Written by Alison Smith
Posted Thursday November 29, 2018
Are you looking for a picture book to share with your students during the lead up to Christmas?
We rarely stop to consider how Australian farmers make the world a better place. Stop, make a cup of tea, sit back and listen to my book reading of All I Want for Christmas is Rain, written by Cori Brooke and illustrated by Megan Forward.
All I Want for Christmas is Rain, written by Cori Brooke and illustrated by Megan Forward, is my pick over the many other children’s Christmas books around, and not just because it was shortlisted for The Children’s Book of The Year. This wonderful children’s picture book offers a perfect starting point for meaningful classroom discussions and engaging activities.
Picture Book Art Project
Some of the most successful art projects that I have explored in the classroom have been inspired by a great picture book. The wonderful illustrations in All I Want for Christmas is Rain are full of life. The images burst with emotion and help the words to leap off the page and take us to the dusty, dry Australian outback.
This picture book offers the perfect opportunity to explore watercolour painting. Encourage your students to consider the earth tones used in the picture book and how they reflect the red-brown heat of dry rural Australia. Try these fun watercolour techniques for beginners and use classic earth tones such as Raw Sienna, Burnt Sienna and Raw Umber.
Acrylic Landscape Painting
If you’re looking for a simple art project based on landscapes, look no further than the television series, Mr Maker for inspiration…
All you need to do is change your colour palette!
Here’s one we made earlier…
For more inspiration for art and craft projects read our blog Classroom Art Projects Inspired by Children’s Books.
The main character in All I Want for Christmas is Rain is a little girl called Jane. She has a lot of appeal for children and your students will find her easy to relate to. Jane is brave, determined and adventurous. She cares deeply about her family, her family’s cattle farm and other farmers. Jane is selfless and thinks outside of the box.
After you have read and discussed this picture book, ask your students to write a character profile of Jane. This activity encourages students to focus on the power of characterisation when creating texts. Use our Free Download: Detailed Character Profile Worksheet to help your students to organise their ideas.
Your students will love to create their own poems by adapting the language features of All I Want for Christmas is Rain. The presentation of rhyming couplets in this picture book lends itself well to writing simple poetry that includes rhythm and rhyme.
‘Our dams are dry and our pastures are brown
This big lack of rain has got us all down.’
Get your poetry activity started by making a class list if the rhyming couplets used in All I Want for Christmas is Rain.
Follow this by:
- Brainstorming other rhyming couplets related to the hot, dry weather of the Australian outback or cattle farms.
- Re-reading the narrative and discussing what might happen next in the story.
- Writing a short poem, using rhyming couplets, that tells the story of what happens after the rainfall.
For upper years, try focusing on a particular poetic device to focus on such as alliteration, storytelling, imagery, wordplay or onomatopoeia.
Take a look at out our Poetry Teaching Resource Collection for everything you need to teach poetry.
Music Activity – Make a Rainmaker
The picture book All I want for Christmas is Rain presents the perfect opportunity to explore sounds as your students learn to listen to and make music.
Why not start by listening to rain sound effects like this…
Ask your students to describe how the sound of rain makes them feel, and discuss how the sound of rain made Jane and her family feel.
Get in tune with your inner craftiness and make your own class rainmakers! Ask your students to bring in a cardboard tube from home.
Follow these simple steps:
- Decorate a long cardboard tube.
- Cover one end 4 x layered patty cases and secure with tape.
- Twist a long sheet of aluminum foil and place inside of the tube (this slows down the fall of the rice and kernels).
- Add a mix of popping corn kernels and uncooked rice.
- Cover the other end of the tube with 4x patty cases and secure with tape.
Rain Cloud Science Experience
I love the idea of making links between the picture book All I Want for Christmas is Rain and science. For a fun science experiment download our Rain Cloud in a Jar Experiment.
Our All About Clouds Teaching Resource Pack makes easy work of teaching and learning about how clouds are formed and the different types of clouds.
Retelling a story is a great way to improve reading comprehension. Our Blank Comic Strip Template makes light work of ruling up pages and will help your students to organise their ideas. I love comic strips as they allow you to differentiate by expectation and your students have an opportunity to demonstrate their ability in a less formal writing structure.
The simple narrative of All I want for Christmas is Rain lends itself very well to a comic strip retell.
Teaching Tip: As a class, re-read All I want for Christmas is Rain and work together to identify six key events in the narrative of the picture book.
Natural Disaster Research Task
If you’re looking for something other than Christmas craft during the countdown to Christmas, why not introduce an open-ended research task into natural disasters, including drought.
Set your class up for success by downloading our Natural Disaster Posters along with our Question Starter Flashcards to create a classroom display that encourages your students to think critically and to follow lines of inquiry.
Here at Teach Starter, we do our best to care for the environment and promote sustainability. Check out our Sustainability Teaching Resources for a huge collection of teaching resources, including these ones related to water conservation!
The lead up to the Christmas holidays is a great time to step away from your rigid lesson planning and to make time for something refreshing. So, why not share this picture book with your class and then choose one of these fun activity ideas to increase your students’ love of quality literature.
All I Want for Christmas is Rain is a must-read picture book. Try one or more of these activities to increase their connection with the narrative and improve their reading comprehension.
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All I Want for Christmas is Rain
Written by Cori Brooke
Illustrated by Megan Forward
Children’s Picture Book
Published in 2016 by New Frontier Publishing Pty Ltd
Paperback available at Booktopia
Comments & feedback
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