(this guide was adapted by the North Carolina Children's Book Award Committee)
Theme: SOMETHING BEAUTIFUL can be used to introduce your
students to urban neighborhoods.
Show the students the cover of the book, read the title, author
and illustrators name. Ask them what they think the book will be
about. Next show the illustrations without reading the story --
now what do they think the book will be about. Everyone will have a different definition of the word "beautiful". Make a list with your class of things that are beautiful and ask to explain why each item belongs on the list.
As you read and show the illustrations have the students look closely
at the drawings. What details can they find in the pictures? Have
them look closely at the expressions of the little girl -- how do
they change during the story.
Language Arts/Communication Skills/Writing:
- Interview 5 people. Record what they think is the most beautiful thing to them.
- Go on a treasure hunt or organize a scavenger hunt with clues that find things of beauty.
- Using the alphabet, find something of beauty for each letter of the alphabet.
- List 20 items that are the most beautiful in your world and would be missed if taken away.
- Have children compare their own neighborhoods/schools with the book.
- Write a poem about your neighborhood.
- Discuss neighborhoods, apartment buildings, types of homes, cities and rural towns. Use webs or a computer database to record discussion and common characteristics.
- Investigate the art of cave drawings, hieroglyphics, the origins of graffiti.
- Discuss recycling. Arrange a field trip to a recycling plant.
- Organize a cleaning campaign. Pick up litter at school or at home. Discuss how this effort helps the environment and maintains beauty.
- Learn the difference between annual and perennial flowers. Plant a small variety of colorful flowers in the schoolyard or at a local nursing home.
- Listen to the words in Louis Armstrong's song "What a Wonderful World". Make a list of the beautiful things in his song and discuss ideas.
- Sing "This Land is Your Land, This Land is My Land", The Green Grass Grew All Around".
- Take pictures of a neighborhood or downtown and make a collage. Use a digital camera and prepare a Powerpoint presentation.
- Make a giant classroom or hallway Rebus collage by outlining four large symbols: U, a soda can, the recycle symbol (three arrows in a circle), and a 2 (says: "you can recycle too") Decorate inside each symbol pasting recycled materials i.e., foil, plastic, newspaper.
Have the students walk around their school. The students can do
this in small groups or altogether. What is something beautiful
in their school? Make a list of ideas that could make their community more beautiful. Talk about it and make a plan to complete one of those ideas from the list.
Have the students plan a trip to their nearest city. Ask them to
estimate the miles, how long will it take, what would they need
to bring -- food, clothes, entertainment items, books etc. What
do they think they will see along the way -- fire hydrants, dog walkers, bicycles, stores, etc...
Spend more time reading about city and town life. Read AROUND
TOWN by Chris Soentpiet, DEAR SANTA
PLEASE COME TO THE 19TH FLOOR. If you really enjoyed SOMETHING
BEAUTIFUL write a review and post it on-line at Amazon.com
so others can enjoy your reading experience.
Granddaddy's Gift by Larry Johnson
Chicken Soup For the Little Souls by Lisa McCourt
Momma, Where are you From? by Marie Bradby
Talking Walls by Margy Burns Knight (for older students)
Maple Tree by Nan Hayden Agle
City Green by DyAnne Disalvo-Ryan
My Town by William Wegman
New Neighbors for Nora by Johanna Hurwitz
Board - headline on your bulletin board, MY SOMETHING BEAUTIFUL
IS..and have each student list what they think is beautiful in their
lives. List them on the board.
students of school recycling inspired by chris's book something beautiful