This book really impressed me. The story itself is about a bully tormenting her classmates and her classmates learning to stand up for themselves and their peers. When a student goes to her mother looking for advice, the mother comes up with a genius plan. Magic "Bully Beans".....special jelly beans that give you the courage and confidence to stand up to a bully. The book offers great advice on how to handle bullies and good strategies to come to a good outcome. It also asks thought provoking questions asking why the child is being a bully. I would use this book in grades K thru 4th. This book I would incorporate into the reading section of the day. In the lower grades I would work through the book as a whole group breaking it down into KWL. In the upper grades I would break it down into literacy centers.
Reading Level: K thru 5th
ATOS reading level: 3.60
In this story a young girl name Grace loves stories. Stories big and small, Grace loved to act out the most exciting main characters in them all. So, when her teacher announces the class will put on a show, Peter Pan, for the school. Grace immediately knows she wants to be Peter Pan. She is told repeatedly by her classmates that she cannot be Peter though because she is a girl and black. Grace stands her ground and tries out for the part. Her mother and her Nana upon hearing what her classmates declare they know nothing and encourage her to follow her dreams. Nana goes so far to take Grace to a ballet performance for inspiration. The main dancer in the ballet is a young black girl that her grandmother personally knew from back home. Taking heart Grace tries out for Peter despite her classmates original objections and they all vote for her to be Peter Pan in the play. I feel this book is meant for kindergarten to 6th grade. The lesson I would pair with this book is a lesson on diversity and acceptance. Everyone can relate to being singled out for one reason or another but to be singled out for gender and/or ethnic background is especially hurtful. Children should be encouraged to accept people for who they are and what they can do.
Reading Level: 4 to 8 years
What if it's scary? What if it's hard? What if your bad? Jonathan James is afraid to try new things in this children's tale of a young boy and the little green what if monster that fills his head with anxious worry and doubt whenever he tries something new. The rhyming text flow as it covers different scenarios in Jonathan James' life. Now before you think this is just a gloomy tale, Jonathan James takes a stand and turns all the what ifs around showing us that not all what if's are bad. What if win? What if it's fun? What if I find my very best friend? This book is perfect for children in grades kindergarten through third grade. I'm an adult and find myself easily relating to what Jonathan James is feeling throughout his journey. The lesson of the story is simple yet delivers a vibrant color filled book that captures kids attention. For kindergarten a great activity to do would be to get the children to draw a smile face on one side of an index card and a frowning face on the other side of the same index card. After reading through the story once, explain how we are going to do a fun activity. Everyone including the teacher will hold up the smiling or frowning face as the teacher reads each what if in the book. As the students look around they will see that everyone is scared of one what if or another. I would use this activity as a community building activity on the first day of school to show all the kids that they are all on the same level. It's scary starting school for the first time but we can turn our scared feelings into a more positive what if. By giving those negative what ifs to the Whatif monster and leaving all the positive I can do it feelings inside themselves to face the day.
Reading Level: Pre-K to 2nd Grade
Lexile Measure: in progress/requested
The series Pete the Cat is taking the educational system by storm. This highly popular series is about a blue cat named Pete and his adventures as he discovers new things. In this book, Pete the Cat is excited about his school shoes so he shows them off throughout the school as he discovers new locations. The intended audience for this book is Kindergarten but I would use this up to 3rd Grade. Pete is having his very first day at school just like you do in kindergarten and discovering where things are like the lunchroom and the library is in his new school. A great activity to do with this book after reading it would be to get the kids talking about what's scary about school, what's fun, what they will do every day, and what they predict will happen at the end of the year. By getting them all to discuss their theories and feeling about school they will share that they are not alone in feeling the way they do. I would put all the responses on a poster and bring it out at the end of the year after repeating the activity to show the kids how far they have come and how much they have changed in a year. The school isn't as scary as they think especially with Pete along for the adventure!
Reading Level: LEX 6000L