Read Clementine: text version

Lesson Ideas to Accompany the 2008/2009 Sunshine State Young Reader's Award Books

The 2008 St. Johns County Reading Discussions PLC created these ideas. Ideas were posted on a blog during the summer of 2008. The blog can be viewed at For information about the PLC, blog, or lesson ideas, please contact Kristen Badger at [email protected]


*Writing ­ use to teach voice and good grabber sentences *Similes and metaphors- students could find examples while reading Metaphors *Imagine taking digital pictures of the students, having them cut out the picture... cutting off their hair, then mounting it on card stock and getting out the bright colored permanent markers or even pastels and drawing on hair in the colors and styles they choose. *Writing/Discussion ideas: Have you ever done something like Clementine did to her hair to make a friend feel better? *The book could easily be used as a Character Counts! lesson by asking students to identify occurrences that relate to each of the pillars. *Character development and how the character changes and grows throughout the story *Character counts- problem solving, name calling and why it is hurtful, the golden rule (treating others the way that you want to be treated) *Use this book as a jump start into character exploration/description. Clementine has a lot of unique characteristics that make her who she it. I would have students create a graph/chart describing her moods and how Sara Pennypacker uses her words to help create a mental image. *Have students think about the book as it relates to their personal lives- Is there someone you know that is similar to Clementine? Is there someone you know that is similar to Margret? *This book uses a lot of colorful and vivid words. Adjectives and Verb Usage could be discussed. Instead of saying awful, Clementine used DISASTROUS (packs a more powerful punch). *Similes: Teach similes and point out the first simile in the book, like a dandelion (p 10). Have students make three-columned notes to list page numbers and similes in the book in the first two columns. In the third column, have them use the simile in an original sentence. Here are some other similes they will find sighed like a leaky balloon (p 50),soft as rabbit ears (p59), squeezed like her brains were trying to jump out (p66), like a million old ladies with secrets (p 79). *After reading the story, give students the following writing prompt: Clementine has a lot of astoundishingly spectacularful ideas that solve problems. Think about a problem you have experienced and tell about how you solved it in an astoundishingly spectacularful way. *Here is another journal idea: Clementine experiences strong feelings in the story and draws some great pictures of her feelings. Draw a picture of yourself experiencing a strong feeling. Then, tell what the feeling is, what makes you experience this feeling, and what makes this feeling go away. *Importance of sequence and order of events in a story *Using this book as a read aloud would be a great way to introduce the differences we all have and provide a great segue into a discussion about ways to honor those differences. *A fun project idea that highlights the uniqueness of each friendship could be making paper hats for friends that include lots of mementos that are significant to that particular friendship. *Hand students a combination of materials: string, paper clip, piece of paper, block of clay, feather (any items at hand) and ask them to invent a device that helps teachers clean the room or is the perfect pet toy or is an invention every child needs for homework (any invention you think up).

*Discuss how and why Clementine`s good intentions lead her to the principal`s office. Does she feel misunderstood? Is she frustrated with others around her who are frustrated with her?

Clementine (cont.):

*discuss the relationship between Margaret and Clementine. What was the reason for their disagreement and how did they arrive at forgiving each other? *As the students read the book you can incorporate character counts lessons. You can start with caring and discuss how Clementine is a great friend to Margaret. *The students can think of a time that they had a friend who went out of their way for them. *Students can complete a cause and effect chart and then even incorporate Inspiration using the graphic organizers that are given. *Students can even write a letter to their best friend about Clementine and that they want to introduce Clementine to him/her.


*Have students create their own communication books. The assignment could include their ten most important words, ten descriptive words, ten emotional words and so on. As an extension of the activity, students could be given a challenge for a day and see how they cope. For example, students could be blind folded, or told they can`t use their legs to walk, or their hands to write, or their speech. This type of activity can help to build empathy which is an important and valuable part of moving through life. *Have each student to create their own word book for communication purposes. It would need to have some limits placed on it as to the number of words. Then set aside a day (or part of a day if it gets too difficult) and that would be the only form of communication they could use. It would certainly raise awareness of the value of words and the difficulties that disabled people face in meeting everyday needs. *Pre-reading activities will be really important for this book, and I would start with an open conversation about disability *Introduce some vocabulary, including autism, occupational therapy, disability, and communication board. *Talk about rules that they have at home, rules for school, and why do we even have rules. Let them brainstorm 5 ­ 10 for home and school and see what they think is important. *Have studentskeep a 3-columned journal while reading with the headings: Embarrassing Moments (include brief description and page number), Catherine`s Response/Feelings (details from book regarding Catherine`s feelings), My Reaction (student`s personal response). Here is a sample: Column 1 ­ page 3 David shrieks, Five o-clock!` Column 2 ­ Catherine responds by shushing David and scanning the yards around to see if anyone heard. Her stomach flips. Column 3 ­ I know Catherine is hoping no one heard her brother. She already shared that she is sensitive to what others are thinking about David`s odd behaviors in the video store, and I have been self-conscious myself when family members have been too loud in public. I think briefly discussing the journals would be a great way to start each reading group. *Students could do webquests on websites like,, and are good ones. *This book would make a great character study to look at how Catherine changed from the beginning of the book to the end of the book. *Have students write another chapter telling about how Catherine`s relationship with Jason grows. *Have students study autism and come up with a plan on how they would work with Jason. *Talk about friendship: the one she has with Melissa, Kristi, Jason, and Ryan. *Discuss words and how important they are to us. How would we communicate if we had a limited number of words that we could use? *Before beginning this activity I would discuss with the students how Catherine would illustrate the words for Jason, she would draw things that didn`t show the word exactly but would represent the word: murky-she drew a picture with someone bringing mud up from the bottom of the pond. Next I would have the students

think of 20 words that they could use, could live with then have them illustrate those words. Finally, we would spend a day only using those picture cards and see what we would be able to accomplish.

Rules (cont.):

*Address the issue of manners and how we as individuals should treat one another (not talking about others behind their backs, proper terminolgy, etc.) *This book is filled with adjectives and descriptive language to help students in their creative writing. *Cynthia Lord has her own website that the students could visit to learn more about her, the book, and the reasoning behind why the book was written. *This book has some great ideas in the back. I especially like the one about writing about the rule, Looking closer can make something more beautiful. *Good Journal topics: Such as What rules do you find important at your house and why or How do you feel about Catherine as a character? Do you think she is mean and selfish or can you understand her feelings? *Cause and Effect can also be used with this book, as there are many examples of effects from Catherine`s decisions through out the book. *It would be interesting for a different type of lesson plan to make this a geography flavor. Each child in the room would be given a different color string and pins to represent their personal family moves throughout their life. You will have some that have never moved, they would place their pin in a map of our local area. Students that have moved would place their pin in a larger map, in every location that they had lived for a specific length of time, leading to the local map. It would open up a lot of opportunities to integrate geography lessons within a reading unit. *You can bring imagery in by discussing how art takes an important role in the story, along with then discussing how does music and books play a part in the story and how do they correlate with all the characters in the story as well. *This book opens the door to great dialogue and discussions about autism and accepting all different kinds of people. Discussion topics could include: What is autism? What would it be like to live with someone with autism? What might it be like to be autistic? How could we help educate others about autism? *One activity that I would link to this book would be Autism Awareness Month (April). The class could discuss autism and do several simulation activities in which the students feel what it is like to be autistic. *The students could try writing with thick gloves to experience what it is like to write for someone with autism. *The following website has more autism activities and tests: *This book has a lot of Character Counts! themes throughout - Caring, Respect, Trustworthiness *Students could discuss Catherine`s rules, explain why they are important/unimportant. The students could then write their own rule books in which they write rules that apply to their lives and explain why. They also could write a rule book for someone else. For example, before taking a field trip to Kennedy Space, the students could write a survival rule book for astronauts! *This book would be a great way to introduce the topic of normal and how all of us are different whether we appear to be or not.

Dexter the Tough:

*A writing activity could be to create a Part 2 of the story...what happens after Dexter`s dad is cured? Does Dexter move away again? What becomes of Dexter and Robin`s friendship? How did this experience change all of the characters? *Another idea could be to use this book to introduce to your students how your class will solve conflicts. A peace table with writing tools could be designated in your classroom. Students involved in a conflict should write about what happened from both perspectives as well as come up with a suggestion of what they can do to help rectify the situation.

* Students can write to their classmates how they think Dexter could have changed his actions instead of punching Robin in the face a few times. They can then trade with their peers and compare each others papers. *This would be a fun book to use in a literature circle that focuses on the different types of friendship, along with books like Maniac Magee, Rules, and Bridge to Teribithia. *Have the kids do a graphic organizer (maybe in Inspiration) with boxes or bubbles that list the problems Dexter has in the story (beating up Robin, sick dad, separation from parents, writing assignment) with branches of the details that led to the solutions. Then in groups, the students could discuss which problem they felt was the main problem in the story. *Have students make a cause/effect chart for events in the story. *It would be great to show students how they can always go back and add to their writing to make it more detailed and how they can use their own personal experiences as a base to their story-while using Dexter`s writing as a model. *One way this could be used is to have students list and discuss insights/life-lessons that can taken from this story, such as: -It`s ok for boys to cry. - Being the new kid is hard. - It helps to have a friend to get through the rough spots of life. -There are always two sides in any situation...mine and yours....A real friend will be patient and help you see the other side of the story when you are blinded by your own pointof-view. - Bad things do happen to good people. - It is ok to feel sad, mad, etc. but it`s not ok to hurt someone. There are better ways to deal with those unhappy feelings. *Do a service project where students could organize Activity Baskets to give to local Hospice facilities to help entertain children of patients. ( Things to include would be coloring books, crayons, crossword puzzle books, travel size games, diaries, etc) *Brainstorm various ways to help others who are dealing with a life threatening disease *The Editing Process: Showing the growth from the beginning of a story to the final product. *Point of View: How Dexter and Robin`s point of view of the same situation is different.

The Homework Machine

*Have the kids make a list of positive and negative benefits of using this machine. *Writing assignment: Write a narrative using the same format about a secret invention that you and your friends made and how you used it. *Have the students work together to create their own story and have each student take turns writing the perspective for one character and share the entire story when finished. *Some good topics for group discussions- predjudices, steroetyping, friendships, loyalty vs honesty,computer safety, etc *Have the kids make a list of positive and negative benefits of using this machine. *Do this book as a Reader`s Theater because the characters are so strong. *Study the Grand Canyon including finding the web cams over the rims. Do a Google search on Grand Canyon Web cams *I can see using this book as a reader`s theatre with groups taking turns being the ones to present and be the characters that day. *With this book, you could do a lot with point of view. The entire story was told through the different characters` perspectives. *Visit the website where teachers have posted ideas they have used when teaching the author`s books and the author has shared something about himself and other books he has written. *It could be fun to have students assume the roles of the characters and have a read aloud that the class conducts. *Discussion of the importance of using technology responsibly. *Discuss inventions that could make our lives easier or inventions that have changed the world.

The Homework Machine (cont.):

*I think it`s great to introduce chess to kids. It is a terrific strategy game that can be played by beginners to advanced thinkers. Laptop classes can play using their computers and you wouldn`t even need the actual pieces. It provides a break from the typical classroom format, so kids think they are playing when they are actually learning valuable skills. *Another writing assignment could be to invent a machine that could help you do something that you don`t particularly like to do--make the bed machine, dishes, etc. What would they call the machine, what size would it be, how would it work, a program like in a computer or something else. *I`d discuss the pros and cons of homework and ask the kids what they would do if the same situation became available for them *There is a quiz for The Homework Machine that the kids can take online (just for fun) *Talk about inventions and how they do not always work the first time and how inventors have to twick the invention(s) before it works. *Use this to introduce inventions and have the students make/create an invention that would benefit students, and then have them write to persuade students to try their new inventions. *This might be a good segway into national parks and conservation of our natural resources and wonders. I might have students create a brochure about the Grand Canyon with emphasis being placed on geograpgy, history, tourism/rules to be aware of while visiting, importance to the United States, animals that live there, etc. *The importance of technology as a source to find information.

The Missing Manatee:

*Research manatee protective laws and areas. *With this book I might have children write predictions about : How Dirty Dan feels about the manatee incident, as a tarpoon fisherman? How does Skeet feel, a student off for vacation? After reading the book, I would have students revisit there predictions and see if they changed there mind. I would have them do story surgery and tell why there opinions have changed or for that fact why did they stay the same. *Have the class adopt a manatee. I have done it before with a class and we followed the manatee`s migratory path, got photos sent to us, etc *Map where manatee populations are located *Discussion on how things aren`t always what they appear to be. Sometimes you must look below the surface to see the truth about people. *Vocabulary that is important to introduce before the story: manatee, skiff, saw grass, mangrove swamp, propeller, brackish, cormorant, refuge, pontoon, tarpon, means, motive, and monofilament. I also found some great words for a said vocabulator: drawled, chortled, croaked, hollered, crowed, protested, griping, and corrected. *Study the tarpon and learn their habits so you too could catch one! *Study the manatee and their habits and learn the laws of interacting with one. *Some great figurative language is modeled as followed: page 4 ­ manatee described like a gigantic dark brown Idaho potato...; page 5 sitting ducks; page 11 ­ Adam`s apples described as if a fishing bobber; page 14 manatees described as speed bumps; page 20 ­ fisherman described like a great blue heron ready to pounce; page 30 ­ stick in the mud; page 31 mom described as the ant in the lemonade at every picnic. *Since this book is a mystery, students could focus their reading log on listing details and corresponding page numbers that provided them clues to solve the mystery. *An extension activity would be to have a guest speaker show different fishing knots and give the students a chance to practice. I think is a great way to tie in the culture of our maritime community. *Write about your pet peeve.

The Missing Manatee (cont.):

*This might be a good book for character counts- trustworthiness and responsibility. Sometimes it is difficult to know what is right or wrong. What would you do if you were Skeet? *This book might also be good for a classroom debate/court session where you have the defendant and the plantiff tell their sides and have the other students make the ruling based on the use details from the story. *A fun activity would be to assign a character to a group and have them tell as much as they could about that person including an illustration of the character that matches the author`s description. *Use it to study wildlife that lives in Florida *A tie in for integrating science with reading could be a study of animal adaptations, pick animals from the story and research why they have developed specific adaptations for survival. *An art extension could be to create a paper mache model of manatees, tarpon or any of the fish mentioned in the story. *Do a whole Florida unit, using Manatees as a focal point. Sort of Like A manatee Flat Stanley, where they would visit the mangroves, the swamps, St. Johns River (only river to flow north), Gainesville/Ginny Springs, etc. *It would be fun to have kids create a menu of people and characteristics they would like on their own personal menus. *Have your students write about their pet peeve or you could have them write using the Skeet Waters Golden Moon Menu Method of Growing Yourself Up *Talk about a person with a learning disability *Discuss the moral issues of what is right and wrong-and that there isn`t always a clear answer to that question. Sometimes you have to weigh both sides to find an answer that you feel good about.

The Stupendous Dodgeball Fiasco:

*I think it would be really neat to involve the PE classes and have them try a unit on juggling. Juggling is quite an art! It requires dexterity, timing, patience and practice, all commodities that are beneficial to classroom activities. *Have students study the circus to find out which acts they typically have these days and find out which circuses come to JAX and when. *You could have the students write about what they want to be when they grow up and then in small groups have them talk about whether or not their career choice is related to what their parents do. *Writing Activity: Is there something in school or a sport that you play that you think needs to be changed like in Dodgeball? Write a persuasive essay that will convince the appropriate person to change the rule. *The very first lesson can be constructed around the meaning of the words in the title. *This book is perfect for a read aloud, with each chapter opener used to start a discussion about the origin of sayings that are used in daily life. *Do a study about different jobs and career choices, have Career Day. *After reading the book with the class I would discuss different families and how we fit into those families. *Research the Circus-the acts, what goes into putting a circus together, animlas, jobs. I would also track a circus to all the destinantions it visits throughout the year and map them, maybe learn a little bit about the destination too. *The Judicial system would probably be my focus point. I would discuss courts, platiff/defendent, petition, the rights of citizens, etc. *I would really discuss, a lot, about how BB acted toward Phillip. How she bullied him and made him feel bad about himself and made most of the other kids make fun of him. This would be a great discussion especially after the year gets started and the kids start feeling their oats and causing problems.

The Ghost's Grave:

*After reading sections of the novel, I might open up discussion about summer adventures, rural areas vs. urban areas, what you would do without technology, money (counterfeit vs. real), letter formation, imagination, animal shelters/ ways you could help in the community, etc * Provide students with some samples of headstone rubbings and have students create living memoirs of the people- asking, what was life like for them, what hardships did they face, who did they leave behind, what was special about them etc... * Have students write an epitaph (how would you want people to remember you?) *Take a trip to an old cemetary to read head stones *Have kids brainstorm what they would do if they were Josh and had to spend the summer in a small hic town without television, video games or malls *Have students write about inventions and include both the good and bad aspects of them (i.e., we don`t get as much exercise, etc.) *A writing assigments could be: What would you do if you had to go live with an Aunt that you had never met to a place such as Carson City? *Have students illustrate each chapter. Along with the illustrations, they could write a short summary for each chapter as well, when finished I would have them create a cover of their favorite illustration and bind the pages together. *Discuss how Josh was able to think through possible circumstances before he made decisions about what to do next....qualities that many students are not able to do! One side-discussion could include Josh`s decision-making strategies that helped. *You could use this as a listening activity having the students draw things that are described (the aunt in the cotton pink dress, the old red truck, the yellow house, the tree house, Mr./Mrs. Stray, etc.). *You could use this story as the beginning to a writing assignment. After reading/listening to the story the students could write about other adventures that Josh may have the rest of the summer with his aunt. *Study coal mines and identify their dangers. Find out what might cause an explosion. Share this with the class. *Writing Activity: Write an Epilogue for the book- The following summer Josh returns to his aunt`s for summer vacation. While visiting Willie`s grave the ghost of Emil Davies appears to Josh. He explains that he too is stuck as a ghost and he can`t move on as an angel until he clears his name. He explains that he is not the cause of the explosion in the mine; he said he didn`t even have his pipe with him that day. Tell the real story of the mine explosion, from Emil`s point of view. (You will need to study what causes explosions in mines) * This is a wonderful website with great activities and links to further info on coal mining, coal mining acidents, animal shelters, and yes, the author. There is even a link to What does the Bible say about ghosts?

The Blue Ghost:

*This could be a jumping off point for doing a family history and finding a piece of family history the student would like to imagine (and write about) him or herself being a part of. *The author`s website is great. It is at and includes great writing ideas along with an interview with the author that students can listen to. *The author has written a book for young writers called What's Your Story? A Young Person's Guide to Writing Fiction. The archival section has several tips from getting started to using verbs. *Students could write or interview their grandparents about items that have been passed down over the course of years and the significance, link to the past.


*I think it would be good for kids to learn more about the effects of high altitude in the sport of mountain climbing and how it affects physical performance. You could make a connection to the Olympics and how well athletes perform based on the altitude of the location of the games. * Have students study Mt. Everest and the surrounding mts. Make an Imovie from photos you find. *Have students map the areas discussed in the book. Ex. Tibet, Himalayas, China, Nepal *Have students find out who truly is the youngest/oldest to reach the summit of Everest. Put together a PPT presentation on Everest and any records you find.

The Sloppy Copy Slipup:

*Have the students come up with their own FACTS for Writing as Big Hig did at the end of the book, share their ideas, determine the Top 10 and then make a poster/posters for the classroom. *DyAnne DiSalvo`s picture books are good for learning about connecting to communities, so I may use them in conjunction with this novel as part of my character education. *It could be applied to the writing process in class by having students create a newspaper. We`ve done that in the past and it is an effective way to implement writing assignments in the classroom. *It would be a great idea for students to keep a running record of things they can write about, and add to it throughout the year as they visit new places, make new friends, start a new club, win the first football game, experience new things, etc. That way students can never say, I have nothing to write about. *You could use the part about different types of clouds as a science introduction. *Have the students come up with their own list of Facts for Writing and post the list in the classroom for all students to use as they critique their own writings could be fun. *Have students write a class newspaper for the current month. *Give students topics to write about and in pairs discuss the topic before beginning to write. *Post the writing rules from the end of the book on the wall for the kids to refer to at any time.


*Create a book of photos like Charley`s mom made to show that you respect and listen to nature around your neighborhood. This could be done on Iphoto or a similar program. *Have students study photography,and coffee table books, especially about pets/ animals. *Could be used with the study of ecosystems and how everything works together in nature. *Have the kids use their own digital camera or borrow one to take home for a day. Each student would be responsible for one page front and back to complete. They should take nature photos that mean something special to them. Then load the photos on one computer to create a bound book from Apple. They could include quotes from famous people much as Charley`s mother did. This would of course involve several lessons on design, perspective, lighting, and then different applications in technology to manipulate the photos if needed. Putting them together in book form could be accomplished by small groups. The books from Apple are beautiful and it would be a cool project. * Have students do a study about Jane Goodall and what she did with the chimps then research and see if anyone else has ever done anything like it. *Have the kids research for themselves on how to tame an animal if they found one. Use this story as an expository writing, write the steps they would follow. *Have students take nature walks and create nature journals * Discuss perserverance using the example that although their were some obstacles along the way, Charley never gave up on Coyote. Finally, after establishing a comfort level Coyote came around and acknowledged the love Charley had for him. *Have students study nature or plants (poison ivy, kudzu vine, rhododendron bush) or animal habitats.

Listen! (cont.):

* Have a discussion about taming wild animals. Is it a good idea? Should you approach an animal out in the wild? * This book would be a good book to read at the beginning of the school year because it talks about how Charley spent her summer. You might have kids write about they spent there summer.

No Talking:

*Try some of the activities the teachers did in their school: 1) Tell a class story where each person can only add 3 words at a time. 2) Have a debate where they can only use 3 words at a time. 3) Have a class period where the only communication is through writing. 4) As a House, try the no talking idea to promote more thinking! *Have students research Ghandi

Stumptown Kid:

*Study segregation and do a presentation on it * Talk about segregation and how African Americans were treated differently because of the color of their skin. This would lead to discussion about the civil rights movement, separate schools, restaurants, water fountains, movie theaters, bus transportation, etc. *Have students research African Americans who made a difference in the treatment of others*Study the negro baseball league and do a presentation on it *Have students write a new ending to the book. Pretend Luther didn`t decide to leave town. Tell how things in Stumptown changed.

The Thing About Georgie:

*Have students participate in the activities described at the beginning of each chapter. *Have students predict who the narrator may be. This could generate a lot of fun conversation with the right group of students. * Read the poem his parents had written for him then have the kids think of a topic and write a poem of their own. * Have students write a poem about their own aspirations. *Another writing assignment: The thing about me is... *Do a lesson about people. Discuss the differences in people, how some are handicapped, or have some other problem them discuss how to act around them. Maybe we could call this Social Ettiquette 101. *One activity that could be done before or after reading this book is to write or draw a picture from another perspective....for example, draw or describe the world as your dog would; a flower; a butterfly, etc. *Discuss jobs kids could do- walking dogs, lemonade statnd, etc. to make money (Business, money, advertisments, persuassion, gimics, and much more)

Phineas L. Maguire Erupts:

*Have kids replicate Mac`s science experiment, A Very Simple Volcano. Video tape the process and the eruption and make an Imovie which you can show to the class. (Coold be done in pairs.) *Have students replicate the Exploding Canister and the Microwave Marshmellow Roast experiments. Video tape the process and the experiment and make an Imovie which you can show to the class. *It would be interesting to take a class poll what activities students think best fit boys or girls or either sex. I would expect kids to defend their reason, and perhaps have a debate.

Roxie and the Hooligans:

*Writing Activity: Re-write the last chapter. Pretend that the robbers found the kids on the beach, and that the helicopter never came to rescue them. Explain how Roxie and the Hooligans got away from the robbers. *Have your students do a writing assignment such as The truck picked up the dumpster I was in and dropped it..................



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