News from the 1st Grade classroom

April 2, 2022


It was Reading Gives You Superpowers Week! – a virtual event put on by Scholastic and Captain Underpants, Dog Man, and Cat Kid Author Dav Pilkey. Pilkey has openly shared that he has dyslexia and ADHD, and although he now says that these are his superpowers, he struggled in school, and now, through his books and events like this, he aspires to help kids grow up with the joy of reading, creating, and writing. “It’s very exciting to see that kids are finding their own ways to connect with others by using their imaginations and creativity; that was always one of my hopes, that kids would discover the joy of storytelling.” His books are written to be easy so all students can read them and laugh, and he even puts mistakes in them. He says, “ These ‘mistakes’ occur in my books for a reason. I have an agenda: I’m secretly trying to inspire kids to create their own stories and comics, and I don’t want them to feel stifled by ‘perfectionism.’” 


To start the project off, students watched an interview with Dav Pilkey in which he shared his four writing principles: “Inspiration, Creativity, Practice and Persistence, and Fun and ‘Laffs.’” They also learned how he gets ideas for his characters and stories.


Following his process, students wrote a list of objects they like, followed by a list of activities they enjoy doing. Their favorite object became their character, and their favorite activity became the activity their character would be doing in their comic. For example, a student may like cupcakes and fishing, so their character would be a cupcake that goes fishing. 

Their character was then drawn and brought to life with clay! 

In reading, students had been identifying character traits, so this was an excellent opportunity for them to reflect on the character traits they wanted their own character to have – strengths, weaknesses, likes, and dislikes. They each made a haiku poem about their character with these traits in mind. A haiku poem has a syllable pattern for each line (5-7-5), requiring each student to use their phonemic awareness skills to ensure each line had the correct number of syllables. This challenged students to reword their sentences and come up with new words that would fit the syllable requirements, but they all persevered and were all successful! 

They participated in a museum walk to share and see the class collection of characters and their main traits.

Next, students were ready to use their story-writing skills to produce the rough draft of a comic with a problem and solution. Students had been preparing for this by finding problems and solutions in leveled texts weeks prior. This was also a great opportunity for students to practice adding dialogue to a story using speech bubbles. 

Finally, students completed the project by developing their final draft, remembering that they didn’t have to be perfect but that it should be something they were proud of. 

Comics, characters, and poems were temporarily displayed in the lobby to show other classes the creativity and work put into this project and to inspire PNA’s community to have fun reading and writing, as Dav Pilkey does. 

The lessons of this project extended beyond reading and writing, reminding students that it’s ok and normal to make mistakes, to keep practicing, and not give up; that their small idea can develop into something bigger, and that they each have something special (their own superpower). However, the most rewarding part for me was seeing how engaged students were, and having one student share, “Mrs. Tuomi, I’m so proud of myself!”  


13 inspirational quotes from Dav Pilkey. Scholastic. (n.d.). Retrieved April 2, 2022, from

Dav Pilkey gives you reading superpowers. (n.d.). Retrieved April 2, 2022, from 

#NationalKeepKidsCreativeWeek encourage kids to be creative without worrying about being per…: Personalized books for kids, Personalized Childrens, childrens books. Pinterest. (2016, September 16). Retrieved April 2, 2022, from

TheScholasticChannel. (2021, March 22). Cat kid comic club is in session: Create Comics with Dav Pilkey! YouTube. Retrieved April 2, 2022, from 

Transcript from an interview with Dav Pilkey. Reading Rockets. (2017, October 19). Retrieved April 2, 2022, from