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Sunday, July 24, 2022

How I Use "Chrysanthemum" By Kevin Henke in Mixed Speech Therapy Groups

by Kevin Henke is an uplifting story a about starting back-to-school and learning to love and accept yourself regardless of what your peers think or say. In this post, I will share how I use Chrysanthemum in my mixed speech and language therapy groups to target multiple goals. 

Story Summary
Prior to the first day of school, Chrysanthemum thought her name was absolutely perfect. She loved and appreciated her name. On the first day of school, Chrysanthemum's classmates started to bully her and make fun of her name. They giggled and told her that her name was too long. Chrysanthemum started to doubt her uniqueness. She "wilted." With the help of a special teacher, she regained her confidence and did not just think her name was perfect but knew it was. 

Social Emotional Learning (SEL)
Chrysanthemum addresses sensitive issues such as bullying, peer relationships, and self-acceptance. SEL concepts help students understand the world around them and develop strong relationships and identify feelings. These concepts include: self-awareness, relationship skills, self-regulation, and problem-solving. Chrysanthemum is an excellent read aloud to introduce students to these educational concepts.

Story Structure
Chrysanthemum can be used to teach the 5 components of a narrative: character, setting, plot, conflict (problem), and resolution (solution). Using story graphic organizers can help students identify these components and develop them more in depth. 

Making Connections
Although the story itself deals with sensitive and relevant issues, the cute little mice help students relate and make connections. Students may relate to the main character and describe a time they were bullied. They may relate to Mrs. Twinkle and remember a special teacher that made a difference in their lives. They may also notice similarities and difference in the setting of the story and compare their classroom to Chrysanthemum's classroom.

Compare and Contrast
As mentioned above, students may identify similarities and differences between themselves and Chrysanthemum as they make connections. Students can also use a Venn Diagram to compare and contrast story characters or settings.

Articulation and Phonology
When treating students in mixed groups, we are often challenged to address both articulation and language goals. Using books in therapy is a great way to address all of your students' needs. Target words may include /r/ (everything, perfect, mirror, dinner, wrote, herself, orange, wore, brightest, ran, hooray, entire, etc.), /s/ (absolutely, sounded, icing, started, school, sunniest, spelled, winsome, scales, etc.), /l/ (absolutely, loved, blushed, roll call, wilted, letters, like, bloomed, flower, filled, etc.), and /k/ (woke, called, ink, cake, crayon, school, twinkle, pockets, carnation, ketchup, pick, cannot, Victoria, etc.). This is not an exhaustive word list. You can create a target word list based on your students' needs. 

Tier 2 Vocabulary
Chrysanthemum is packed full of Tier 2 vocabulary and rich imagery. Tier 2 vocabulary words are words that occur across domains and are not content specific. Tier 2 vocabulary words are words that are considered "mature" concepts. These are words students may find in a variety of text, and observe in more adult-like conversations. Target vocabulary from Chrysanthemum may include: entire, absolutely, dainty, longingly, beamed, humorous, bloomed, blushed, spiffy, indescribable, impression, speechless, scrawny, possessions, trifle, jaundiced, begrudging, winsome, discontented, jealous, priceless, wilted, fascinating, precious, miserably, pleasant, informed, scarcely, dreadful, giggled, and perfect. Students can build off their prior knowledge, act out verbs, identify synonyms and antonyms, identify parts of speech, build word knowledge (prefix, suffix, root), discuss multiple meaning words, and develop imagery based on the author's descriptions (ex: "She wilted."). Students can also use graphic organizers such as a Frayer Model to help organize and illustrate their thoughts, and add new words to their personal word dictionaries. 

Have you read Chrysanthemum to your students? Perfect for PK-3rd grade, this is one of the first back-to-school book units I introduce each school year. I hope you'll consider making this one of your back-to-school units as well.  

You can find my Chrysanthemum comprehensive book unit with Google Slides for distance learning HERE

You may also enjoy these related products and  blog posts:

* This post included an Amazon Affiliate Link. 

Lisa, SLP

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