Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Officer Buckle and Gloria by Peggy Rathmann - Teaching Ideas

All Officer Buckle wants to do is keep everyone safe, but nobody ever listens to him, that is, until Gloria joins the police department. With Gloria in tow, the students around the city are sitting up and paying attention to Officer Buckley and his safety tips, or are they? Unbeknownst to Officer Buckle, Gloria is entertaining the kids behind his back! He copies Officer Buckle and acts out some of the safety tips. Officer Buckle finally sees what Gloria is doing and gets upset. He is so upset that he stops giving his safety speeches. Will Officer Buckle ever give another safety speech? Will Officer Buckle ever forgive Gloria? Your students will love discovering the answers to these questions!

This book not only has a ton of teaching opportunities with regard to skills and strategies but it is a great jumping off point for talking about rules and how rules can keep you safe.

Listed below are some ideas, skill, and strategies that you can use to create or add to existing lessons.

Because this is such a great teaching book I created a packet full of skills, strategies and writing activities to use when teaching with this book.

Reading level: 2.5
Theme/subject: school, teamwork, friendship, safety
Genre: humorous

Suggested Vocabulary/phrases: thumbtacked, swivel chair, business as usual, sitting at attention, plenty of expression, applauded, shocked,

Reading skills and strategies:
  • Asking questions - {possible questions before} I wonder what the story is going to be about. I wonder what kind of show they are doing. {possible questions during} I wonder why the kids’ teachers didn’t make them listen to Officer Buckle when he came for the safety assembly. I wonder what Officer Buckle saw when he watched the evening news.   {possible questions after} I wonder what other safety tips Officer Buckle will come up with.  **Remember to have your students answer/reflect their questions.
  • Author's point of view – Third. Be sure to find 3 pieces of evidence to support this (she, he, Officer Buckle, Gloria).
  • Author's purpose – entertain {evidence} Gloria did amazing tricks for a dog. Gloria was signing autographs and dogs can’t do that. The illustrations were very silly. All these things make a very entertaining story.
  • Beginning, middle, end - {most important event from beginning} All the kids slept while Officer Buckle gave his safety assembly. {most important event from middle} Officer Buckle started taking Gloria to his safety assemblies. {most important event from end} Officer Buckle got a letter from Claire telling him that they missed him at the safety assembly.
  • Cause and effect – Why did the kids start listening to Officer Buckle during the safety assembly? Because they were watching Gloria copy Officer Buckle. Why did Officer Buckle think that his safety tips were so funny? Because the kids clapped and cheered and laughed. Why did Officer Buckle think the kids’ drawings showed a lot of imagination? Because there were pictures of Gloria doing tricks. Why did Officer Buckle not want to do his safety speech for Napville School? Because he saw the news with Gloria doing tricks while he gave his speech. Why did Claire’s note make Officer Buckle smile? Because it said that he was missed.  
  • Character analysis - describe Officer Buckle. Describe Gloria {looks like, feelings, thoughts, character}
  • Character changes – In the beginning Officer Buckle seemed a bit sad because no one listened to his safety tips. At the end Officer Buckle was happy because he had Gloria and everyone listened to his safety tips.
  • Classify & categorize – Things that are safe and unsafe.
  • Compare & contrast – compare and contrast Officer Buckle and Gloria.
  • Connections - {possible text-to-self connections} Having a school safety assembly. Seeing a police dog. Having a police officer come to school for an assembly.
  • Drawing conclusions & inferencing – 1. Why do you think Claire’s letter was Officer Buckle’s favorite? {text clues}The letter was written on a star shaped paper. The letter showed Officer and Buckle together and said that they make a good team. The letter also showed that Claire practiced one of the safety tips – wearing a crash helmet. {what I know} The letter from Claire looks like she was listening and paying attention to what Officer Buckle said. {my conclusion} I think Claire’s letter was Officer Buckle’s favorite because it seemed like she paid attention and learned something from his safety speech. 2. How come Gloria does not do tricks at her safety speech? {text clues} Officer Buckle was mad or sad or upset because of what he saw on the news. Gloria only ever copied what Officer Buckle did or acted out the safety tip. {what I know} Dogs don’t talk so Gloria cannot give a safety speech. When someone is mad/sad/upset because of something you did it is hard to be happy and act like yourself. {my conclusion} I don’t think Gloria did tricks because she was upset and Officer Buckle wasn’t there for Gloria to copy.
  • Fact & opinion{fact} some kids slept while Officer Buckle gave his safety speech. Mrs. Toppel was standing on a swivel chair. The Napville police department bought a police dog named Gloria. Officer Buckle and Gloria were videotaped. Officer Buckle and Gloria were buddies. {opinion} Gloria was a silly dog. Officer Buckle’s safety speeches were boring. All the kids loved Officer Buckle. Gloria was the best dog. Officer Buckle and Gloria is the best book ever.
  • Main idea & details - {main idea} The story is mainly about Gloria entertaining the kids while Officer Buckle gives his safety speech. {details} Gloria would do flips in the air. Gloria would copy what Officer Buckle was doing. Gloria made the kids laugh and cheer.
  • Plot - the turning point or climax in the story was when Officer Buckle saw the news and saw what Gloria was doing behind his back while he gave his safety speech.
  • Predict – What do you think the story is about? Do you think Mrs. Toppel will fall off the swivel chair? Do you think Gloria will make a good partner? Do you think Officer Buckle will ever see what Gloria is doing behind his back? How do you think Officer Buckle will react to seeing what Gloria does behind his back? How do you think Gloria will be at a safety speech without Officer Buckle?  What do you think will happen after Gloria’s safety speech? Do you think Officer Buckle will keep doing his safety speeches? Will he do them with Gloria?
  • Problem & solution - {problem} No one listened to Officer Buckle and all his safety tips. {solution} Gloria helped the kids pay attention to the safety tips.
  • Sequencing – Officer Buckle gave a safety speech and everyone slept. The police department bought a dog. Gloria started to copy Officer Buckle and the kids started to pay attention. The students clapped and cheered for the safety speech. Officer Buckle got lots of letters with pictures of Gloria. Officer Buckle got lots of calls from schools to come do his safety speech. Gloria and Officer Buckle were videotaped for the news. Officer Buckle watched the news. Officer Buckle wouldn’t give his safety speech anymore. Gloria tried to do the safety speech but she fell asleep and so did the audience. Napville School had a terrible accident. Officer Buckle got a letter from Claire about being missed. Officer Buckle and Gloria are buddies that stick together.
  • Story elements - list title, author, characters, setting, beginning, middle, end, or problem & solution.
  • Strong thought – Officer Buckle looks really mad when he was on the phone with the principal from Napville School. What can you say to him to convince him that Gloria was really helping his speech, not making fun of it.
  • Summarize - {someone} Officer Buckle {wanted} wanted everyone to be safe {but} nobody ever listened {so} so when Gloria joined him they started listening. {then} Then he saw the news and stopped doing his speech. {finally} Finally, Officer Buckle and Gloria became best buddies.
  • Theme – Friends make everything better.
  • Visualize – Gloria was acting out many of Officer Buckle’s safety tips. Pick a tip and visualize what Gloria would do to act it out. Draw a picture of what Gloria would do. 
  • Writing ideas
    o   Pick a safety tip from the book and write about why it is important.
    o   Write your own safety lesson.
    o   Create a book of safety tips.
    o   Write a letter to Officer Buckle about a safety tip and why you think it is important.
    You can pick this packet up from either one of my stores!

 Happy Planning!


  1. I always read this book at the beginning of the year! We talk about classroom safety and make our own list of safety tips! ;)

  2. Hi Kelley,
    This is definitely a great beginning of the year book. I hope you are enjoying your new job.


Thoughts and comments are always welcome!

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