Bringing characters to life

Published 9:33 pm Monday, October 31, 2016

Students in Brandy Roberts’ Hillpoint Elementary third grade class put a unique spin on their book reports by tying in the Halloween spirit.

Roberts said the book reports were going to be standard and require only construction paper. However, some parents wanted to be more creative and use pumpkins.

“I tried to make it easy on them, but they expanded the project for me,” she said.

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Roberts didn’t anticipate the outpouring of support from parents and had previously been brainstorming ways on how “to get the parents more involved.”

Roberts had done a similar project when she taught kindergarten some time ago. With Halloween around the corner, she decided to do resurrect it for her third graders.

For the project, each of her 22 students had a different book to read. They identified major characters, the setting and the plot of their respective books. Then, the students had to depict their favorite character from their books in pumpkin characters.

Students, with the help of their parents, designed and then painted and carved their orange canvases into replicas of the characters.

“This class took it and ran,” Roberts said.

The project was a hit among the students.

“Usually, I just wrote book reports instead of doing it like this,” said Landon Reynolds, one of Roberts’ students.

Loreida Jennings-Ward, another student, chose Lil DeVille from Rugrats as her pumpkin character, because “she’s my favorite character and really cute like me.”

Roberts said on presentation day, a handful of students dressed up to match their pumpkin characters. She noticed her students really took an interest in the books their peers read. Almost immediately after the presentations, the students checked out the books their classmates had read.

“The kids were excited to read the books,” Roberts said. “This inspires them to want to read more.”

Due to the success of the project, Roberts is considering something similar for Thanksgiving.

The pumpkin characters are currently on display in the glass cases near the school’s main entrance.

“I’m very, very pleased with how the whole thing turned out,” Roberts said.