Got a new device? Play with “Chalk”!

Posted by on Dec 26, 2012 in Art, Craft and Structure, Early Learning, Key Ideas and Details, Logic Smart, Technology, Wordless | 0 comments

If you were lucky enough to get an iPad, a Kindle, or some other fun e-gizmo this holiday season, and you’d like your kids to use it for more than just throwing (understandably) angry birds, get yourself some Chalk.

Chalk by Bill Thomson is a visually stunning wordless picture book available as a Kindle e-book. (If you have a tablet or an iPad, you can download the Kindle app for free and read Kindle books – cool, huh?) Three children find a bag of chalk on a playground. The things they draw come to life. When one of the children draws a dinosaur, how will the children stop it?

Wordless books like Chalk are a great choice for young readers, and not just because they can “read” the pictures to get the whole story. When children read a wordless book with adults, typically the language the adults use to describe what is happening in the illustrations is of a more complex nature than the sentences and vocabulary usually found in picture books for young ones. (Want to know more? Read my article about wordless picture books for So a wordless book can actually work well to teach the Common Core State Standard of Craft & Structure. I love that Chalk offers a great opportunity for problem-solving. When the dinosaur comes to life on the playground in the story, you can ask your young readers, “What would you do?” Kids can brainstorm how they’d solve the problem and discuss Thomson’s solution – the child who drew the dinosaur draws a rain cloud, which becomes real and washes all the chalk (including the dinosaur) away. Talk through the problem and the solution, the beginning-middle-end, and you’re hitting Key Ideas and Details as well!

After you’ve enjoyed Chalk on your device, pair up students and have them sit back to back. If you have a classroom set of iPads, you can use a free drawing app like My Blackboard, or you can go old-school and use real chalk and construction paper, dry erase markers and white boards, etc. Have each student draw something that, if it came to life, would cause a huge problem. Then, students swap pictures and draw something that can then solve that problem.

So, tech it up with your students with the Kindle book and a fun, free app, or embrace the paper and get the book from your local library, but either way, don’t miss out on Chalk!

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