- The Consequences of Bullying:
I have spent quite a bit of time talking with my students about all of the subtle (and more outward) ways that the characters in this book are bullying Auggie: ignoring him, talking behind his back, scheming against him, acting like he has some contagious disease, etc. It has put common pre-adolescent behaviors into a new context for my kids. Now they have a stronger understanding that their behaviors and words occasionally have negative consequences and can hurt feelings. Some of my students have done some of these behaviors in the past, but when they see how it affects Auggie, they feel awful and never want other to experience that feeling. My students didn't think it was bullying - they didn't mean to hurt anyone, they were just kidding around. Now they know.
- Communicating with Others and Parents:
There are some wonderful opportunities to talk with the students about why Auggie or Via is having a challenging conversation with their parents - it's due to being in an emotional state when Mom was talking to them. We talked about the importance of self-monitoring our emotions so we know if we are getting upset, it might be a good idea to ask to talk about it later. It's nice to know that Auggie's mom is not harassing Auggie, she is just worried about him. I try to get my students to transfer that to their own life and better understand why their parents do the things they do. Proper communication is key, and this book allows for me to help my students learn good communication techniques to use with their parents, their peers, and anyone else that they need to communicate with.
- Rules to live by:
These precepts have been taken straight from the book. They are taught within the story, once per month, and the students enjoy learning about each lesson. I enjoy the conversation that we have when explaining what each one means. My students want to live by these rules, and it is nice to keep up in the room as reminders for what we believe in. Thanks to http://rjpalacio.tumblr.com/post/17457757675/mr-brownes-precepts for typing it all up for me!
“When given the choice between being right or being kind, choose kind.” —Dr. Wayne Dyer
“Your deeds are your monuments.”—Inscription on an Egyptian tomb
“Have no friends not equal to yourself.” —Confucious
“Fortune favors the bold.” --Virgil
“No man is an island, entire of itself.” —John Donne
“It is better to know some of the questions than all of the answers.” —James Thurber
“Kind words do not cost much. Yet they accomplish much.” —Blaise Pascal
“What is beautiful is good, and who is good will soon be beautiful.” —Sappho
“Do all the good you can, by all the means you can, in all the ways you can, in all the places you can, at all the times you can, to all the people you can, as long as you ever can.” —John Wesley’s Rule
“Just follow the day and reach for the sun!” —The Polyphonic Spree
Once we are done with this book, we will be doing this lesson. Some of the world's leaders, corporate heads, celebrities, and education leaders were asked to list the five most helpful quotes they've come to know and use in their daily lives. We will be analyzing some of them and teaching each other about what they mean. I will do a blog post about them once we've done the lesson.
Check out this website if you have time as well - http://choosekind.tumblr.com/