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Using Chrysanthemum in Upper Elementary at the Beginning of School

One of my most visited blog post is Favorite Read Alouds for the First Week of School. In this post, I list several picture books that I love to read during the first week including a few that are not normally associated as a back to school book. One book that I did not mention is Chrysanthemum. This year, I decided to go back to this old favorite. I love reading this book to my students partly because of the overwhelming response students have to the story. I’m always surprised by how many fourth graders are not familiar with this book.


After reading aloud Chrysanthemum and discussing this powerful story, I model how to draw a simple picture of the main character. Then on the left side of the paper, the students write words to describe how the students’ cruel words made Chrysanthemum feel. On the right side, they write how Chrysanthemum’s parents and Mrs. Twinkle’s kind words made her feel. Next, on an index card, I had the students to write what they learned from the story about how to treat others.

Not only did the students’ pictures turn out adorable, but I knew from the paragraphs that were written, that the class understood the message in the book. This helped to reinforce the ideas of classroom community that we have been establishing the first week of school.

These adorable drawings and writings made a perfect hall display for back to school!

Have a blessed day!

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