Tuesday, February 17, 2015

GUEST POST: Howard B. Wigglebottom Animated Books



As a speciality teacher at Notre Dame Elementary School, my role this year has been to teach computers to students from grades JK-6. One of my earlier goals was to incorporate media literacy into my lessons, providing students with meaningful and engaging stories while also incorporating technology into the lesson. One of my favourite series of books is Howard B. Wigglebottom; I have most of the hard cover books. In September, I had introduced my students to the story, “Howard B. Wigglebottom Learns to Listen,”  since it is an appropriate selection to help reinforce back-to-school rules. The books in this series revolve around one theme, an important life lesson as experienced through the main character, a bunny named Howard B. Wigglebottom. Seeing how the students reacted positively to my choice in books, I found myself searching the Internet for computer based activities which would tie in nicely with this series. In my quest, I was fortunate to come across a website which provides the entire Howard B. Wigglebottom series of books, complete with entertaining songs and rich, meaningful lesson plans for each book, all for free! All of these resources couldn't possibly be free, I first thought, but they are. I immediately began planning some of my lessons around the use of this wonderful site for my primary students. The students not only loved watching the animated book, but were engaged in the pre and post discussions and were also engaged in the song which followed the story. Each week before we walk to the library to begin class, the students ask me if they will be watching another Howard B. Wigglebottom animated book. Both primary and junior level students have enjoyed the animated series.  

Recently, I had the opportunity to share my discovery with my colleagues at the “All About Me – Student e Portfolio Pilot Project.” The ultimate goal of this board pilot program is to provide students with a computer based container to archive work samples which reflect their interests and potential career goals. This e portfolio will follow the students through their high school years as well, tying in nicely with the 2013 “Creating Pathways to Success” Ministry document. How does a series of books about a bunny relate to this important project? The story, “Howard B. Wigglebottom Listens to His Heart” teaches students that no matter what others think of their choice in activities, they must be true to themselves and do what they love, with passion and enthusiasm. Howard was made fun of for his love of dancing and chose other activities which neither suited him, nor were of interest to him, just so he could fit in with his friends. After receiving wise advice from his grandfather, a fellow dancer, he returned to his passion with heart and soul. In the end, his friends recognized his talent and applauded him for it. More importantly, Howard was happy with himself and his choice because he chose to “listen to his heart.” My colleagues enjoyed the selection and the meaningful connection it had to our current pilot project as it reinforces the idea that students must know themselves well first and be true to themselves before pursuing interests or career choices.

For anyone interested in this site, log onto  www.wedolisten.org
and click on “Animated Books.” The Howard B. Wigglebottom series of books will appear on the screen, with song and lesson plan option links below. I highly recommend this resource to both primary and junior teachers. Happy reading!

By: Laura Andreozzi-Chorney
      Speciality Teacher
      Notre Dame Elementary School



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