Making A Difference With Respect

Happy Teacher Appreciation Week; I posted an idea for your students at Teaching Blog Addict on Saturday so go there when you're done here to download your freebie. How will your school family celebrate YOU?

It's also Make A Difference Monday over at Maria's blog and today's topic is RESPECT - please head over there and link up! I'm spotlighting 
Frieda Wishinsky's You're MEAN, Lily Jean!

Click the image to go to the author's website.

Carly and Sandy enjoy being soul sisters. They play everything together and seem to have a solid sibling relationship. Until Lily Jean moves in, that is, and the pair becomes three, the dreaded friendship triangle. I started my lesson using this book by talking about the cover. Which girl is Lily Jean? How can you tell? Who do you think is calling her mean? Does she look mean to you? Why or why not? Oh, that was a good question! She doesn't really have a mean look on her face, so you can really get into a meaty discussion about how conflicting it is when children are able to disguise their bullying behaviors behind a sweet smile.

As we read the story, we stop to look at picture cues and talk about manners. Notice the moving van in the distance on the first page, foreshadowing what's about to happen that could separate the siblings. As Lily Jean introduces herself, the reader will notice that she comes in bragging about what she's good at and not accepting their compliments with thanks. Make note of how quickly she imposes herself into the middle of the Carly and Sandy. Find out from the students if this has ever happened to them and what they did to make the trio work.

Sandy tries on several occasions to stand up for her little sister. How? Is it enough? When? Find out what your students would do differently if they were Sandy. As you read, you'll be amazed at how incensed your students will become by Lily Jean's insensitivity and bossiness. Pause on every page to let them air their feelings and try to imagine a solution to the problem that's being created. The page where Lily Jean makes Carly be the dog really got their blood boiling, and I was glad it did; that's classic bullying behavior, to exert control over someone and create a power imbalance. 

Finally, Carly cooks up a plan that will allow her to stand up to Lily Jean's bossiness and give her a taste of her own medicine. One of my second graders said "Hey, she's using reverse psychology." Find out if your students know what those phrases - a taste of her own medicine and reverse psychology - mean and get ready for another interesting discussion. 

As it ends, ask your students to predict if the girls will let Lily Jean play circus with them and, if so, what they might ask Lily Jean to be? My daughter and I actually thought that they might be justified in asking her to be the lion, but the siblings had something even better in mind for their new friend. Pose the question, "What happens the next day?" and ask your students to write the sequel.  Check out this book and empower your students with the skills to say "NO" to bullying behaviors and "YES" to kindness, respect and cooperation.

Click here to sing along to a r-e-s-p-e-c-t verse to 
my signature song.

 Kids With Character
(sung to the tune to the Addams Family)

Character Counts! (snap, snap)
Character Counts! (snap, snap)
Character Counts! Character Counts!
Character Counts! (snap, snap)
Makes Westwood a great place to be.
We speak and act respectfully,
We're Kids With Character!


  1. Oh I love this. Thank you. Maria invited me to Link up to Make a Difference Monday, too. I hope to post tonight. Take care and thanks for a great book recommendation!
    Grade ONEderful
    Ruby Slippers

  2. Wow--another goody. I used Pink Tiara Cookies for the last friendship triangle and this looks like it will be another winner.

  3. That sounds like a great read. I'll add it to my pinned must-reads.

    ❀ Tammy
    Forever in First

  4. This sounds like a perfect story for a few of my "mean girls" I'm going to add it to my Amazon list. Thanks!

    First Grade @ Klinger Cafe

  5. I so need this book. Come link up to my Favorite Read- Alouds linky party if you get a chance.
    Thanks for the book suggestion.


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