Teacher Valdenia Santiago from Jaboatão dos Guararapes, Pernambuco, combined reading stimuli with the main character of the student and developed a project that took advantage of children’s interest in the characters of Monica’s Gang to generate learning in different areas.
Learning from the characters
When she started teaching the 4th grade of Colégio Municipal Humberto Barradas primary school, teacher Valdenia noticed that the students were not very interested in reading. Having already subscribed to Turma da Mônica’s comics, she decided to make some copies available in the reading corner of the classroom next to the paradidact books.
Realizing the students’ great interest in comics, Valdenia came up with the idea of using the characters and the practice of reading to create a project that worked on multidisciplinary themes, from language and writing problems to themes of geography and science. content. from the universe of characters by Mauricio de Sousa.
Through activities and class discussions, Magali’s students learned about the importance of a varied diet and its benefits for healthy development. Based on the stories of Chico Bento, themes about life in the countryside, agriculture, livestock and the relationship between man and nature were worked on.
In addition to the most famous characters from Monica’s Gang, the students also got to know André, a character with autism. With him they learned the main characteristics of autistic people, realizing how the differences of each do not stand in the way of a collective and very positive coexistence.
Another theme that was developed from the stories of the comics was the diversity in the formation of families. The students came to the conclusion that families can be very diverse and that it is about the love that exists in the coexistence between the members.
To develop reading and text comprehension skills, the project included teaching practices across the different text genres. In addition to the comics, the children read medication leaflets, prescriptions, news, advertisements and many other texts, observing and learning the characteristics of each of them.
Turning students into protagonists
The reading stimulation project started from a genuine interest of the students in the construction of collective learning in the classroom. According to the teacher, this allowed each child to connect with and identify with the content from their own experiences.
During one of his studies for the development of the project, Valdenia became acquainted with the proposal of in history: Turn kids into personalized book characters. Seeing that one of the available stories was exactly from Monica’s Gang, the teacher contacted the publishing team and decided that creating personalized books for the class was the best way to end the project.
“I made my own book so that I could show it to the parents of the students. So we organized a meeting, I made the proposal and they accepted it,” says Valdenia. The whole school community was mobilized and the project got the support of the students’ families.
The personalization of the books was done during the lessons, on the teacher’s mobile phone. “I called several students every day to access the Inside History website on my cell phone. They created their own avatars and chose their characteristics such as skin color, eyes, clothes, hair… Each made their own character. And because the story also included a pet, they chose one with each pet’s name,” says Valdenia.
The chosen story wasVisit to Chico Bento“, in which the main character child travels to the countryside on a school trip. Set in rural areas, the story encourages understanding of its characteristics, as well as the perception of the importance of animal care and environmental awareness. But for Valdenia’s students, who lived in the universe of Monica’s Gang and learned from it for months, it was even more important to become the protagonist of this book.
The project results
In addition to the classroom activities and the creation of the personalized book, the children also had the opportunity to attend a music theater by Monica’s Gang at Teatro Rio Mar, in Recife. According to Miss Valdenia who supervised the class, it was a unique experience. “It was a dream for them to go to one of the biggest theaters here in the region. They had fun and even ate ice cream after the show,” he says.
At the end of the activities developed in the project, a closing event was organized, where the students received their personalized books. With the support of families and the school community, the event turned into a real celebration with the decoration of Monica’s Gang as the theme. The students were given t-shirts with the text “The child as the main character of their story starts at school” and made a game about everything they had learned. Afterwards, they even made a musical presentation in pounds in honor of their families.
The event was also attended by the city’s Ministry of Education. Encouraging reading is a concern across the network, which tracks the average number of books read every two months. This monitoring helped to demonstrate the positive effect of the comic books and personalized book project developed by Professor Valdenia: in the second quarter of 2019, the average number of books students read was 10 per month. After the project, in the third quarter, the average rose to 25 books per month.
In addition to the increased interest in reading, another benefit the school indicated was the involvement of parents in the project, who were just as participatory as the students. So there remains an important lesson: that the sum of good teachers, the involvement of families and an education in which students are key players can only produce positive results.
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