Sunday, January 19, 2014

The One and Only Ivan

The One and Only Ivan, written by Katherine Applegate is kind of awesome. I used it as a read aloud chapter book last year and my class was totally captivated. The higher kiddos and the lower kiddos all enjoyed it and found connections.

So, the book is interesting. It is the story of Ivan, a gorilla who lives in a mall. Yep, a mall! He has friends at the mall, elephants, dogs, and people. The story really begins when Ivan decides that he has to save the new baby elephant, Ruby, from having to spend her whole life in a mall, when she deserves much better.

If you just read the book and enjoy it, great. Lots to chat about. I choose to have students work on short response questions after each sections. Gotta work a little writing in there. We also researched the real Ivan, because, yes, this is inspired by a real story. The real Ivan died last year, but we got to look at his artwork (Oh yea, did I mention he was an artist?) and connect with the character.

Our class was also working on character traits at the time. After we finished the text, I had each child select a character and brainstorm TONS of character traits. We then used Have you ever used it? Super cool. You  can pay for a subscription, but it isn't necessary. It is a website that created word clouds in fun pictures and shapes. The kiddos who brainstormed character traits about Ivan made a gorilla shaped cloud, Ruby an elephant shaped cloud, and so on. It was a fun culminating activity for the entire class.

I also created an indepth novel study of The One and Only Ivan, if you're interested. Click on the picture below to link up to my Teachers Pay Teachers page.

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