Storybook Sunday: Dear Greenpeace

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I’ve been teaching letter writing to my Grade 1 students over the last few weeks and we had a bit of fun with a great story called Dear Greenpeace by Simon James.

Dear Greenpeace(Purchase on Amazon or Fishpond)

For those of you who have never read the story, it’s told through a series of letters between a little girl named Emily and Greenpeace. Emily discovers a whale living in her pond and writes to Greenpeace to learn about (and how to look after) her whale.

It’s a very sweet, very endearing story, with a great environmental message, too.

My kiddos just adored it.

We used it as a springboard for writing imaginative letters to each other about wild animals living in strange places (e.g.: polar bears in freezers, dogs shaving on toilets, snakes in pipes, monkeys under beds, etc).

They had SO MUCH FUN brainstorming their ideas and their letters turned out great, too.

(For the beginning of the year, my expectations included an opening statement sentence, a sentence explaining how they knew what their animal was, and something that their animal was doing in its’ strange location.)

I’ve made up a couple of template pages for you to use if you’d like. Click on the sample letter below to download the letter and two template pages!

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Storybook Sunday

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I’m linking up with Paula from Paula’s Place this week for her Storybook Sunday linky.

I’ve been meaning to link up for the last few weeks and unfortunately things have just piled up. This week, though, I do have something to share, inspired by a LOT of people in blogland and on Pinterest.

Last week I had a lot of my kiddos in Grade 1 suffering from the “S/he said s/he’s not my friend anymore!” syndrome. (I mean, we’re only 3 and bit weeks into the year and already this is an issue? *flails*)

So, after some research, I discovered the book Chrysanthemum by Kevin Henkes. And before all of you fall out of your chair going “OMG, Stef have you been living under a rock?!!” I’ll let you in on a secret. I’ve never had so many of these friendship/hurtful word issues at the start of the year before. I just haven’t, and so anything that’s come up has been dealt with on an individual basis. But, this year… yeah, I think it’s going to be an on-going topic we need to address.

Anyway. I didn’t own a copy of the book – or know anyone who had a copy – so I bought it in iBooks and figured I’d share it on the IWB through Airplay (this caused some minor issues in attempting to find Airplay in the new iOS7, but that’s beside the point!).

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For those of you who, like me, might not have heard of this story, it’s about a beautiful little mouse named Chrysanthemum who starts school and has to deal with people who don’t think her name is as beautiful as she and her parents do. (I have to say, her parents are AMAZING in this book and as an adult you’ll get a few giggles as they learn to deal with a child who’s dealing with anxiety – just check out the titles of the books her dad reads!)

Now, the activity I found on Pinterest (this one here, but unfortunately it has a broken link!) was a scrunched paper heart activity, where students took turns to scrunch up as we read the story. The instructions I gave to my students is anytime someone says something hurtful to Chrysanthemum you’re going to scrunch up the heart and pass it on. By the end of the story the heart is really and truly crushed and we all had a go at trying to smooth it out to return it to it’s former perfect state.

The kiddos discovered that they couldn’t – and some of the reactions were quite profound.

We talked about how whenever we say things that are hurtful and mean we’re scrunching up someone else’s heart and it can never be undone – even if you say sorry or you didn’t mean it.

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After that we talked about ways that we came up with ways that we can try to not hurt other people’s feelings/help people who are feeling a bit sad. As each student spoke up, they put a bandaid with their name on it across the heart.

The kiddos then wrote about one way they’ll try not to hurt anyone’s heart and made their own scrunched up heart for their student portfolios.

(I won’t lie, we did have to revisit this many times last week and will have to continue to do so, but for a few of the kiddos, this was a really great demonstration of how the things they say affect others.)

Thanks for stopping by and don’t forget to stop by Paula’s blog and link up!

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