CHRYSANTHRMUM IDEAS FROM THE MAILRING
Identify what Life skill is being used in the story.
Write a letter to Chrysanthemum giving her put-ups.
Sequence parts of the story on flower petals.
Identify the main idea of the story.
Identify the author's purpose.
Graph the number of letters in classmates' names.
Assign a value to each letter of the alphabet. Add up the value of the
letters in your name.
Identify/discuss adverbs used in the expressions. Ex: gently, softly,
Identify/discuss common/proper nouns. Ex: Mrs. Twinkle and teacher.
Use chrysanthemum as the "big word" in making words.
Continue the story.
Role-play the story.
Conflict resolution skills
Dissect and identify parts of a mum
Visit a floral shop or farm where mums are grown (Being there experience!!)
Experiment to see if they can be rooted by cutting/plant seeds
Investigate the cost of chrysanthemums and other flowers.
Have a florist come (Connect to community/real life experience)
Estimate how many petals are on a chrysanthemum
Venn diagram a chrysanthemum and another flower
Line of symmetry
Create patterns using flower words or pictures
Write a personal narrative about a time you were put-down
Make flowers. Write put-ups on each of the petals around the flower and
put-downs on the petals on the ground
Use other books and compare/contrast
Plant mums at your school
Play "Mum's the Word."
Journal--Have you ever been teased by classmates? How did you feel?
Use a dictionary to look up some of the words that Father used
Explain how the relationship between Victoia and Chrysanthemum changed
Find a flower name for each letter of the alphabet
Read Chrysanthemum by Kevin Henkes- prediction as we read. Stop right after
she has nightmares, discuss what a character is and list them. Then I will
model and they will do their own: Mrs. Van Tassell says, "Chrysanthemum, you
have a beautiful name."
Kids write their own using any character. We discuss use of quotations.
They write on large chart paper-cut into strips. They then draw a huge
picture of themselves and cut it out and I have an instant bulletin
board-the child's self portrait and a quote to one of the characters.
On another day we will finish reading Chrysanthemum, discuss and they will
write a two sentence summary. I have never done that but it seems like a good
way to get started so they can do summaries with chapter books.
We will begin a class names chart. Everyone whose name begins with A will
stand up. We will figure out how to arrange them in ABC order and will write
them on chart-First letter or blend in red and rest in black. We will use
this for phonics after this.
For a fun project we will use squared paper and they will write their
name -one letter to a square continually until page (1/2 sheet) is covered.
Then we will color in the first letter only and then look at the patterns
that they created and how the names are different. This could be math.
Also for math you could let them freely explore the manipulatives.
I would also like to have them write what they hoped to learn in second
Read aloud: Chrysanthemum by Kevin Henkes
A story about a little mouse with an unusual name.
Give each child a blank index card. Tell them to print their first name and
count how many letters are in their name and write the number on the back of
the card. I cut around their names to show the configuration.
On large chart graphing paper I write the heading - Our Name Graph.
Across the bottom label with numbers going from 0 to the largest number in
your class. Then have the children come up as you call the numbers and glue
their name going up the side. They then color in the number of boxes to match
the number of letters in their name.
Make language experience chart with children to summarize what they have done
and interpret graph results
Chrysanthemum's Graph! Read the book Chrysanthemum, by Kevin Henkes, to the
class. Talk about the main character's name and how her parents made the
decision to name her. Discuss with the children, if they know, how they
received their names (e.g., it was a family name, their parents liked the
name). Discuss the length of Chrysanthemum's name. How many letters are in
each of your students' names? Give each child a piece of large block graph
paper or have them draw boxes to show the number of letters in their names.
Take the data and transfer it to a class "Number of Letters in Our Names"
graph. Teachers should include their names too!
by Kevin Henkes
Reading Level: 3
Read Aloud Level: 1
TeacherView by Cindy Stevens
Grades taught: K, 3
Ladera Elementary School
Farmington, New Mexico USA
Chrysanthemum is a delightful tale of a LITTLE mouse with a LARGE name. She
believes her name is absolutely perfect until the first day of school. Her
classmates make fun of her unusual name and hurt Chrysanthemum's feelings.
The beloved music teacher saves the day by announcing that she adores the
name Chrysanthemum, and is considering that for a name for her baby. Once
again, Chrysanthemum is sure her name is absolutely perfect.
I will use this book for the first few days of school to introduce the
students to one another and to myself.
Students will guess what the meanings of their names are and then look the
real meanings up in a baby name book. We will discuss whether the real
meanings "fit" their personalities.
The students will be assigned the task of interviewing their parents and
writing a short paragraph telling where their names came from. We will
compile these paragraphs into a class book illustrated with first day of
a) Make a class graph of the numbers of letters in our names. b) Find out how
many letters are in all of our names together. c) Sort our names into
categories, taking turns guessing how they have been sorted. (vowel sounds,
number of letters, number of syllables etc.)
Copy name and its meaning.
Art: Sand Painted Desk Name Plates
(Introduces their names in cursive) I will write their names in cursive on
tagboard sentence strips. The students will trace their names with white glue
and sprinkle colored sand on the wet glue. They may decorate it using glue
and sand until the whole name plate is covered. These should be sprayed with
a clear varnish to keep the sand from coming off.
Everybody Has a Name
Has a name.
Some are different,
Some, the same.
Some are short,
Some are long.
All are right,
None are wrong.
My name is ___________,
It's special to me.
It's exactly who
I want to be!
MORE Chrysanthemum Activities
This is what I did with the book Chrysanthemum by Kevin Henkes:
* I bought a chrysanthemum plant for my classroom. They're $1.99 at
Walmart now. Since the mums are so cheap, you could break off a little mum
from the plant for each student and send it home as a story bit of the
* I typed up my students' names on paper with a rectangle around them. I had
my students decorate around their names - making illustrations of what they
like to do. I then laminated them and used them as my name word wall.
* We made a graph of the number of letters in their first names. We made a
large graph in the classroom. I then made one in Word and am keeping a
notebook of graphs for the students to read in the classroom. We also do a
lot of graphing in second grade.
* We did an activity that focused on the sentence, "That's exactly half as
many letters as there are in the entire alphabet!" (this sentence was
referring to the 13 letters that make up Chrysanthemum's name). We
brainstormed different sayings for other letters and then wrote our own. Some
6 letters - that's exactly half a dozen eggs
3 letters - that's the exact number of brothers I have
8 letters - that's the exact number of legs an octopus has
5 letters - that's exactly the number of toes on my foot, etc.
* We stood in a circle and said the following cheer(I had it written on large
1, 2, 3, 4, 5
My name is ______________
And I say, "Hi."
6, 7, 8, 9, 10
Back it up and meet my friend ________________.
I typed up this poem in Simple Text on my computer. I typed in the student of
the day from the day before in the first blank and then the name of the
present student of the day in the last blank. Yesterday's SOTD reads the poem
to the new SOTD. Then I let the current SOTD pick a voice for the computer to
read it. I print a copy and send it home with the SOTD.
* We choral read the following poem during Guided Reading and added it to our
poetry notebooks. We also "rounded up the rhymes" by highlighting the rhyming
words with our highlighters. I model this on a chart as well. Did you know
that you can use that colorful book covering as highlight tape? I buy a roll
and cut it into the size I need for the various words. It works great!
"Everybody Has a Name"
by Jean Warren
Everybody has a name.
Some are different,
Some the same.
Some are short,
Some are long.
All are right,
None are wrong.
My name is _______________,
It's special to me.
It's exactly who I want to be!
And that's about it. It's a wonderful book. I also blessed some of Kevin
Henkes' other books at the beginning of SSR. Have fun.
Sandy/2/OH (with the help of Judy/2/OH)
I created a table on Word Perfect with the class names down the left hand
side -- we colored the vowels in each name red and the consonants in each
name blue -- then we graphed the names by vowels and conssonants. I had them
find out who had the most vowels, the least vowels and then the same using
consonants. Most of them counted the vowels and colored in the number of
blocks on the graph -- but one boy colored his blocks in the order that the
vowels and consonants appeared. Graphing is a Huge second grade skill here --
we do one together as a class each week - more if we can -- later in the year
they have to do all of it alone -- Yikes!
Hope this helps. . . .
Maggie 2 NC
I do Chrysanthemum in third in a little more detail. I read the book out
loud. Then they have typed up copies that they read. I don't remember all the
specifics at the moment but some of the guided reading covered inferences
(how can you tell that Chrysanthemum is eager to start school), evaluation
(how did Ms. X handle it when the bratty kid teased Chrysanthemum...how do
you think she should have handled it?), plot (what is the problem how is it
solved) and so on. I remember I had five different vocabulary words every day
and that are a lot of adverbs(?), you could do a mini lesson about that.
We do several related activities. Focused writing, Chrysanthemum wears her
favorite dress or jumper or something with a bunch of pockets. Prewriting was
a little chart to brainstorm that I made with 3 pockets and they wrote about
what good luck charms they would take in their pockets and why.
Also Chrysanthemum loved the way her name looked on cakes and envelopes. A
lot of my kids don't know their address, I get fancy envelopes and have them
address an envelope to themselves then later in year I use to mail them
They interview parent or guardian and write what they knew about the origins
of their name. That is pretty interesting. I had the namesake of bonnie
prince charles and a child named after her mothers favorite brand of
We graphed the number of letters in their first names.
We do a symmetry project where they cut out their names (balloon letters,
need lots of adult help) from a folded piece of paper... come out with a
wonderful design. I don't do this as a first week like lots of people do it.
Late September with a couple of other name stories and poems. The Night Joe
Louis Won the Title and My Name is Maria Isobel are two stories. I did Tikki
Tikki Tembo as a read aloud. Shel Silverstein Sara Cynthia Sylvia Stout as
poem, and another poem, I think by Judith Viorst. I am looking for a good
piece about a boy's name or nickname if anyone has one. I found that when I
did the name stuff the first week last year, it was too much, they forgot
each other's names and spent the rest of the year calling each other "that
boy" or "her". Which really bothered me.
For science integration do sorting and classifying plants, planting seeds,
parts of a plant etc., bring in seed catalog have them find all the names in
the story or pick some plants for a garden and price.
Sorry this is so stream of consciousness!
I use Chrysanthemum at the beginning of the school year as an introduction
into how special yet different we are. After reading the book, each student
is given a piece of tagboard (about 3 x 8) with their first name already
printed on it in a thick black marker. The students may decorate the card
however they wish with crayons or markers. I tell them to decorate it - not
really draw a picture like scenery. We then graph the name cards into various
groups. Listed below are some of the ways to graph them. I usually start and
give examples of ways to graph them. Later, the students can choose ways.
number of letters in names, all names beginning with a certain letter, boy
names-girl names-names that could be both, cards decorated with a certain
color or design, etc. The students enjoy when they are given a "stumper"
category...one in which it is not so obvious what the category is. Good luck
and have fun with it.
ADD ON IDEA:
I always start the year with Bill Cosby's book The Meanest Thing You Can Say.
For those of you not familiar with it, it is about a little boy who goes
to school and the new kid says "Lets play a game about who can say the
meanest things to each other." The little boys dad convinces him that the
best thing he can say is SO because there is no defense for SO.
We practice this for the first couple of weeks and thenanytime we have
someone saying hurtful things to other people. The kids love it and they
want to be picked on. I will pick a child who wants to be the person
and I stand there and look them over carefully andthen I say something like
"Blue hair barrets! Cool people only wear red ones" The kid will giggle and
say "SO"( by the way it has to be done with an attitude of indifference and
style) Then I looked shocked and say "Well you are not cool if you don't
wear red ones" "So" "Well you can't be my friend then." "So" By now the
whole class is laughing and saying "So" Then on the playground when a child
comes up and says "He called my stupid." I just say what
>do you say? "So" That right there is no answer to
"So" and you know it isn't true. I teach 2nd and I now have 5th graders that
will be standing with me when someone runs up and says He called me______ and
they will turn around and say "Just say so there's no answer
to so. Elaine /nv/2
I don't think this idea has been shared yet, but if so, I apologize for the
repeat. Anyway, I used this idea that came from someone on this ring last
year. After reading the story, 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. Explainthat 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
hit. I hope my explanation is clear, kind of hard to put into words.