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Gentlehands Accordion Book


Art, Language Arts  



Title – Gentlehands Accordion Book
By – Laura Helfrich
Primary Subject – Language Arts
Secondary Subjects – Art
Grade Level – 8th
The students will read and discuss the novel, Gentlehands, by M.E. Meaker. All pertinent vocabulary should also be acquired or at least discussed.

The students will then create an accordion book and write on either their own, or one of the given topics below. The students will decorate the book with markers, glitter, and original artworks. Directions follow.

1. Grandpa Trenker says, “Obstacles are challenges for winners, and excuses for losers.” What do you think he meant by that? List and describe 2-4 obstacles you have overcome. Define and illustrate what being a “winner” means to you.

2. Write a synopsis or summary of the novel. Group the chapters in either 4’s or 5’s and summarize onto one page. Be sure to include the plot, main characters, and other story elements. Explain why you did/did not like the story.

3. Why do you think that people with different ancestry, socio-economic status, or cultural backgrounds sometimes have problems getting along with each other? Include one object or symbol that is important to your cultural or other background. List some examples of problems you have encountered. Compare/Contrast them to those you read about in Gentlehands.

4. Rewrite the story. Be sure to add interesting new details to your characters. Include pictures/drawings of each character and a simple storyweb or map of the new story. Create a new quote for one of the main characters that best describes his/her beliefs (Ex: Grandpa Trenker & bird’s freedom).

5. Write a pretend sequel to the story. Make a creative title. Be sure to include a beginning, middle, and end. Create interest with unusual plot twists and events. Illustrate your new story. You may use the original format and style created by the author, or use your own!

Students should create a front/cover page with authors’ names and date published. There should be at least 2 pages of text/writing based on one topic. The illustrations should be original. The pages must be numbered. Students should receive extra points for adding poems, acrostics, songs, or short stories to their books.

1. Cut pieces of tagboard or stiff paper the same size and shape. The size and/or shape can contain writing, illustrations, and be connected at the side edges.
2. Tape the pieces of tagboard together at the sides. Tape should be places on both front and back.
3. Design a cover for the book and illustrate the significant pages you have selected. You may draw directly onto the tagboard or on a separate paper to be glued into the book.

E-Mail Laura Helfrich!

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