Book: The Chalk Box Kid by Clyde Robert Bulla
Tell us your name, age, and favorite way to make art.
At this age everyone still likes art, and no one has yet been convinced that since they're not "good" at art they don't like it. Only as we get older are we convinced that if we have no talent at something we must not enjoy it. I'm not that talented, but I love to create, craft, etc. I should also point out that I always give my name and age.
A note on using the questions. I start broad and give them hints and ask more leading questions if I'm getting blank stares. I also tend to break up the discussion time. A few minutes of discussion and then an activity and then more discussion or discussion during activities. Kids do well with discussion while their hands are occupied.
- Why do you think Uncle Max covered up Gregory's pictures? Was he trying to hurt his feelings or just didn't think about it?
- What did Gregory mean when he said it wasn't his room anymore, it was Max's?
- Why do you think Vance didn't like Gregory?
- Was Gregory bragging when he said his old school was bigger?
- Gregory erased his little pictures of things like alligators to make one big (cohesive) picture of a garden. If you had a whole building to draw on would you make many small pictures or one big picture? Why?
- Do you think Greogry thought his pictures were better than Ivy's? Why or why not?
- Why did Ivy want to give Gregory her prize?
- Why did Ivy bring her brother to see Gregory's garden?
- Why did Greogry's mom and dad wait to see what he was doing in the old building until after his teachers came?
- Should you play in an abandoned building by yourself? Use a ladder without asking an adult? (I'm a librarian and always have to add in the little safety message.)
General Discussion Subject
We talked about bullying (because of Vance) and general ways to recognize bullies, how to deal with bullying. How to stop bullying, if bullying is happening to you, if it is happening to another kid, etc. And how bullies can still be nice if they are made to understand that their behavior is unacceptable by both their peers and authority figures (and I do believe this is true in the first through third grade level).
Chalk Drawings - Individual
Of course you have to draw with chalk. I pulled tons of gardening books, the children leafed through them for inspiration and then created take home drawings on the larger size of black construction paper.
Communal Chalk Garden
We pulled a big piece of dark colored butcher paper and created a chalk garden as a group. It had the lettuce from the book and other fantastic ideas from the gardening books. I hung it up on our bulletin board along with a sign explaining about book club. Easy advertising and an easy bulletin board. Win/Win! I'll show pictures if I ever get another camera.
We ran out of time and didn't do this, but it is so easy it hardly needs mentioning. Plant raddish seeds (hard to kill, quick growing) in a cup with some potting soil. Send home. Bonus fun: decorate the paper cup first.
Just like the raddish seeds, but a slight variation. Draw on a paper cup (or on a label that you stick on a plastic cup, slightly easier for younger hands) a face. Fill cup with dirt and grass seeds. The grass grows as "hair" for the face you drew.
And that was our book club for first through third graders on The Chalk Box Kid. We again played the "vote with your feet" game mentioned previously and there were more discussion questions than listed here. Overall very successful and I will miss book club for the next few months.