PPBF: One Gorilla

I had a super night last night as a delivery penguin
for our fundraiser with Papa John's Pizza and our PTO.

It's a toss up whether I had more fun dancing with my deliveries
or carrying our character message out into the community!

This 2nd grader's pizza page perfectly parallels today's PPBF:
A good deed here, a small kindness there
may be all that it takes.

Title: One Gorilla
Author: Joy Dey
Illustrator: Nikki Johnson
Publisher: SWAK (SitWithAKid)
Date: September 30, 2014
Suitable for: K-3rd
Themes: behavior, kindness, self-control
Brief synopsis: The jungle is a wild and crazy, dangerous place to be. Will the Gorilla be the one to change all that?
Opening pages: It's a jungle out there! Prowling, savage, tooth and claw, the jungle crouches and glares.


*Read Heidi's review at Blue Star Visions {here}.
*SWAK book site for free activity download links {here}.
*Make a list of onomatopoeia words.
*Find examples of personification.
*Look for the 21 colored words hidden in the text and have learners find the words in the One Gorilla Word Search.

*Make a list as words are found; note how the words change from negative to positive as the story progresses.
*Have students research synonyms and antonyms for each word.
*Find and re-read this turning-point page:

Discuss what it means to Be The Gorilla.

Why I like this book: I'm usually more about the story line than the illustrations, but I am reeled in, hook, line and sinker by the total package in this one tropical treasure. The eye-catching watercolors that bring to life a mean and hostile jungle complement the text and soften and change with the one decision by one gorilla to be the difference and turn chaos into compassion. 

Besides the activities suggested above, I could see asking students to draw parallels between what they see in the book's jungle and what they experience in their everyday lives. Maybe they know a leopard, a parrot, an anteater, an ape. Who is the Gorilla in their jungle? Is it easy or hard to be the Gorilla? Ask what it took to soften those harsh, savage behaviors. Encourage them to talk about a kindness that they've shared when things seemed wild and out of control.

Finally, the publisher is SWAK - Sit With A Kid.
When I saw SWAK, I immediately thought it might mean
Sealed With A Kindness.
What creative names could students come up with if they were going to market a product having to do with kindness? Or what slogan or motto would they use to campaign for kindness?

What a wonderful way to wrap up Character Counts! Week.
How will you keep our character message alive
once our week-long celebration comes to a close?

For more PPBF picks, visit Susanna Leonard Hill's blog.


A Character Gallery Walk

Today, a simple gallery walk through some of the AmAzInG pages that our superheroes created to be glued onto the top of the pizza boxes for our Papa John's Delivery Night tonight. Such a fun way to celebrate character.

I am so proud of and delighted with how these turned out ...
and I can't wait to deliver this message into the community.


Inspiring Greatness

Today I'm excited because our freebie Kindle Edition of the book was downloaded so many times these last two days that we're ranked number 1 at Amazon. 
Talk about your character celebration! 

That made yesterday a lot better, because giving books away gave me something to do while I was at home with the plumber, who was in the attic fixing the leak in the water pipe so the ceiling didn't give way. I'm so very grateful to author, speaker, and parenting expert Bill Corbett for encouraging me to get the book on Kindle, for his help in making that happen, and for his kind crusade to spread the word. Here's what he tweeted last night:

And a cyberspace colleague added these tweet thoughts:

I'm eager to get back to school today to keep our character celebration going and finish up our Papa John's Pizza Box Pages. Just look at this example from a first grader, served up with a smile.

As many of you know, I leave for DC a week from tomorrow to kick off the 21st annual National Forum on Character Education. This year's theme is 
Beyond Accountability - Inspiring Greatness.
Thanks for the many bucket-filling emails and texts wishing me well and affirming my work. I am super eager to celebrate with our friends down the road in Angleton at Southside Elementary, a 2014 NSOC, and reconnect with kindred spirits from all over who inspire greatness.

And speaking of inspiring greatness, check out what some of our
superheroes have to say about empathy, peace, and kindness.
They will carry our message out into the world long after we're gone. 
{Spoiler alert - if you're coming to the Forum, you might want to wait and watch this with the audience on Friday}.

I'm so grateful to Meredith Wise and her students at FHS for filming and editing this character clip for us. 
It truly does take a village ...


Character Week Resource Round-Up

Day 2 of Character Counts! Week 2014 and the Kindle Edition of my book is now available free for one more day today to celebrate! 

Today we got our Buddy Benches off of the stage ...

and on to the playground!

Our superheroes came in this morning so excited about it!

A few character-development resources for you:
Click {here} for a Harry Smith clip on acceptance and respect.
Read an amazing Trudy Ludwig interview {here}.
Watch an empathy PSA {here}.
Check out this Katie Hurley piece on raising kind girls.

Need t-shirt ideas? Look at what came in today's mail ...

from my generous friends at North Pointe Elementary.

Simply powerful. You can bet I'll be wearing these this week!

And since next week we'll celebrate Red Ribbon Week in style, 
our design team decided on a Fashion Show Runway PSA:

Click {here} for a comprehensive, kid-friendly 
Red Ribbon Week resource.

How will you and your school family celebrate
character as your anti-drug?


Monday Made-It: Fingerless Gloves

How will you celebrate healthy choices?

We've got a Coins 4 Character collection going on,
to help our friends at Post Elementary recover from a fire.
We're also sending our character message out into the community when we deliver pizzas for our Papa John's Fundraiser on Thursday night. I can't wait.

This weekend I decided to knit something besides a scarf or a baby hat and, guess what? I finished in time to link up with Tara's October Monday Made-It!

Check out these fingerless gloves. I didn't really use a pattern,
but this link will take you lots of free pattern downloads.

So here's what mine looked like when it was still on the needles:

And once sewn up the sides, here's the finished product.

Isn't that fun?
And the yarn is so yummy 'cause it's from an alpaca in Peru!

So this is what I did. I cast on 36 stitches, then knit five rows using the basic garter stitch. Then I switched to a knit one row, purl one row pattern for about 40 rows. This will vary depending on how high up your arm you want your gloves to go. When you have your desired length from the thumb up, start to cable with a knit two stitches, purl two stitches pattern for about 10 rows, again depending on your hand size and desired amount to cover it.
Bind off and sew up the sides, leaving a two-inch slit for your thumb to come through.

I'm so excited to have tried something new. 
What have you made lately that makes you happy?

Finally, I'm delighted to share that my book 
is now available in Kindle format {here}. 
To kick off Character Counts! week, I'm offering it for free today (10/20) and tomorrow (10/21), so head there now and download it to your Kindle at no charge. 
Cape Up and Crusade On.


Echoes Of Time

So today's a busy day for us after a very late night last night.
While beautifully elegant, this year's band show 
Echoes of Time
is taking up a lot of time and energy.

Joshua needed to be up at 5:30 for today's competition, so a bleary-eyed me stumbled around in the dark trying to wake up just enough to drive him to school for rehearsal. As he was eating the cereal I made him for breakfast, he asked if I could buy him a show shirt when I got there. Not planning on going, I offered to give him $20 and encouraged him to figure out how to get one for himself. 

That's when mommy guilt started to hit. No, I hadn't planned to make the trip across town to Conroe because, quite frankly, I'm exhausted. I worked a 2 1/2 hour shift in the concession stand last night after a long day at the office and didn't even hit the pillow until midnight. And now I'm up before the sun, so no, I'm not coming tonight. Me. Me. Me. And out of the blue, the dong of the bell changes pitch. Wrong. Wrong. Wrong.

So I headed to the morning competition, where I made arrangements to hitch a ride to be there tonight as well. Because our days together are numbered and, in the end, it won't matter that I got that extra nap or saved myself from the possible traffic jam through construction on I45.

What will matter at the end of the day is that I can tell my son,
"Wow, great job!" 
and know what I'm talking about, 
'cause I was there to experience it firsthand. 
To see it. 
To feel it. 
To love it.

I don't ever want to hear regret 
as time echoes in my heart.

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