With each guide I work to create something that will help keep the book in the minds of teachers and librarians for a long time. Something that they can easily pull up and reuse. Something that the kids can make by themselves. The objectives of teacher guide exercises must stem from the varied themes presented in the story. And, I try to create activities in which the kids must repeatedly refer to specific pages in the book. Gotta keep that book in their hands!
The overarching theme in Don Tate's It Jes' Happened: When Bill Traylor Started to Draw is the passage of time. It is a remarkable tale of a man who, while in his 80's, began to draw pictures depiciting the vivid memories of his life as a slave, a sharecropper, and a freeman. This great story is pieced together with multiple references of time and place, more so than in many picture books I've seen. So, I thought, since the aspects of time and place are critical to Bill Traylor's story, let's make a timeline!
There is some assembly required to create this project. Not to worry, though. It's super easy to make. Everything you need is listed in the guide. With a little glue, some scissors, and the book in hand the incredible events of Bill Traylor's life and death can be chronicled over and over again.
There are lots of other interactive activities in Don's guide. For instance, comprehension is reviewed by working an awesome crossword puzzle. There's a writing exercise built around writing in a character's point of view. And a poetry activity in which the students pull from their own memories as inspiration - the best kind.
So, get the book, download the guide, and have yourself some grand old fun! Make it jes' happen.