Book Review: Ish by Peter Reynolds (with Activity Ideas)

A book review and amazing cross-curricular activity ideas for Ish by Peter Reynolds . These lessons are creative, exciting and inspiring for students!

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If you’re looking for a book to uplift and inspire young students, then Ish by: Peter Reynolds will do just that!

Summary:

Ish is a story about a boy named Ramon who loves to draw.  One day his brother catches a glimpse of one of his sketches and mocks his work.  This causes Ramon to feel a sort of dread, which eventually causes him to give up on artistry!  But, all of his self-doubt comes to an end when he notices that his little sister has created a gallery of all his crumpled up art papers.  He realizes that his work is a unique representation of the world around him.  Ramon creates drawings that are “vase-ish”, “boat-ish” and more.  He begins to enjoy art again and takes pride in his work.  Readers are able to see his character transform and become inspired by his new found confidence and acceptance.

Thoughts:

Peter Reynolds has penned some truly inspiring children’s books, and Ish is no exception.   It sends an important message that it’s OK to be unique and individual.  This is a great book to read before having students display any of their work, because it encourages students to take pride in their version of things.  It also prompts a discussion about how not everyone will appreciate what we do.  Some will truly discourage us, while others will praise us.  This is a mature topic, but it’s important for kids to understand this in order to truly embrace self-acceptance. Here are some activity ideas to try out with your kids or class, which are inspired by the story.  Any of the ideas below can be adapted to be about the book.


Character Development in Writing

This story presents a great writing model for students.  It presents a character with strong feelings, which are represented with descriptive words and colors on the page.  Here are some lesson ideas to try out.

 

(Taken from Teacher Trap)
Talk to students about how to describe a character.  There are “inside” and “outside” traits.  (Image taken from Teacher Trap)
(Taken from Fabulous Fourth Grade)
As a class, brainstorm a list of character traits, so that students have a varied list to choose from when creating a character.  Explain that these character traits become apparent based on what their character says and does.  (Image taken from Fabulous Fourth Grade)
(Taken from Miss Klohn's Classroom)
Give students a comparison between flat and round characters.  Flat characters are one dimensional. Round characters are more exciting and developed.  They are memorable and grow throughout the story.  (Taken from Miss Klohn’s Classroom)
A book review and amazing cross-curricular activity ideas for Ish by Peter Reynolds . These lessons are creative, exciting and inspiring for students!
A part of developing a character is showing how the character changes as the story unfolds.  As students plan out their stories, have them also map out how their character progresses.  (Taken from Literacy & Math Ideas)

 


 

Art Techniques

The illustrations in Ish really allows the story to pop and come to life.  The colors on the page change with Ramon’s moods.  Also, Ramon’s own art work demonstrates a unique sense of lines and interpretation.  Here are some art activities inspired by the book:

 

A book review and amazing cross-curricular activity ideas for Ish by Peter Reynolds . These lessons are creative, exciting and inspiring for students!
This is very landscape-ish, and is made entirely of curvy lines. (Taken from Draw The Line At)
A book review and amazing cross-curricular activity ideas for Ish by Peter Reynolds . These lessons are creative, exciting and inspiring for students!
This is a great way to get students demonstrating feelings using color and design. They can use Ish as a reference. (Taken from Recreation Therapy Ideas)

 


 

Character Development for Students

Ish presents some wonderful character traits for our students to internalize, which include: confidence & self acceptance.  Here are some ways to encourage the development of these character traits even further:

 

A book review and amazing cross-curricular activity ideas for Ish by Peter Reynolds . These lessons are creative, exciting and inspiring for students!
The concept here is to have students fill their “I Can” cans with their accomplishments.  At the end of a certain period of time, they open their jars and relish in all of their strides! This is an especially good exercise for kids who have low self-esteem. (Taken from Entirely Elementary…School Counseling)
A book review and amazing cross-curricular activity ideas for Ish by Peter Reynolds . These lessons are creative, exciting and inspiring for students!
This is a great activity to teach self-acceptance and confidence.  Students choose their favorite part about themselves (this could be physical OR is could be a character trait).  They then write a paragraph about why that is the best part about them.  I think even adults could benefit from this one.  (Taken from Lessons with Laughter)

 

Inference – Difficult Words

Ish is a powerful story, and it comes with some equally powerful words, some if which may be unknown to your students.  Some of these words include “sneered”, “savored” and “gallery”. This is a great opportunity to have your students practice inferring as a reading strategy.

 

A book review and amazing cross-curricular activity ideas for Ish by Peter Reynolds . These lessons are creative, exciting and inspiring for students!
Go through a group discussion with your students and model the process of inferring the meaning of difficult words. (Taken from ELA in the Middle)
A book review and amazing cross-curricular activity ideas for Ish by Peter Reynolds . These lessons are creative, exciting and inspiring for students!
Let students practice with their own strategies! (Taken from Mrs. Hiner’s Headlines)

For more book recommendations with lesson ideas click here.  

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