International Association
of School Librarianship

Through My Window: The Colors of My World – The GiggleIT Project

"Through My Window: The Colors of My World" invites students to creatively describe what they see when looking out their very own windows, with:

  • Through My Window Haiku, using the 5-7-5 syllable Japanese poem pattern to share a colorful view of their surroundings, and
  • Our Snow White as the entire class renames the classic fairy tale character and the Seven Dwarfs to reflect local culture.

Feel free to copy and share the Instructions to Students shown for each Project or put them into your own words.

  • GiggleIT encourages students to write in small groups, but they may also write individually or as an entire class.
  • Original illustrations by class members can also be included with any GiggleIT writing.
  • Please be sure that students only use their initials to sign their individual or small group work, for Internet safety!

If culture-specific words are included, students should provide a glossary so that all readers will understand their writing better, as shown in the poetry example for students below.

Through My Window Haiku – Spotlight Project

Windows are everywhere, and the view from each is unique. Your students can introduce their favorite sights and sounds to readers all over the world, using Japanese haiku poetry.

Haiku requires flexible thinking and concentration to get just the right words for its 5-7-5 syllable pattern.

You’ll find haiku lesson plans and worksheets in the Poetry section of the GiggleIT Resources page.

Ask students to think carefully about what they see out their very favorite window, writing down descriptions (adjectives), actions (verbs) and things (nouns). Do they hear something, too? Do any scents or smells come through that window?

As they begin to craft their haiku, remind your students to carefully count their syllables for each line - five syllables in line 1, seven syllables in line 2, and five syllables in line 3. If they need a different word to "fit" the correct number of syllables, try sending them to a thesaurus or asking them to brainstorm with classmates. (Poems written by small groups are great!)

They also need to make a Glossary of words that might be unfamiliar to readers in other parts of the world. Trees, animals, games, and other sights which are well-known to your students are exotic and unusual to someone else. (see example in Instruction to Students, below)

Instructions to Students – Through My Window Haiku:

Begin your Haiku by thinking about the windows that you look through - at home, at school, and in other places.  What is your favorite view? Is it different at different times of the day or the year? Do you see people, animals, plants, or activities? Can you hear something? Any smells or scents coming through that window?

Next, start making a list of words about what you see, hear, and smell through your favorite window. Include nouns (words that name things), adjectives (describing words) and perhaps some verbs (action words), as well as how this view makes you feel.

Then, look at the special rhythm pattern of Haiku, which doesn't rhyme like some poetry.

Five sy-lla-bles first,

Next, se-ven sy-lla-bles here,

Then end-ing with five.

Write your Haiku – by yourself or with friends - and read it aloud to make sure you have the right words in the right spots.  Ask your teacher or librarian to proofread your poem (good writers edit their work more than once). Remember to include a glossary, defining words that readers in other places might find unusual, confusing or strange.

Finally, center your Haiku on the page and sign it with your initials

Rounded backs*, purple, gold,

Sandaled feet pad softly by -

I do not belong.  – PC**

*people praying here are kneeling with heads bent low, so one can only see their backs when looking through the window into the shrine.

You can include the view that inspired your haiku with your own drawing or photograph, as PC did.

Our Snow White – Spotlight Project

As your students look out their windows and consider their surroundings, ask them to think of things that represent their land to them. Then the whole class can re-name Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs as if they lived where you live!

Did you know that the original tale of Snow White did not give individual names to the dwarfs? See a translation of the 1812 Brothers Grimm story here:

As an example, if Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs lived in Antarctica, their names might be "Southern Snow" and the Seven Penguins: Adelie, Emperor, Glacier, McMurdo, Amundsen, Shackleton, and Byrd.

Of course, your students must explain why the names they choose are meaningful for your place.

So, for the Antarctic version, Southern Snow lives on the southernmost continent and her skin is pale as moonlight on the glacier snow. Each penguin's name signifies an essential Antarctic feature: Adelie and Emperor are native penguin species, Glacier is named for the rivers of ice covering much of the land, etc. (the entire list is included in Instructions to Students, below).

Here’s one way for the class to decide on the names of their Seven Dwarfs. Have students brainstorm on symbols, objects, places, and events that are common and/or unique to where you live, each person writing their own list. Gather the lists and write each item on blackboard/large paper/display screen, omitting any duplicates = this gives you a master list of ideas. Names of celebrities, sport stars, or other living persons are not appropriate for this project, so explain this to students as you remove those names from the master list.

To help students vote on many options at once, try the “Decision Dollars” method. Use pebbles, pretend money, sticky dots, shells, etc. to represent a vote. Each student has 10 votes and may use multiple votes on any item, depending on how much they like it. Some students will carefully portion out their votes, while others will pile all 10 votes on a single choice. Tally up all the votes for each item – the top 7 are your Dwarfs. In case of a tie between items, vote again on just those.

Divide the class into 8 groups so that each small group writes an explanation about a character, telling why each name is significant in your culture, to create Our Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. You can publish original student art with it, too!

Instructions to Students - Our Snow White:

Think about the story of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, and try to imagine that these characters came from your place. What would their names be? How would those names reflect your region's outstanding things, like animals, weather, land formations, bodies of water, unique professions, or history?

As a whole class, begin making a list of these types of things - it will be a very long list!

Then each student votes for the names they like best (your teacher/librarian will help you with the voting process).

When the class has decided on a new name for Snow White and for each of the Seven Dwarfs, you will need to explain the names' significance so people reading your character list will understand more about where you live, writing in small groups, then combining all eight names and explanations into Our Snow White for your whole class.

Here is an example, set in Antarctica, where we meet "Southern Snow and the Seven Penguins" named Adelie, Emperor, Glacier, McMurdo, Amundsen, Shackleton, and Byrd.

Southern Snow has skin as pale as moonlight on the glacier snows of Antarctica, the southernmost continent.

Adelie and Emperor are 2 penguin species native to Antarctica.

Glacier is named for the rivers of ice covering much of this polar continent.

McMurdo is named for the international research station where scientists study this continent's weather, animals, and geology.

Amundsen, Shackleton, and Byrd are named for early explorers of Antarctica.

You can draw your Snow White and Seven Dwarfs to publish with your character explanations, too.

**PC photo and haiku by GiggleIT Project team member P. Carmichael

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