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The Curved House Editor

Can you make this face happy? A visual literacy exercise for everyone

By | 4-6 years, 6-8 years, 8+ years, Blog, Teaching Resources, Visual Literacy, Worksheets

When we teach visual literacy we don’t just teach how to ‘read’ and interpret images, we also explore the interpretation of other visual references. One of these is facial expression and, in particular, understanding emotion. Being able to interpret an emotion, and knowing how to express different emotions, are vital to our interactions with the world. This is a quick exercise to try yourself.

Download and print the worksheet below.

Try to turn this face into a happy face.

What changes will you make to change it’s mood? Are there small changes that can make a big difference? Can you completely reinvent the face? Tweet us a picture to @curvedhousekids or post it to our Facebook page, we’d love to see what you make of it.

Visual Literacy Exercise

Click to download PDF

 

 

curved house kids visual literacy fun palace

Five Gems from our first Fun Palace

By | Events, News

On October 4th and 5th, Curved House Kids took over a corner of one of our favourite local bookshops, Shakespeare and Sons and turned it into our very own (and Berlin’s very first) Fun Palace. But what’s a Fun Palace? In short, it’s a free space where kids and adults can have fun connecting art and science through games, storytelling and drawing. Fun Palaces is a UK based (but global) initiative based on an original idea from the legendary playwright, Joan Littlewood and transported into the 21st century by Stella Duffy and Sarah Jane Rawlings.

We had a wonderful weekend in our Fun Palace and were delighted to see so many faces, old and young. We discovered Berlin kids know how to put the FUN in Fun Palace, and that their parents can give us a run for our money with singing and dancing along.

For those of you that coudn’t make it, here are five ‘Fun Palace gems’ to give you a peek into what last weekend was like:

FunPalace-2

1. Rap and Rock(s) definitely go together

Kitty the Crystalizer rapped her heart out with her band, The Rocks. Big shout out to Mini-Metamorphic, a band member of The Rocks who managed to play it mega-cool and sleep through his moment in the spotlight.

FunPalace-15

2. Learning is it’s own language

Language is no barrier when you’re learning about sound waves and making music.  Take eight cups of water, a few German numbers, a poster and some eager volunteers and we had a room full of mini-Mozarts in the making.

3. Breaking the rules is best!

Curved House Kids author Chester Travis’ Picture Poetry session really set the kids imaginations alight. After listening to Chester’s ferocious animal sounds and identifying them, our Fun Palace visitors could create their own mixed-up creations taking the best bits from our animal components. ‘Kick’ was a colorful huge animal that made a mix between a roar and a hiss.

FunPalace-10

4. The future is bright…

Our Fun Palace mural was a chance for kids to respond to speculative questions about the future. One of them – “show me a world that has never existed” – was enough to get one visitor suggesting “a machine that allows you to learn everything while you sleep”. We are pretty much convinced the kid who came up with this will be a professor one day.

FunPalace-40

5. …Especially when you come together

Learning is not just about thinking, it’s also about doing and collaborating, and seeing parents and adults getting stuck in and helping their children add to our mural, write raps, dance for our morning warmups and create their own planets for our Saturday planet parade was an inspiring reminder that the Fun Palace isn’t just an idea for kids.

Thank you to Chester Travis, Megan Archer and Timothy Armstrong for sharing your artistic skills and creativity with us and the kids! And a special thanks to photographer Alice Connew for taking so many wonderful Snaps.

Visit the Curved House Kids Facebook Page to see more pics from the event.

curved house kids visual literacy books kristen harrison

Up, Up into Space in Deutsch!

By | Kids Gallery

We are SO impressed with this book by a 7-year-old in Frankfurt, Germany. This young writer has written the whole of Up, Up, into Space in her native German, complete with the speech bubbles and everything. Amazing work and super neat handwriting. Well done!

curved house kids visual literacy books kristen harrison

curved house kids visual literacy books kristen harrison

curved house kids fun palaces

Berlin’s First Fun Palace: Free Festival of Art and Science

By | Blog, News

Calling all creative kids! On the 4th and 5th of October, for one weekend only, Curved House Kids will set up a Fun Palace at Shakespeare and Sons bookshop.

What’s a Fun Palace? A Fun Palace is a free and creative space, where kids and adults alike can explore activities around art and science. We’ll be filling the weekend with all kinds of engaging and inspiring activities that bring science to life. With sessions looking at space, geology, chemistry, paleontology (dinosaurs!) and the animal kingdom, visitors to the Berlin Fun Palace will be able to explore their favourite subjects through storytelling, songs and games. Join authors, illustrators and artists including Megan Archer, Chester Travis, Kristen Harrison, Alice Connew and Jenna Stout for a fun-packed weekend creating Berlin’s first Fun Palace.

Activities include:

  • Meet the Illustrator: Learn about space, the solar system and gravity with illustrator Megan Archer, whose book Up, Up in to Space! is published by Curved House Kids.
  • Meet the Author: Chester Travis, author of My Summer Snowman, shares his poetry-writing skills while teaching us about the animal kingdom.
  • Rock n’ Roll: A rockin’ game where music meets geology!
  • Dinosaur Doodles: How would you draw a Sordes Pilosus? Or a T-Rex? This drawing game is the ultimate challenge for dinosaur fans!
  • Add your drawing to our “Imagine a Future” mural inspired by author extraordinaire, Lucy Hawking! In one of her videos, Lucy asks: “Can you imagine a future noone else has thought of?”.
  • Splashing Sounds: Learn how to make music with water and sound waves.
  • Planets on Parade: Make your own planet mask and join our planet parade!

This Berlin Fun Palace is one of many Fun Palaces happening in the UK and around the world on 3rd and 4th October, 2014. Over 100 Fun Palaces have been devised to celebrate theatre director Joan Littlewood’s centenary and her vision of creating fun and engaging spaces for anyone to access. Fun Palaces is a campaign for culture that everyone can join – combining arts and sciences, welcoming and free, at the heart of local communities across the world.

When and Where?

11am – 4pm on Saturday 4th and Sunday 5th October
Shakespeare and Sons Bookshop and Bagel Cafe, Warschauerstrasse 74, 10243 Berlin
Cost: Free

A full programme of events will be published on the Curved House Kids website w/c 22nd September.

About Curved House Kids

Founded by Kristen Harrison in 2013, Curved House Kids is a Berlin-based publishing house that develops books and learning materials that integrate visual literacy into the teaching of core reading and writing skills. Our work tackles the reasons kids may not be reading, whether it be learning difficulties, additional needs, lack of confidence, or the ubiquitous distractions of digital technologies. By allowing kids to make their own books we empower them to be part of the creative process and encourage them to form a life-long bond with books and storytelling.

About Fun Palaces

In 1961, UK theatre director Joan Littlewood and architect Cedric Price conceived the Fun Palace as a ‘laboratory of fun’, ‘a university of the streets’. It was to be a temporary and movable home to the arts and sciences that would welcome children and adults alike. This wasn’t possible in 1961; it’s very possible now.

Co-directed by author Stella Duffy and Sarah Jane Rawlings, Fun Palace takes the best of that never-built 1960s vision and bring it into the 21st century in a weekend of events, locally curated and attended – linked nationally and internationally, virtually and actually. On 4 & 5 October 2014 there will be hundreds of local, pop-up Fun Palaces across the globe, each one based on the needs and wants of that community, all part of the national network of Fun Palaces.

For more information, please visit:

http://funpalaces.co.uk/

https://curvedhousekids.com/

For further enquiries, please contact:

Kristen Harrison

kristen@thecurvedhouse.com

+49 176 876 02770

Andrew Carnegie and Kate Greenaway Children's Book Awards

Visual Literacy Packs for Teachers, Parents and Guardians

By | Visual Literacy

This Visual Literacy Packs, compiled as part of the celebration of the 70th anniversary of the CILIP Carnegie Medal and the 50th anniversary of the CILIP Kate Greenaway Medal awards – provide activities and teaching plans to accompany the reading of Carnegie and Greenaway award-winning books.

Andrew Carnegie was a Scottish-born philanthropist (1835–1919) who established over 2800 libraries across the English-speaking world. Kate Greenaway (1846-1901) was a popular nineteenth century children’s books illustrator. The Medals are awarded by librarians to those who show outstanding excellence in children’s and young person’s literature.

Check out the packs below!

Visual Literacy Pack 1
Visual Literacy Pack 2 (top ten)

 

chester travis at Shakespeare and sons

Chester Travis entertains the BeSmart Academy, Berlin

By | Blog, Events, News

Back in December we ran a competition to get kids drawing the cover of My Summer Snowman by New Zealand author Chester Travis. The comp was won by 5-year-old Lilly (then 4) who produced this wonderful drawing that really impressed our judge, illustrator Ben Hawkes.

My Summer Snowman Chester Travis The Curved House Kids

Lilly, aged 4

Lilly’s prize was an author visit by the wonderful kiwi native Chester Travis. We held the event at Shakespeare and Sons in Berlin and Lily bought along her classmates to be entertained and inspired by Chester’s reading. The kids got to illustrate their own page from a book and all took home a copy of one of our books.

Thanks BeSmart academy for a great morning and congrats again to Lilly, keep drawing!

Brian Kennedy, Director, formerly Hood Museum of Art

By | Visual Literacy

We often refer to this TEDx talk by Brian Kennedy in our work, so wanted to share it here. This is from when Kennedy was director of the Hood Museum of Art at Dartmouth College (he is now Director of Toledo Museum of Art), speaking about the growing field of visual literacy and why we need it.

Kennedy notes in his speech that, although society has become much more visual, visual literacy itself has declined, and what’s necessary is to “reintegrate the capacity of our senses” for the digital age.

Much of our work and thinking stems from the idea that ours is an increasingly visual world and in order to get children reading (and get everyone interested in words, text and storytelling) we must present it in a way that reflects how they navigate the world – ie. visually.

Visual Literacies Project Archives

By | Visual Literacy

More great Visual Literacy resources from the US. Inter-Disciplinary.net, the Project Archives of Visual Literacies: Exploring Critical Issues has made available materials from conferences, research events, and other publications related to the project to provide you with some wonderfully helpful resources for developing future research and publishing opportunities.

Available presentation topics from the most recent conference include “Visual Literacy Through Graffiti” and “Visual Literacy as a Means to Facilitate Conscious Choice in Learning.”

Click here to find out more about the project.

Project Archives Visual Literacy Resources

WALL-E Visual Literacy resources

Examining WALL-E: How we can show meaning without words

By | Visual Literacy

“Visual Literacy” available online as a chapter excerpted from the book Media Literacy in the K-12 Classroom, by Frank W. Baker, published by the International Society for Technology in Education. The chapter examines the ability of photography and video—notably the first 10 minutes of the animated feature film WALL-E—in conveying meaning without words. The excerpt also provides details about the Mid-Continent Research for Education and Learning (McREL) Corporation’s set of “Language Arts Viewing Standards” K-12 education.

Read the chapter here!

 

Vislit Visual Literacy Conference

The 2014 International Visual Literacy Conference

By | Events, Visual Literacy

Toledo Museum of Art Visual Literacy Conference VISLIT

The Toledo Museum of Art is hosting the 47th Annual Conference of the International Visual Literacy (IVLA), this year’s theme being The Art of Seeing: From Ordinary to Extraordinary.

Conference events include Panel Discussions and Paper Presentations to interactive Workshops and Demonstrations which brings together teachers, researchers, students, artists and anyone else with interest in the field of visual literacy to discuss and critique work and practices.

We hope to attend the conference and engage with other thinkers and do-ers, movers and shakers, working in visual literacy education and we’re looking forward to hearing about the outcomes of the various workshops and events.

Head over to the VISLIT resource page as well, for an excellent introduction to visual literacy, perfect for anyone wanting to know how they can improve visual literacy through art.

Parents: Can’t get to Toledo? Don’t worry! There is even a family guide resource so you can explore the museum and visual literacy with the kids without having to leave the house!

http://www.vislit.org/

 

Martin Scorcese Video on the Importance of Visual Literacy

By | Visual Literacy

Our favourite bushy-browed filmmaker, Martin Scorcese, discusses the importance of the filmmaker’s visual decisions in conveying aspects of the story that can’t be told through dialogue. He notes that students today “need to know how ideas and emotions are expressed through a visual form” – such as the filmmaker’s tools such as lighting, panning the camera, and framing an image — to make an emotional and psychological point to an audience.

Aaaaaand ACTION!

international children's book day

Free Shipping today only to Celebrate International Children’s Book Day

By | Blog, Events, News, Uncategorized

international children's book dayWhoa! It’s International Children’s Book Day and we are celebrating. Our authors and illustrators are visiting schools in London and Berlin today to make some collaborative books with kids. Meanwhile, over in our shop we are offering FREE SHIPPING anywhere in the world for today only AND we will choose one lucky customer to win one of our hand-printed Pillow Books. How very awesome!

Just in time for Easter so you can pick up some of our Make-Your-Own books to keep the kids busy over the holidays.

Free shipping today only

Visit the Curved House Shop and use this discount code at the checkout:

DISCOUNT CODE:  ICBD2014

Remember this is for today only.

Teachers ahoy!

Are you a teacher looking for something to do with your kids today? Here’s our Pirate Power poem that you can download, print and get your kids to illustrate. Don’t forget to upload some pictures to our Kids Gallery – we’d love to see what the kids come up with!

Wishing you all a very happy International Children’s Book Day.

illustrate your own book with curved house kids

Click to Download Pirate PowEnjoy and a very happy International Children’s Book Day to you

 

world book day banner

Make Your Own Book for World Book Day 2014

By | Blog, Events, Teaching Resources, Worksheets

World Book Day 2014 LogoHey, in case you didn’t know, this Thursday, 6th March, is World Book Day and that makes this week World Book Week. Woohoo! What could be better than a week long bonanza of books and stories. How are you celebrating World Book Day? We’re celebrating by visiting some schools, hanging out with awesome kids and by sharing some of our super dooper make-your-own books with you.

Illustrate your own book for World Book Day!

Every day this week we will release a page from our book Pirate Power, written by Kitty Healy. Kitty is a great writer but not the best illustrator, so we need lots of awesome, creative kids to do the drawings.

Download, print and scribble every day and on Friday you will have a complete book of your very own. If you want to display your fine work in our online gallery you can send us a pic or upload it directly to: https://curvedhousekids.com/upload-your-book/.

Get scribbling!

DAY ONE

Click to download the first page of your book

World Book Day 2014 Pirates

DAY TWO

Click the image below to download the second page of your book!

world book day pirate power by curved house kids

DAY THREE

Wow, we’re halfway there! Click the image below to download the third page of your book!

Make your own book world book day 2014

DAY FOUR

Come ‘ere me pirate pals, happy World Book Day! Click the image below to download the last page of you book and tomorrow you can download the cover to complete your make-your-own book for World Book Day.

world book day 2014 activity curved house kids

DAY FIVE

You’re nearly there! Now you just need to illustrate your cover, dedicate your book to someone special and then you’re done. Congratulations pals, what an amazing achievement to finish your very own book! Click the image below to download your cover.

WorldBookDay2014_CoverNew_Page_1

Visit the awesome World Book Day 2014 website
Primary Literacy Workshops Curved House Kids Make Your Own Books

Pictiur Family Day at the Irish Museum of Modern Art: 11 Jan 2014

By | Blog, Events

One of my dreams for Curved House Kids is for it to inspire people to work together to produce and personalise their own books. Whether that’s parents and their children, teachers and their pupils, older siblings and younger siblings, babysitters, guardians, carers… the idea of collaboration is fundamental to all the work I do and especially to Curved House Kids. So it was such a thrill to see one of our books – My Summer Snowman by Chester Travis – featured as part of the Pictiur Family Day at the Irish Museum of Modern Art (IMMA) in Dublin.  The Family Day was part of the bigger Pictuir children’s book illustration exhibition featuring work by Lily Bernard, Alan Clarke, Olivia Golden, Chris Haughton, Paul Howard, Oliver Jeffers, Chris Judge, Niamh Sharkey and many more amazing Irish artists.

Kids had the opportunity to illustrate their own copy of My Summer Snowman and as we can see from the pictures here there are some brilliant illustrations as a result. But the very best thing about it is seeing families and friends working together on their books – collaborating, sharing and building something special together. Here’s what IMMA said about it: 

“My Summer Snowman was integral to a recent event I curated at the Irish Museum of Modern Art (IMMA) relating to children’s book illustrations and storytelling. The event was in response to an exhibition taking place in the museum at the time of Irish children’s book illustrations called Pictiur, and saw several illustrators, artists and authors working with children and parents to develop their own imagery and stories. My Summer Snowman proved extremely popular on the day, and provided families the opportunity to sit, read and imagine how they might use imagery to represent the story being told. It supported family learning, visual language skills, group work, reflection and developing a child’s imagination. It’s an excellent project and I hope to collaborate with Curved House Kids in the future.” – Katie Fitzpatrick

What an exciting day for our little books. Big thanks to Katy Fitzpatrick and all the fab IMMA staff involved in planning the day.

 

See more pictures from the day on IMMA’s Facebook page.

Primary Literacy Workshops Curved House Kids Make Your Own Books

4-year-old Lilly wins our My Summer Snowman illustration competition

By | Blog, News

Drum roll please….

The winner of our My Summer Snowman cover illustration competition is… LILLY. Lilly is just 4 years old and her illustration shows a special something when it comes to drawing. Our super dooper judge, Ben Hawkes, said this about Lilly’s drawing:

“BOOOM! My favourite, not only is the snowman/woman walking but there is a castle and a really well drawn tent. Colours are fab and looking at it makes me happy.”

Well done Lilly, you did a great job and we can’t wait to see what else you draw for us!

Lilly has won 20 copies of any of our books for her friends or classmates plus a visit from the awesome author of My Summer Snowman, Chester Travis.

We don’t officially have runners up in this competition but Judge Ben also asked us to acknowledge his other favourites. MIRA (8) and ALFRED (6) came a very close second:

“MIRA – a beautiful snowman and wonderful collage, I love the tree and the arms of the snowman. The carrot is fab, I am slightly jealous!”

“ALFRED – I love this, beautifully drawn snowman and I love the green hat and very beautifully draw face.”

Thank you to all the creative kids who entered their work into our first ever drawing competition. There will be lots more to come so keep your pencils sharp and your imaginations wild!

About our judge

Ben Hawkes is the talented illustrator of Grandma’s Jungle Party. He has also illustrated for Random House, M&S, Ribena and many others AND he has just finished illustrating a brand new reading App, Hip Hop Hen. Check out his work here: http://benhawkes.co.uk/

Primary Literacy Workshops Curved House Kids Make Your Own Books

Reading Images: An introduction to visual literacy

By | Advice for Parents, Blog, Events, Teaching Resources, Visual Literacy

“Images are all around us, and the ability to interpret them meaningfully is a vital skill for students to learn.”
– Melissa Thibault and David Walbert, authors of Reading images: an introduction to visual literacy.

Have you heard of “visual literacy”? If you’re a parent or teacher struggling to engage your kids with learning, maybe this is something that can unlock things for you (and for them!). It has worked for us.

The Curved House Kids series of books is based on the belief that some kids are visual learners – they see the world in pictures so by providing books without words we invite them to understand how to interpret images and then use language to express what they see and understand. Similarly, by providing books without pictures we allow kids to reinforce their comprehension and vocabulary by drawing what they read. They are etching knowledge into their brains AND having fun at the same time! This is a visual literacy technique to teach children to read, write and use their imaginations but there are many other ways to use visual literacy in the home or in schools.

If you’re interested in learning more about it and want to try some visual literacy techniques, LEARN NC (a program of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Education in the US), has put together a good primer on the topic, aimed at educators of students from Kindergarten through 12th Grade (early years through secondary school in the UK). The overview links to a variety of lesson plans on the subject, tagged to note the appropriate grade level for each lesson.

Click here to visit the Learn NC website for lesson plans and other great resources…