Early Elementary Idea to Reinforce Character, Feelings, List and Sequence


Waber Book CoverChildren’s book author and illustrator Bernard Waber created many books for children including the Lyle the Crocodile series and Ira Sleeps Over. Another book, You Look Ridiculous Said the Rhinoceros to the Hippopotamus, is an old favorite that lends itself very well to introducing/reinforcing the SGM®/Braidy® List Map.

In this story, the hippopotamus is told by a series of other jungle animals that she looks ridiculous. Each animal then tells the hippopotamus that she needs features that he/she possess (examples include the leopard telling the hippo she needs spots and the giraffe telling the hippo she needs a long neck). The hippopotamus becomes discouraged and has a dream that she does have all the suggested improvements. She learns that she is proud of herself… just the way she is!

After reading the story to the children and enjoying the illustrations, ask the children to make a list with you of what the hippopotamus dreamed she looked like. Use the SGM® Universal Magnets, if you have them, on a magnetic dry erase board. Use the Action Beads as list bullets. Discuss the list with the students (below left). Then, go back to the book and sequence the list (below right).

Hippo Description 1Hippo Description 2

Show the students the picture on page 27 and reread pages 28–29 of the book. Then, ask the students to discuss how the other animals reacted to the hippopotamus in her dream. Using the magnets again, elicit responses from the children to make a list of feelings that the hippopotamus had when the animals started laughing at her new appearance. To further facilitate this activity, you may want to use the Feelings mini-poster as shown.

Hippo Feelings List

Have the students create a new character using different animal parts. See the examples below.

Example 1Example 2

Example 3Example 4

Note in the first example, the student actually labeled the parts of the created character (descriptive). In Sarah’s pictures, she made a list (top right) of what she included in her picture (above left) and Joshua did the same (above right).

This activity reinforces the concept of Characters, Feelings, List, and Sequence.

Hippopotamus had courage to ultimately ignore the other animals and find pride in being herself. Another book by Bernard Waber is Courage. It shows many examples that children can relate to, such as what it means to have courage. Courageous is a personality trait that the children will frequently encounter in literature.


Sheila Zagula
Sheila Zagula

Author

Sheila Zagula works with MindWing Concepts in product development, drawing on her expertise and talents as well as many years of implementing the Story Grammar Marker® and related materials. Her teaching career spans thirty-eight years, most recently as literacy coach in the Westfield Massachusetts Public School System. Sheila has experience as an early childhood educator, a teacher of children with special needs, and a collaborative instructor within an inclusion framework serving children in grades K-5.



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