Using terms or words themselves as inspiration for costumes can make unusual and educational results. These costume ideas can be used for individuals or as classroom learning activities. Some classrooms have been inspired to put on vocabulary parades, putting their dictionaries and creativity to the test.
Debra Frasier's book, "Miss Alaineus: A Vocabulary Disaster" inspires teachers to have children consider the meanings of words and make costumes accordingly. They parade through the school or on stage to show off their ideas and enrich vocabularies for anyone who sees them. Frasier's website features pictures of children dressed as a babysitter sitting on a doll, and a student covered in balloons representing the word "effervescent."
Fourth grade teacher Angela Bunyi liked having children dress as characters in a book. Then she noticed students were wearing Halloween costumes with only loose associations with books and their characters. Using ideas from Frasier's book, she started a word parade. Her results were students not wearing prepackaged costumes, but those born of their own creativity. A student came covered in bandages and a sign that read "hypochondriac." A little girl dressed messily wearing a sign that read "disheveled." A student in a sad mask and droopy clothing wore the word, "depressed."
Creating a costume based on words means getting literal. Parallel could be demonstrated by wearing a striped shirt, or a hat with parallel lines drawn on a card attached to the brim. A sign made from construction paper and string worn around the neck with the word "parallel" drawn on front helps others make the connection between the costume and the word.
Anyone old enough to remember Schoolhouse Rock would appreciate a costume with a nod toward one of its most watched video clips. "Conjunction Junction" featured a train conductor hooking up words, phrases and clauses. Dress like the train conductor in blue overalls over a blue shirt. Tie a red bandanna around your neck and add a striped engineer hat. Get the word reference by attaching conjunctions to the costume like "and," "but," and "or." You could also carry conjunctions like train tickets to hand out to your grammatically challenged friends. As a classroom alternative, teachers can dress as the conductor and students can dress as train cars. Some can have conjunctions on them while others display placards of phrases. The teacher can help students hook up their cars (that is, themselves) to make sentences.
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