The Morris Lessmore project

I loved the Fabulous Flying Books of Mister Morris Lessmore App I purchased last year after seeing it at a Teachology conference. The story is heartwarming with great illustrations. A couple of months ago I came across the imag-no-tron App and discovered that Morris Lessmore had been released as a hardback children’s book.

I quickly purchased the book and was amazed to see the pages brought to life by the iPad. My own children thought it was brilliant and I saw how potentially this would be great to introduce to my class this year.

I started to plan the book into my literacy lessons and wanted to see where this amazing resource would take the children and how I could link this into my topic of ‘Up, Up and Away’.

Day 1
We started with a look at the book discussing what the Author and Illustrator does and reading the blurb. After discussing in talk partners what the story might be about we moved onto the task.

I had colour photocopied the first page of the book and gave one per table group.

I asked the children to write down all the things they could tell me about Morris Lessmore from the picture then let them scribe ideas on big bits of sugar paper. I moved amongst the children prompting them where needed. What is in his hand? Where do you think he lived?
I then scribed as they fed me their ideas about what they could tell from the pictures. From this we built up a character profile for someone who we had not read about yet.
‘A picture speaks a thousand words’ all the time I told the children not to mark the pictures as they were magic. The kids were hooked!

Describing the character from an image

DAY 2
On mentioning that we were going to be using the Morris Lessmore book again there was a large cheer from the children. We re-capped the previous session and then I read the first page of the story. We compared this page to the ideas we had come up with for the character. The children were amazed at how accurate they were.

I then showed them an instructional video on the app and the childrens jaws dropped. They had never seen anything like it.
I asked them to find out what happens next in the story and sent them off in their groups. This gave me the opportunity to check they could all work the kit.
The enthusiasm was amazing and the children had a real buzz when they returned to the carpet to discuss what they had seen.

At this point I introduced adjectives and why they are useful. I then asked the children to
return to their seats and put their heads in their hands and just listen. I played the next picture with the storm sounds while they listened quietly.

I then got them to sit up and write as many adjectives as they could to describe what they had just heard.

I collected some very high level adjectives from what they had heard (even some that I didn’t hear). I scribed for them and I put the sheet on the learning wall for future use.

I then let the children use the iPad to bring the second picture to life. As they were exploring I took a photo of one of the children pretending to be blown away by the wind. You can photo with the graphics from the app.

I sat the children down and air-played the picture up onto the whiteboard. Bingo the children were hooked for the next session.

Check out our class blog link on the home page to see what Tyler and Hannah thought of this lesson.

A selection of adjectives scribed from the children

Day 3

This started with a recap of the previous sessions and I could tell from the answers I was getting that this was really sticking with the children.

I explained how we took screen capture photos using the IPad and then let the children get used to this concept.

We then used the iPads to create the storm effect from the second picture in the Morris Lessmore book. When they had finished playing I got them to role-play being caught in a storm and using the effect snapped them in groups of three to create a stormy image.

These were then printed off and stuck in their books. Using the adjectives from the previous session we were able to tell the story of the day the storm came. The writing was great and using the tech really fuelled their imagination. Where too next ?

Being caught in the storm

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Day 4

This week we are building up to writing a diary entry from the perspective of Morris Lessmore. The lessons will run from a idea session through to a drama role play and story writing session. Then we are going to flip the story into a diary entry.
In this session we looked at what we do at different times of day. We talked about what a diary entry is and how often Morris could write one.
We looked at possible morning routines and then where he could have gone in the afternoon.then we talked a out his evening routine and how he got to the picture on the first page where he is writing on the porch.
I recorded all the children's amazing ideas and then typed them up. These will make prompts to help inspire ideas for the story writing.

Day 5

The class had to write a 'day in the life of Morris Lessmore' so we got into character and as a class in the hall did a short role play where the children acted their day I the life while I prompted questioned and led the day. The teleplay ended with the children sat in the pose from the picture on the first page of the book.
We then went back to class and began free writing. Not worrying about spelling and punctuation the class were inspired to write some very imaginative and creative stories for Morris' day. After that we broke out the dictionaries and using the ideas from the previous session which I had typed and printed set about editing their work.
When this was done they added their own illustration and self assessed what they felt was the hardest part.
The next step will be to change this story into their own diary account.

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Day 6

Next we began to look at the characteristics of diaries. We thought about who writes diaries, who are they for and how they differ from stories. I introduced the key features of a diary such as first person, past tense etc.
The children then looked at ability levelled diary entries running from Anne Frank , Scott and diary of a wimpy kid down to a simple diary entry for my lower year 2’s. the children analysed the text and looked for examples of the key features. We then discussed our findings as a class.

Day 7

We revisited the key features of a diary entry and then using my board I modelled writing a diary entry of my previous day. I was sure to inject lots of chatty writing and opinion in to really emphasise the differences between this and a story. I stopped as I wrote to allow the children to identify the key features. We then talked about our Morris Lessmore stories and how we could change them to make them into diary entries. We then wrote rough drafts to edit

Day 8

We edited our stories using dictionaries and then wrote them up on diary sheets tat could be included in our class display.

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Comments
  1. rebecca says:

    These are great ideas! I wish I taught a younger age group so I could incorporate this book into class because I too loved it. Have you tried the Numberlys book from Moonbot? Its fantastic too. Good luck with the rest of your school year and thanks for instilling the love of reading into kids!

    • fergusdog says:

      Thank you so much for this amazing post. The numberlys are next on my list. I love watching the kids embrace this story and let them take it where they want.

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