Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Fluffy The Secret Santa by Kate McMullan - Teaching Ideas

Fluffy is a class guinea pig that gets to participate in the Secret Santa activity his classroom is doing with a kindergarten classroom. Little does Fluffy realize that to take part in this he must give gifts not receive them. Fluffy is not very happy about this especially when his personal possessions start being taken away to be used as gifts. He finally gets to visit the recipient of his gifts, Lucky Sue. She is so thankful for everything she got from Fluffy she even tells him that he is the best Secret Santa ever, which makes Fluffy feel very good.

This book is a great "just right" holiday book for your kiddos. I have come up with some skills and strategies you could use to create a good "practice this skill" page, or you can just download the main idea freebie I created.

Reading level: 1.9
Theme: Giving
Genre: Christmas

Suggested Vocabulary: coconut shell

Reading skills and strategies:
  • Asking questions - {possible questions before} I wonder what the story is going to be about. I wonder who Fluffy is going to give presents to. What does Secret Santa mean? {possible questions during} I wonder why Fluffy doesn’t want to give away his things. I wonder if Fluffy understands what a Secret Santa does. I wonder if Fluffy is going to get new things to replace all the things that were giving to Lucky Sue. {possible questions after} I wonder who really gave the kids and Fluffy those presents.  **Remember to have your students answer/reflect their questions.
  • Author’s purpose – entertain {evidence} Fluffy probably doesn’t talk to himself in his head. Guinea pigs don’t dance around. The illustrations show Fluffy making funny faces. All these things make an entertaining story.
  • Beginning, middle, end - {most important event from beginning} The kids asked if Fluffy could be Secret Santa for Lucky Sue, the kindergarten guinea pig. {most important event from middle} Lucky Sue thanked Fluffy for all the gifts and said he was the best Secret Santa ever. {most important event from end} Fluffy was given his own gifts from a Secret Santa and was very happy.
  • Cause and effect – Why did the students choose Secret Santa names? Because it was Christmas. Why was Fluffy getting upset? Because he did not understand that he was the Secret Santa and was supposed to give the gifts not get them. Why was Lucky Sue so grateful? Because she loved all the gifts that Fluffy gave her. Why did the kids call Fluffy, King Fluffy? Because he got a new cardboard castle as his Secret Santa gift.
  • Character analysis - describe Fluffy {looks like, feelings, thoughts, character}
  • Character changes – At first Fluffy was not happy about giving his things away but after he was with Lucky Sue he was happy that his things made Lucky Sue so happy.
  • Connections - {possible text-to-self connections} Being a Secret Santa. Receiving Secret Santa gifts. Having a holiday party at school. Having a guinea pig as a pet.
  • Drawing conclusions & inferencing – Why do you think Fluffy is so upset when he learns he has to give presents? {text clues} Fluffy likes to get presents. {what I know} I love giving gifts and making other people happy. {my conclusion} I don’t think Fluffy has ever had to give anything away before so he doesn’t know what it feels like to make someone else happy.
  • Main idea & details - {main idea} Fluffy and his classmates are being Secret Santa’s for the kindergarten class.  {details} Fluffy gives his rock. Fluffy gives his treats. Fluffy gives his cardboard fort.
  • Plot - the turning point or climax in the story is when Lucky Sue thanked Fluffy and he got to see how happy his gifts made her.
  • Predict – What do you think the story will be about? What do you think Fluffy will give as Secret Santa gifts? How do you think Fluffy will feel when he realizes that he won’t be getting gifts he will need to give gifts? What do you think the Secret Santa got for Fluffy?
  • Problem & solution - {problem} The kids are taking all of Fluffy’s belongings and giving them to Lucky Sue. {solution} Fluffy finally learns that giving makes you feel happy, especially when the other person is so grateful.
  • Sequencing – The kids draw names for Secret Santa. Jasmine asks if Fluffy can join in the Secret Santa activity. Jasmine and Wade chose Fluffy’s rock to give to Lucky Sue. Then, Jasmine and Wade picked Fluffy’s treats to give to Lucky Sue. Finally, they chose Fluffy’s cardboard fort to give to Lucky Sue. Fluffy was brought to the class party where Lucky Sue thanked Fluffy and said he was the best Secret Santa ever. When Fluffy and the kids got back to their class there were gifts waiting for them. Fluffy got a new cardboard castle.
  • Story elements - list title, author, characters, setting, beginning, middle, end, or problem & solution.
  • Strong thought – Fluffy isn’t happy when the kids take his things to give to Lucky Sue. Fluffy needs to learn that Christmas is about giving not receiving. What would you tell Fluffy to help him understand that it is better to give than receive?
  • Summarize - {someone} Fluffy {wanted} wanted to participate in the Secret Santa {but} but he didn’t want to give any of his things away {so} so he was upset. {then} Then Lucky Sue said thank you to Fluff and said that he was the best Secret Santa ever so he was {finally} finally happy about being a Secret Santa. 
  • Theme – It is better to give than to receive. Someone saying, “Thank you” for your generosity makes you feel good.

You can download this freebie from either one of my stores.


Classroom Freebies Manic Monday

Happy Holidays!


  1. Hi Shawna -
    Those are all really great reading response activities for that book, thanks for sharing!
    Traditions, Laughter and Happily Ever After

  2. Wow! This is great! Thanks for sharing! BTW I love your blog.

    1. Hi Michalene,
      Thanks! I started following you, can't wait to see more :)


Thoughts and comments are always welcome!

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