Sunday, September 8, 2013

Library Lesson Plan: Kevin Henkes And Chrysanthemum

Today has been a big project on Kevin Henkes wonderful book, Chrysanthemum. I have wanted to do a library unit on this book for a while because it is such a wonderful read

It also presents a lot of opportunities for in class discussions for younger and older kids alike, opening a number of intriguing avenues for kids to stop and really think:  about actions and consequences, about their own feelings and those of other people as well, about the incredibly clever use of language that Kevin Henkes incorporates in this book in terms of description and action, and all sorts of other interesting bits and pieces.

For my younger students, I found a wonderfully put together discussion packet on story elements and construction that we'll use.  You can download it for free at Teachers Pay Teachers, and print it off to use for your own classes, too.  (Don't you love the word "free"?)

I am also working on a poster-sized drawing of Chrysanthemum, which I will use to talk about Henkes' wonderfully descriptive language and about good and bad behaviors and choices of the various characters in the book.

An example of something similarly done can be found at Pencils, Glue and Tying Shoes -- loved this poster, and am doing a similar one for my classroom.  But I'll be using some post-it notes that I found that are already die-cut in the shape of flowers to show "good" versus "bad" words from the story, in some form or another (still working on just how I will do this).

But for my older students, I wanted a discussion that was more in depth.  Since I couldn't find exactly what I wanted anywhere online, I created my own little lesson bits and pieces.  Thought they might be a useful jumping off point for others out there as well.

I put together a couple of handouts, one of which is typed with a cute picture of a dancing Chrysanthemum that I pulled from a web image on the top.  Here is the text:

Around the lined areas and text at the bottom, I drew around them with a thicker Sharpie marker to make the outlined drawing parts look like a pair of shoe footprints.  (At least, I hope they look like shoe footprints given my arty limitations.)

The second handout looks like this:

I will be drawing a heart around it, and making a copy for everyone in the class.  We'll crumple them up and then try to smooth them back to normal afterward, and then talk about how a heart that has been crumpled and hurt by someone being mean can never fully be smoothed back out again.

It's a nice lesson for the beginning of the school year, I think, and will lend itself to a "remember Chrysanthemum" reminder throughout the rest of the year when someone is being especially mean to someone else in class.

If we at least get to talk a bit about making better choices and being more kind to one another, along with talking about excellence in the use of language choices when writing, that will work for me.

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