January 2017 - Ideas By Jivey: For the Classroom
Use the mentor text, Terrible Things, to teach students how to be upstanders, combat bullying, and support and stand up for what is right and fair. Ideas By Jivey shares a free resource and ideas to teach with the book.

At a time where our nation is very divided, we as teachers must impress upon our students that WE CAN spread kindness and love to combat the hatred and bullying. For this reason, hundreds of Teachers Pay Teachers authors have joined a movement. We want to support classrooms across the country (and world) in ways that are most needed, so we have uploaded free resources that will help do just that!

You can find these free resources by searching #kindnessnation and #weholdthesetruths on TpT, as well as social media. They will tackle topics like: kindness, empathy, anti-bullying, equality, inclusion, understanding and respecting others' differences, civil rights, democracy, and civics. There are A LOT of resources, so I recommend narrowing your search on the left side using your grade level. :)


The forever free resource I created is for a really thought-provoking book, called Terrible Things by Eve Bunting. It is an allegory of the Holocaust, but even if you don't teach about this event or time period in history, it is still a phenomenal book to teach students about being upstanders rather than bystanders. The story is about animals who live contently in the woods together. But one day, Terrible Things come and take all of the animals with feathers. Although they all lived together and got along before, once the birds were gone, the other creatures talked about the negative characteristics of the birds. They said they were better off without them. Little Rabbit doesn't understand why they were taken and why no one spoke up. As the story continues, the Terrible Things come for a new type of animal, and each time the same thing happens. Finally, all that is left in the clearing are the rabbits, and one day, the Terrible Things come for them, too. No one is there to help them, but Little Rabbit manages to hide. He decides he will go off to tell other animals in other places about them, and hope they will learn to stick together and speak up for each other.

You can purchase the book using my Amazon affiliate link by clicking above on the image of the book. I use the money from my Amazon affiliate payments to fund awesome giveaways!

Before reading the book, ask students to think of things that are terrible (you may want to also prompt their thinking with words like scary, wrong, etc…) This can be done on the board as a compiled list, and/or on the included page in the free pack I have made. 

Read the book. Ask the students to think about the animals (not the little rabbit) in the book. Is there anything they could have done to stop the Terrible Things? What could they have done? Discuss the words bystander and upstander. I have included posters in the free pack I created.

Use the mentor text, Terrible Things, to teach students how to be upstanders, combat bullying, and support and stand up for what is right and fair. Ideas By Jivey shares a free resource and ideas to teach with the book.

Review the story and discuss how Little Rabbit changed from the beginning to the middle to the end. This can also be done on the included page in this free pack. Discuss how Little Rabbit changed from a bystander to an upstander.

Take a look back at the list of terrible things the class compiled. Is there anything on the list that they could change or do to make a difference? Have them list those things on their own page if completing that way. Circle the things on the board that could be changed if a class list was compiled. You might also discuss what to do to make a difference.

Use the mentor text, Terrible Things, to teach students how to be upstanders, combat bullying, and support and stand up for what is right and fair. Ideas By Jivey shares a free resource and ideas to teach with the book.
These are some things that students have said are "Terrible Things." It is your decision how terrible you want to get on your chart (i.e.; murder and death). And can we all just take a minute to laugh that vegetables made it on the chart? ;-) And of course, tests and homework. :)

There is also a reflection sheet in the pack, “Don’t Be a Bystander” – students can use something from the list or their own additional thought to explain what they could do to stand up for something that they know isn't right.



As I mentioned, LOTS of TpTers have come together in this movement. Here are just a few more resources that would compliment this lesson well:



There are SO many more on Teachers Pay Teachers. Just search the hashtags, #kindnessnation and #weholdthesetruths!


Thank you to Jillian for the awesome images to promote our movement!

Snowmen at Night is a great book for kids of ALL ages, not just little kids! Get some great ideas for the upper elementary kids to use with the mentor text in this blog post. Students will identify poetry elements, write their own poem, and create an art activity to go with their poem for a hallway display!
This post contains an affiliate link to Amazon. If you use my link, Amazon pays me a few cents, which I use to fund my giveaways! 

Typically, you probably think of the book, Snowmen at Night, as a book for "little kids." But this is a fun book to use with the big kids too!


Here are some great activities to use after you read this book with your grades 3-5 students!


This is a good book to use if you are working on identifying the structural elements of a poem.

Grab this freebie with an excerpt of the book that will allow the students to label the stanzas, rhyme scheme, and verses. 

Snowmen at Night is a great book for kids of ALL ages, not just little kids! Get some great ideas for the upper elementary kids to use with the mentor text in this blog post. Students will identify poetry elements, write their own poem, and create an art activity to go with their poem for a hallway display!
I also chose that excerpt of the book intentionally, to enable a focus on punctuation craft- discuss why the author used the long dashes instead of commas (what does it make you do as you read?) as well as the first stanza including parentheses.

This book also, of course, opens up a great writing opportunity! Have the students work on writing their own poem describing what a snowman does at night.

Here is a great video you can show your struggling students to help them understand how to write a rhyming poem. (Although the video is titled as "for K-2" I think it's still very appropriate for many students who need help understanding how to rhyme.)

Then, bring some art education into the classroom! Check out this fantastic post from A Faithful Attempt about the principle of movement in art using chalk pastels on construction paper! This would be a fantastic display for the hallway with their poems attached!

Not feeling the mess chalk pastels might create? Do this fun torn paper art activity instead found on The Elementary Art Room's blog:


I hope your students love this book as much as mine always did! :) Enjoy!

Ideas by Jivey uses the mentor text Recess at 20 Below to teach about details in text and pictures / photographs. Get a free activity in the post with the step-by-step directions to teach the skill with the book.

I am teaming up with The Reading Crew again to bring you some fun wintery mentor text lessons!


Here in the southeast, snow is a prized rarity. Seriously. It's exciting to see a few flakes in Georgia. Sharing books like Recess at 20 Below is important to give students around here an idea of what life is like in other places. I love the book, not only because of the great information shared, but also because of the gorgeous photographs! The book is written (and all photographs are taken) by an Alaskan teacher. She shares what it's like to go out for recess in the cold weather of Alaska. The students will love seeing kids just like them at recess, below zero!


This is a fantastic book for any grade level, but because of the amazing detailed photographs, I love using the book for standard RI.1.6: Distinguish between information provided by pictures or other illustrations and information provided by the words in a text. It's also great for standard RI.2.7: Explain how specific images contribute to and clarify a text.



Start the lesson by reading the book, Recess at 20 Below.


Tell students that when we read a book with pictures or photographs, especially a nonfiction book, it's important to also "read" the images. They help us learn more about the subject and can sometimes even tell information not given in the words.


Discuss how the photographs show what the text is saying. "Reading" the photos will give more information and provide a visual for the words. Especially review the photographs with which students do not have prior knowledge, and those that are not described in the text of the book, like when the students are walking to school and it is still dark out.



Complete this free activity together. Review the four facts by going to those pages and re-reading the text and looking at the photographs.




You can find more ideas and activities for Recess at 20 Below, along with nine other mentor texts perfect for Earth Science lessons integrated with reading and writing, in the Nonfiction Better Than Basal for Grades 1-2: Earth Science unit.



You can visit more blogs for some wintery mentor text lessons at the links at the bottom of this post.

Check out the other great lessons from The Reading Crew below!




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