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Teacher’s Pets #23 Myrtle

7260204MYRTLE
written by Tracey Campbell Pearson
illustrated by Tracey Campbell Pearson
Farrar Straus and Giroux
ISBN: 0-374-35157-0
Ages: 3-6
$15.00There are bullies everywhere, but don’t you hate it when you find them in your own back yard? Once at the grocery store checkout as I waited patiently, grasping a bunch of broccoli, a woman pushed her overflowing cart right in front of me. Every day on my 20 mile commute to school, there are cars that bully their way into the line exiting the highway. Can’t they see the 50 cars waiting, patiently? HOW RUDE! That’s what Myrtle would say and I fully agree with her. “RUDE! RUDE! RUDE!” These are the bullies in my back yard.When Frances moved in, Myrtle found a bully in her back yard, too. Frances was downright mean and Myrtle was downright scared. Snakes and monsters and mean songs would scare me, too. No one deserves to be bullied. So, when Aunt Tizzy told Myrtle of the nasty lions she met in Africa and their mean lion roars, Myrtle got to thinking. She grabbed her brother’s hand and set off to face her fears. She felt bigger! She felt stronger! And, she was ready to stand up for herself . . . a very liberating feeling! I think I’ll take a lesson from Myrtle. Just wait . . . the next time someone tries to push her overflowing grocery cart in front of me, I’ll just bop her on the head . . . with my broccoli. Well . . . maybe not.

Tracey Campbell Pearson hit on a very timely topic . . . one that visits and revisits children in every age and at every stage. It seems, unfortunately, that there will always be bullies. I remember them when I was a child. Definitely, not fun! Ms. Pearson’s whimsical illustrations add a welcome lightness to a serious problem. Young readers will gain confidence as Myrtle did, as they realize that they are not alone in the “BULLY” world and they CAN do something about it.

This review can also be seen on: SmartWriters

FROM the MOUTHS of KIDDLE CRITers: a critique group

“Frances was Myrtle’s neighbor,” said Philippe.

“Myrtle and her baby brother didn’t like their new neighbor,” said Tony.

“That’s because she was mean,” said Philippe.

“Myrtle had a good life until Frances came,” said Marta.

“Then every time Myrtle went outside,” said Juan, “Frances played a trick on her.”

Tony shook his head. “Frances sure does mean stuff,” he said.

“Like she was making monsters and singing bad songs,” said Sarit.

“And,” said Becky, rolling her eyes, “she put rubber snakes on the ground.”

“And, she put gum on Myrtle’s brother’s ball,” said Lucy. “Then it stuck to his nose!”

“She was really like a bad kid,” said Sarit.

“I wonder why Frances was so mean?” asked Katie-Erin.

“She was a bully!” said Pritka.

“I think Frances was mean,” said Anya, “because she wanted people to pay attention to her.”

“Maybe she had a bad life,” said Marta.

“Or, maybe she was just jealous of Myrtle,” said Sarit, “because she had a good life.”

“Frances wasn’t born mean,” said Juan. “It’s not somebody’s instinct to be mean. It’s their choice.”

“Well, Myrtle was feeling really sad,” said Sarit.

“And, she was very, very, scared,” said Marta.

“It’s actually not your choice to be scared,” said Anya.

Sarit agreed. “Yeah!” she said. “It comes up to you. You don’t know you’re going to be scared.”

“So Myrtle’s parents called her Aunt Tizzy,” said Marta.

“Myrtle’s aunt was very brave and intelligent. She told Myrtle that she wouldn’t even let a lion scare her,” said Sarit.

“And she made Myrtle laugh,” said Jake.

“That’s right,” said Juan. “Then Myrtle realized that if her Aunt Tizzy wouldn’t let lions keep her away from the jungle, Myrtle wasn’t going to let Frances keep her away from having fun.”

“Myrtle really faced her fears,” said Marta. “She stood up for herself and said, ‘HOW RUDE!’
And her life came up great again.”

“But, I wonder if Frances learned her lesson?” asked Kurtis.

“Well, if Frances is mean,” said Philippe, “she won’t get the right respect.”

“Yeah, she’ll be ignored by everybody,” said Kurtis.

“But, I mean . . . come on . . .” said Juan. “Nobody can live without friends!”

TEACHER TALK

YOU BIG, BULLY Health (Part 1)

Bullying comes in many different forms and they are all hurtful. Teasing and calling names are two of the most common forms of bullying for young children, and most children can recall at least one incident where he or she has been a victim of bullying.

Have children identify as many bullying actions as they can think of. Then record them on a class list.
Ex.:
1. Calling Names
2. Teasing
3. Hitting – Kicking

Next, have children suggest ways to overcome bullies and record these answers on a class list, as well.
Ex.:
1. Tell an adult – A Parent, Teacher, Lunchroom Aide
2. Stand up for themselves – Tell the bully to stop.
3. Ignore the bully – Walk away.

Then, have the children suggest reasons why someone might act like a bully. Again, record the answers on a class list.
Ex.:
1. Looking for attention
2. Making themselves feel more important
3. Feeling insecure themselves

Last, split children into small groups and have them conduct their own discussions. Roam around the room to eavesdrop to be sure that each group understands the concept.

YOU BIG, BULLY Health (Part 2)

Have children volunteers role-play a variety of bullying situations. To get more real reactions, you might prefer the children to use puppets for the role-play.
Ex.:
Bully Role-Play Situations
1. Gabe takes Mike’s pencil and won’t give it back. He threatens to tell the teacher on Mike about something that Mike didn’t even do.
2. Maura tells Ginny she won’t be her friend if Ginny won’t go to the store with her, even though Ginny will get in trouble with her mom.

AN EMOTIONAL LOOK AT BULLYING: from A to Z Health

Make a list from A to Z of as many bully-related feelings as possible – both from the bully’s point of view and the victim’s point of view. After the list is made, have children decide which feeling/emotion belongs to which character.

Ex.:
Angry…………..bully or victim
Brave…………..victim
Confused………victim
Disturbed………bully or victim
Excited…………bully
Fearful…………victim

SUGGESTED WEBSITES:
(Although I examined these websites and found them to be very helpful, please use them at your own discretion.)

Sort It – Bullying http://www.sortit.org.uk/bullying.htm#you
We Can Work It Out! http://members.aol.com/pforpeace/WorkItOut/color.htm
What Kids Say about Bullying
http://kidshealth.org/kid/feeling/school/poll_bullying.html

SUGGESTED BOOKS:

HOOWAY FOR WODNEY WAT by Helen Lester, Illustrated by Lynn Munsinger
RECESS QUEEN by Alexis O’Niell, illustrated by Laura Huliska-Beith
BOOTSIE BARKER BITES by Barbara Bottner, illustrated by Peggy Rathman

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January 2, 2015 Posted by | Teacher's Pets: Book Reviews | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Teacher’s Pets #22 Whose House

Whose House?
Whose House?

WHOSE HOUSE
Written by Barbara Seuling
Illustrated by Kay Chorao
Gulliver Books Harcourt Children’s Books
ISBN: 0-15-216347-6
Ages: 3-7
$16.00

Houses come in so many colors and sizes and shapes. Some are tall and skinny and rise high into the sky. Some are kind of fat and have acres of land around them. That’s called s-p-r-a-w-l-i-n-g. Some are in big buildings called apartments and some are tiny, little cottages or bungalows. Houses are made of wood, brick, stone, or mud, and some are even made of ice. There are castles and palaces and mansions. There are igloos, and houses made of grass, which have thatched roofs. I’ve seen purple houses and bright yellow and green houses. Once, I even saw a pink house with blue shutters. That was pretty scary unless, of course, pink and blue are your favorite colors. So, with so many different kinds of houses, how can you ever choose which house is exactly right for you?

Well, you could try them out just like the young boy in WHOSE HOUSE did. On his journey to find just the right house, he visited a beaver’s lodge and a bee’s hive. They weren’t right for him. He tried out a hollow log, too, but he learned that that was better for a frog. This rhyming picture book written by Barbara Seuling and illustrated by Kay Chorao will have young readers testing out all kinds of houses . . . until they find the one just right for them. And . . . maybe . . . just maybe, it’s the one they are already living in.

This review can also be seen on: SmartWriters

FROM the MOUTHS of KIDDLE CRITers: a critique group

“This is a book about houses for animals and humans,” said Philippe.

“Every animal keeps safe in their homes just like in our homes,” said Jake.

“I think this book is about the perfect house,” said Marta.

“I like the way that Barbara made the kid in the story always want to live in a different home,” said Kurtis. “I think that the boy was trying to look for something more than just his ordinary house.”

“It’s weird,” said Jake. “He had a house.”

“He had his own bed, too,” said Kurtis. “So, why was he looking for another house?”

“He wanted to see other houses,” said Anya.

“Maybe he was trying to find a better home,” said Juan. “A better place than where he lived.”

“He might try living in a squirrel’s home or a mole’s home,” said Kurtis.

“Or maybe he just wanted to see where other animals’ houses were,” said Hannah.

“Everybody has their own way of homes,” said Juan. “Beavers live in lodges made of mud and sticks and birds live in nests.”

“I would not like to be a bird,” said Katie-Erin.

“And he couldn’t live with the bats,” said Greg, “because he couldn’t sleep upside down.”

“Actually, some kids can hang on monkey bars like that,” said Olivia and she laughed.

“He couldn’t fit in a beehive either,” said Sarit.

“Yep! He would get stung,” said Philippe.

“Well, maybe he was just looking for facts about other homes,” said Jake.

“I relax, eat, and sleep in my home,” said Pritka. “But, it would be fun to live in a different home,” she said.

“A house for me is a place where I study,” said Philippe.

“A good house for me,” said Keisha, “is a little brick house with a little, cozy bed.”

“Well, I would like to live in a mansion because it’s humongous,” said Lucy.

“I’d like to live in the White House because there are probably a lot of bathrooms in there,” said Juan.

“I’d like to live in a future house like space people,” said Philippe, “because their houses have monorails.”

“Almost everyone has a home,” said Juan. “Even if it’s a tree, hole, or pond . . . it’s a home.”

“Well, I think my home is just right for me,” said Becky. “But, I would never leave my house without telling my mom or dad.”

“I think the boy was thinking about what it would be like in other homes,” said Juan. “But in the end, he realized that one house was right for him . . . and that was his own.”

TEACHER TALK

THE SHAPE OF THINGS Geometry

What do a pumpkin, a shoe, and gingerbread all have in common? Why, they are all houses, of course. Peter put his wife in a pumpkin. Silly man! The old woman lived in a shoe with so many children . . . well, you know the rest. And a gingerbread house is good enough to eat. Houses come in many different shapes and sizes and children can discover the many shapes in their own houses.

Introduce and discuss the following geometrical shapes. (square, rectangle, circle, triangle) Have children locate and name shapes in their classroom.

Ex.:
Rectangle……chalkboard
Triangle……….letter “A”
Circle…………clock
Square……….bulletin board

For HOMEFUN, ask them to search their homes and make a list of geometrical shapes they find.

Ex.:
Rectangle……door
Triangle………roof
Circle…………doorknob
Square……….windows

Then have the children draw a picture of their house. Encourage them to use as many geometrical shapes as they can.

MY HOUSE is RIGHT FOR ME! Social Studies

Have children bring in a picture of their home. Let each child describe their house and tell why it is a good house for them.

Ex.:
My house is the right house for me because …….I have my own bedroom.

My house is the right house for me because…….my mommy lives there and she loves me.

SUGGESTED WEBSITES:
(Although I examined these websites and found them to be very helpful, please use them at your own discretion.)

Jan Brett Gingerbread Baby House:
http://www.janbrett.com/trim_a_jan_brett_gingerbread_baby_house.htm
Miniature Gingerbread House (recipe)
http://www.kidsdomain.com/holiday/xmas/food/gbhouse.html

SUGGESTED BOOKS:

THE PERFECT CLUBHOUSE by Daniel J. Mahoney
A HOUSE FOR A HERMIT CRAB by Eric Carle
THIS IS MY HOUSE by Arthur Dorros

January 2, 2015 Posted by | Teacher's Pets: Book Reviews | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Teacher’s Pets #19 Blueberry Mouse

7419944

BLUEBERRY MOUSE
written by Alice Low
illustrated by David Michael Friend
Mondo Publishing
ISBN: 1-59336-111-4
$15.95
Ages 3–7

I’ve heard of a greenhouse, the Whitehouse, and even a house of cards. I’ve heard of a townhouse. I live in one. But, who ever heard of a blueberry house? Well, Blueberry Mouse, of course! Blueberry Mouse, written by Alice Low and illustrated by David Michael Friend, tells of a mouse as sweet as she can be. And, why not? She nibbles the whole day long . . . on sweet, juicy blueberries inside her blueberry house.Blueberry Mouse’s house is made of blueberry pie and everything inside is made of . . . you guessed it . . . blueberries. Blueberry Mouse nibbles her blueberry table and blueberry cups. Her blanket and bedclothes and even her bed are not spared when Blueberry Mouse gets hungry. It is no wonder Blueberry Mouse is a lovely shade of blueberry. And it sounds like a lovely existence, too, until Blueberry Mouse begins to nibble her window and wall and her floor and her door. That’s when the roof comes crumbling down.

You might think Blueberry Mouse a rather foolish mouse for eating so many blueberries. But, did you know that many scientists believe that blueberries are a “super” food containing high contents of antioxidants, which help to prevent aging and many common diseases? So maybe Blueberry Mouse and her creator, Alice Low, are onto something. Now, I’m going to scoop up a big dish of blueberry ice cream, dribble warm blueberry sauce over it, and put a cherr. . . I mean a blueberry on top. It’s important to stay healthy, you know. (grin)

This review can also be seen on: SmartWriters

FROM the MOUTHS of KIDDLE CRITers: a critique group

“This book was crazy,” said Becky. “I never heard of a blueberry mouse.”

“The Blueberry Mouse just loved blueberries,” said Hannah.

“Everything was blueberry,” said Charlie.

“Even her table, doors, walls, roof, and floor,” said Miguel counting off on his fingers.

“ . . . And her bed,” said Greg.

“Blueberry Mouse loved everything blue,” said Marta.

“I know. It’s crazy!” said Sarit.

“She turned blue from eating too many blueberries,” said Jack. ”I thought that only worked with carrots.”

“But she’s a BLUEBERRY mouse,” insisted Sarit.

Becky giggled. “I liked when Blueberry Mouse ate her sheets.”

“Yeah, that was pretty funny,” said Greg. “She ate almost all of her house, too.”

“I never heard of a mouse eating a house,” said Katie-Erin.

“She should be fat,” said Lucy, “but she wasn’t.”

“Why would Blueberry Mouse do such a thing?” asked Marta.

“Well, it sure wasn’t smart for her to eat her walls,” said Jack with a laugh.

“Yeah! Her roof will fall down. I wouldn’t want my roof to fall down,” said Anya.

Sarit shook her head. “She didn’t know what she was doing.”

“Yeah,” said Keisha. “Like, if you love blueberries, never build your house out of them!”

Miguel thought a moment. “I’d make my house out of pizza,” he said. “Yum!”

“Well, I would build my house out of pure Indian food,” said Pritka. “Pita bread for the walls and floors.”

“My floors would be made of marshmallows,” said Philippe. Then if I fell, I wouldn’t get hurt. Marshmallows are very fluffy.”

“Well, if I were a mouse, I would be a strawberry mouse,” said Hannah, “I like strawberries.”

You could almost see the wheels turning in Juan’s brain. “If the author wanted to,” he said, “she could make a lot of different mouse books . . . like Waffle Mouse . . .”

“. . . Or Chocolate Chip Mouse,” yelled Zach.

“Or Ice Cream Mouse,” said Philippe.

“Or Spaghetti Mouse with Sauce,” added Miguel.

“This is making me hungry,” said Zach.

“It’s a blueberry–licious book,” said Pritka.

“Well, I think it was a little crazy for a mouse to eat her own house,” said Hannah. “But since the Blueberry Mouse just loved blueberries, I guess it’s sensible. I think the author was trying to teach us that if you love something – don’t eat it all up!”

“Blueberry Mouse couldn’t resist!” said Miguel with a laugh.

Sarit sighed. “Yeah! She was really a fan of blueberries!”

TEACHER TALK

BLUEBERRY MATH

Children will feel just like the Blueberry Mouse in this edible math lesson. But unlike her, I hope they can resist eating the blueberries before the lesson is over.

GUESSTIMATE, DISCUSS & COUNT, REAL COUNT

First, have children wash their hands. Then give each group of four children a pint of blueberries and four napkins. Next, give each child a piece of paper. Have them fold it into three columns and write GUESSTIMATE at the top of the first column, DISCUSS & GUESS in the middle column, and REAL COUNT in the last column.

Ex.
Guesstimate . . . . . . . . . . Discuss & Guess . . . . . . . . . Real Count

GUESSTIMATE:

Ask the children to guess how many blueberries are in their pints. Tell them it is a private guess and ask them to not discuss their answers with their partners. Reassure them that this is only a guess (guess + estimate = guesstimate) and that you do not expect them to be correct. Have them write their answers in the column under GUESSTIMATE. Remind them to NOT change their answers in this area.

DISCUSS & GUESS:

Now, have each group of children discuss how many blueberries they think are in their pint. Give plenty of time for this chatter and listen carefully to their reasoning. Have each child write his or her guess in the column under DISCUSS & GUESS. Again, remind them that this is still a private guess and that you do not expect them to be correct, but that their answers may be closer to the “real” count this time.

REAL COUNT:

Now, pour a portion of blueberries on each child’s napkin from their pint container. Have the children count the blueberries on their napkins by placing the blueberries in rows of ten. After the count is completed, have the children count up their groups of ten and their left over berries to see which group has the most. It’s easiest to do this if each child takes a turn and counts by ten and then the next child continues on. If there are extra berries (ones), save them to count last. Children may need assistance with the counting.

Expand the lesson by doing one or more of the following activities.

MORE or LESS

1. Find out which child in each group had the most/least berries.
2. Find out which group in the class had the most/least berries.
3. Split each group of children in half. Then have them count their total number of berries and compare them with the other members in their group.

Well, if you got this far and you still have blueberries left, give your class a great big hand. And, now the best part . . . clean-up. Bon Appétit!

SUGGESTED WEBSITES:
(Although I examined these websites and found them to be very helpful, please use them at your own discretion.)

KidChef: http://www.kidchef.com/cda/article_detail.cfm?articleId=65
Maine Farmhouse Journal: PYO Blueberries http://www.crabcoll.com/journal/pyo.html

SUGGESTED BOOKS:

A Fair Bear Share by Stuart J. Murphy, illustrated by John Speirs
If You Take a Mouse to School by Laura Joffe Numeroff, illustrated by Felicia Bond
By Word of Mouse by Kate Spohn
Quiet as a Mouse by Lynne Gibbs, Illustrated by Melanie Mitchell
Watch Out Jan Fearnley

January 2, 2015 Posted by | Teacher's Pets: Book Reviews | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

TidBits About Donna #70 Blog in Review 2013

Thank you to all who visited my site this year. A bigger thanks for those of you have subscribed and who are following me. A personal shout out to Colleen G. who made the most comments. And a hug to my biggest and “bestest” fan, David, who reads every post. Even better, he ALWAYS votes.

This will be my 197th post since I began my blog in December of 2010 and I’ve had more than 15,000 views.  My goal is to make my readers laugh, to make them cry, to make them look deeper.

Say It Ain’t So looks more carefully at controversial issues – something on which to take a stand.

Anything Writing and Writing Craft has to do with … well that’s obvious.

TidBits About Donna is where you would look if you really want to know more about me and Musings by Donna is if you want to know what is knocking around inside my head. Both TidBits and Musings also offer insight into life in the disability lane as David and I make our way through the maze of Traumatic Brain Injury.

If you’re looking for a great picture book for the child in your life, then check out Teacher’s Pets: Book Reviews. Be prepared to laugh as you read, not only my reviews, but the reviews of the thKIDDLE CRITers, a group of six- to eleven-years-olds, as they discuss the books with me. Lesson plans for teachers are included to be used with the reviewed books.

There are two posts Living in 3rd Grade and On School that provide glimpses into the world of teaching. Some of them are great for new teachers. Some posts are just silly, poignant stories that happened in my classroom – names changed to protect the infamous. Some include fully prepared lesson plans, guidance, and quick tips.

I hope you will visit often. There’s something here for every reader. Below you can find out the statistics of my Blog in Review for the year 2013. Enjoy. And Don’t forget to subscribe.

As I say after each post:

Please leave a Comment by simply clicking the blue words “Leave a Comment” below this post.

Feel free to Like my post.

You can also Vote for my post by clicking on a star. (David needs company.)

If you enjoy my blog, please pass it on to all your friends and they to theirs. (I’d like to drive up the readership. Sometimes it feels like I am wrting in a vacuum. So go ahead. Send it to 10 of your friends.)

If you hate my blog, go ahead and send it to your enemies. (10 enemies would be good.) I won’t mind.

(Clip Art compliments of Bing.)

Year in Review 2013

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2013 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A New York City subway train holds 1,200 people. This blog was viewed about 4,100 times in 2013. If it were a NYC subway train, it would take about 3 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

December 31, 2013 Posted by | TidBits About Donna | , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Teacher’s Pets #10 Unique Monique

101203_monique_6804303UNIQUE MONIQUE
by Maria Rousaki
illustrated by Polina Papanikolaou
Kane Miller Book Publishers
1-929132-51-4
$15.95
Ages 4 – 8

At the shopping mall today I saw a boy with blue hair, a girl with five rings in her nose, and another with hair standing straight up. I think they call it “spiked.” Some might call it weird. It does look a bit strange, but I think it’s creative. It’s a statement. It says, “Look at me! I am unique!” I encourage my first graders to think for themselves. “Use your own ‘noodle’,” I say. So, when I discovered Unique Monique written by Maria Rousaki and illustrated by Polina Papanikolaou, I was delighted. What a great book to emphasize my point. Be yourself! Think for yourself! Make a statement! Maria and Polina did, when they teamed up to produce this “unique” book. Monique is a great example of a youngster who is not afraid to let the world, and her teachers, know exactly who she is! I particularly loved Monique’s giant red hat. . the one that looked like a tomato. Anyone who knows me, knows I love hats, too. But, I’ve never dared to wear a tomato hat. Maybe I will . . . some day. I also loved when Monique strolled across the schoolyard, totally confident in herself, with every eye glued to her. She was proud of that new hat. I admired her doggedness and her determination to find something . . . anything that would set her apart from the rest of her uniform-clad classmates. I applaud Monique’s courage . . . the courage to be different. What guts! And I applaud Maria Rousaki and Polina Papanikolaou for a work well done . . . or should I say a “unique” work . . . well done. This review can also be seen on my website. Unique Monique

FROM the MOUTHS of KIDDLE CRITers: a critique group

“Unique Monique’s school was very strict,” said Hannah.

“Yeah, they had to wear uniforms,” said Lily.

“Well, if I were Monique, I wouldn’t like to wear a uniform. I’d like to wear my own clothes,” said Meg.

“I don’t think Monique’s school was fair,” said Pritka.

“I agree,” said Miguel

“And, I don’t get it,” said Keisha. “Why couldn’t the kids wear hair bands? What if it’s hot out?”

“Yeah, some days are really scorchers,” said Zach. “I think it was a little silly that they couldn’t have hats, too.”

“The teachers and the principal were not being fair,” said Meg.

Hannah frowned and nodded. “They can get away with whatever they want, but the kids can’t,” she said.

“Some teachers wear dresses and not uniforms,” said Gina.

“I know why the teachers don’t wear uniforms,” said Cara. “Maybe they can’t find their sizes.” Everyone laughed.

“I think Monique just wanted to be unique,” said Hannah.

Zach nodded. “Unique means you just want to stand out . . . so you don’t look the same as everyone,” he said.

“ . . . like you are very fancy,” said Keisha.

“ . . . like wearing very fancy stuff . . . like beads or headbands or hats,” said Miguel.

“But everybody was dressed alike, said Pritka.

“So, Monique just wanted to be different,” said Felino.

“Yeah, so she wore the red hat,” said Pritka.

Cara started to giggle again. “Monique’s hat looked like a tomato,” she said. “Really funny!”

“But it doesn’t matter what you wear,” said Hannah.

“If I were unique, I would be different,” said Felino.

“Well, unique means one of a kind,” said Pritka. “And well, I’m the only Indian in my class.”

Hannah sighed, “What makes me unique is I feel like the only German person in New Jersey,” she said.

“ . . . and I have the most freckles,” said Keisha.

“It feels like I’m the only one with glasses,” said Juan. “I don’t see many people in the world with glasses.”

“And some people look alike,” said Hannah.

“And some have different colored skin or different colored hair,” said Zach.

“But they may have a difference that you can’t see, too,” said Hannah.

“Right, so they are all unique . . . in their own way,” said Lily. Some people have different languages . . . like Chinese, American, Turkish . . . whatever.”

“Well,” said Pritka smiling. “I think this book talks to people who need to wear uniforms. It lets them know they can still be different and they can make a difference in their lives. They don’t always have to be the same.”

“Yeah, all different!” said Lily. “ Not exactly the same. Even twins aren’t exactly the same.”

TEACHER TALK

LANGUAGE ARTS – Learn About Me. Learn About You.

What child can’t use a boost in the self-esteem department? This activity is designed to do just that.

Students discuss all the ways that Monique tried to be different. Then list on chart paper.

Ex.:
Tomato-looking hat
Headband with beads
Fancy bag and fancy socks
Painted fingernails

Assign each student a partner. Each student needs to discover one thing about their partner that makes them unique. It can be something that is a part of them, like Keisha’s freckles or something they are wearing, like Juan’s glasses. They may be different because they have a different skin color like Pritka or be from another country, like Hannah. (Germany) It might be something that they like to do that makes them especially unique. (write, read, play soccer, travel to the moon???)

Next have students meet together as a group. Each student can introduce his/her partner to the other students by saying:

“This is my friend, Juan. He is unique because he wears glasses.
“This is my friend, Hannah. She is unique because she was born in Germany.

Encourage the students to become creative. Have fun and don’t forget to tell what makes you unique, too.

MATH: GRAPH IT!

Select any page from Unique Monique, which has a group of children on it. Identify one characteristic and have your students count the number of children who meet the specifications.

Ex. 1:
Turn to the page where Monique strolls across the schoolyard in her big, red hat. Students count how many girls and how many boys are in the play yard. Draw a graph paper grid on the chalkboard and record the data. Discuss the results.
Possible skill work:
. . . addition
. . . more/less

Stretch the activity further.

Ex.2:
Turn to the page where the principal is scolding the children. Students count how many children have their eyes open, how many children have their eyes shut and to mix it up a bit, how many children have only one eye showing. Students can work in pairs or in small groups and record their results on graph paper. (1/2” or 1” ruled works best) Compare results and discuss.
Possible skill work:
. . . addition
. . . subtraction
. . . more/less
. . . most/least
. . . more than/fewer than

Now start flipping through the pages. Have the students discover a variety of characteristics, which they can graph.

Possibilities:
Hair color
How many children are smiling? How many look surprised?
Color of hats
Color of glasses

If you like Unique Monique or books about spunky children or children who need a self-esteem boost, you may also like the following books:

Sheila Rae, the Brave by Kevin Henkes

Ruby the Copycat by Peggy Rathman

Suki’s Kimono by Chieri Uegaki, illustrated by Stephane Jorisch

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(Clip Art compliments of Bing.)

March 15, 2013 Posted by | Teacher's Pets: Book Reviews | , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

Writing Craft #2 Critique

It is scary to put your work out there for critical eyes. It leaves you wide open. It leaves you vulnerable. Of course you’ve done your best and you love every word, phrase, sentence, and paragraph. You’ve worked hard. You’ve crafted each word until your eyes seem to turn inward. You think that you can make your article, essay, story, or book no better and you hope that your reviewer will feel the same. After all, if you did not think it was your best, you would not have released it for other eyes – right?

It’s hard to hear critiques – even the positive ones. Those words you dragged out of your head and arranged into neat little lines on the paper to tell your story are your babies. As a mother is protective of her child, you too, are the keeper of your words – their protector, their proud creator. So you don your armor, harden your shell, stiffen your upper lip, hold your breath, and … hope for the best.

red pen thIf you have chosen a reviewer, someone who you respect and who you can trust, then trust you must! Don’t fear the red pen. Listen with eager mind but remember too, that her opinion is only one view and not necessarily better than yours. Although she, no doubt, will look at your work with fresher, more neutral eyes, you must still pick and choose and determine what you think will move your writing further – what will make your story the best it can be.

Then go back to the keyboard … and tackle your work with a new outlook until your piece shines – brighter than before.

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(Clip Art compliments of Bing.

December 9, 2012 Posted by | Writing Craft | , , , , | 2 Comments

   

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