International Association
of School Librarianship

GiggleIT 2015 Spotlight Projects: Welcome to Our Place: Festivals, Food, Fun!

The GiggleIT Spotlight Theme "Welcome to Our Place: Festivals, Food, Fun!" celebrates all the food and fun that friends enjoy at local fairs and festivals through two projects:

For a visual tour of last year's theme and the GiggleIT writing process, check out this Prezi from the IASL 2015 Conference workshop:

The 2015 Spotlight projects both focused on food and festivals that your students have personally experienced – if your curriculum has a different theme or another writing genre, please alert the GiggleIT Team so that we may properly name the category for your students’ work on your school page.

  • 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 work, for Internet safety!


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

For each project, students should provide a glossary of culture-specific words so that readers in other countries will understand their writing better. “The Three Not-So-Little Wombats” by 7th graders C & K at Concordia Lutheran College in Australia is a good example of highlighting terms in the story which might be unfamiliar to other readers and giving easily understood definitions in a glossary.

Before you submit any student work, you must register your school (it's free!) for the GiggleIT Project through the 
registration page – be sure to include the three GiggleCritters chosen by your school and/or each class as mascots for their webpage with your registration.

You will send your students’ work as Word documents (.doc) or text files (.txt) to the same email address used for registration: - we will provide a URL to your students' work when it's available on our website. Please be patient, as it can take some time for GiggleIT team volunteers to format items and submit them to our IASL webmaster for your school’s GiggleIT page!

Yummy Poems

For many people, the best thing about any festival, fair, celebration, or party is the food! Your students can introduce their favorites to readers all over the world, using poetry.

You’ll find several poetry types in the Genre Samples section of GiggleIT Resources, including Acrostic, Free Verse, Limerick, and Shape poems. Haiku is also popular, and a rhyming poem is given as an example in the Instructions to Students.

Help your students find just the right word or rhythm for their Yummy Poems, and remind them to make a Glossary of words that might be unfamiliar to readers in other parts of the world. Foods which are well-known to your students are exotic and unusual to someone else.

Do your students want their Yummy Poems paired with their original illustration or photo? Just let the GiggleIT Project team know which ones go together when you email their work. Our online space is limited, so items will be resized as needed - smaller is better!

Be sure to have parent-signed Project Consent Forms (from the Resources page) in your files for every student poet – don’t send those forms to GiggleIT.

Our website font is Verdana 9 pt, so please test Shape poems so they ‘look right’.  Email your students’ work to as a Word document (.doc) or text file (.txt) – the more poems and art in a single document, the better!

We will email you when your set of Yummy Poems is ‘live’ online so that you can share with students, parents, teachers, administrators, and the public! 

Instructions to Students:

Begin your Yummy Poem by brainstorming about the festivals, fairs, and celebrations in your area that you’ve attended.  This should be a very fun list to make! Write then names of special foods next to each festival (even if you don’t like all the foods). This is a good time to make sure that your lists are accurate by researching in your library.

Next, decide which special food you will write about. Make a list of words that describe it – taste, color, smell, shape, how it sounds when you eat it.

Then, look at different poetry forms to see which will work best for your Yummy Poem. You might try haiku, acrostic, free verse, limerick, or rhyming poem.

Write your Yummy Poem – 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, sign your Yummy Poem with your initials so it can be submitted for your school’s GiggleIT webpage. (Did your parents return the GiggleIT Project Consent Form yet? Your teacher/librarian must have that before your work goes online.)

Twirling, whirling,

Sweet and light,

Sugar spins as light as air!

Pink or purple,

Green or blue,

Cotton candy* at the fair!


*also called candy floss or fairy floss, cotton candy is melted colored sugar spun by a special machine into an airy cloud of extra-thin threads on a paper cone handle.

Of course, we also like to see the special festival foods that you love! You may submit an original photograph of your poem’s food (taken by you or family member) or draw a picture of it. Readers all over the world will see your work on your school’s GiggleIT Project page!

Letter to Faraway Friends

Your students can use their talents for description and persuasion to write a letter to kids everywhere as an invitation to visit your town for a festival or fair and join in the fun.

Persuasive writing is included in the curriculum for many grade levels, and the disappearing art of letter-writing can help your students practice this skill in an engaging way.

Models of informal letters can be found in student writing handbooks, style guides, and these websites:

Letter Writer Helper – Arthur at PBSKids:

An Introduction to Letter Writing, by My Child magazine (UK) at Reading Rockets -

How to Write a Friendly Letter – New Hanover County Schools -

Because many students will select the same festival, fair, or event, please have them write their Letter to Faraway Friends in teams. This exercise is a good introduction to working together in groups, especially if you coach your writers so that one student doesn’t do all the work or keep others from contributing.

As you see in the Instructions to Students, this Letter to Faraway Friends will include several components:

  • a heading (the date),
  • a greeting (Dear Friends or Dear Specific GiggleCritter),
  • a paragraph introducing their favorite local event,
  • two or three paragraphs discussing specific things that the reader would like about the festival (one per paragraph) and why they’d enjoy that,
  • a final paragraph that invites the reader to attend the festival (include the month or usual time it occurs here or in the introduction),
  • a friendly closing,
  • and the students’ initials as their signature.

Encourage your students to use varied adjectives and exciting verbs as they write. “The fair barn is dusty tan outside, but inside are the most beautiful horses from the whole county” is more appealing than “I like to see the horses at the fair,” especially if the letter is being written to persuade someone to come to your place.

Ask your writing teams to read their letters aloud to one another; the listeners should note any repetitions or sentences that might benefit from changes, but it’s up to the writers to make those changes if they wish.

An editing session with each writing team allows you to make sure that they have all the letter’s elements and that it is ready for you to submit to GiggleIT.

Remember to keep parent-signed Project Consent Forms (from the Resources page) in your files for every student writer – don’t send those forms to GiggleIT.

Email your students’ work to as a Word document (.doc or .docx) or text file (.txt) – the more letters in a single document, the better!

We will email you when your Letters to Faraway Friends page is ‘live’ online so that you can share with students, parents, teachers, administrators, and the public! 

Instructions to Students: 

The only thing better than going to a festival is being there with friends. Imagine your favorite local festival, fair, or event – what can you see there that you don’t see anywhere else? Which activity do you most look forward to? What do you hear?

Now, you can invite someone else to enjoy this too, when you write a Letter to Faraway Friends (or to one of the GiggleCritters) using great descriptions and strong reasons that they should come to your place for all the fun.

Your teacher/librarian will help you learn the parts of a friendly letter – the heading, greeting, body, closing, and signature (please use your initials here).

To begin, think of several fun things to do, see, hear, touch, and taste at your chosen event, then choose 2-3 of the ones that someone your age might like best.

Now list some descriptive words for each thing – a variety of word choices is more interesting than repeating “It’s fun” as the reason that the reader of your letter should come to the event with you.

This informal letter will probably have one paragraph that introduces your event, a paragraph for each fun thing and reason why it is worth doing/seeing, and a final paragraph that wraps up your invitation to the event (total of 4-5 paragraphs). Use a friendly closing, then sign your letter with the initials of everyone on your writing team.

Your writing team can read your letter aloud to others in your class to see if it makes them excited to attend the festival or fair. They might suggest other words to use or might hear repetitions that you didn’t notice. Proofreading one another’s work is a good practice for writers, as many authors will tell you.

Because you’re talking about things that might be unfamiliar to your readers across the globe, you need to include a glossary defining regional and unusual words. Make your glossary the postscript (p.s.) at the end of your letter, beneath your initials. Ask your teacher/librarian if your glossary covers all these words during your editing time together.

Be sure that your parents have returned your GiggleIT Project Consent Form to your teacher/librarian, then sign your letter with your initials, and ask your teacher/librarian to submit it to your school’s GiggleIT webpage.

KMM poem by GiggleIT Project team member Katy Manck, MLS.

Cotton candy photo from morguefile.com


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