I have thoroughly enjoyed presenting The Weird Series by Erin Frankel during my school counseling lessons with my fourth grade friends. I wrote previously about the book Weird! which tells the story from the perspective of a victim and Dare! which told the story from the perspective of a bystander. Last, but not least, is Tough! Of course, this book comes from the bully’s point of view. My students were hooked after the first book. They were all ears during the second lesson and were very excited to hear the last book of the series. The students have enjoyed discovering similarities between the books. Each had a signature symbol- from polka dots, to stars, and now hearts- which helped drive home a similar message: Know Yourself. Be Yourself. Sam is the main character in Tough! Readers get a peek into Sam’s world at the beginning of the book as the author reminds us of situations and comments she’s made to Luisa and Jayla from the previous two books. As Sam tells the story, we see her brother calling her names and taking her guitar away from her. It appears Sam has had her share of being picked on, and it turns out she stays “tough” in order to keep others from bothering her. Her teacher, Mr. C, reaches out to her, and she soon decides to accept his help. Just as we’ve hoped, Sam begins to listen to her heart and takes a turn for the better by the conclusion of the book. All three girls have a club at the end of each book. Sam has the Kindness Club. Her activities include a great reflection activity suggested to her by her teacher Mr. C called “Picture This.” This activity allows her to write her thoughts on paper in order to help her see how her actions affect those around her. After dividing a piece of paper into four equal sections, she labels the sections with four questions:
- What did I do?
- What did I hope to get by doing it?
- What happened when I did it?
- How can I get what I want without hurting others?
She then draws pictures to go along with each of the questions. Using this idea, I created an activity sheet called “Picture This” with four equal sections. Each section has a question at the top and space underneath for students to either draw and/or write their answers. During the lesson, the students can complete the sheet using Sam’s story OR they may refer to one of their own situations. It’s also a good idea to give a blank copy to the classroom teacher to use as he or she sees fit in the future. Click the picture below to print a copy of the activity sheet.
The Weird Series is one worth having on your counseling book shelf! Thanks to Roxanne, from Books That Heal Kids, for bringing this series to my attention on her blog last summer. Stick around! You can follow Savvy School Counselor with free email updates. As always, I’d love to hear from you. Be sure to let me know how your lessons go along with any new ideas you decide to add.