Today I want to share a quick and very sweet read-aloud activity with you! This lesson is perfect for the back-to-school season, or anytime you need to reinforce the importance of kindness and community in your classroom.
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This lesson uses the beautiful and very powerful children’s book, The Invisible Boy, by Trudy Ludwig. If you don’t already own this book, I highly suggest adding it to your classroom library. The message is important and the illustrations are stunning. The story follows a little boy named Brian who doesn’t feel seen or noticed by his friends at school. In the beginning of the book, Brian is illustrated in muted grays and white, to symbolize that he feels invisible to everyone. When the class gets a new student, Brian befriends him when others don’t. As the two boys become friends, Brian slowly starts to gain color throughout the book. His color gets brighter and brighter the more he feels noticed. The illustrations show the power of friendship and how important it is that we include and care for everyone in our classrooms. You can grab the book, The Invisible Boy, on Amazon by clicking below:
Bringing the Read-Aloud to Life
Before you read this book to your class, draw a happy face with a white crayon on half-sheets of paper. You’ll want enough for every child to have their own piece of paper. Do not tell the children what is on the paper, and do not let them see you draw the happy faces. After reading the book to your class, discuss why Brian felt invisible and why a simple act of kindness brought color back to him. Give each student one of the pieces of paper and a marker. Pair them up with a partner. (Don’t worry, they can do this activity six feet apart from one another, if needed.)
Now comes the sweet and important part! Tell each student to share something with one another that is kind. You may want to model how to give a compliment to a friend. I like to take this time to try to help students give compliments that really show our friends that we notice their heart and who they are. I try to steer them away from superficial compliments such as, “I like your shirt,” or “I like your shoes.” We talk about what makes our friends unique and special, and I emphasize that we want to notice those special qualities in each of our friends.
After students exchange kind words that show their friends they notice and care about them, tell them to color their piece of paper with the marker! The “secret” happy face will appear on their paper! My students LOVED this little surprise and it helped make the book’s message come to life for them. The students took their half-sheets of paper home with them so that they could share what we did with their families. I hope you and your students LOVE this little read-aloud activity! If you use this idea with your students, let me know in the comments how it went!
If you loved this activity, and want MORE back-to-school lessons and ideas that build community and kindness, check out my back-t0-school blog post. You can also click on the image below.
Don’t forget to follow me on Instagram for ideas, tips, and resources that I share EVERY DAY! Yay! You can follow me @missdecarbo or by clicking here. Thanks for stopping by my blog today! If you’d like to share this activity with a colleague, or want to save it to refer back to at a later time, feel free to PIN the image below to your Pinterest boards!