Definition of Relationship:The theme that I chose for this project was relationship. According to the 1828 edition ofWebsters American Dictionary of the English Language, relationship is defined as,RELATIONSHIP, n. The state of being related by kindred, affinity or other alliance.[This word is generally tautological and useless.](on-line version, http://1828.mshaffer.com/, 2013)I think that many would agree with this definition. In its true essence, relationship is somethingkind, something good, something to be desired. Yet, all too often it is used casually as a way todescribe a situation (i.e. my relationship with my mother) and, therefore, has lost much of its truemeaning.My hope with this project is to guide students through a genuine exploration of this theme.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) (2013), students in fifthgrade (ages 9-11) are undergoing many developmental changes. Some of these are emotionaland social changes, such as becoming more interested in friendships and peer relationships,being more affected by peer pressure, and seeking more independence from their family.Additionally, they are undergoing changes in their thinking and learning skills, such as the abilityto face more academic challenges, an increased attention span, and the ability to start to seethings from other people‟s point of view.For more information, visit:http://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/childdevelopment/positiveparenting/middle2.htmlAs a teacher, I feel that it is part of my job to help students navigate their way through thesechanges.
Literature provides an excellent opportunity for students to explore different scenarios, exposesthem to different types of relationships, and allows them to see things from the differentperspectives of individual characters.With the following common core standard in mind:CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.5.2 Determine a theme of a story, drama, or poem from details in thetext, including how characters in a story or drama respond to challenges or how the speaker in apoem reflects upon a topic; summarize the text.I developed this unit with the goal of (1) increasing awareness in students as to the differenttypes of relationships that exist and (2) to create a deeper understanding in students as to thevalue of certain relationships.My hope is that students will be motivated to apply this knowledge to their own lives. Byvaluing relationships, and by having the ability to see things from other people‟s perspectivesand effectively communicate their side of things, students will surely have a more meaningfullife.
I carefully selected 27 books that I felt would explore this theme in a meaningful way. Onecriterion for my selection process was to choose several books by well-known authors. Anothercriterion was to select a range of books that are below, at, and above grade level. Additionally, Itried to include a wide range of formats, genres, and publishing dates for these books.Further, in order to address this theme more effectively, I narrowed it down into six categories.The types of relationships that I chose to concentrate on were child-parent(s), child-grandparent(s), sibling, friend/peer, with nature or animals, and with the place that you live. Thefollowing chart shows the breakdown of these subcategories.
Grade Level Equivalent: 4.5Lexile Measure: 810LGenre: Realistic FictionDelivery Format: Independent Read, Read AloudCreech, S. (2003). Granny Torelli makes soup. London: Bloomsbury Childrens.Connection to theme:There are two featured relationships in this book. The first is between Rosie and her GrannyTorrelli, who acts as the voice of wisdom. The second is a friendship between Rosie and Bailey,which faces many obstacles. Students will be able to identify important lessons about life andfriendship exemplified in these two relationships.Questions to Use with Students:Give an example of how Granny Torrelli gives Rosie advice without telling her exactlywhat to do.How does Granny‟s friend, Pardo, relate to Rosie‟s friend, Bailey?Do you agree or disagree with Bailey when he got mad at Rosie for learning Braille?Why?What might happen if either Bailey or Rosie moved away?At the end of the Gattozzi baby story, Granny says, “I felt as if my life was bigger now.”What do you think Granny meant by that statement?Suggested Writing Experience:Pretend that you are Granny (or Grampy) Torelli. Create, or retell a story from your childhood,that could help a friend navigate through a difficult situation.
Grades: 4-7Lexile Measure: 780LGenre: Realistic FictionDelivery Format: Independent Read, Read AloudLord, C. (2006). Rules. New York: Scholastic Press.Connection to theme:The central relationship in this story is between Catherine and her brother, David. David hasautism and is often a source of embarrassment and misunderstanding in front of Catherine‟sfriends. This book should raise questions in students about their own relationships with theirsiblings and help to create a clearer definition for what a true friend is.Questions to Use with Students:What are the big ideas in the novel Rules?What does the author want you to believe about autism? Disability?Why do you think Catherine hides when she sees Kristi on the boardwalk? How do youthink Jason would feel if he knew that she hid?What would this story be like if it were told from another characters point of view?David‟s? Jason‟s? What do you think they would say about some of Catherine‟s actions?How has your view of people who have a sibling with a disability changed?Suggested Writing Experience:Create your own list of rules of expectations that you have for your parent(s), your sibling(s), oryour friend(s). Share this list with a small group. Consider which „rules‟ are realistic and whichones are out of your control.
Grades: 3-4Lexile Measure: 490LGenre: Historical FictionDelivery Format: Independent ReadWarner, G. C. (1977). The boxcar children. Chicago: Albert Whitman.Connection to theme:After becoming orphaned, these four siblings rely solely on one another for all of their basicneeds (food, water, shelter). They are eventually reunited with their warm and lovinggrandfather who happens to be wealthy. Students may consider what it would be like to bewithout their parents or their homes, what it would be like to depend on your siblings (or closefriends for students who are only children), and what they think about the resolution to theorphans situation.Questions to Use with Students:Give an example of how each child contributes to the well-being of all four siblings.How does the author portray the relationship between the four siblings? Do you thinkthis is a realistic sibling-relationship?How does the author portray the grandfather? What do you think the children might havedone if the grandfather had not been warm and loving?What would be another alternative ending for this book?Suggested Writing Experience:Rewrite the story as if it were happening in present day. Consider the baker‟s reaction to thechildren arriving on the doorstep, where the children would be staying, and how the childrenwould be getting along with each other. Add details that describe the time period.
Grade Level Equivalent: 6.3Lexile Measure: 910LGenre: Biography, Poetry and VerseDelivery Format: Pair Read. Independent Read for AdvancedReadersLevy, D. (2010). The year of goodbyes: a true story of friendship, family andfarewells. New York: Disney-Hyperion Books.Connection to theme:This book highlights the relationships between Jutta and her friends and family through entries inher posiealbum, or autograph book. These entries are juxtaposed with verse that details the Naziadvancement in 1938 Germany and the family‟s desperate escape to America. Jutta is forced tosay good-bye to friends, family, her home, and everything she knows. This powerful bookshould encourage students to reflect upon their own relationships as they consider the events andrelationships of Jutta‟s life.Questions to Use with Students:What do you think about what happened to Jutta and her family?What else do you want to know about Jutta and her friends? How could we find out thatinformation?What is Jutta‟s view on Judaism? How do you know? Is this important to her story?What do you notice about the entries as the year progresses? What topics are theclassmates writing about? Can you infer any emotion from these topics?How would you feel if this happened to your family? What item would you choose totake from your home?Suggested Writing Experiences:Make a class posiealbum. What is the most important comment or piece of advice that you canwrite to a classmate. Consider the classmates personality when choosing your words.Write a dialogue for Jutta and her friends that could have taken place at their reunion. What doyou think the friends would have talked about after so many years? What would they say aboutthe importance of family? Friends? Things?
Grades: 3-4Lexile Measure: NAGenre: Realistic FictionDelivery Format: Independent Read for Struggling ReadersWrightson, P., & Cox, D. (1991). The Sugar-Gum tree. New York, N.Y.:Viking.Connection to theme:The main relationship in this story is between Sarah Bell and Penny May who are best friends,but are constantly getting into fights. The two girls have quite stubborn personalities which areusually at the center of their conflicts. Students can reflect on their own personality traits thatcan cause conflicts within their relationships.Questions to Use with Students:Give an example of a personality trait that causes conflict between the two maincharacters.What does the author want you to believe about the meaning of friendship? What do youbelieve?In what way would the girls‟ relationship change if they acted differently? How couldthey act differently?When has a similar situation happened between you and one of your friends/siblings?Suggested Writing Experience:Rewrite the final fight in first person perspective. Choose either Sarah Bell or Penny May‟sperspective and include what that character would be thinking as the fight occurred, as the firedepartment came, and after the fight was over.
Grade level Equivalent: 4.2Lexile Measure®:710LGenre: FolkloreDelivery Format: Read Aloud, Small Group ReadPeck, J., & Root, B. (1998). The giant carrot. New York: Dial Books for YoungReaders.Connection to theme:This is a straightforward tale about each family member‟s unique contribution and theimportance of working together. It would work well for opening up discussions aboutcooperation and individual contributions.Questions to Use with Students:What is the moral of the story?What would happen if one of the family members was removed from the story?Is it always true that each person makes a unique contribution? Give examples.Can you think of an example when many people were necessary for completing a task?What do you think about Isabelle‟s contribution? Why is it necessary?Suggested Writing Experience:Rewrite the tale as a song or poem. How would you make Isabelle‟s personality show through inthis form?
Grades: 3 – 5 Grades: 2-4Grade Level Equivalent: 4.1 Lexile Measure: NALexile Measure: NAGenre: Non-fictionDelivery Format: Read AloudLocker, T. (2002). Walking with Henry: based on the life and works of HenryDavid Thoreau. Golden, Colo.: Fulcrum Pub..Locker, T. (2003). John Muir, Americas naturalist. Golden, Colo.: FulcrumPub..Connection to theme:Both of these books focus on the two men‟s strong connection to nature and their appreciationfor where they live. The dream-like paintings further illustrate the poetic quality of thisrelationship. These books can be used to introduce many science concepts and open discussionswith students about their connections with nature and the places they live.Questions to Use with Students:What do you think that the author meant when he said “John Muir‟s years of wanderingin the wilderness led him to a deeper way of seeing Nature” (Muir, p. 30)?Explain what you think about “Near his home, he planted an acorn in case he would everneed another walking stick” (Thoreau, p. 28).Why do you think that some people, like Muir and Thoreau, are so connected to nature?What do you think the country would be like if there weren‟t people like Muir andThoreau?Suggested Writing Experience:Choose an event or occasion that you feel you cannot live without (i.e. karate class,Thanksgiving dinner, etc.). Imagine that it is about to be canceled. Write a letter to the editorthat will convince readers why it is important, how it should be protected, and how others benefitfrom it.
Grades: 4-6Lexile Measure NAGenre: Informational Text/ SurveyDelivery Format: Independent Read, Small Group ReadBanes, G. (2012). The Kingfisher Encyclopedia of Life: Minutes, Months,Millennia- How Long is a Life on Earth? . New York: Kingfisher.Connection to theme:This book is a survey book about the life-span of many microorganisms, plants and fungi,invertebrates and vertebrates. Through colorful images, interesting and quirky facts, and helpfultimelines and coding systems, this book shows how interconnected all the inhabitants of Earthare. By exploring the concept of time and life span, students will better understand the “breadth”of their life on Earth.Questions to Use with Students:Why do you think that the author chose to organize this encyclopedia by lifespan andtime?How does this method relate us (humans) to them (other life forms)?What can you conclude about the human lifespan?What does this tell you about your own lifespan on Earth? How does this make you feel?In what way would your opinion about life change if it were shorter? If it were longer?Suggested Writing Experience:Make a list of things you would do if you had the life span of a mayfly (1 day), a chameleon (1year), or a red-eyed tree frog (5 years).Choose a perfect life-span (how many years?). Why? Explain the pros and cons of living thatlong.
Grade level Equivalent: 3.3 Grade level Equivalent: 2.4Lexile Measure®: 520L Lexile Measure®: AD830LGenre: FantasyDelivery Format: Read Aloud, Small Group ReadPenn, A., Harper, R. E., & Leak, N. M. (1993). The Kissing hand. Washington,D.C.: Child Welfare League of America.Penn, A., & Gibson, B. (2004). A pocket full of kisses. Washington, D.C.: Child& Family Press.Connection to theme:These two books focus on a mother‟s love and sibling jealousy. These books can be used tobegin a discussion on family relationships.Questions to Use with Students:What does the author want you to believe about a mother‟s love? Is this always true?What do you believe?What feelings/ emotions do you think Chester feels towards his younger brother?What would you have to do for your mother to stop loving you?Do mothers treat siblings exactly the same when they love them the same amount? Whymight they treat siblings differently?Suggested Writing Experience:Rewrite a section of one of these stories as a puppet show to teach younger students about thebook‟s theme. Make changes to the story to reflect your beliefs, but keep them appropriate foryour audience.
Grade level Equivalent: 3.5Lexile Measure®: 410LGenre: Realistic FictionDelivery Format: Read AloudWyeth, S. D., & Soentpiet, C. K. (1998). Something beautiful. New York:Doubleday Books for Young Readers.Connection to theme:This story is about a young girl‟s dedication to her neighborhood, in which she identifies thebeautiful and the troubling parts. She then takes the initiative to clean things up and make thembetter. This story can lead to discussions about taking responsibility for the place you live.Questions to Use with Students:What does this story say about beauty?Give some reasons why there is trash and graffiti on city streets.Can you think of examples where trash and graffiti are found in our town?What might happen if people took more action to prevent “ugliness”? Do you think it isimportant?Suggested Writing Experience:Develop a game of charades that focuses on things that are beautiful or ugly in our town. Makesure that these people, places, or things can be acted out.Alternative: Create a “Catch Phrase” type game, where players give clues for a word.Make a list of five hints for each word that players may not use as clues; these may includerhyming words, synonyms or obvious characteristics.
Grade level Equivalent: 3.3Lexile Measure®:620LGenre: Realistic FictionDelivery Format: Read Aloud, Independent Read forStruggling ReadersHenkes, K. (1986). Gandpa & Bo. Hong Kong: Greenwillow Books.Connection to theme:This story is about a boy and his grandfather who are making the most of the summer they arespending together. Students can share their different family traditions and how much time theyspend with different relatives.Questions to Use with Students:What is the main point of this story?What support can you find for this?Give an example of when you spend time with a relative. How often does this happen?Is it ideal like it is in the story? How are your experiences similar to the story? How arethey different?Suggested Writing Experience:Write a letter to a family member that you don‟t see as much as you would like. Include whatyou want to do together the next time you see them. Mail the letter.
Grades: 1-3Lexile Measure: AD100LGenre: FantasyDelivery Format: Read Aloud, Small Group ReadSilverstein, S. (1976). The missing piece. New York: Harper & Row.Silverstein, S. (1981). The missing piece meets the Big O. New York, NY:Harper & Row :.Connection to theme:These two stories can be described as stories about friendship, in which you have to find the rightfit and sometimes you have to move on and do things on your own. Students can use theabstracts of these books to apply meaning to their own relationships.Questions to Use with Students:What are the big ideas in these stories? Is Shel Silverstein only talking about apiece?Why do you think that this could be a story about friendship? What evidence isthere in the text?How are the ideas in the two stories similar? How are they different?What does the author say about hopelessness? What other emotions are expressedin this story?Suggested Writing Experience:Make up a “lost and found” poster for the Missing Piece. List the emotional characteristicsdescribed in the book. Refer to the animated versions for additional insight.Animated versions available on Youtube:The Missing Piece http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mT0wKeJQvGkThe Missing Piece Meets the Big O http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xhN4qasx7Rk
Grade Level: 5 - 7Lexile Measure: GN440LGenre: FantasyDelivery Format: Independent Read, Reluctant ReadersWatterson, B. (1992). The indispensable Calvin and Hobbes: a Calvin andHobbes treasury. Kansas City: Andrews and McMeel.Connection to theme:Calvin and Hobbes explore many of the ups-and-downs of friendship, as well as, the relationshipbetween parents and children in a quick, humorous format. Students will be eager to read thesecomics and this book can be used as starting points for many discussions.Questions to Use with Students:Give an example of Calvin being a good friend to Hobbes.Do you think that Calvin acts like a “normal” kid to his parents?What does the author want you to believe about friendship?Would the message be as clear (or clearer) in another format? What would happen toCalvin if Hobbes was a real kid?Suggested Writing Experience:Create a comic strip with you and one of your friends in the place of Calvin and Hobbes. Whatare the “ups-and-downs” that you face in your friendship?
Grade level Equivalent: 5.6Lexile Measure®: 860LGenre: Historical FictionDelivery Format: Read Aloud, Independent ReadYolen, J., & Cooney, B. (1992). Letting Swift River go. Boston: Little, Brownand Company.Connection to theme:This is another story that focuses on the relationship between people and the place that they live.Based on historical events, a town has to decide if their town should be flooded and turned into areservoir. Discussions can focus on whether or not students would make the same choice as thetown people and how they would get everyone in a town to agree.Questions to Use with Students:Summarize the events of the story. How did the town come to the decision that it did?Explain what you think about this type of decision. Do you think that it is fair?What does the author want you to believe about the decision? Does the title give you aclue?How would this story be viewed through the eyes of the developers?How would you feel in this situation? What side would you be on?Suggested Writing Experience:Imagine that this situation is happening in your town today. Pick a side and develop a plan forhow you are going to convince your neighbors to side with you. How are you going to getpeople together? How are you going to deliver your message so that people will listen?
Grade level Equivalent: 3.5Lexile Measure®: 560Genre: NonfictionDelivery Format: Read Aloud, Independent Read forStruggling ReadersCalmenson, S., & Sutcliffe, J. (1994). Rosie, a visiting dogs story. New York:Clarion Books.Connection to theme:This story highlights the unique ability of service dogs to help people of all ages and abilities.Discussions can focus on what animals can do for humans, what the relationship between peopleand animals can provide to humans and whether or not service dogs see any differences in thepeople they visit.Questions to Use with Students:Give an example of how Rosie helps people. What emotions or feelings might thesepeople experience because of Rosie?Why do you think that this experience helps people?What do you think Rosie‟s point of view is? Do you think that she sees these people as“different”?The author says that Rosie is a good friend. Do you agree/disagree?What might happen if people viewed each other the same way that Rosie views them?In what ways would relationships change if this happened?Suggested Writing Experience:Write a letter of appreciation to Rosie for all of her service. Ask her any questions that you mayhave about her job or her point of view. Share your thoughts about what you can learn from herperspective.
Grades: K-2Lexile: 830LGenre: NonfictionDelivery Format: Read AloudObama, B., & Long, L. (2010). Of thee I sing: a letter to my daughters. NewYork: Alfred A. Knopf.Connection to theme:This story is in the format of a letter that the President wrote to his daughters. It exemplifies afather‟s love for his kids (despite setting some high expectations). It can be used to discussparental love and make connections between individuals and the rest of the country.Questions to Use with Students:What is the main point of this story?Why do you think that the President would choose to publish this as a book rather thankeep it a private letter?What does the story say about the connection between kids and the historical figures thatwere featured?What feelings or emotions might a letter like this have on the reader?Suggested Writing Experience:Choose one of the historical figures that Obama included. Research the facts about this person‟slife and the contributions that they made to the country. Pick 10 adjectives to describe thisperson besides the one that Obama chose.
Grades Levels 3–5Lexile Measure NAGenre: Poetry and VerseDelivery Format: Small Group ReadWissinger, T. W., & Cordell, M. (2013). Gone Fishing: A Novel in Verse. NewYork: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.Connection to theme:This book focuses on the special bond between father and son and how that bond can beinterrupted by a sibling. Discussions can focus on accepting siblings and favorite family pasttimes.Questions to Use with Students:Explain what you think about Lucy going on the fishing trip. Should it have been just afather/son trip?Why do you think Sam felt the way he did? At what point does his attitude change?What is the reason for the change?How would the story be different from Lucy‟s point of view? What about Dad‟s point ofview?How do you feel about the form of the story? Do you think that it made the story betteror worse?Suggested Writing Experience:Write a poem about a favorite activity that you do with a family member. Are there any conflictsthat occur? Consider the different forms for poetry and decide which one will help to tell thestory.
Grades: 3 – 5Lexile Measure: 540LGenre: Historical Fiction/ FantasyDelivery Format: Read Aloud, Independent ReadGiff, P. R. (2013). Gingersnap. New York: Wendy Lamb Books.Connection to theme:This story focuses on Jayna‟s journey to find a living family member after her parents die andher brother is MIA in WWII. She is guided on her journey by a wise spirit. Discussions canfocus on the loss of family, why it would be important to find a blood-relative, and what studentswould do if they were in that situation.Questions to Use with Students:Why do you think that it is so important to Jayna to find her grandmother?How do you think the fact that Elise is not Jayna‟s grandmother affects theirrelationship?What do you think the author is trying to say about the role of family?What do you think about Jayna‟s spirit guide? Do you believe that this could be true?Suggested Writing Experience:Think of a time when you were feeling strong emotions. What was the reason for theseemotions? Create a soup recipe like Jayna‟s in which you capture the feeling of that experience.
Grades: 5 – 9Lexile Measure: 960LGenre: BiographyDelivery Format: Read Aloud, Pair ReadGrandin, T., & Montgomery, S. (2012). Temple Grandin: How the Girl whoLoved Cows Embraced Autism and Changed the World. Boston: HoughtonMifflin Harcourt.Connection to theme:Temple‟s relationship with animals, horses and cows primarily, allowed her to overcome manyof the obstacles she faced during her life. People often misunderstood her due to her autism, butthis gave her a stronger understanding of the animals. This book can lead to discussions aboutthe relationship between humans and animals and how we view people with “disabilities.” Thisbook could be used in combination with Rosie: A Visiting Dog’s Story.Questions to Use with Students:What does the term autism mean? Is it a disability or a difference?How do you feel about Temple‟s dad? Why do you think he acted the way he did?How does Temple feel about the killing of cows for meat? Do you agree with her or doyou disagree?What are some other perspectives on the meat industry?What might happen if people understood autism better?Suggested Writing Experience:Write an apology letter to Temple from the viewpoint of one of her high-school bullies. Pretendthat you have grown up and feel bad for the things you said and did. What would you include inthe letter? What successes would you compliment Temple on?
Grade level Equivalent: 7.3Lexile Measure®:830LGenre: FantasyDelivery Format: Audiobook, Independent Read for AdvancedReadersWrede, P. C. (1990). Dealing with dragons. San Diego: Jane Yolen Books.Audiobook version available from Listening Library withfull-cast performed by the Words Take Wing ReparatoryCompanyConnection to theme:The main character, Princess Cimorene, must navigate her way through many relationships inthis tale: from her parents‟ strict expectations, to befriending dragons, to outsmarting wizards.Cimorene‟s characteristics of intelligence and independence are what guide her through thisjourney.Questions to Use with Students:Give an example of an expectation that Cimorene‟s parents have for her. Why doesCimorene disagree with this expectation?List several of Cimorene‟s characteristics. How do these characteristics help herthroughout the story? How do they get her into trouble?What do you think the author is trying to say about gender?What might happen if you took Cimorene‟s relationships and transferred them into amore realistic setting? How could we do this? What would her parents‟ expectations be?Who would be the dragons? Who would be the wizards?Suggested Writing Experience:Write a biography for Cimorene. What do you think happened during her early childhood years?How did her decision to live with dragons affect the course of her life? How did it affect heroutlook on life? What happened to Cimorene after the conclusion of the book?
Grade level Equivalent: 4.5Lexile Measure®: 790LGenre: Classic FictionDelivery Format: Read aloud, Audiotape assistance forstruggling readersLowry, L. (2008). The Willoughbys. Boston: Houghton Mifflin.Audiobook version available by Listening Library, read byArte JohnsonConnection to theme:Four siblings devise a plan to get rid of their lackluster parents, while at the same time theirparents are plotting against them. This humorous tale has relationships at the heart of every twistand turn, from parental-relationships, to sibling-relationships and more.Questions to Use with Students:What do you think the author wants us to believe about family?What assumptions are being made about parents? About siblings? Is this always true?The author uses the children‟s actions to move the story along and does not describe theiremotions very often. What types of emotions do you think each of the children wouldhave? How do you think this might change the telling of the story if the emotions wereincluded?What would be an alternative ending for this story?Suggested Writing Experience:Lowry connects the Willoughbys‟ story to many other classic stories about orphans (Anne ofGreen Gables, James and the Giant Peach). Create a list of “read-alikes,” stories that someonemay want to read if they liked this book. Consider similarities between relationships. You mayinclude any of the books we have read together in class.
Grades 3-4Lexile Measure: NAGenre: FantasyDelivery Format: Independent Read for Struggling ReadersJacobs, S. K., & Johnson, P. (1991). Song of the giraffe. Boston: Little, Brown.Connection to theme:Kisana uses her strong relationship with nature in order to help out her village with one of itsmost basic needs, water. Discussions can focus on the magical qualities of nature and thedefinition of what is a family. In this case the whole village acts as a family and Kisana longs tofit in despite her different appearance.Questions to Use with Students:Why do you think Kisana is concerned about her appearance?In what ways does Kisana define family?How would Kisana‟s appearance be viewed from her parents‟ perspective? A friend‟sperspective?What causes the change in Kisana‟s view of herself? Is it just one thing? Is it many?In what ways would the story change if it was told as an American story?Suggested Writing Experience:Create a Tagxedo that defines family.
Grades 1-3Lexile Measure: NAGenre: FolkloreDelivery Format: Read Aloud, Pair ReadGrimm, W., Sendak, M., Manheim, R., & Tehon, A. (1988). Dear Mili: an oldtale. New York: Michael di Capua Books :.Connection to theme:This tale features a little girl who is sent into the woods by her mother in order to escape the war.While she thinks that she is there for only three days, it turns out that her whole life has passedby. This story can lead to discussions about if and when it is okay to send a child away, or abouthow short life can be. It can be connected to the book, A Year of Goodbyes when discussingissues of war (noting the German overlap) or to The Encyclopedia of Life, when talking about thelength of the girl‟s life. Note: This book does contain references to religion.Questions to Use with Students:What do you think the main point of the story is?How do you think the mother felt as she sent her child into the woods? Do you think shemade the right decision?How are these ideas like other fairytales you know? How are they different?What conclusions can you make about the author‟s view of life and death?Suggested Writing Experience:Persuade an audience to read, or not read, this story. How does the plot and meaning of the storycontribute to your argument?
Grades 5-8Lexile Measure: 700LGenre: Contemporary FictionDelivery Format: Independent Read for Advanced Reader,Reluctant ReaderPaulsen, J., & Paulsen, G. (2013). Road trip. New York: Wendy Lamb Books.Connection to theme:This story centers on the complicated relationships between a teenage boy and his dad, hisfriends, and his love of dogs. It pushes the boundaries of what is acceptable for middle schoolnovels just enough to motivate reluctant readers. It addresses many of the real-life issues thatstudents face and should spark interesting dialogue.Questions to Use with Students:This book is written by a father and son. How do you think that affected the story?What message do you think these authors are trying to convey?What role do the border collies play in the story? What might happen to the message ofthe story if they were omitted?How can we find out how Ben really feels about his dad? What information do theauthors give us?Suggested Writing Experience:Pretend that you are writing a play. Create your own cast of oddly-matched characters. Whatcircumstance brings them together? Is there a conflict they must resolve? What characteristicswill each member contribute to the group?
http://polkdhsd7.sharpschool.com/staff_directory/p_b_s_behavior_interventionThis website provides many resources forteachers to gain information about the manycomplex issues that are at the heart of thistheme.Questions/ Activities to Use with Students:* Select a behavior. Which story provides the most accuraterepresentation of this behavior?* Summarize what (behavior) is.* Choose a behavior and give an example of when this behavior isappropriate. Give an example of when it is inappropriate.* Create a list of how these behaviors effect others.http://www.kidsmatter.edu.au/familiesThis website provides many informationalsheets in which scenarios are presented andhelpful solutions are given. They can beused as a guide for discussions about familyand peer relations.Questions/Activities to Use with Students:* What is meant by difference?* What does the term mental health mean?* What feelings or emotions may have caused __________?* What would be an alternative solution to this problem?
http://www.teacherplanet.com/resource/friendship.phpThis site provides lesson plans and activitiesfor building friendships within yourclassroom.Questions/ Activities to Use with Students:* What conclusions can you make from this activity?* What has it helped you to learn about other perspectives?* What feelings or emotions are explored in these activities?* What are the effects of these activities on you? On others?http://www.homebaseprogram.org/community-education/~/media/Files/toolkits/Classroom%20activities.pdfThis program was developed by educatorsand guidance counselors in Massachusettss.It contains many activities that can be usedin the classroom.Questions/Activities to Use with Students:* What conclusions can you make from this activity?* What has it helped you to learn about other perspectives?* What feelings or emotions are explored in these activities?* What are the effects of these activities on you? On others?
This is only a small selection of books that addressthis theme of relationships.Although they do cover many of the types ofrelationships that students encounter, it falls short ofaddressing all of the complex issues that arecontained within these types of relationships. Issuessuch as abuse and neglect have not been addressed inthis unit.If I were to expand this book list, I would try toexplore more of these complexities that occur inreal-life and effect so many students.