Why the Pigeon Project is Perfect!

If you haven’t yet checked out the Pigeon Project, read about our latest learning adventures here and hop over to my classroom blog Mrs. Obach’s Class blog to see some wonderful student-authored books that my class has recently published!  (If you’re up for a romantic story, read “The Pigeon Finds a Girlfriend”  Or perhaps you need a reminder about manners?  Try reading “The Pigeon Wants a Hot Dog”  If you love the farm or just enjoy the Pigeon’s hilarious antics, read “The Pigeon at the Farm”  Maybe just read them all if you have time; my students are happy to share their books with you!)

This fun project was my students’ idea and it has been perfect in so many ways already:

(1) An engaging text-type study
I first introduced my class to Mo Willems’ pigeon books as a part of our text-type study focused on persuasive texts. Willems’ pigeon always seems to be trying to persuade someone of something and my students were really able to understand this form of writing by reading the pigeon stories. Soon, they were trying out persuasive writing for themselves, both as a part of teacher-directed lessons and as a part of their choice writing time.

(2) Also… a fabulous author study

Once my class was hooked on Mo Willems’ pigeon books, they were asking to read the books over and over again. They noticed the book cover images printed on the back of his books and asked if we could find MORE pigeon books to read. We did some research and discovered that a new book “The Pigeon Needs a Bath” was scheduled to be released. The moment we could order it for our classroom, we did. As a new school year began this fall, I introduced my students to the Knuffle Bunny books, also by Mo Willems. It is so exciting to see many of my students find a favorite author that they thoroughly enjoy!

(3) Fueling an authentic passion for reading and writing in my classroom
As teachers, of course we want our students to love reading, writing and books. This project has led to much enthusiasm and excitement in my classroom and that excitement is stemming from BOOKS! Hurray! It’s wonderful to hear my students ask to read these books and to “borrow” the pigeon books from my bookshelf to guide their latest writing endeavors.  I see my students imitating Mo Willems’ writing: using speech bubbles, writing stories about the pigeon and even just writing persuasively.  Student initiated writing practice?  Student initiated reading practice?  Now that’s perfect!

(4) Giving Reading, Writing and Art a Purpose
Once my students decided that they’d like to publish their own pigeon stories, they had such purpose and motivation for their work. They needed to read and reread the Mo Willems’ books, they needed to read their own work and they wanted to read others’ work too. They were excited to write and share their own ideas. Student art suddenly focused on illustrating their stories, drawing the perfect pigeon and learning to make speech bubbles the right size for their text. It’s incredible to watch the passionate learning that ensues when young learners have a driving (self-chosen) purpose!

About mrsobach

Educator in rural Manitoba, Canada. Working with students and fellow educators to improve teaching and learning!
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