Magic Tree House
Junie B. Jones
Go Room One! It’s time for the first-grade kickball tournament! Only, here’s the problem: Junie B. has hurt her big piggy toe and she can’t play on the team. So now what? She definitely doesn’t want to be a cheerleader. But wait! Maybe she could be in Sheldon’s halftime show! Then all eyes would be on her! And she would be the star! Hurray! Hurray! Junie B. . . . in the spotlight. What could possibly go wrong?
In this guide for Junie B., First Grader: One-Man Band, Junie B. fans learn there are lots of different ways to express thoughts and feelings. An activity spotlighting proverbs from the United States and other parts of the world teaches some important lessons for life. A lesson on the use of stereotypes shows why it is important to judge each person as an individual. And an activity in which students create parade floats to reflect their self-images offers insights into dreams for the future. An “Antonym Antics” Fill-in the-Blanks on a companion printout will help students sharpen their vocabulary of opposites.
Junie B. is very disappointed when an injury prevents her from playing in the first-grade kickball tournament. Using a show of hands, ask students how many of them have been disappointed at one time or another. Ask them to describe what it feels like to be disappointed. Have them share individual stories about situations in which they were disappointed. Is being disappointed a permanent feeling? What might make disappointment disappear and “turn lemons into lemonade”?
When Junie B.’s mom says, “When life hands you lemons you have to learn to make lemonade,” she is using a proverb, or saying, that teaches a lesson. Discuss the meaning of this and other examples of proverbs that may be familiar to students. List these on the blackboard and introduce other sayings that give important life messages. These may include:
While proverbs are universal, different cultures often have their own unique ways of expressing these life lessons. Share the following proverbs and ask students what they communicate about the different cultural backgrounds from which they grew.
Finally, ask each student to choose a favorite proverb and draw, color, or paint a picture to illustrate its meaning.
You Can’t Judge a Book
When Junie B. counters her dad’s perception that “every little girl likes cheerleading” with a statement that she is “not every little girl,” she comes face-to-face with the concept of stereotyping, or judging an individual on the basis of a whole group. Write this word on the blackboard and discuss it with your students. List the following statements on the blackboard. Ask students if they think these statements are true. Discuss why each is an example of a stereotype.
Ask students why it is important to judge each person as an individual. Have them share stories in which they may have been stereotyped or they may have unconsciously responded to a person in a stereotypical way. Place the wordsprejudice and discrimination on the blackboard. Define these words and discuss how the use of stereotypes can lead to such behavior and treatment of others.
Whatever Floats Your Boat
Although Lucille sends Mr. Scary to the aspirin bottle when she fancies herself a homecoming princess on a float made out of pink rose petals with a golden throne, she knows exactly who she is and who she wants to be. Have your students create a “This Is Me” parade with floats that reflect their own self-images, aspirations, or dreams. For example, students may see themselves becoming an astronaut in space or an archeologist in Egypt , a famous movie star or a great baseball player, a president of the United States or an undersea photographer.
Supply each student with a shoebox (top and bottom), and tissue paper or aluminum foil (for covering the outer surfaces of the shoebox parts), paints, and other decorating materials. The bottom of shoebox, turned upside down, forms the base. The top of shoebox, stapled or glued vertically, is attached to the base and forms the backdrop. Have students research information in their areas of interest so that their floats may be decorated with accurate information and images (e.g., the solar system, sea creatures, the Pyramids, the White House, etc.) Figures may be fashioned from pipe cleaners, telephone wire, cardboard rolls, and other materials. When finished, have each student sign his/her float on the side, bring out the cymbals and the woodblocks to mark marching rhythms, and let the parade begin!
Build Character with Junie B.
On page 63 of Junie B., First Grader: One-Man Band , Junie states in reference to her friend, Sheldon, “I like that odd boy. I really, really do.” Ask students how this demonstrates respect. Discuss how Sheldon sometimes sees things differently than most. Ask students to share with the class a time when they have been respectful of others’ ideas or behaviors, even if they thought they were different or odd. Is it good to be a little different?
In Junie B., First Grader: One-Man Band , Junie B. learns the importance of perseverance. Define the term with the class and ask them to think how Junie B.’s dad’s statement of “when life hands you lemons, you have to learn to make lemonade” relates to the definition of perseverance. Ask student to explain how Junie B. perseveres in this story. Have students share a time when they demonstrated perseverance in their lives.
Check out the complete Build Character with Junie B. Educational Activity Kit
Rosemary B. Stimola, Ph.D., serves as educational and editorial consultant to publishers of children’s books.