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Activity Sheets
A Poem for Columbus

Ship Ahoy! Room One is putting on a play. And guess what? It’s about explorers looking for the New World! And there are ships and sea captains and everything! Plus here’s the bestest news of all—Junie B. Jones thinks she might be the star of the whole entire production! Only, sailing the ocean blue is not as easy as it looks, apparently. ’Cause problems keep on happening. Like the actors keep catching the flu. And bossy May keeps trying to take over the show. Can this play be saved?

In this guide for Junie B., First Grader: Shipwrecked, Junie B. fans learn the importance of teamwork in accomplishing a common goal. A dramatic play in which students tell the story of Columbus landing in the New World from the point of view of the Tainos requires students to work together from fact-finding to curtain fall. A hands-on experiment with the multitalented nose shows how our sense of smell serves us in more ways than one. And an activity in which students write letters and draw pictures to say “welcome” reveals that Parents’ Night is more than an opportunity for parents “to spy” on their kids. Finally, a companion activity sheet, telling the story of Columbus ’s voyage in rhyme, taps the poet in Junie B. fans everywhere.

Pre-Reading Activity
The kids in Junie B.’s Room One are being plagued by a contagious stomach virus. Using a show of hands, ask students how many of them have ever had a stomach virus? What were their symptoms? How long did the virus last? What medicines or remedies did they use to treat it? How are viruses passed from one person to another? What steps can we take to protect ourselves from particular viruses? Can we develop immunities, or natural defenses, against certain viruses?

Welcome, Parents!

While some of Junie B.’s classmates feel Parents’ Night is an opportunity for parents to poke noses in their children’s business, it really is an opportunity for parents to learn more about what their children are doing in school. Have your students welcome their parents to their classrooms with a letter explaining what they will find in their desks and sharing what they are working on. They may introduce parents to particular classmates and tell them about other places in their school (cafeteria, gym, library). Letters may be supplemented with a drawing showing each child engaged in his favorite school activity.

The Nose Knows . . .

Junie B. and her classmates discover that noses play a major role in our everyday lives, even if holding them doesn’t prevent the spread of germs. Ask students to list smells that they love and smells that they hate. How can smells help to signal danger (smoke from fire, rotten food, gas leaks)? How can smells communicate the pleasures of our world (a rose garden, salt air, fresh-baked apple pie)? Can smells help us identify our locations even if we can’t see where we are (school cafeteria, gymnasium, home)? What happens to our ability to taste when we have stuffed up noses from a cold or virus? Working in pairs, conduct an experiment in which students take turns being blindfolded and are asked to identify samples of different foods (apple, potato chip, orange, chocolate, pickle, mint candy) while holding their noses. Then, repeat the experiment without holding noses. Create bar graphs to chart the difference in taste success.

The Voyage of Christopher Columbus . . . Part II

Room One’s Voyage of Columbus play ends when Columbus “discovers” land. Cast your students in a sequel play, which shows the experience of this encounter from the point of view of the Tainos, the first people to greet Columbus . Using library and Internet resources, have students gather facts about this tall, handsome, clean-shaven people with olive-tan skin who often wore face and body paint. How did the Tainos live? What roles did men, women, and children play in this culture? What were their religious beliefs? What were the Tainos’s first perceptions of the large wooden boats and strangely dressed men who came to their shores? Did they welcome Columbus and his men? How did Columbus respond to these natives? How did this first encounter with Columbus and the European world change the Tainos’ lives? A backdrop mural depicting the grassy plains and lowland rain-forest home of the Tainos may set the perfect stage for your production.

Build Character with Junie B.

•  Fairness

In Junie B., First Grader: Shipwrecked , Mr. Scary wants to put on a play and lets Junie B. and Jose pick their roles first because they had gathered the most facts about Christopher Columbus. Ask students why they think Mr. Scary did this. Discuss if the students think this is fair. What do they think would happen if he just let everyone pick at once? Ask students to take on the role of Mr. Scary and ask them how they would have handled the same situation to make sure everyone had a fair chance to pick their characters for the play.

Check out the complete Build Character with Junie B. Educational Activity Kit


Answers: blue, rain, way, go, snored, deep, sand, crew, pride, hot, spice, told, Spain , bright

Rosemary B. Stimola, Ph.D., serves as educational and editorial consultant to publishers of children’s books.