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Sunday, September 12, 2010

Thank You Mr. Falker By: Patricia Polacco

Theme: Bullying and Friendship
Grades: 1-6
Thank You Mr. Falker written by Patricia Polacco is a touching story about a young girl who is bullied and a teacher that comes to her rescue.    

Websites to Prevent Bullying and Violence

Thank You Mr. Falker, written by Patricia Polacco,is the story of a young girl who struggled with reading throughout her educational career in elementary school. The setting of this story was during the 1950's, where the young girl, Tricia was forced to move from school to school after the death of her grandparents. Tricia really wants to learn to read, however she continues to struggle every school year after being passed on from class to class. Tricia cannot read the letters on a page and the torment keeps coming from her classmates. After awhile, she begins to believe the lies her classmates say about, she begins to believe that she's dumb. In the fifth grade she gets a new teacher named, Mr. Falker. He identifies her problem and works with her day after day to help her achieve her goal of reading as well as helping her deal with the ridicule of her classmates. Mr. Falker changed her life. He brought the joy of reading back in her life. 
Pre-Reading Activities:
  • Using their Reading Response Journals, have students respond to the questions:

    • "Was there something you really wanted to learn about or learn to do?
    • Was there anyone who you looked up to, who helped you with this?
    • Did anyone ever bully you because you couldn't do something
  • Have students write about what a friend is supposed to look like, how they're supposed to act, and what they do that makes them a good friend.

Post-Reading Activities:

-Students will make an Ant-Bullying pamphlet.
After reading, discuss with students some things they can do to prevent bullying in their classroom environment. Also discuss how students or children feel when they are being bullied.
-Anti-Bullying Boxes
Some students may not feel comfortable sharing with an adult that they are being bullied. The Ant-Bullying Box is a great way for students to report an incidence of bullying anonymously without any fear of having their name mentioned to another student.
-Letter To a Helping Hand
Have students write a letter to someone who may have helped them in the past with a friendship or bullying situation (students do not need to send these letters).

Multimodal Vocabulary Activities:
Students will create a Wordle using all of the words that describe how they feel when they or someone else is being bullied, as well as other words of phrases from the book Thank You Mr. Falker.
-True Life: Dealing With Bullies
Students will create short video diaries that describe how they feel about bullying. Students can also role play and take on the identities of bullies and the bullied. Afterwards, they can debrief on camera and discuss ways to prevent this from happening.

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