Saturday, August 17, 2013

Pondering Chrysanthemum

Kevin Henkes, one of my favorite children's book authors, wrote a wonderful tale about a little mouse named Chrysanthemum that I absolutely love.  In the book, there are great examples of teasing which open up an entire avenue of discussion with kids about how they feel when they get teased or bullied, and what behavior is and is not acceptable and why.

It is a short story, filled with lovely little pictures, and a lot of meaning built into a very simple little storyline:  Chrysanthemum loves her name until the other kids start to tease her about it being different, and then she feels badly and hurt and ashamed, until her teacher tells her how wonderful it is to have a unique name...and then things get better.  It is the sort of short story that makes for a wonderful start to the year, if the kids all take it to heart, because you can then refer back to it when a student is acting badly in a "remember how that made Chrysanthemum feel" sort of way.

I have been thinking about using Chrysanthemum as my beginning of the year story for my classes for that reason. 

But how to use it effectively is the question, as a lead in for the classroom rules and as a larger discussion about making smarter choices in and out of school.

Still mulling this over, and spending a bit of time roaming around the teaching blogs and Pinterest looking for some interesting ideas on how to make this stick.  Somewhere between this week and next, I'll put something firm together and will post some more thoughts here.

(Photo of some lovely chrysanthemums via Colin Cubitt.)

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