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March 10, 2016

Superheroes Make for Amazing Class Activities

By Lindsey Petlak
Grades PreK–K, 1–2, 3–5

    Our family LOVES superheroes, and you can’t deny that they certainly are popular right now, especially with our kiddos at school. I love taking (appropriate) pop culture phenomena and weaving it into great instructional activities. The theme of superheroes lends itself so well to everything from fun crafts, to deeper lessons on literary elements and writing. Read on for “fantastic” ways to make “amazing” use of superheroes in the classroom!

     


    WHAT A “SUPER” CRAFTIVITY

    A friend shared this handprint craft idea with me and I think it’s absolutely “super.” As I dug deeper to see how to complete the activity, I found that the source, craftymorning.com, actually features 15 different handprint superhero craft variations. What I love most about this is that the process is so simple:

    • Paint parts of student hands to look like superhero costumes and colors.

    • Press hand down firmly onto white construction paper to transfer paint to paper.

    • Add embellishments (like google eyes).

    Even better is the fact that these darling handprints could be used as artistic inspiration or illustration for nearly ANY academic activity. Make the print and partner it with any superhero-themed task you have your kiddos complete.

     


    CHARACTER AND PERSONAL TRAITS

    I love giving my students multiple ways to explore personal and character traits. This is a great activity to promote use of juicy adjectives and to dig deeper into self-awareness and literary characters. Certainly exploring heroes versus villains and their opposing character traits is a great activity to practice these skills. I love giving students a master list of character traits and having them make either a paper collage or digital word cloud version. Learn more about personal character trait activities in my previous Scholastic Top Teaching blog post. This activity is also a great segue into the writing activity detailed below.

     


    WRITING TO THE RESCUE

    The topic of superheroes opens countless doors for writing opportunities in the classroom. One of our second grade teachers, Kristen Robinson, chose to use superheroes to prompt her students to write opinion pieces. Students were asked to imagine what superhero power they would love to have or would best fit their personalities and then write about that power and WHY they chose that specific one. She is using this theme to help meet Common Core State Standard W.2.1: Write an opinion piece in which a topic is introduced, reasons to support the opinion are supplied, and provide a concluding statement.

    Even if you don’t teach second grade, you could tweak your expectations according to appropriate standards and use the same framework for having students choose a superhero power and justify their selection.

    Photos courtesy of fellow teacher, Kristen Robinson


    BAM! POW! ZAP!

    What better way to explore interjections and onomatopoeia than with comics?! Using fun sound effects and even basic interjections, students can use comic-style speech bubbles to explore these topics.

    • Tape/paste photos of scenes, people, and situations onto large chart paper.

    • Using print-off speech bubbles or letting students make their own, have them create coordinating onomatopoeia to label each picture.

    • Students add each of their completed onomatopoeia bubbles around the image in the center of each chart paper. Engage students in a class discussion about similar and different sound effects they used to label each image and why.

    • Encourage students to include onomatopoeia in their next writing piece!

     


    COMIC NEWS REPORTS

    Our computers at school have a comic-creating program loaded onto them. Several free versions of comic-creating computer programs and/or apps are available. These are perfect for so many writing and report purposes! Kids LOVE using these programs because they create simple, visual graphic organizers for notes, stories, and reports. See below for examples of how to use comic-creators as part of your writing tasks:

    • Use comic frames as storyboard planners for fiction and nonfiction writing.

    • Use comic frames as quick comprehension checks. Students quickly sketch imagery from different scenes within the text and add captions or speech bubbles to further describe what happened in the story.

    • Use comic-creating programs as a fun project/report option. Students import photos, facts, and more to produce a visually appealing report on nearly anything!


    I could talk for days about all of the awesome activities you could weave into the theme of superheroes across nearly every subject area. Try some of these out, let me know what you think, and share some of your OWN!

     

    Our family LOVES superheroes, and you can’t deny that they certainly are popular right now, especially with our kiddos at school. I love taking (appropriate) pop culture phenomena and weaving it into great instructional activities. The theme of superheroes lends itself so well to everything from fun crafts, to deeper lessons on literary elements and writing. Read on for “fantastic” ways to make “amazing” use of superheroes in the classroom!

     


    WHAT A “SUPER” CRAFTIVITY

    A friend shared this handprint craft idea with me and I think it’s absolutely “super.” As I dug deeper to see how to complete the activity, I found that the source, craftymorning.com, actually features 15 different handprint superhero craft variations. What I love most about this is that the process is so simple:

    • Paint parts of student hands to look like superhero costumes and colors.

    • Press hand down firmly onto white construction paper to transfer paint to paper.

    • Add embellishments (like google eyes).

    Even better is the fact that these darling handprints could be used as artistic inspiration or illustration for nearly ANY academic activity. Make the print and partner it with any superhero-themed task you have your kiddos complete.

     


    CHARACTER AND PERSONAL TRAITS

    I love giving my students multiple ways to explore personal and character traits. This is a great activity to promote use of juicy adjectives and to dig deeper into self-awareness and literary characters. Certainly exploring heroes versus villains and their opposing character traits is a great activity to practice these skills. I love giving students a master list of character traits and having them make either a paper collage or digital word cloud version. Learn more about personal character trait activities in my previous Scholastic Top Teaching blog post. This activity is also a great segue into the writing activity detailed below.

     


    WRITING TO THE RESCUE

    The topic of superheroes opens countless doors for writing opportunities in the classroom. One of our second grade teachers, Kristen Robinson, chose to use superheroes to prompt her students to write opinion pieces. Students were asked to imagine what superhero power they would love to have or would best fit their personalities and then write about that power and WHY they chose that specific one. She is using this theme to help meet Common Core State Standard W.2.1: Write an opinion piece in which a topic is introduced, reasons to support the opinion are supplied, and provide a concluding statement.

    Even if you don’t teach second grade, you could tweak your expectations according to appropriate standards and use the same framework for having students choose a superhero power and justify their selection.

    Photos courtesy of fellow teacher, Kristen Robinson


    BAM! POW! ZAP!

    What better way to explore interjections and onomatopoeia than with comics?! Using fun sound effects and even basic interjections, students can use comic-style speech bubbles to explore these topics.

    • Tape/paste photos of scenes, people, and situations onto large chart paper.

    • Using print-off speech bubbles or letting students make their own, have them create coordinating onomatopoeia to label each picture.

    • Students add each of their completed onomatopoeia bubbles around the image in the center of each chart paper. Engage students in a class discussion about similar and different sound effects they used to label each image and why.

    • Encourage students to include onomatopoeia in their next writing piece!

     


    COMIC NEWS REPORTS

    Our computers at school have a comic-creating program loaded onto them. Several free versions of comic-creating computer programs and/or apps are available. These are perfect for so many writing and report purposes! Kids LOVE using these programs because they create simple, visual graphic organizers for notes, stories, and reports. See below for examples of how to use comic-creators as part of your writing tasks:

    • Use comic frames as storyboard planners for fiction and nonfiction writing.

    • Use comic frames as quick comprehension checks. Students quickly sketch imagery from different scenes within the text and add captions or speech bubbles to further describe what happened in the story.

    • Use comic-creating programs as a fun project/report option. Students import photos, facts, and more to produce a visually appealing report on nearly anything!


    I could talk for days about all of the awesome activities you could weave into the theme of superheroes across nearly every subject area. Try some of these out, let me know what you think, and share some of your OWN!

     

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