Posts tagged ‘kindness’
Retell: When Andrew’s sister bumps into him, scattering all of his toys, he screams angry words that travel around the world causing harm to everyone they meet. The rampage of the angry words is halted by a woman who dumps them into the ocean and replaces them with nice words.
Topics: anger, regret, kindness, mistakes, communication, respect
Units of Study: Fantasy, Talking and Writing About Texts
Tribes: appreciations/no put-downs, mutual respect
My Thoughts: When teaching the Tribes agreement of appreciations/no put-downs, I usually conduct some sort of funeral for put-downs. Students write a put-down onto a sheet of paper, tear it up and put it in the trash. Andrew’s Angry Words is the perfect text to support this lesson. The illustrator does a good job of making Andrew’s put-downs into something that looks dangerous, even poisonous. The story gives me a new idea to add to the lesson. After the funeral for put-downs, students could write an appreciation to replace the angry words or even better have them turn the angry words into I-messages.
Retell: One evening Rosalinda awakes to find a man stealing lemons from her lemon tree. During the theft, a branch is broken and the tree becomes sick. Rosalinda searches her village for a cure. A mysterious woman helps her cure her sick tree and help a family in need.
Topics: theft, family, community, trees, kindness
Units of Study: Realistic Fiction, Social Issues, Talking and Writing About Texts
Tribes: personal best, mutual respect
Habits of Mind: thinking flexibly
Reading Skills: empathy, interpretation, inference, monitoring for sense
Writing Skills: using words to describe sound, using interesting verbs, incorporating foreign languages
My Thoughts: This is a text that can be useful for many units and for many purposes. As I was reading this text I immediately noticed the beautiful verbs the author uses. A reader who is unfamiliar with the vocabulary in the text can easily figure out the meaning of the words by thinking about the context. It’s a great text for teaching the strategy of playing ‘fill in the bank’ when solving tricky words.
Retell: A thief discovers a woman who claims to be the “richest person in the world.” He ransacks her hut but fails to find her gold. He goes on a quest to find the woman and her gold. What he finds instead are people who teach him that being rich has little to do with gold.
Topics: gold, greed, thieves, kindness, hard work, acceptance
Units of Study: Character, Social Issues, Talking and Writing about Texts
Tribes: mutual respect
Reading Skills: prediction, interpretation, inference, empathy
Writing Skills: incorporating the rule of three
My Thoughts: I first discovered this story when I went to a Great Books training years ago. I’ve since used it a few times during the Character unit. It is a great text for examining how people can change because of their relationships with other people. It’s a great text to use when you are launching whole class conversation during and after read alouds.
Retell: Mrs. Morgan does not tolerate anyone or anything treading on her lawn. Whenever a ball lands on her lawn she confiscates it and it is never seen again. After some encouragement from his parents, Mrs. Morgan’s neighbor decides to confront her and ask for his ball back. Even when he asks her nicely Mrs. Morgan refuses to return his ball. After a few weeks he notices that Mrs. Morgan’s lawn is looking unkempt. He rakes up leaves for her and discovers that kindness can often change people’s minds.
Topics: kindness, problem-solving
Units of Study: Character, Talking and Writing About Texts
Tribes: mutual respect
Habits of Mind: taking responsible risks
Reading Skills: inference, interpretation
My Thoughts: I like to read this story when students start having conflicts with each other. Giving “I-Messages” solves many of these conflicts but sometimes something more is needed to solve a problem. Creating peace often starts by attempting to understand the person you have a conflict with. In this story, the neighbor changes from thinking Mrs. Morgan is mean to understanding how she feels about her lawn and eventually helps her, despite the fact that she has not been kind in return. When I read this out loud to my class last year, a student pointed out that “sometimes bullies act mean because they don’t feel that people are nice to them.” She was talking about a particular bully in the class who had been absent during the read aloud. She suggested to the class that they should say nice things to the student and compliment him when he did something well.
Retell: Every year Figueredo and his family return to Santiago, Cuba for Christmas. When calls for revolution sounded throughout Cuba the author recalls how his family almost didn’t make it home for his favorite holiday.
Topics: Cuba, Christmas, rebels, family, kindness of strangers, traditions
Units of Study: Personal Narrative, Memoir, Historical Fiction
Tribes: personal best, mutual respect
Reading Skills: making connections, monitoring for sense
Writing Skills: zooming in on small moments, incorporating vocabulary from another language, generating notebook ideas
My Thoughts: A common thread thoughout the story is kindness. Each scene highlights how people were kind to the author’s family: a mill worker helps them fix a flat tire, a young man gives up his seat on the bus. Though this is technically a personal narrative I could see reading this book during a unit on writing historical fiction. The story takes place during the 1950s revolutionary period in Cuba. He threads details of the time period throughout the story making this a good historical fiction mentor text.
Retell: Mrs. Cooler’s class is getting antsy and cranky. She asks a few misbehaving students to do 10 acts of kindness at home. The next day during show and tell, others are inspired to do random acts of kindness. Eventually the project includes acts of kindness at school and throughout the community.
Topics: kindness, school, community, helping, volunteering, 100th day of school
Units of Study: Character, Realistic Fiction
Tribes: appreciations/no putdowns, mutual respect, community building, personal best
Writing Skills: using rhyme and rhythm
My Thoughts: I think I just found my 100th day of school read aloud. The 100th day of school always creeps up on me and I end up doing a last minute project. This year, I think I’ll use Kindness is Cooler, Mrs. Ruler to launch a Random Acts of Kindness Campaign. In the book Mrs. Ruler’s class tries to do 100 kind acts at home, school, or in the community. She puts each act on a paper heart and they have a celebration when they reach 100. Since the 100th day of school usually falls close to Valentine’s Day, a Kindness Campaign could be a good way to turn a commercialized holiday into one that promotes a good cause. Thanks Ms. Cuyler.