As part of our daily read-aloud during circle time, our class took a special interest in the ‘Knuffle Bunny’ Book Series by Mo Willems. Knuffle Bunny is a three-part story following a girl named Trixie and the adventures she shares with her stuffed rabbit doll she names Knuffle Bunny. Knuffle Bunny: A Cautionary Tale is the first part of the series, followed by the sequel Knuffle Bunny Too: A Case of Mistaken Identity, with a final book Knuffle Bunny Free: An Unexpected Diversion completing the trilogy.
As we read book after book, students became more enthusiastic about the story and what would happen in each book. They were showing curiosity and asking questions, making predictions, connecting with their own experiences and becoming invested in the adventures each story told. As a class, we read and re-read all three books over again, and observed students choose to read the books themselves and with each other during independent reading time. Children were able to re-tell the story using their own words, words remembered from the read-aloud, and by reading from the pictures. Knuffle Bunny soon became a class favorite!
Below are videos of the three books being read-aloud. Enjoy sharing the reading experience with your child!
(I) Knuffle Bunny: A Cautionary Tale
(II) Knuffle Bunny Too: A Case of Mistaken Identity
(III) Knuffle Bunny Free: An Unexpected Diversion
As part of our preparation for Student Led Conferences, we decided to use this as a platform to extend on the children’s interest and to build on their storytelling skills. As a class, we discussed the similarities and differences that we saw in the three stories. As a result, the class came to a conclusion that in every book, Knuffle Bunny goes on an adventure to a different place. We used this idea to connect with student’s personal experiences and had them all think of where they would take Knuffle Bunny. Have a look at the different ideas we came up with!
Participating in this drawing exercise, students were able to make personal connections to the visual text, tell their own stories using words, and experiment with writing using different implements.
In going further with building on our storytelling skills, we have been thinking about different ways students can express themselves and share their ideas. Drawing has become a big part of our day at school, but how could we further use the drawings? We wanted to make their Knuffle Bunny stories more shareable with families, and allow students an opportunity to share their stories with others. We thought using the Puppet Pals HD App on the iPads would be a great medium where students would be able to extend on their communication skills and learn new technology skills at the same time.
Puppet Pals HD allows you to set up a ‘puppet show’ using a background and adding characters. The app will then record your actions, allowing you to tell a story. Watch this brief video on how to use Puppet Pals HD.
When working on any project, we have to think about certain learning outcomes that will make the experience meaningful where learning is taking place. For this particular learning engagement of creating our own version of Knuffle Bunny on the iPads, together we came up with a few success criteria that would make for a good story.
- Characters – thinking about who will be in our story
- Setting – thinking about where our story will take place
- Problem – thinking about what went wrong
- Solution – thinking about how it got fixed
Working on conferencing between one child and a teacher, we were able to discuss ideas and verbally plan out our personal Knuffle Bunny stories. Then it was time to play with the iPads! Students got a chance to choose the characters for their story, decide on a background, and then work on telling the story with actions and a voice recording. Have a look at all our different versions of Knuffle Bunny using the Puppet Pals HD App. Click on a name to watch the story.
In using the iPads as a tool to create and communicate their own Puppet Pal stories, students were able to build on the following ICT skills.
One part of the Student Led Conference was to share our Knuffle Bunny Story with our families. It was wonderful seeing student take ownership of their creations when sharing their stories during the SLC. The overall feedback from families was that they loved the iPad Stories!
Since then, we have seen student-initiated action in the class with children wanting to work on the iPads with Puppet Pals to create more stories. We have observed students being independent learners, cooperating with peers, and negotiating to take turns. They continue to build on their thinking, technology, and communication skills when using Puppet Pals as way to share stories with others.