lotion
cherry blossoms

Model the poetry writing by choosing an item from the list. Have the class help you write a poem describing the item using a style similar to the text of the book. (I found that modeling the poetry writing was important to the success of the students when writing their own poetry.)

Next encourage each child to choose an item. Have each child write a short, free-verse poem describing the item. Type each child's poem so that it fills a page. Then have the child use the appropriate color of marker to write the color of the item on an index card. Tape the index card over the name of the item on the paper to create a flap. (See photos below.) After writing her poem, have each child create an illustration on a separate piece of paper. Mount the poems and illustrations onto construction paper; then bind the pages to create a book. 

For more poetry writing ideas for use with this book, just click this link to visit Joyce Sidman's web page: http://www.joycesidman.com/redsingsTG.html

If your kids enjoy this book, you might want to leave a note from the class in the author's guest book. Here's the link: