Monday, February 24, 2014

Mrs. Toggle's Zipper by Robin Pulver - Teaching Ideas

Mrs. Toggle's Zipper by Robin Pulver is fun story about a teacher that gets stuck in her coat. Through a series of mishaps the results of trying to get Mrs. Toggel out of her coat is quite comical. After the children, the nurse and the principal all try to no avail they finally call in the custodian, Mr. Abel. With the use of a trust pair of needle nose pliers, he is able to pull her zipper down and free her from her coat.

If you have never read this story, it truly is a must read, both you and your students will love it. If it is a book you have and read below is a list of ideas, skills and strategies that you can use to create a meaningful lesson.

Reading level: 3.3
Theme/subject: winter, school
Genre: fiction

Suggested Vocabulary/phrases: unusually, thingamajig, braced, fistfuls, heap, trudged, stickler, whatsit, doodad, whatchamacallit, able, toggle, bulged, thermostat, pull-tab, needle-nose pliers, traipsed

Reading skills and strategies:
  • Asking questions - {possible questions before} I wonder what the story will be about. I wonder what is wrong with Mrs. Toggle’s zipper? {possible questions during} I wonder how Mrs. Toggle will get her off. I wonder who will end up helping Mrs. Toggle get her coat off. {possible questions after} I wonder if Mrs. Toggle will fix her coat. **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 (the children, Mrs. Toggle, they).
  • Author's purpose – entertain {evidence} The author used names for the characters that went with their job/predicament. The kids tried to pull the coat and ended up in a thud on the floor. It was silly when Mrs. Toggle was talking with the thermometer in her mouth. The author used silly words like thingamajig, whatsit and doodad. All these things make a very silly story.
  • Beginning, middle, end - {most important event from beginning} Mrs. Toggle could not get out of her coat. {most important event from middle} Mrs. Toggle, her students, and the nurse went to the principal for help.  {most important event from end} Mr. Abel was able to unzip Mrs. Toggles coat.
  • Cause and effect – Why were the students wearing boots? Because it was snowing outside. How come Mrs. Toggle was still wearing her coat? Because the zipper was stuck. Why was it hard to try unzipping Mrs. Toggle’s coat? Because the thingamajig was gone. How come Mrs. Toggle and all her students landed in a heap on the floor? Because they were trying to pull her coat off and couldn’t get it. Why did the nurse, Mrs. Schott take Mrs. Toggle’s temperature? Because her face looked red and hot. Why did Nina have to talk for Mrs. Toggle? Because she had a thermometer in her mouth and couldn’t talk. How come Mrs. Schott put a bandage on Mrs. Toggle’s zipper? Because Mrs. Schott said that bandages make boo-boos better and since Mrs. Toggle’s zipper was broken it must need a bandage. Why did Mrs. Schott want to call the principal? Because her attempt at pulling Mrs. Toggle’s coat off failed.  Why did the principal think his way of pulling off Mrs. Toggle’s coat would work? Because following the rules always gets you out of tight spots. How come Mr. Stickler decided to call the custodian? Because he didn’t want holes in the floor. Why was Mr. Abel able to get Mrs. Toggle’s coat off? Because he used a pair of needle-nose pliers to help pull the zipper down. Why did everyone cheer? Because Mrs. Toggle got out of her coat. How come Mr. Abel wrote in his notepad to look up the word “thingamajig”? Because he didn’t know what that word meant.
  • Character analysis - describe Mrs. Toggle {looks like, feelings, thoughts, character}
  • Character changes – Mrs. Toggle was hot and a bit frustrated at the beginning of the story and by the end she was very happy.
  • Compare & contrast – Compare your teacher to Mrs. Toggle. Compare your nurse to Mrs. Schott. Compare your principal to Mr. Stickler. Compare your custodian to Mr. Abel.
  • Connections - {possible text-to-self connections} Getting stuck in your own coat. Losing the zipper pull off your own coat. Being hot because you can’t get your coat off. Having someone finally being able to pull your zipper down.
  • Drawing conclusions & inferencing – Why is Mrs. Toggle’s name perfect for her? {text clues} Mrs. Toggle is wearing a jacket that is missing the zipper pull. {what I know} I know that a toggle is like a zipper pull in that it goes on clothing and helps keep a coat closed.{my conclusion} I think Mrs. Toggle’s name is perfect because she is having problems with her zipper, which is like a toggle. Her name matches her problem.

Why is Mrs. Schott’s name perfect for her? {text clues} Mrs. Schott is the school nurse. {what I know} I know that nurses give shots. {my conclusion} I think Mrs. Schott’s name is perfect for her because she is a nurse and nurses give shots. Her name matches her job.

Why is Mr. Stickler’s name perfect for him? {text clues} Mr. Stickler is the principal that likes to follow the rules.  He also says “that if you want to get out of a tight spot, you must follow the rules.”{what I know} I know that someone that is a stickler is a person that follows the rules. {my conclusion} I think Mr. Stickler’s name is perfect because he is the principal and he wants to make sure that everyone follows the rules, he is a stickler for it.

Why is Mr. Abel’s name perfect for him?  {text clues} Mr. Abel is the custodian and he is wearing a big work apron with all sorts of tools. {what I know} I know that custodians take care of and fix many things at the school. {my conclusion} I think Mr. Abel’s name is perfect for him because he is able to fix lots of things. His name matches his job.
  • Fact & opinion{fact} Mrs. Toggle was stuck in her coat. Mrs. Schott took Mrs. Toggle’s temperature. Mr. Stickler called Mr. Abel to help. Mr. Abel pulled Mrs. Toggle’s zipper down. Everyone cheered when Mrs. Toggle got out of her coat. {opinion} Purple coats are the prettiest. Having a stuck zipper is the worst thing to ever happen. Mr. Stickler looks like a mean principal. Mr. Abel looks like a super nice custodian. Mrs. Schott looks like a smart lady.
  • Main idea & details - {main idea} The story is mostly about Mrs. Toggle getting stuck in her coat. {details} Mrs. Toggle could not unzip her jacket. Mr. Stickler and her students tried to pull her out but they all fell on the ground. Mr. Abel use some needle-nose pliers to unzip Mrs. Toggles zipper.
  • Plot - the turning point or climax in the story was when Mr. Stickler’s plan did not work and he decided to call Mr. Abel, the custodian.
  • Predict – What do you think the story is going to be about? Why do you think Mrs. Toggle said good morning in a grumpy voice? Do you think the students will be able to pull Mrs. Toggle out of her coat? What will they do next? What do you think the school nurse will do to help? How do you think the principal will help? What do you think the custodians name will be? How do you think the custodian will be able to help?
  • Problem & solution - {problem} Mrs. Toggle is stuck in her coat because the zipper is stuck. {solution} Many attempts are given to solve this problem but it was ultimately solved when Mr. Abel used some needle-nose plier to pull the stuck zipper down.
  • Sequencing – Mrs. Toggle was stuck in her coat. Her students tried to pull her out. They went to the nurse for help. The nurse couldn’t help. They went to the principal, Mr. Stickler for help. Mr. Stickler made everyone get in straight lines to pull Mrs. Toggle’s coat off. Everyone fell to the ground. Mr. Stickler called the custodian. Mr. Abel, the custodian, used needle-nose pliers to pull down Mrs. Toggle’s zipper. Everyone cheered when Mrs. Toggle got out of her coat.
  • Story elements - list title, author, characters, setting, beginning, middle, end, or problem & solution.
  • Strong thought – The students, Mrs. Schott, and Mr. Stickler all tried to pull the coat off of Mrs. Toggle and didn’t succeed. If you were Mrs. Toggle, how would you be feeling? What would you say to everyone?
  • Summarize - {someone}Mrs. Toggle {wanted}wanted to get her coat off {but}but the zipper was stuck {so}her students tried to pull off her coat. {then}Then they went to Mrs. Schott and Mr. Stickler but they couldn’t help. {finally}Finally Mr. Abel the custodian was called and he unzipped her coat.
  • Theme – If you are trying to do something and that way isn’t working, maybe you should try a different way…or just call Mr. Abel.
  • Visualize – Mrs. Toggle was stuck in her coat and finally, Mr. Abel, the custodian was able to get her zipper unstuck. Visualize you stuck in big coat. How would you feel? What would you do to try to get out of it? Who would you go to for help?
Here is a packet of skills and strategies I created to go with this book if you would like to purchase this rather than create your own.

You can pick this up from either of my stores.
Happy Planning!

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