Saturday, November 16, 2013

What I really did to prevent invisibility......

So I finally got to do my lesson on "The Invisible Boy!" Like all good lessons I started out with one plan, changed it, changed it the morning of, and then during my observation changed it again. Ha!

Well here's a rough draft of how I used this incredible book. Also, here's how it connect to Common Core Standards.


I started having the kids gather around for a "science experiment."
Here's how it works:

        1. In a plate/flat container that's full of water I pour in pepper. I ask the students to think of the pepper as people. We call them our "pepper people." I ask them to notice that the pepper is floating together, almost like a family or a community This is a good place to discuss people coming together in the community, at school, etc. You can ask them to think of all the different ways people work together.

Just pour pepper into a plate filled with water.

        2. Then I introduce the "soap." Put the soap in the middle of the pepper. In previous lessons I have introduced the soap as a "bully," however this time I asked them to just think of the soap as a person.

Next take a bar of soap and place it in the middle of the pepper.
        3. As you will notice when you put the soap in the water the pepper immediately darts away from the soap. I asked the kids to tell me why the pepper would be running away from the soap. Some said that the soap was a bully, others said it might be someone who is scared, etc. This time I asked them to imagine the soap was not a bully, perhaps a new student or even a student they have known a long time. I then asked them again, why would the pepper run away?

    4. This was a good place to introduce our vocab. words of the day: exclusion and inclusion. I explained that the pepper were all off by themselves and the soap was left alone. We discussed the word exclusion here, when one student noticed that some of the pepper had stuck to the soap. She commented that if the soap were a bully perhaps they were joining the bully or maybe trying to stop him. I asked them to discuss why else the pepper might stick to the soap.

   5. Next we talk about inclusion and that it's important to include everyone and it just takes one "sugary sweet" random act of kindness to make a big change. As I talk about this I pour the sugar where the soap was and slowly you will see the pepper coming back together.
Lastly, pour sugar into the middle of the plate.

Lesson: Next I read the story, stoping frequently to ask the students to make connections between our experiment and the book; looking for pepper people, the soap, and the sugar. I also asked them to make text-to-life connections. Many of my students really opened up!

Game: Next we played Quiz Quiz Trade using the discussion questions in the back of the book. I had a student demonstrate with me how to play and model how to restate an answer. I asked everyone to show their listening skills by restating what they heard and repeating it each partner. They did a great job, I loved the "I heard you say that you think..." or "So you are saying that...." It was amazing.  I also added a few like: "What do you think exclusion is?" "Do you think exclusion is bullying?" and "What food have you tried from other countries?"

I don't have a Smart Board yet so I wrote the directions of how to play on the board. I had the students turn and talk with a neighbor to practice our level 1 whisper voices. They had to share one text-to-life connection using their level 1 voices. 
We discussed answering the same question again. I asked them to use high order thinking for repeat questions.

What if I don't have a partner? I asked a student to model with me how to ask for a partner before we began.
Get your game cards here:
Get the lesson plan with CCSS and ASCA standards here:

Exit ticket: To leave the room I gave each student a post it note and asked them tell me what stuck with them.

What did they like or learn from the lesson?

Yep, me too!

Each student put their post it note on a poster board that's near my door. They posted as they left.
 Follow up: I would like to follow this up with a lesson on bullying (see the comments from Trudy herself below for amazing inspiration), specifically focused on having the students develop a definition of bullying (what it is and what it is not).. This could then lead into a lesson on what to do to stop bullying and practice using "I" statements.

Now for a little furry fun. Today I went to  work and these rascals came to help:
My Brooklyn

Brooklyn and Boss

While I was working I caught her stealing toys from my "play therapy" area.

Rascal hid under the desks with her new "toy."


  1. Laura- that is an excellent lesson plan you did with your students! I LOVED that you didn't use the term "bully." We're trying to stay away from using the word "bully" as a noun because when kids label others as "bullies," that label sticks to that person, even after he/she has redeemed himself/herself. You mentioned you will be following up with a lesson to help kids understand what bullying is. May I make a suggestion? A school counselor at one of the schools I visited helped kids understand what bullying is and what it isn't with these terms. Feel free to use the below if it helps you:
    When someone says something or does something hurtful, but not on purpose, just once, that's RUDE.
    When someone says something or does something hurtful on purpose once, that's MEAN.
    When someone says something or does something hurtful on purpose, and he/she keeps doing it--even when the others show they're upset or tell that person to stop, that's BULLYING.
    That info is on my website under the section, BULLYING BASICS.

    Your students are so very fortunate to have you as their caring counselor :-)

    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

    2. Thanks so much, that is exactly what I was going for with my idea of what is bullying and what is not. I use a lot of resources I have gather from the Olweus Bullying Prevention program, but I am always looking for more. I think it's so important to use the term bullying only in true bullying situations and you are exactly right about using it as a noun! I would love to have my students discuss what using the word bully as label. A good friend of mine runs an amazing website for teachers and she featured my lesson and your book today:

      You have to check it out.
      I hope that lots of teachers will share your story!!!

    3. Thank you for the link to your friend's website. I love how she tied your lesson to Common Core Standards! I just shared on my FB page and tweeted :) Your lesson plan is just wonderful!!! BTW--were you at the International Bullying Prevention Association Conference that was held in Nashville last week? I was there, presenting. I would have loved to have met you in person :-)

    4. No I was so hoping to go, but wasn't able. I hope I can make it in the future, I would love to meet you and pick your brain =)

    5. Great lesson, could you email me your QQT questions? You can email them to

    6. to know if it is bullying, we teach our kids RIP---must be repeated, intentional and power seeking

    7. Freddie I am working on getting them on my TPT page. You can start with the questions Trudy includes in the book. Jo- I totally agree with RIP. One interested thing I learned at the ASCA conference this year was that it doesn't have to be repeated- that it just has to be likely to be repeated. If we wait for the repetition then we aren't truly being preventive. I really liked that distinction.