What’s Happening This Week
There is much more to explore in our calendar. Find other important events in literary history, authors' birthdays, and a variety of holidays, each with related lessons and resources.
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Ezra Jack Keats was born on this day in 1916.
|Grades||K – 12|
|Calendar Activity Type||Author & Text|
Ezra Jack Keats wrote and illustrated more than 85 children's books. His beautifully written and illustrated story, The Snowy Day, won a Caldecott medal in 1963. Peter, an African American child who is the hero of The Snowy Day, is the main character of seven other books by Keats.
Although Ezra Jack Keats had no formal training in art, his illustrations won many awards. As you read his books to your class, point out that his illustrations are a combination of painting and collage. In celebration of his birthday, invite your students to be authors and illustrators. Have them write their own stories that include some characters from Keats' books. The stories can be done individually or in groups. Ask students to bring in scraps of materials to create their collages.
Have students practice using collage techniques with the Collage Machine at the National Gallery of Art. Step through the pictures available in the tool to show the options for adding images to collages that go beyond color blocks. Look at the ways to manipulate the images (reducing or enlarging their size, flipping and layering images and so on) in order to demonstrate options students can explore in original collages.
- The Official Ezra Jack Keats Website
The Ezra Jack Keats Foundation provides this resource, perfect for an author study on Keats. Students of all ages will enjoy reading his biography with photographs and hyperlinks. The page on tips and resources offers suggestions on using Keats' books to enhance literacy.
- Ezra Jack Keats: A Virtual Exhibit
This online exhibit is provided by the de Grummond Children's Literature Collection at the University of Southern Mississippi. Visitors will find proofs for 37 books written and/or illustrated by Ezra Jack Keats, his personal papers, fan mail, and more! There is a link to Keats Across the Curriculum which includes activities and Internet resources for many of his books.
- The Snowy Day
The Snowy Day is possibly one of Keats' best-known and beloved stories. This Teaching Heart webpage is filled with suggestions for teaching this children's literature classic.
- Watercolor Snow Collage
This page, from the author of Storybook Art, offers concrete tips for creating a snowy day collage inspired by Keats' The Snowy Day.
Grades K – 1 | Lesson Plan | Standard Lesson
Students draw a series of pictures that tell a story, including character action, problem and solution. They ‘read’ their story to others, transcribe it into writing, and create an accordion book.
Grades 3 – 5 | Lesson Plan | Unit
"Reading between the lines" can be as crucial to comprehension as understanding the words on the page. Through guided author studies, students experience the benefits and the limitations of inference.
Grades 3 – 5 | Lesson Plan | Standard Lesson
Students work on a guided characterization project, using a graphic map to illustrate the ways a character from a book series grows and evolves over the course of the story.
Grades K – 2 | Lesson Plan | Unit
Using books by Ezra Jack Keats as inspiration, students explore problems and solutions through read-alouds, discussion, and an interactive bulletin board.