Engaging English: Create Alliteration Wall-Hangings to Excite Young Learners

Author: Colin Hussey, Serif
Lesson Plan:

Summary

Elementary students can sometimes find language arts lessons hard to grasp without visual clues to the meaning or common use or words and phrases. Young learners often experiment with language while working on imaginative tasks and during creative play. In this project, students will use technology to effectively present a selection of alliterative phrases that can be used to create an informative wall or ceiling hanging. The word bank will become a vibrant classroom display. This unit will support English concepts including alliteration and vocabulary and will support technology and creative arts skills. They will draw on a combination of skills to communicate and display their knowledge appropriately.

Subject Area

This lesson applies specifically to English language arts, but it can be modified or applied to other subject areas or age groups who would benefit from a richer understanding of abstract language concepts.

Teacher Preparation

Gather and prepare supplies including one or many computers, paper on which to print student designs (stiff or card stock works best), age-appropriate scissors or hole-punch and wool, string or wire for hanging completed projects.
You will need a creative design software program appropriate for elementary students, such as Serif’s free Digital Scrapbook Artist Compact (http://www.daisytrail.com/dsacompact). Most programs will have tutorials to get you going quickly. Serif provides several classroom resources at http://www.serif.com/education.
Prepare your own example alliteration wall-hangings which will enable you to give better support to students when they create theirs and will provide demonstration material to use during the main lesson activity.

Lesson Description

Introduce alliterative phrases and have students read a range of phrases aloud. Discuss the concept of alliteration together as a class. Play a brief game, putting a word on the board as ask who can think of the most alliterative phrases. Ask them how they recognize an alliteration and what impact such a phrase has? Encourage them to write or type some of their own alliterative phrases, making use of current vocabulary words and using a dictionary or thesaurus as appropriate.

Next, outline the project and the objective of creating alliterative wall-hangings, cards that include a series of phrases, such as “curious cat,” “crystal clear” and “crazy color.”

Then, as a class, investigate the design software program you will be using for the project. Digital Scrapbook Artist Compact, for example, enables you to set background colors and materials, to use a variety of fonts for typing text and to embellish your project with a wide variety of digital graphics, from ribbons and buttons to swatches of glitter, rope or zippers.

Assign individual students or groups to consider which words they will be using for the project. Set parameters that align with your instructive goals, such as using particular words from a unit, how many alliterative phrases they must illustrate (three to four are suggested) or creating alliterations based on a certain theme such as a season (“fall foliage”) or social studies concept (“hometown helpers”).

Ask the students to begin a new document with the software and create a page roughly 4.25 inches high and 8.5 inches wide. Have them set their background colors and/or themes. Use text or freeform paint or drawing features to add their alliterative phrases to the page. Encourage them to add a few digital graphics to their page to help illustrate the phrase (a collar tag, mouse or fish bone for “curious cat,” for example). Digital Scrapbook Artist, for instance, provides many scanned items for placement or allows you to use any digital image saved on your computer. Remind students not to crowd their design with too many elements. Encourage students to explore their own creativity while adding embellishments to their work by copying, pasting, flipping, rotating or resizing the digital objects and images. Have them repeat the process; one page for each phrase.

Print out each page, ideally on stiff paper or card stock. Laminate each page if you have the time and the equipment. Make a hole in the top and bottom of each page with the scissors or a hole-puncher. Thread the pages together using string, wool, (safe) wire or other appropriate material. Display the hangings from ceilings or bulletin boards, or save them as flash-card like reminders and word banks for referral in future lessons.

Curriculum Standards

This lesson addresses these National Educational Technology Standards for Students:

  • Students use technology tools to enhance learning, increase productivity and promote creativity.
  • Students demonstrate a sound understanding of technology concepts, systems and operations.
  • Students apply digital tools to gather, evaluate and use information.

Grading Rubric

Students’ grades should be based on:

  • How effective was their display? Did they follow the project guidelines (such as using correct vocabulary words)?
  • Did they demonstrate a grasp of the alliteration concept?
  • Did they expand their technology skills?
  • Did they develop their understanding of creative arts abilities?

Teaching Tips and Differentiation

  • As a variation, create wall-hangings with other types of words and phrases such as colloquial words, idioms or onomatopoetic words.
  • This lesson can also be used in beginner foreign language classes on all levels.
  • Experiment with different design elements when creating the hangings, whether with the software or by gluing physical embellishments, such as ribbon or other materials to the printed pages.
  • To add onto the lesson, have students write a brief description of their alliterative phrases and what inspired them to create them. Ask if they can build longer phrases with three or four words?
  • For students with special needs or remedial words, focus the lesson on the use of nouns, adjectives, or high frequency vocabulary or spelling words.
  • For more advanced students, encourage them to use more complicated phrases or sophisticated design techniques (perhaps using the more advanced Digital Scrapbook Artist software).


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