Sunday, May 10, 2015

Higher-Order Thinking with My Lucky Day by Keiko Kasza

Looking for a great book to encourage higher-order thinking? Today is your LUCKY DAY! 

A fox outfoxed?
When a delicious-looking piglet knocks on Mr. Fox's door by mistake, the fox is sure it must be his lucky day. It's not every day that dinner just shows up on your doorstep! But as the piglet is quick to point out, shouldn't the fox give him a bath first? And wouldn't it be best to fatten him up a little, and give him a massage so he'll make for a nice tender roast? Mr. Fox sure has his work cut out for him—and his "dinner" is a lot smarter than it looks. (Summary from Puffin Books.)

I know I've found a great book when I have an instant brainstorm of teaching ideas. I usually jot my thinking down before I forget the possibilities. 
Here's a peek at some ways you can use My Lucky Day by Keiko Kasza. I'm also sharing some pictures from our class activities with this book. Please note...we read this book every day for a week! Don't try to squeeze everything out of the book in one day. On your first read, let your kids just enjoy the story and the surprise ending.

Take a close look at the facial expressions throughout the book.
Visual Literacy:
What extra information can you learn about the story from the details in the illustrations. 

Take a close look at the sets of three pictures. What extra information can you find? 

Why are there claw marks? Where in the story are there motion lines? 

There are so many great words to focus on in this story....polished, hauled, useless, massage, filthy, exhausted and many more.

Word Choice: 
Focus on the verbs the author uses...screamed, grabbed, hauled, squealed, relaxed and more.

What are the repeating phrases in the book? "Just a thought, Mr. Fox." 
How do the events in the story repeat? (The pig talks the fox out of eating him three times. Each time the fox does three things.) 
Will the story repeat itself? (The pig shows up at the bear's door.)

Where does your thinking change? At what point in the story did you start to figure out that the pig was up to something?

Here's a clip of a child in my class explaining where in the story her thinking changed.
Analyzing Plot:
How does the author get your attention from the very beginning? Why is the ending so funny? (It is surprising.) 

What's the big idea of this story? Is it that the underdog triumphs? Is it that sometimes trickster characters seem helpless?

Evaluating and Characterization:
What words describe the pig, the trickster character?
Act out the story in pairs so that one person is the pig and the other is the fox.
Pretend you are the fox and retell the story.
Pretend you are the pig and retell the story.

Find evidence in the story that the pig is "smart." (He uses flattery. He uses the power of suggestion. He has a strategy and a plan.) 

Create a sequel to the story in which the pig visits the bear.

Write a letter to bear warning him about the pig.

As you can see, we had some great learning moments with this book. I only wish I had more video and pictures to share...I need my own personal camera man to capture my students' brilliant thinking!

Keiko Kasza also has a website: There are resources about the author and you can download this excellent thirteen-page guide to using her books.

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  1. Great! I love this book! As a newer teacher this is really nicely oragnized to help guide my teaching and students!