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Elmer

For one time educational use

Teacher Think-Aloud using the book, Elmer written by David McKee modeling profundity with a narrative text. The highlighted portions are the teacher conducting the think-aloud. I typed out the text to show you the reading and the teaching that goes with this book. I dont know how to model it if you cant see the text. I gathered these ideas from a presentation of Jeff Beal.

Teacher reads aloud to students:


There was once a herd of elephants. Elephants young, elephants old, elephants tall and short, fat and thin. All were different but all were happy and almost all were the same color. All except Elmer. Elmer was not elephant color. He was patchwork. Elmer was yellow and orange and red and pink and purple and blue and green and black and white. It was Elmer who kept the other elephants happy. Their games and jokes were always his idea. If an elephant was laughing, the cause was usually Elmer. But Elmer himself wasnt happy. Whoever heard of a patchwork elephant? he thought. No wonder they laugh at me! One morning, just as the others were waking up. Elmer slipped away.

Teacher thinks aloud:


The first ACTION that I would like to discuss is that Elmer slipped away. WHY did Elmer slip away? Elmer slipped away to spend time alone since he thought the other elephants were laughing at him. Was the action right or wrong? Elmer slipping away was wrong because he was a funny guy and that is why the other elephants were laughing. They werent laughing at him because he was different. Elmer slipping away was right because when people are upset they go off by themselves to pout and think things through. What did Elmer get for slipping away? He got the idea that if he changed himself to look like them he would not be laughed at.

Teacher continues to read out loud to the students:


As he walked through the jungle, Elmer met other animals. Good morning, Elmer, they said. After a long walk Elmer found what he was looking for a large bush covered with elephant-colored berries. Elmer caught hold of the bush and shook it until the berries fell on the ground. Then Elmer lay down and rolled over on the berries, this way and that. He picked up bunches of berries and rubbed himself all over until he was covered with berry juice. When he had finished, there wasnt a sign of any yellow, or orange, or red, or pink, or purple, or blue, or green, or black, or white. Elmer looked like any other elephant.

Teacher thinks aloud:


The second ACTION that I would like to discuss is that Elmer covered himself with elephant colored berries. WHY did Elmer cover himself with elephant colored berries? Elmer wanted to look like the rest of the elephants. Was the action right or wrong?

Wrong because you shouldnt change yourself to look like others. What did Elmer get for covering himself up with elephant colored berries? A chance to look like the other elephants. Teacher continues to read aloud to students.
On his way back through the jungle, Elmer passed the other animals. Good morning, elephant, they said. When Elmer rejoined the herd, none of the other elephants noticed him. As he stood there, Elmer felt that something was wrong. But what? He looked around: same old jungle, same old blue sky, same old rain cloud, same old elephants. The other elephants were standing absolutely still, silent, and serious. Elmer had never seen them so serious before. It made him want to laugh. Finally he could bear it no longer. He lifted his trunk and, at the top of his voice, shouted BOO! The other elephants jumped in surprise. Elmer was helpless with laughter. Then the others began to laugh. Too bad Elmer isnt here to share the fun, they said, laughing harder and harder.

Teacher thinks aloud:


The third action that I want to talk about is that Elmer yelled BOO! Why did Elmer yell Boo? He couldnt stand everything being the same. Was the action right or wrong? Right, Elmer is a jokester. This is what he is. What did he get for yelling boo? He got attention.

Teacher continues to read aloud to students.


And then the rain cloud burst. When the rain fell on Elmer, his patchwork started to show again. Oh, Elmer, gasped an old elephant as Elmer was washed back to normal. Youve played some good jokes, but this has been the biggest laugh of all. What would we do without you? We must celebrate this day every year, said another. The day of Elmers best joke. All of us elephants will decorate ourselves in his honor, said a third. And Elmer will decorate himself elephant color. And one day each year the elephants color themselves yellow, or orange, or red, or pink, or purple, or blue, or green, or black, or white and have a parade. If you happen to see an elephant in the Elmers Day parade who is ordinary elephant color, you will know it must be Elmer.

Possible Discussion Questions: Tell how you are alike Elmer? Tell about a time you tried to change to be like others just like Elmer. Reading for Understanding Directions: Discuss or write answers to the following questions. Explain your answers using specific examples and details from the book, Elmer. 1. Briefly summarize the plot of Elmer, including main characters, setting, problem or goal, major events (limit to 3-5 major events), and resolution. Tell 3 major actions of Elmer. 2. One theme of Elmer is be true to yourself. Tell how Elmer reacted at first to the other elephants laughing at his jokes. Tell how Elmer tried to change himself. Tell what happened when Elmer! What do all of these things have to do with being true to yourself? 3. Think about Elmer being true to yourself. Put yourself in Elmers place. Write a letter to a good friend in another town. Tell how you (Elmer) feel about the elephants laughing at you and what you (Elmer) are worried about. 4. The understanding of the words and phrases are important in understanding the stories. In Elmer, reread page 19, where the text says, When Elmer rejoined the head, none of the other elephants noticed him. What does Elmer realize at this point of the story? 5. At first in the story, Elmer, Elmer has negative feelings or worries. Tell why he had these worries. 6. Authors choose words carefully to get across or emphasize an idea or message in their writing. What was David McKee, the author of Elmer, trying to get across when he used the word, Boo! on pages 24-25? 7. Think about Elmer in the story, Elmer. What lesson(s) did you learn from the way Elmer felt and acted. Tell how you might apply this lesson or these lessons to your life.

Ruby the Copycat


For one time educational use

Teacher reads Ruby the Copycat by Peggy Rathmann aloud to the students or makes sure that all students have access to the text. If the teacher is sure that all students will really read the book, feel free to have the students read the text. Reading the story with a partner, individually, or in small groups is equally effective. The teacher should consider the reading ability of the students, the reading level of the text, and how many copies of the text are available when deciding how to read the text today.
Monday was Rubys first day in Miss Harts class. Class, this is Ruby, announced Miss Hart. Ruby, you may use the empty desk behind Angela. Angela is the girl with the pretty red bow in her hair. Angela smiled at Ruby. Ruby smiled at Angelas bow and tiptoed to her seat. I hope everyone had a pleasant weekend, said Miss Hart. Does anyone have something to share? I was a flower girl at my sisters wedding, said Angela. Ruby raised her hand halfway. I was the flower girl at my sisters wedding, too. What a coincidence! said Miss Hart. Angela turned and smiled at Ruby. Ruby smiled at the top of Angelas head. Class, please take out your reading books, said Miss Hart. At lunchtime, Ruby hopped all the way home on one foot. When Ruby came back to school, she was wearing a red bow in her hair. She slid into her seat behind Angela. I like your bow, whispered Angela. I like yours, too, whispered Ruby. Class, please take out your math books, said Miss Hart. On Tuesday morning, Angela wore a sweater with daisies on it. At lunchtime, Ruby hopped home sideways. When Ruby came back to school after lunch, she was wearing a sweater with daisies on it. I like your sweater, whispered Angela. I like yours, too, whispered Ruby. On Wednesday, Angela wore a hand-painted T-shirt with matching sneakers. After lunch, Ruby hopped back to school wearing a hand-painted T-shirt with matching sneakers. Why are you sitting like that? whispered Angela. Wet paint, said Ruby. On Thursday morning, during Sharing Time, Angela modeled the flower girl dress she wore at her sisters wedding. Ruby modeled her flower girl dress, too, right after lunch. Angela didnt whisper anything. By coincidence, on Friday morning, both girls wore red-and-lavender-striped dresses. At lunchtime, Angela raced home. When Angela came back to school, she was wearing black. On Friday afternoon, Miss Hart asked everyone to write a short poem. Who would like to read first? asked Miss Hart. Angela raised her hand. She stood by her desk and read: I had a cat I could not see, Because it stayed in back of me. It was a very loyal pet Its sad we never really met.

That was very good! said Miss Hart. Now, whos next? Miss Hart looked around the room, Ruby? Ruby stood and recited slowly: I had a cat I could not see, Because it stayed in back of me. It was a very loyal pet Its sad we never really met. Ruby smiled at the back of Angelas head. Someone whispered. Ruby sat down. What a coincidence, murmured Miss Hart. Angela scribbled something on a piece of paper. She passed it to Ruby. The note said: You copied me! Im telling Miss Hart! P.S. I hate your hair that way. Ruby buried her chin in her collar of her blouse. A big tear rolled down her nose and plopped onto the note. When the bell rang, Miss Hart sent everyone home except Ruby. Miss Hart closed the door of the schoolroom and sat on the edge of Rubys desk. Ruby, dear, she said gently, you dont need to copy everything Angela does. You can be anything you want to be, but be Ruby first. I like Ruby. Miss Hart smiled at Ruby. Ruby smiled at Miss Harts beautiful, polished fingernails. Have a nice weekend, said Miss Hart. Have a nice weekend, said Ruby. On Monday morning, Miss Hart said, I hope everyone had a pleasant weekend. I did! I went to the opera. Miss Hart looked around the room. Does anyone have something to share? Ruby waved her hand. Glued to every finger was a pink plastic fingernail. I went to the opera, too! said Ruby. She did not! whispered Angela. Miss Hart folded her hands and looked very serious. Ruby, dear, said Miss Hart gently, did you do anything else this weekend? Ruby peeled off a fingernail. I hopped, said Ruby. The class giggled. Rubys ears turned red. But I did! I hopped around the picnic table ten times! Ruby looked around the room. Watch! Ruby sprang from her desk. She hopped forward. She hopped backward. She hopped sideways with both eyes shut. The class cheered and clapped their hands to the beat of Rubys feet. Ruby was the best hopper they had ever seen. Miss Hart turned on the tape player and said, Follow the leader! Do the Ruby Hop! So Ruby led the class around the room, while everyone copied her. And at noon, Ruby and Angela hopped home for lunch.

After the class has read the text, generate a list of actions of Ruby. The teacher may wish to skip this step based on time demands in the classroom. The teacher will choose three actions to take through the profundity narrative continuum. The teacher should scribe for the students while the students and the teacher talk through the profundity narrative continuum together. I am giving an example, but you should work it through for yourself. It is more effective if you think through your own examples.

Title author; and character chosen

List of 3 Important Actions

Why did the character act this way?

Was it right or wrong for them to act this way?

What did the character get from acting this way?

What is the lesson learned from this story?

Examples from your life

Ruby the Copycat

Ruby wore sweater with wet paint.

She wanted to look like Angela.

Written by Peggy Rathmann

Character: Ruby

Ruby buried her chin in her collar of her blouse. So Ruby led the class around the room.

Angela was mean to her so she got her feelings hurt. She showed the class how she is good at hopping.

Wrong because she keeps copying Angela. She changes her outfit everyday. Right, you cry when your feelings are hurt. Right, she kids hop and the teacher isnt upset with her.

Attention. A feeling that shes just like Angela

Hurt feelings; Lost her desire to focus on Angela. Chance to be true to herself; Chance to be the one other kids copy; confidence in herself

Focusing your attention on others bugs other people. You should find out what you are good at and share that with others. You will be happier if you do what you are good at instead of trying to copy others.

Reading for Understanding (CHOOSE, dont use all of these questions today)
1. Briefly summarize the plot of Ruby the Copycat, including main characters,

setting, problem or goal, major events (limit to 3-5 major events), and resolution. Tell three major actions of Ruby.
2. One theme of Ruby the Copycat is being true to yourself. Tell how Ruby reacted

to Angela telling her she didnt like her hair. Tell how Ruby treated Angela. Tell about the incident with the poem in the classroom and what Ruby noticed about her teacher. What does all this have to do with Being True to Yourself?
3. The understanding of some words or phrases is important in understanding

stories. In Ruby the Copycat, reread these pages and tell what is meant by the word coincidence. Go actually into the text and look at the pages.
Ruby raised her hand halfway. I was the flower girl at my sisters wedding, too. What a coincidence! said Miss Hart. Angela turned and smiled at Ruby. Ruby smiled at the top of Angelas head. ______________________________________________________________________ By coincidence, on Friday morning, both girls wore red-and-lavender-striped dresses. At lunchtime, Angela raced home. When Angela came back to school, she was wearing black. __________________________________________________________________________ Ruby stood and recited slowly: I had a cat I could not see, Because it stayed in back of me. It was a very loyal pet Its sad we never really met. Ruby smiled at the back of Angelas head. Someone whispered. Ruby sat down. What a coincidence, murmured Miss Hart.

4. At first in the book, Ruby the Copycat, Ruby keeps copying Angela. Why didnt she want to be herself?
5. In Ruby the Copycat, the situation has changed at the beginning of the story.

Give some details from the story that shows how Angela handles Ruby copying her. How does Angela feel and what does she do?
6. Think about Ruby in the book, Ruby the Copycat. What lesson(s) did you learn

from the way she felt and from her actions. Tell how you might apply this lesson or these lessons to your own life.

Possible Discussion Questions: 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. Did Ruby and Elmer do the same kinds of things? How are the reasons for their acting the way they did similar or different? Do you agree with the things that Elmer did more, or the things that Ruby did more? Did Elmer and Ruby get the same treatment for their actions? Why or why not? If both the characters learned the same lesson, what was the lesson? If each character learned a different lesson, what were the lessons learned? Do you agree or disagree that the theme of these two stories is Be True to Yourself?

Reading For Understanding Cross Text Question Be True to Yourself is one theme of both books. What key ideas about being true to yourself are brought out in each book? How do these keys ideas compare or contrast with one another? Writing in Response to Reading Some people would say that Elmer and Ruby the Copycat finally dealt with being true to yourself. Do you agree? Yes or No? Explain your answer using specific details and examples from Elmer and Ruby the Copycat to support your decision. Be sure to show how the two reading selections are connected or alike. Please review the checklist for revision: Do I take a position and clearly answer the question I was asked? Do I support my answer with examples and details from BOTH reading selections? Do I show how the two reading selections are connected? Is my writing organized and complete? Suggested Answer Format: 1. Restatement 2. Gist Answer 3. Details for evidence Support from Reading #1 Support from Reading #2 Support from Personal Experiences 4. Connections between selections 5. Concluding Statement YES NO YES NO YES NO YES NO

Example of writing: Elmer in Elmer and Ruby in Ruby is a Copycat dealt with being true to yourself. Elmer really liked everyone laughing at his jokes since he is a funny guy. Ruby wanted to be accepted so she copied Angela and her teacher until she realized people would like her for acting like herself. At first, Elmer thought that the other elephants were laughing at him for looking different. He covered up with elephant covered berries and tried to act like other elephants. Elmer just couldnt do it. Life was so boring without the laughter. Elmer couldnt help being a jokester so he was true to himself when he yelled boo getting the other elephants to laugh. In Ruby the Copycat, Ruby started a new school. To fit in she copied Angelas every move. If Angela wore a flowered sweater, then Ruby made a flowered sweater to wear. If Angela read a poem, then Ruby read the same poem. If Angela said she was a flower girl, then so did Ruby. Finally Angela was tired of being copied and yelled at Ruby. Rubys teacher encouraged her to be herself. The next school day, the teacher gave Ruby another chance to share what she really did this weekend. Ruby started to show being true to yourself when she told about hopping all weekend. She hasnt mastered being true to yourself yet since her teacher still had to coax it out of her. I think Elmer and Ruby are alike because they both found ways to be true to yourself. Elmer entertained the other elephants and Ruby got the whole class up and hopping even Angela. I am alike Elmer and Ruby because I have been true to myself. I used to teach elementary school. I was given the opportunity to teach other teachers about Four Blocks. Ruby had to be brave to tell her peers what she really liked since they might have laughed at her. I had to be brave to quit my job and become self- employed. It worked. I am now busily pursuing my dream of sharing how to teach reading to many teachers. This shows me that if we do what is our hearts desire even if it is risky emotionally, we can be happy being true to ourselves if we do what is right for us.