Saturday, May 15, 2010


The brilliant folks at Toon Books, of whom we are unapologetic fanboys, have a new Benny and Penny blog just for emergent readers! I am so jazzed about this. I will make this blog part of my grade 1-2 curriculum next year and we will be leaving ourselves some comments. Oh yeah! 

From the press release:
The interactive blog features the mice characters from creator Geoffrey Hayes. Hayes, author and illustrator, is the 2010 winner of the Theodor Seuss Geisel Award for BENNY AND PENNY IN THE BIG NO-NO!

The content on the blog is designed specifically for emerging readers. The vocabulary, visuals, and activities target the needs of early reading and writing. Parents and children can tune in every Monday for a great new story with Benny, Penny and their friends in a weekly comic strip. Visit the blog every Wednesday for a new cartoon featuring a caption contest. The author will post the best captions the following week.

Check out the things our students can do on the site:
  1. Read the weekly comic, posted on Mondays. 
  2. Read the archived comics any time.
  3. Download the comic.
  4. Print the comic for students to color.
  5. Cut out the panels, scramble them, and have kids put them in order. (national standard)
  6. Send them your student art for publication. (Hey! We do that too, you know.)

Okay K-2 teachers, this is golden. If you use an interactive white board, you could cut the panels apart and scan them in. Then show them on the SmartBoard and have students rearrange them. In my technology classroom, I could have a Smart Notebook page with the panels. Each individual student could arrange the panels on the computer. How about this? I could collaborate with my art teacher. The students could write their own BENNY AND PENNY story in my room. Then the art teacher could have them illustrate a comic. Then we could hand them in the hallway and have the entire grade  (or student body) vote on their favorite. We could scan the top five in and send them to the blog. 

Students could write their own BENNY AND PENNY story ideas and we could submit them all to the blog. Maybe TOON BOOKS would run a contest to choose the best story idea (that would be worked up by the author, of course) and the winning student could be featured as a guest animal character in the next Monday comic. Maybe The Graphic Classroom could be a co-sponsor?

Can you tell I'm excited?

I love interactive, robust learning activities that connect to the real world. Kids dig it, too. 

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