“Each Kindness” For Valentine’s Day and Black History Month - MindWing Concepts, Inc.

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“Each Kindness” For Valentine’s Day and Black History Month

by Sheila Zagula February 09, 2018 6 min read

While in NYC about a year ago providing a workshop, Maryellen displayed a group of books to use with the Story Grammar Marker®. Three of the books were picture books and were written by Jacqueline Woodson.

Each Kindness Book CoverOne of the participants came to Maryellen after the workshop to point out those books and especially the one entitled Each Kindness. The others on display were The Rope and The Other Side. Each Kindness is particularly well suited to this time of year with Valentine’s Day coming up and with the Celebration of Black History Month during February.

Sheila Zagula has focused her teaching expertise, along with Bill Noss our graphic designer, to create a wonderful analysis of Each Kindness. Points of view (perspectives) of multiple characters are analyzed for their story grammar organization and to provide clues as to the author’s purpose.

It is vital to note the things we do and do not do in social situations—that create or pull apart a climate of kindness and understanding. Woodson’s expert writer’s craft and the beautiful illustrations make this an important addition to your February read/think-alouds. Much thinking and discussion are necessary to fully understand the author’s/illustrator’s purpose. Facial expressions in the illustrations lend themselves to inference generation regarding feelings and probable thoughts of each character.

Critical Thinking TriangleThe Critical Thinking Triangle® is a vital part of the Story Grammar Marker®, to be utilized to connect feelings and thoughts to initiating events and ultimate plans of characters. Cohesive ties, written on the arrows of the Critical Thinking Triangle® and present in the Cohesive Tie JAR-gon Activity Kit focus on connecting the sentence structures necessary to communicate the macro-structure orally in discussion and ultimately in writing.

Thanks NYC. By the way we are returning for another workshop this week…perhaps there will be another recommendation. — MRM

Each Kindness Activity 1

This selection could be presented from multiple perspectives and would be ideal for mapping out and retelling using the SGM Student Marker®.

From Maya’s perspective:

  • Setting: School; school year already in progress
  • Kick-Off: Maya begins at a new school
  • Feeling: apprehensive, hopeful
  • Plan: To make friends
  • Action: Says ‘Hello” when she is introduced to class
  • Action: Tries to smile and interact with Chloe
  • Action: Tries to engage others …jacks; a deck of cards; pick up sticks; a small doll, but no one plays with her
  • Direct Consequence: Maya ends up jumping rope by herself on the playground; moves before making friends
  • Resolution: We must infer her feelings here: disappointed, cautious, hurt… perhaps still determined to make friends?

From Chloe”s perspective:

  • Setting: School
  • Kick-Off: A new student arrives in Chloe’s class
  • Feeling: annoyed
  • Plan: Not to include or welcome Maya
  • Action: Does not smile when Maya smiles at her
  • Action: Looks out window away from Maya (even moves desk a bit away)
  • Action: Does not play with Maya even when asked
  • Action: Responds to Andrew: “She’s not my friend.”
  • Action: Joins in with others calling Maya “Never New”
  • Kick-Off:  Mrs. Albert does a lesson on Each Kindness, which Chloe thinks about; she has difficulty thinking of a kind act of kindness
  • Feeling: pensive, perhaps somewhat guilty, pained, unhappy
  • Plan: Plans to be friendly to Maya
  • Action: Promises herself she would smile back at Maya (“Each kindness makes the whole world a little bit better.”)
  • Direct Consequence: Told Maya has moved and would not be coming back / ”Each little kindness… done and not done…”
  • Resolution: We are thinking (inferring) that Chloe is ashamed, disappointed in herself… as she will not have another chance with Maya

Connect this ending to Activity 3 below

Activity 2

Each Kindness also presents multiple opportunities for students to discuss how a character(s) feel. Here, we would be isolating the feeling icon and working on that aspect alone. It would be an opportunity to discuss synonyms of sad or angry, for example. Along with the feeling cards presented in the Critical Thinking Triangle in Action! Set, you may also want to include the Feelings Mini-Posters for older elementary students.

Create a working mat format as shown below. (Use two pieces of cardstock and laminate them after stamping the Character and Kick-Off icons at the top of each; then, tape them together. These can be easily stored, folded, and placed in your CTT in Action! storage envelope) This mat is for two perspectives of the same event.

Kindness Picture 1

I chose pages 1-5 of Each Kindness for this activity, but you can easily see how the mat could be used with other sections/selections.

  • Have the feeling cards ready (you may tailor to meet the needs of your students by choosing a limited number of cards of your choosing) from the CTT in Action! Set along with the Feelings poster for older students. Write Maya and Chloe next to the character icons and put in the Kick-Off—Maya begins at the new school. (Or Maya is introduced to the students in her new classroom, wording may vary.)
    Kindness Picture 2
  • Reread the pages and looks carefully at the illustrations.
  • Have students work with a partner.
  • Ask: How do you think Maya is feeling? Give students an opportunity to discuss with their partner and place the feeling words on the mat. If you are using the poster, students may also write additional feeling words on the blank hearts.
  • Do the same procedure but focus on Chloe’s feelings.
    Kindness Picture 3
  • Invite students to share responses, using reasons why they chose certain feelings, and make a group list on the white board with students.
  • Feelings BookmarkThis is an opportunity to expand on feeling words. You may want to group similar feeling words together (such as on the bookmark from CTT in Action!)
  • Discuss synonyms.
  • Ask: If you had to pick only one feeling word from our list to describe how Maya and/or Chloe feel at the end of page 5, which one would you choose and why?
  • Here you will determine: I do; We do; You do, guided practice; You do, independently. Where are your students or where are you in this process of exploring the CTT?

Below is an example of I do:

  • Use the CTT in Action! Student Thinking Mat—or a copy of page 22 from the CTT in Action! manual.
  • Choose either Maya or Chloe’s perspective, writing the name of your choice at the top of the mat. I would begin with Maya.
  • Write the Kick-Off in the box.
  • Tell students the feeling word for Maya (hopeful) and for Chloe (annoyed) that you have decided to use and put it in the Feeling section on the map. Here is an example of Maya, hopeful and Chloe, annoyed.
    Kindness Picture 4
  • Provide as much scaffolding as necessary and walk through the thoughts from the two characters using the mat.
  • Maya—“Maya knows she doesn’t have friends because she is new to the school. She understands that she will have try to smile and talk to others to make friends. She thinks if she can be friendly it will help her to make friend and she is hopeful that she will make new friends.”
    Kindness Picture 5
  • Chloe—“Maya is a new student and Chloe realizes that Maya would like to make friends with her. Chloe is annoyed because she does not want to be friends with Maya so she decides not to welcome her or include her.”
    Kindness Picture 6
  • Review the Cohesive Tie Words on the mat. Here you will also want to have in mind the Sentence Frames available on pages 15-19 to target students needing intervention or more support, which could be done in small group instruction.
  • Ask students to practice how they would share information from your completed mat(s) with others.
  • Have students orally share these completed mats with a partner.

ShoeThis would be a perfect opportunity to go back through what Maya, for example, was thinking using the same thought bubbles as above. You could add: Maya was hopeful that she would make friends, but also she was worried and nervous (add these feeling words to the CTT feelings pocket) about being in a new school.

  • The above activity makes the thinking of characters visible for students. Students often need to infer what characters are thinking as it is not specifically stated in the text. The CTT helps educators teach feelings and words related to the thought process of the decisions of others. Included with the CTT are multiple sentence strips to help students scaffold feelings, mental states, and plans of characters, deepening comprehension skills.

Activity 3

The ending of the story would provide a rich opportunity for students to think about what Chloe has learned from this experience. We must use the events in the story, the text, and the powerful illustrations from the story to infer.

  • Ask students to work with a partner to discuss what they think Chloe has learned from this experience.
  • Share.

Then, present the following:

In the spring of the same school year, a new student, Ana, is introduced to Chloe’s class. How do you think Chloe will act towards Ana and why do you think this way? What will Chloe’s do?

  • Point out that to answer this question, we would have to take what went on in the story and infer how we think Chloe will respond.
  • Here you will again determine: I do; We do; You do, guided practice;You do, independently. Where are your students or where are you in this process of exploring the CTT?

    Below is an example of I do:

    • Here, take the CTT mat and fill it out as follows:
      Kindness Picture 7
    • Complete the process as shown (Actual presentation may vary depending on your goals and students, which makes the open ended materials in the CTT in Action! Set so valuable!)
      Kindness Picture 8
      Kindness Picture 9
      Kindness Picture 10
      Kindness Picture 11
      Kindness Picture 12
    • Model how you could use the information from the CTT to write the answer to the above prompt.
    Sheila Zagula
    Sheila Zagula

    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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