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Kevin Henkes Author Study

At the beginning of the school year, I read Chrysanthemum to my 2nd grade students. After we read and discuss the story we talk about how many letters the students have in their names. We make a class graph using the amount of letters in each student's name. I then let the students title the graph and tell what a visitor might learn from the graph.
I then send a homework note (see below) home encouraging the parents to talk to their child about their name, who chose it, what does it mean, etc.
The students enjoy this activity and learn a lot from it in math and language arts. It also gives them a chance to have their parents sit down and talk with them about something that is very important to them, their name. - Lynda Currington/Kentucky

Name Homework File From Lynda (word file)

At the beginning of the year I read this book to my class. On sentence strips I have every student's name. We have a discussion about their name and if they were named after anyone in their family or if they know what their name means. After we this, I have them count how many letters are in their name. We find out whose name hase the most letters and who has the fewest. When we start studying money, each letter is worth 1 cent. They have to see how much their name is valued at. Betty Danielson/Texas

My teaching partner and I had the children look up the meaning of their name in a baby book. They asked their parents why they chose their name. The children wrote about why they loved their name.
Then, we had the students spell their name out of different materials and write a little note about their name below it. We posted them for Meet the Teacher night and the parents loved them! Karin Penny Nie

After reading the story (which is usually in the first day or so of school each year) I give each student a 12 x 18 inch piece of construction paper and a marker. I place different art decorations in the middle of the table... sequins, beans, macaroni, glitter, feathers, ribbon, pieces of wrapping paper, etc. The students write their first name in large letters on the paper. Then they put glue each letter of their name and decorate it however they wish.
When the students are done, each student shows the class their artwork. We then discuss how nobody decorated their names the same - just like nobody in our classroom is the same. We are all different and that is ok! - Nichole Dirks/Arizona

At the beginning of the year this book is great for community building. Before reading this book we discuss teasing. Almost every kid has been teased at least once. They share how it made them feel and it gets to be a pretty intense and emotional discussion. I try an emphasize that our classroom needs to be a place where everyone feels safe and that everyone is different and unique and it doesn't make it ok to make someone feel badly. The kids really get into this book and we refer to it all year long whenever we have teasing issues. Annie Diaz/Arizona

I found a great idea for teaching quotation marks using the text Chrysanthemum. After a reading of the book, use large chart paper to write out some of the sentences from the book that use quotes. For ex: She's perfect said her mother or Hooray! said Chrysanthemum. School!

Leave out the quotation marks and model why and where to place them using colored elbow macaroni (I used food coloring to make the 'talking marks" stand out on the paper). Kids can them come up and glue the macaroni (that looks like quote marks) to the paper. It can be hung in the classroom for a reference to those kids who are beginning to experiment with dialogue in their writing. You can even make a similar writing center and put the elbow noodles out for kids to use. Kelley Randall/Colorado

I read Chrysanthemum on the first day of school and we discuss names and how each name is special. Then we count how many letters are in each studnets' name and make a graph. For homework, each student are to find out what his/her names means and why his/her parents chose that name. It's a fun activity and my studnets enjoy learning why they have their name. Amy Vahue/Texas

After reading and discussing the story, talk to students about how special their names are, as Chrysanthemum's was. They may even have a story as to where theire name came from. Hand out large grid paper. Have students write their names over and over, until all the squares are filled. Then have them choose a color for each letter of their name. Have them color each square with the color they chose. This activity is great for a get-to-know-you back-to-school activity. Nicole Kuchie/New Jersey

We read Chrysanthemum and discuss new vocabulary words, make predictions, and discuss the different emotions expressed throughout the story. After we finish reading, I write Chrysanthemum on the board. We count how many letters are in her name, and make a stack of 13 unifix cues. I write the leader's name on the board and count how many letters are in their name. We make a stack of unifix cubes for their name and compare it to Chrysanthemum's name to see whose name is longer/shorter. Then I pass out their name cards and unifix cubes for them to build their own name towers. Then they compare their towers. We find the shortest, tallest, and students with the same size towers. We put the class in order from shortest to tallest towers.

Student Picture/Name Cards
I put each child's photo and first name on the front of the card. Their last name goes on the back. You can use the attachment to make name tiles. You can type in their name and delete or cut off the extra tiles. You could also just print it out and write their name with colored markers. I laminate them and the kids get to take them home at the end of the year.

Picture/Name Card Activities
1. Sort into groups boys/girls
2. Match names that begin with the same letter
3. Match names that have the same number of letters
4. Put in order shortest to tallest
5. Use letter tiles/magnetic letters/foam letters/letter cubes etc. to build names

Printable to Match the activities Above!!

Renee Liles/Arkansas

In the story of Chrysanthemum let children
make their names out of Chrysanthemun petals of different colors.
Students can discuss how all names are differernt.
They can share how they got their name and who they might be named after.
Students can also share why teasing others is not a good thing to do.

Barbara Davis/NC

We discuss the idea that a name is a gift that is given by parents. I then trace or print the children's names on a piece of construction paper tracing around bulletin board letters. The children decorate their names and we put a bow on them (I use stick on bows). The children have a lot of fun seeing how fancy they can make their name. Cathy Moore / Iowa

After reading Chyranthemum with my students, I let them work in small groups to discuss what they think would be the perfect name for each of them (younger children love to pretend they are someone else with another name). I then gave each student a nametag and let them write their chosen name and decorate the nametag. The children then put the nametags on and those were the names we went by for the rest of the day. I did this activity with a first grade class and they loved it! Donielle Thrash/Mississsippi

Make a class book for your school library. Write the following prompt on a sheet of paper. _____'s _____ ______. Example: Mrs. DeAnda's red purse. Have child fill in their name and color of an item that they can carry their stuff. Have them draw their container on the top part of the paper. With teacher's help they can list/draw any special items they may carry in the container. Bound all the pages and place in the library or send home with a student at a time and share your wonderful authors and illustrators with their parents.

Click For Class Book Form

Laura DeAnda/Texas

After reading Chrysanthemum, I had many activities that I did with my class. For math, I graphed the numbers of letters in each child's name. For reading, I had the children change the ending of the story....,I also had each child come up with a different name for themselve. I called it a parade of names.....such as "My name is Dolphin, Question, etc.... I gave all of my students a copy of a puzzle or a small 16 piece white puzzle. They were asked to write their name on the small puzzle or the paper puzzle and decorate it. Then they had to share their puzzle (all the piece were in a zip lock baggie) with a friend. The friend had to put the puzzle pieces together to spell out their friends name. My class enjoyed these activities.

Sabrina Beg
Clermont, Florida

This book is part of my back to school unit. First, we use it to discuss treating everyone kindly and not making fun of others. Then we discuss the name Chrysanthemum and how special it is. I tell the students I have a very special name inside of a ziploc bag for them. I give the children a bag that has his or her own name cut up and they unscramble the letters to make their own name. For those who need help unscrambling the letters I help them match it to their desk nameplate so that they see the special name is theirs. Also, to make sure I give each child the right bag, I code them with numbers that match their name. Then the students glue the letters (their name) to a piece of white construction paper and make self-portraits. Later as an integrated math and reading activity we discuss and review consonants and vowels. We identify the name and number of both consonants and vowels in Chrysanthemum's name. As a whole group we tally the number of vowels in our names and make a class graph,How Many Vowels are in Our Names? Sandy/Louisana

I make a large blank graph and write Chrysanthemum's name on the top line. We graph the students names. (I ask them to spell it for me which I also use as a quick assessment.)
Each child counts the letters in his/her name and we compare to the number in Chrysanthemum's name.(More assessments)
We also talk about the names and if the mean something else.(C is a flower, my name is a place-the forest) Helen Woods/Georgia

I use this book at the beginning of school We celebrate by graphing the number of letters in each child's name, we sing the name game song(banana fanana)with each child's name and I send home a research homework page for the child and their parents asking why or how the child's name was chosen, what they like about their name, do they have a nickname, what does their name mean...
The children love to share this with the class and it helps break the ice that very first week. cindy white/ Tennessee

Use Kevin Henkes as Author of the Week. Read one of his books each day. On Friday students can vote and the teacher graph their favorite K.H. book or character etc Visit K.H.'s website and send him an e-mail. Use a venn-diagram of t-chart to compare and contrast two of the books. cindy white/ Tennessee

I teach first grade and this is truly one of my favorite stories! I always share this story during the first few weeks of school.

Student nametags are taped onto their desk. After sharing and discussing the story, Chrysanthemum, I go to the board and draw a box (to represent my piece of plain paper) then write my name at the top. I tell the students we are going to count the number of letters in my name. After this, I ask students to count the letters in their name then whisper it to their partner. I ask for volunteers to share how many letters they counted and call on several students. I can recognize which student(s) might need additional help. After students count and share, then I draw ___ and put space for each letter in my name on the page; we are counting my letters together and I am modeling what students are to do at the board while students count and watch me draw the blanks. Then several students volunteer for me to put their name on the board as another example. Each student is given plain paper. They write their name at the top of their paper. Pencils down. I ask students to count the letters in their name and again whisper it to their partner. Then model on the board what students with 2 letters, 3 letters, 4 letters, etc. and have those students to draw their blanks while we are working together then put their pencil down after they are finished. The only students who pick their pencils up are the ones with that number of letters in their name, and then I go to the next number. After all numbers are shared and their partner checks their paper to see if it is correct, I then pass out magazines, advertisement papers, etc. They are to find then glue the letters that are in their name on individual lines, in the correct order. After students have found the letters, they can then either draw a picture with the beginning sound under the letter or cut pictures from the magazines, advertisements, etc. We share our pages with the class and then we make a class book with the papers. The book is titled How many letters? When I make class books, I bound then with yarn or silver rings and they rotate home with each student until everyone has had a chance to share it with their family.


Kelly Brown/NC

After reading the book, students create their own flowers using various materials and using the small foam letters put their names on them. We hang them in the hall where we make a flower garden. - Melissa Hammons/Mississippi

Last year for the first week of school, I used the book Chrysanthemum to learn and discuss names of children in our first grade. Working with unifix cubes, children selected the amount of cubes that corresponded to the number of letters in their names. We put a dot sticker on each cube and wrote a letter from their name on the cube until they had spelled out their whole first name. Since our chalk board is magnetic, I put a magnetic strip on the back of each name cube strip. Then we began a few days of activities using our name strips. We graphed them on the magnetic board - smallest to largest name. Compared how many names had three leters, four letters, etc. We compared them to Chrysanthemum's name. We took them apart and scrambled them to have a classmate try to unscramble them. We put our names in ABC order. We tried to find how many different words we could make out of our name or if there were words in our name already in order. Frequently, when we would work on other kinds of graphs, we used them to record children's preferences, choices, or responses. If a child left the room, s/he would put her/his name strip in the "Out" box on the board. Throughout the year the magnetic unifix cube names continued to be a part of a math, spelling, writing, or class activity in one way or another. They were fun. Thanks Chrysanthemum! - Anne Hendry/Mass

Click to view a unit by Angie Whitley/ WV

This game/chant helps the chilren learn the names of the other children in their Kindergarten class. I print each name of 2 sets of flash cards. Then I take one set and place them face down on the floor in a circle around the edge of the room. The children walk around the edge of the room chanting "I'm walking, walking, walking. I'm walking all around. I'm walking, waking, walking. Look who I've found." When they say found they pick up the card and look at it. I hold up a card from the other set with a name on it and show them and ask "Who found ______'s name?" Before long they are telling me the name on my card instead of me telling them. Clara Henley/Illinois

Using seed of flower catalogs look for other delightful names of flowers and let the children choose and name for him/herself. - Linda/Minnesota

Read the book to the children. Explain that everyone's name is different and special to them and their family. Have the children write an acrostic poem using their name. Then the children ask their parents why the named them what they did. Finally provide a baby's name book and invite the children to look up their names and find out what their names mean. - Sherri Woodie Virginia

At the start of the year, we do a mini unit on names. It helps build our community and celebrate our new friends. One book we read is Chrysanthemum. After reading, each student gets a set of white dot stickers. On each dot they write a letter in their name. Then, they put the dot stickers on snap cubes to spell their name. Then, we graph how many letters are in our names. What a great way to integrate math and literature. Tracey Morton/Missouri

As a way to get to know every child and thier family better at the beginning of the school year I send home as a literacy bag the book Chrysanthemun and the Family Name Journal. The first page of the journal is a letter to the student's family giving directions. A family member is suppose to read the book to the (Kindergarten) student and afterwards talk about how the child's name was chosen. Mom or dad writes that information in the journal and everything is returned the next day to school, where that child is the Special Student of the Day. I read the journal entry to the class and we talk about the child's name, how many letters, vowels, etc. The child is interviewed by his/her peers. We make a puzzle of of thier name, and they lead us in a cheer for each letter of thier name. Everyone draws a pic of the child and writes thier name, the Special Student's is saved and the others are given to the Special student. I make a book out of the saved pages after they have been displayed,(nice for the hallway for Parent Teacher Conference. Heather Dunn/Oklahoma

I teach first grade. At the beginning of the year, we have a day for each person's name in my class. If the class is large, we do two names per day. I take two small pieces of poster board, wider than a sentence strip and a little shorter. I glue the top and bottom sides together leaving an opening on each end. It is called our "Magic Mystery Name." I print each child's name on a sentence strip. I put the sentence strips inside the Magic Mystery Name Board. I pull out one name at a time, showing only the first letter first to see if they can guess who it is. Then I show the next letter and so on, until they have guessed whose name it is. Then we count the number of letters, how many vowels, how many consonants, etc. and then ask that person questions about themselves so I can write a story about them for our beginning of the year picture book. We always talk about how many letters are in Chrysanthemum's name. Judy Coleman/Illinois

Using various sources on the web, I created two poster/transparency templates for Chrysanthemum. I also created a letter home to parents asking their for their help in an extension activity.

Files (pdf)

chrysanthemum letter home

chrysanthemum story elements

chrysanthemum story sequence

Shana Swindle/Mississippi

We trace Chrysanthemum from the book, color/decorate her, laminate her, staple on a popsicle stick and "plant" her in our class garden the first week of school (early August). She is soon replaced by the really thing in a variety of colors from Wal-Mart. This begins our year together, produces our first character study, shows students how to trace characters out of books for trioramas created throughout the year and introduces my students to our garden. Jennifer Brandon/Tennessee

I teach second grade. Each year I read Chrysanthemum to my new class. We talk about our names, spell them, and write them on paper. The children then draw their names on white construction paper. They use stickers, markers, crayons, and whatever else they can find to decorate their names. I then send home a family project to investigate each child's name. Each child has to interview their family to find out how they got thier name. They work with family members and create a 4 page book, (the name on construction paper is the cover for their book).
The interview is two pages and then they draw themselves doing something with their family. I bind the books and each day we share a students book. The books then go into our class library until the end of the year. - Tina Parent/Florida

On the first day of school I like to read this book and then share our names so students can get to know each other. Then we each write our first name on a piece of paper, count the letters, and finally graph our names by letter. Who has the longest name? Who has the shortest name? Do more students have five letters in their names or six letters? Etc. - Kimberly Wilson/Tennessee

I love to read the story Chrysanthemum by Kevin Henkes at the beginning of the year. It's a great story to read when you would like everyone to learn their names. After reading the story Chrysanthemum with my class, I always start a discussion about our names and what our names mean to us. I explain that at times, our names can even describe us. I model a free form map on the board with the name of Chrysanthemum,,,, or even better "Mickey Mouse".(They seem to know that character well.) Then, I have the children give me ideas of things they think of when they think of Mickey Mouse or what describes him. Immediately, the class starts participating and calling out...little mouse, friendly, pluto, Disney World, etc... On the board I write the name in the center and then I map out from the name. I tell the class they can either write words around the name or draw pictures that describe the name. Once I'm done modeling how to do a free form map on the board, I pass out a big sheet of white construction paper to the class and have them create a free form map around their names. Their maps always come out super nice, and bright. I tell the children that their maps must be in color and full of details. I tell them to draw or write things like where they were born, their hobbies, pets, friends, personalities, siblings, favorite color, etc... Here is an example of a free form map I made with my name just so you can see it and have an idea of what it looks like. Hope you like my idea, my children always seem to love it. It works great with 2nd and 3rd grade. I just wish I would have kept a sample from the ones my kids from last year.

PDF - free_form_map_scan

Thank You,
Ms. Quintero
(2nd Grade, Miami, FL.)

I teach a K-1 Multiage class. At the beginning of the school year I read Chrysanthemum and graph the number of letters in our names. Later on I reread the book again and use math concepts same, more, and less. Using Chrysanthemum's name as our model I take the children's names and ask the children if the name has the same number of letters as Chrysanthemum, less or more. Then each child receives a sheet of graph paper that has all the children's name written on (a letter per square). Next, the children receive a piece of construction paper which we fold into thirds (horizontally), in the center column the child writes the word "same" at the top and glues his/her name under that word. In the first column they write the word "less" and in the last column they write the word "more". Now they begin to cut out all names and place their classmates names in the correct column. Afterwards the children write about their findings. I enjoy hanging a lot of the children's work in the hallway. There always seems to be someone admiring and reading not only the name graphs but their math summaries as well. Chris Diaz /Arizona

I read Chrysanthemum to my class the second day of school (we do The Kissing Hand on the first day). We talk about everyone's names and I use a pocket chart graph to graph student's names. The have to put a card with their name on it above the number of letters in their name (i.e. 'Jennifer' would place her card above the number 8). Then we see who has the most letters, least letters, etc. After that each child makes a name card. Ahead of time I have cut out diecut letters for each name and put them in a plastic bag. They get a piece of black construction paper 5"x 18" (or longer for longer names) to glue the letters of their name on. I laminate these and they are hung up for the entire year; it is also where I hang their art projects up so they always know where their work is (and so do any parents who visit). I love this because the letters are glued on crooked or backwards and it shows how far they've progressed by the end of the year when it goes home. - Julie Rogers/Nevada

I use this story with my first graders on the first day of school, it's a great book to show how each student is special in their own way. After reading the story we discuss how to treat others, how they would feel if this happened to them.

Then- I have each student write their name on a paper. One letter on each square. The students then mix up their letter cards and give it to friend to unscramble, we continue this a few times.

We then create a graph using the letter cards, we graph the students by the number of letters in their name. By the end they are very proud if they have most letters. And the ones like mine (meg) are even prouder because we can decode and unscramble them really fast.

The kids really enjoy the story and it's a great way to introduce them to hard to pronouce names. Meg Reed

I would use both Chrysanthemum and Lilly's Purple Plastic Purse at the beginning of the school year. I would introduce my students to the idea that everyone is unique, and their names all have special meanings, by reading Chrysanthemum. After discussing the story and how Chrysanthemum felt, I would ask the students how they would feel in Chrysanthemum's place. We would then draw our own self portraits and look up the meaning of our names to add to the self portrait.
I would use Lilly's Purple Plastic Purse to introduce classroom rules. After reading the story, I would have my students create their own Lilly story using a rule that they feel is important for our class. Dawn Wager/Colorado

As we learn about each other at the beginning of the year, we include learning about on another's names as we use those for a multitude of literacy activites. We read the book and then I send home a sheet with an explanation of what we'd like families to share with us. The stories are always fun to read and you learn something about the way a child's parents think just by hearing their name story!

Name Page For Homework

Name Story Directions

Chrystal Shook/Ohio

To give students a visual of what saying hurtful things or making fun of someone can do out of white paper cut out a basic outline of a person. Have students sit in a circle as you read Chrysantemum. After reading the story and discussion pass the outline around and have each student crush the paper in a ball and say something that they may have had said to them, something from the story, or something that they have heard before, then flatten it back out again (be sure to give an example first, be sure students understand what is not acceptable to say, ex. bad words). After each student has done this flatten out the sheet as much as possible and use the figure as a lesson to show students that when you say hurtful things that no matter how much you may apologize the wrinkles are still there, just as the persons feelings are still hurt and the words never really can go away. This can be the beginning of discussions on feelings and how hurtful things make you and others feel and even though someone says they are sorry the words can't be taken back. - Melody Sarmento/SC

Create a "new" Chrysanthemum story!

Brainstorm ideas for a story about Chrysanthemum's cousin: Dahlia. As the teacher calls out a character/story line/etc., have children write their own ideas on slips of paper. When they are through, they put them in the pertaining flower pot. Teacher then picks out an idea from each pot and together, they write a new story on the board.
When the story is through, each child will write the story in their own flower-shaped book. Try to have several different shapes they can choose from.
Bulletin board idea: draw a large flower pot and then staple pipe cleaners ("stems") to board and staple flower books at the end of the pipe cleaner, to be the "flower." Children can draw and cut leaves from construction paper and staple to pipe stems. - April McCreight/Texas

After we read the story I have each child's name on a paper plate (we use this paper plate from an earlier activity...students decorate plate and I use them for lining up and I sing/throw the plates on the floor, "If your name is on the plate pick it up, if your name is on the plate pick it up, if your name is on the plate then you are really doing great, if your name is on the plate pick it up!"). We all count the number of letters in our names and graph each number. I usually have a large graph that I color in at the same time the students do.

Catherine Baublitz - Georgia

Make a handprint flower by stamping the child's hand four times in a circle with palms of hands to the center of the flower. Then have the child using a small mirror take a peak and draw themselves using the head of the flower for their faces and they can add a stem and leaves for their limbs. - Linda Cutshall

I use this book at the beginning of the year when we are learning each other's names and the importance of putting letters in the right order to spell words. We talk about characters such as Clifford the Big Red Dog and Max and Ruby (Rosemary Wells) because the children know these characters from the books as well as from the TV. We talk about how many letters are in their names and the importance of putting the letters in the right order. Then we write the names of these as well as other characters on two sentence strips and then have the children cut up one of the stips and put the names in order. We talk about capital letters at the beginning of the names, also. This book then is read and we talk about her long name. How many letters are in this word, what are the letters, etc. Then the children have two sentence strips with her name and cut and we put her name back together.
The children then practice putting their name together as well as their friends' names. We put pictures of the children along with their names in the writing center for the children to use during developmental centers and Chrysanthemum becomes a part of the author study that we do next because he has several books that go with the theme of starting school/being afraid, etc. Carol Howard/ Maryland

You take each child's name and have them do a poem with the letters just like in Chrysanthemum's name. Example:

K = Kool
A - Always
T - There
H - Hoping
Y - Yeah!

Kathy Maguschak/Florida

We discuss our names. I send home a sheet asking parents how their child got the name they have.
I ask each student, individually, if he could change his name what would it be. The kids love doing this.
The students cut out a large letter of the first letter in their name. They decorate it with things from the "junk" box. We hand them in the hall. Sherry G.

Make a name graph for students to take home to graph the number of letters their family members have. Make the graph with 13 squares across and 8/10 or so squares down. Write the name Chrysanthemum at the bottom, one letter per square, to give family members a model to use. See how many names your students come up with.

Name Graph

I always begin each year by reading this book during the first day of school. When I finish, we talk about the rules in our classroom. As a group, we brainstorm as many rules as we can think of to make each day run smoother and we focus on the theme of fairness from the book. We pick our favorite rules as a group and it becomes our classroom constitution for the year.
The next day, just for fun, we make up wacky rules such as ,"Always run in the classroom" and then illustrate them in a class book. It's a great ice love to be silly! - Jackie Esquivel/California

After reading the story have students go home that day and interview their parents about how they got their own name. The next day let students share with the class. Then let students change their name based on the characteristics. (A scholastic student might choose sage ... a child who likes gymnastics might choose tumbleweed, etc.) Then have students write about their new name and why it suits them. - Jessica Rogers/Texas

After reading Chrysanthemum and doing various activities with their names-graphing, how much is your name worth (a = $.01, b = $.02), etc. each then made a coat or arms with their favorites-1) favorite color 2) favorite pet 3) family members 4) favorite book 5) favorite candy 6) favorite food. We hung them in the hallway after they were lightly colored for everyone to see.

Coat of Arms

Joanne Griffin - Texas

Chrysanthemum lends itself well to a working with words lesson. There are so many words within this name, ant, mum (also an opportunity for vocabulary), the, etc. It also has two digraph combinations ch- and th-. Teaching about the multiple sounds of ch are opportune - connect to Christmas. The sound of -y- in this name is also unusual. We look for other words that use the letter y in the same manner. The name is so much fun to say aloud. I use it for syllable identification and expression. There are many other phrases used in the book by Chrysanthemum's parents that children have never heard. This is also a great opportunity for additional vocabulary learning. Teri/Colorado

I make a graph at the beginning of the year, I have the students to put one letter in each square. We choose a color and color each person's name in to make it colorful. Next we compare the letters in each name. We compare longest, shortest, same, how much more, how much less, and I introduce even and odd to my first graders. - Karen Pyatt/SC

More Ideas From Teaching Heart and Links to other Pages!

A Very Good Grade 1 Lesson

Many k-3 ideas

We read Crysanthemum by Kevin Henkes on the first day of school. We talk about how important & special our names are. I usually do a fun art project using each child's name. One year we took black paper, I wrote each child's name with chalk and then they stuck down little pieces of paper to cover the looked like a mosiac (kind of anyway...) Posted by Abs on 7/13/02

I use Chrysanthemum the first week of school, too. After we read it I give them an interview sheet to take home and interview their parents about how their names were chosen, what were you going to name me if I was a girl, who was I named after, etc. Then we share the results and everybody (including me) picks a new name for the afternoon. I write the name on name tags and everybody has to be called by their new name for the rest of the day. mjf/2

I do a name glyph the first day (of third grade). I write the students' names on sentence strips, and then they complete theglyph on these strips.

I was looking for a literature piece, and "Chrysanthemum" sounds perfect. I usually read "ON the day you were Born, but may savethat for the first day of another project I do right away. Thanks. Paula

we do a name glyph after reading Chrysanthemum, too. We add a little twist to it though. The name goes in a circle middle piece. Then the student glues petals around the circle (one petal for each letter in their name). They color craft sticks green and make the stem for the flower (one stem part-craft stick for each syllable in their name). They glue one leaf on the stem for each vowel in their name. I have a real flower box and put florist foam in the bottom covered up by easter grass. We then stick each flower in the flower box and place it on the window sill. Sharon1st/AL

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After Reading Talk about Chrysanthemum's feelings. Everyone sits in a circle and you have a large paper cutout of a girl. Everyone gets the "girl" and wads or folds a piece of her. At the end, needless to say, she's in bad shape. Explain that every time they do this to her it's the same as saying something hurtful to her. Try to smooth her out and explain that even though she can be smoothed back out the wrinkles are still there, just like even though someone can apologize and be forgiven, the hurtful marks are still left on us. It was a big hit. I hope my explanation is clear, kind of hard to put into words.  

Link this activity to OUR feelings and how we feel. Does anyone have any stories to share? 

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How about just reading the book and asking the children what they noticed that the author did. How did the author use his words to help you understand? We did this in first grade last year and the kids noticed things that I perhaps would not have noticed; 1) He would use phrases over and over 2) he used big exciting words (they gave examples) 3) He used words that made you think she WAS a flower "Chrysanthemum wilted". They had such fun with this one that we decided they would write their own stories choosing a title character name that could lend itself to these types of words. Some excerpts from their stories were: Frosting puddled to the bus. Cobra stuck his tongue out at his friends. Ice Cream melted. It was great fun and the children were so creative! It really helped them to think about how words can work in different ways. - Posted by Cotrino on 8/20/02

Since the story is about Chrysanthemum's name, you might want to look up the names of your student's to find out what they mean.

Also, after we discussed the book, we also discussed how our parents came to give us our names and then also went on to discuss the names we wished we had been given. (Not my original idea. Someone here, on, suggested it.) About a week into the new school year, we all got name badges and wrote the names we wanted to have, and called each other by those names all day! That was fun! I had lots of teachers do double takes when they read my name tag! (I was Ms. Lisa for a day!) ===>Sylvia/CA

First Names and what they mean - Posted by Sylvia/CA on 8/20/02

I just came back from A.C.Moore (a craft store in Jersey). Without even looking I stumbled upon unpainted wooden handprint shapes. At 40% off, they cost .15 each!! I also found 15 count packages of 1/2" wood cut hearts for .53 per package. Not sure what to do with these, I looked around further and picked up a flat wooden wreath, also on sale for $1.79. I'm going to have the kids paint their wood hand any color they choose and paint the small heart red. I'll write their names on the hands with a Sharpie marker and arrange them on the wreath with fingers pointing out. For a grand total of $5.55, I think this will make a lovely addition to the classroom door and a nice reminder of "The Kissing Hand" story!Barbara

I write all the students' names big on a large piece of manilla paper. Then the students outline one letter at a time with glue. They glue on fruit loops, different kinds of asta, beans, cheerios, etc. on each letter. Each letter has to be different. We hang them in the hall when we are finished. I have not had a problem with bugs because I don't ve them up for very long. I went to visit a student at her home one time and she had her decorated name hanging on her bedroom door! Hope this will help some. Rene

After we graphed our names by length, we figured out the halfway point for the name lengths...say it's 6 letters. Each child with a name longer than that had to find a partner with a name shorter than theirs. (Daniel can pair with Sue; Patricia can pair with Kevin, etc) Then I give them a sentence strip that says "______ is longer than _______." They write their names on the strip in the correct place, and draw a little picture of themselves. (You can also have their names pre-printed and just have them glue it to the strip.) I collected all the strips and used a hole punch and book rings to assemble them into a sentence strip book. They loved to read each others' names so much, we ended up making 2 other strip books: "_______ is shorter than _______" and "_______ is equal to ______."

Another day I took the names off of our first graph (their names had been written on 1" square manilla paper) and had them cut the letters apart. We glued the letters on an ABC graph to find out what letter was used the most in all the names of our class (total number of a's, b's, c's, etc.) Hope you can use these ideas... Posted by Barb on 8/24/02

We used this book last week and did the name graph as mentioned above. The next day I took out the linking cubes and gave all the students 10 cubes (our longest name is 8 letters)...first I let them just play with them, then they made a name train that was the same number of cubes as letters in their name. Then, we linked all the names together for a long train...they discovered it was longer than me. :) Finally, we counted the cubes and found our total to be 89. On the 89th day of school I'm going to give them a little treat. :) It was fun and they enjoyed working with the cubes. HTH - Rhonda

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