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Book Parade Tips
Claim the date early
Plan for first thing in the morning so costumes are not ruined at or by recess, and can be removed so children can participate in other activities throughout the day.
Determine whether 'character' refers to just books, comics, television shows, or Internet games or all of them or just one.
If you are limiting it to book characters (which is traditional) decide whether you will allow Disney character costumes that are commercially available because many parents don’t have the time/skills/money/interest to make something, remembering if you disallow them many children will not be able to participate
Ensure that children know that homemade costumes are perfectly acceptable so they don't think only store-bought are allowed/desired.
If you have a range of ages, perhaps even including the pre-school, consider guidelines so that costumes (especially from the older students) are not too scary. You don't want the parade ruined because a little one is screaming in fear.
If you are limiting it to books, consider requiring the child to carry the book on which their interpretation is based.
Consider a whole-school theme based on a genre (perhaps historical fiction) or place (such as underwater characters) or even a subject (such as sports). Or if not a whole-school theme, then perhaps a class-theme based on their studies at the time.
Consider allocating or having teachers/students select one book, perhaps from the shortlist, as the theme for the whole class to interpret. Means the book has to be well understood, allows for lateral thinking and avoids having 50 Cinderellas or Batmans.
If you do decide on one-class, one-book but don't restrict it to the shortlist, make a list of suggestions for each year-level to give teachers a starting point. They may not be as familiar with children's lit as you are.
Avoid prizes so those without parents or without parents with the time/skills/money/interest are not marginalised
Have loud, clap-along music and each class parades in a circle around the others who are the audience.
If a child comes without a costume, decide whether they parade with the class (often looking embarrassed and unhappy) or whether they just remain part of the audience sitting with a class not parading yet.
If you know that a child is unlikely to have a costume for whatever reason, invite him/her to make a hat or sandwich board with you at lunchtimes or get a group of volunteers of senior students to start a regular costume-making activity at lunchtimes in T3 for those students. We all know who they are. Set aside some budget money so it can happen because THAT is what the child will remember rather than shelves full of resources.
Get someone who knows their children’s literature to spruik to add atmosphere
Consider making it a mask, a hat, a headband, or a sandwich board parade and make the making of these the art curriculum for the first part of T3 so everyone can be involved.
Ensure that teachers get in the spirit and dress up too, even, if like me, they hate fancy dress
Year 5/6 will often bow to peer pressure and think this is babyish and uncool (although secretly they would love to be involved) so give them a chance to be involved in the organisation, helping younger students make or wear their costumes, making advertising posters, being junior journalists, being in charge of the music selection and delivery, whatever is on offer to give them responsibility, ease your workload and making it a whole school event.
Invite parents and the local media (including your local free suburban newspaper) because it’s all advocacy for the teacher librarian’s role. Let them see their child having fun so they see their efforts are worth it.
Keep the purpose of children having fun clearly in focus – it should not be a competition, no student should be marginalised and it should be all about the laughter.
for costumes with your parent community.
For the last few parades I have been doing one book per class - either a shortlisted or one of the class teacher's favourites. We have found it works well and especially encourages the Stage 3 to participate. We also have class based costume session an hour before the parade or before lunch so in the classroom hats or simple costume add ons can be made for kids who don't bring stuff from home, ensures EVERYONE is participating. Kids parade one class at a time around a circle of the hall, audience seated all around. Student at front of line can hold up the book featured OR a canvas artwork (see below).
Canvas Art: Has been successful in several schools I have seen. Buy cheap stretched canvases from Jolly Ollies (or similar store). Each class is asked to produce a painting for their book, then after the parade we hang the finished products in the Library for years to come. Kids still come in and point to the one they did when they were younger! The canvas lends itself very well to adding collage stuff like feathers, wool , material , paper shapes etc. The canvas art for Where is the Green sheep? was stunning yet so simple!
Make your theme for your parade this year a character from an Australian story book. Enrich the parade by having students use
as a model to suggest an Australian character for each letter.
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