Tuesday, April 15, 2014

An Operation of Cooperation by James McDonald - Teaching Ideas


An Operation of Cooperation by James McDonald is a wonderful book about teamwork and cooperation. A brother and sister have a fort to play in but when Sami cannot get into it mom must step in to help the two figure out what to do.

Mom tells the two a story about a dream like place where islands float around in the sky with only one person living on each island. When two islands finally get close enough the kids that live all alone on their island want to get together to play and keep each other company. But unfortunately neither kid is willing to give up their one and only swing. When the islands start to float away they finally decide that together, with each of their swings they connect their islands. Working as a team they come together to become one.

This story that mom tells helps Sami and Thomas realize what they must do so that each of them can get into the fort. Together they come up with a plan that will help Sami get into the fort. After all, isn’t it more fun to have someone to play with than to just play by yourself?

This book is absolutely wonderful and is a great story demonstrating what cooperation and teamwork is all about. If you have not read this book, I highly recommend this book for your classroom library.

I was contacted by Rebecca at House of Lore Publishing and she has graciously offered two books for a give away. Following the review that I did you will find the Rafflecopter entry form and if you are the lucky winners you can use the following review to help you create a meaningful lesson using this book.

For more information on this book and other great books and poems visit the Rainy Day Poems website.

If you have this book, or are the lucky winner I have created a Problem/Solution Freebie to go with it. Whether you use my freebie or want to create your own using the below reading skills, strategies and ideas, I know you and your students will love this book!

Reading level: 2.4
Theme/subject: Cooperation
Genre: general fiction

Suggested Vocabulary/phrases: amiss, fray, blue (feeling blue), bleak, bore, paced about, fling, bad snare, dread, drifting, entangle, passed like ships in the night, reeled, bread crumbs left on a trail, threw forth, gracefully, crafted a plan, engineer, combined, fared, mastermind, concede, cooperation


Reading skills and strategies:
  • Asking questions - {possible questions before} I wonder what the book is going to be about. I wonder why there are islands floating in the air. I wonder what an operation of cooperation means. {possible questions during} I wonder why the kids are living on the island by themselves. I wonder if they will be able to connect their swings. I wonder what the kids will do now that they can be on each other’s island. {possible questions after} I wonder if the floating islands are real. **Remember to have your students answer/reflect their questions.
  • Author's point of view – Third person. Be sure to find 3 pieces of evidence to support this (they).
  • Author's purpose – entertain {evidence} The author wrote the story in rhyme. There is no such thing as floating islands. The kids would never be allowed to be by themselves on floating islands in real life. All these things make the story very entertaining.
  • Beginning, middle, end - {most important event from beginning} Thomas could climb into the clubhouse but Sami couldn’t. {most important event from middle} Mom told a story about two kids cooperating. {most important event from end} Sami and Thomas worked together to figure out a way for Sami to get into the clubhouse.
  • Cause and effect – Why was Sami pouting? Because Thomas could get into the fort and she couldn’t. How come no one could play in the place that was far away? Because they all lived on islands alone. How come the kids didn’t want to throw their own swing? Because the swing was their only fun and they were afraid of losing it. How come the islands were drifting apart? Because neither of the kids would throw their own swing. How come Sami could not use the rope? Because she was just too short.
  • Character analysis - describe Thomas. Describe Sami. Describe mom. {looks like, feelings, thoughts, character}
  • Character changes – In the beginning Thomas didn’t care that Sami couldn’t get up into the fort but by the end he understood and helped Sami be able to get into the fort. The kids in the story started by not wanting to give up their own swing but soon changed their thinking. They realized that once they drifted away they may not see each other again so they both decided to use their swing so they could connect.
  • Classify & categorize – Classify activities: things to do alone and things to do with help or a partner.
  • Compare & contrast – Compare and contrast Sami and Thomas. Compare and contrast the Sami and Thomas to the kids on the floating islands. Compare and contrast something you and your brother or sister did together to Sami and Thomas’s fort “project”.
  • Connections - {possible text-to-self connections} Having a fort. Not being able to do something that your brother or sister could do. Being alone and not having anyone to play with (the kids on the islands). Not wanting to give something up for fear of not having it anymore (the swing). Working together to get something done. Coming up with a great idea that will benefit everyone (the idea for the stairs). {possible text-to-text connections} any book that deals with teamwork and or brothers and sisters working together.
  • Main idea & details - {main idea} The main idea of the story is that working together as a team makes things better. {details} When the kids on the islands worked together and used each of their swings they were able to connect their islands. Thomas and Sami came up with a plan to help Sami get into the fort. Together Sami, Thomas and their dad build a staircase.
  • Plot - the turning point or climax in the story was when mom was finished telling her story about the kids on the island working together to connect their islands.
  • Predict – What do you thing the story is going to be about. What do you thing an operation of cooperation mean? What do you think Sami and Thomas will do to help get Sami into the fort? What are the kids on the island going to do to so they can play together?
  • Problem & solution - {problem} The problem is that Sami cannot get into the fort. {solution} They worked together and decided to make stairs so that it would be easier for Sami to get into the fort.
  • Sequencing – Thomas and Sami’s fort was finished. Thomas could use the rope to get into the fort. Sami was sad because she couldn’t get into the fort. Mom told the kids a story about kids on islands that sail. The kids on the island were alone. They bumped into each other. They wanted to play with each other but neither wanted to use their own swing to connect them. The islands started drifting apart. They agreed that they must both use their swing. They tossed their swings and they tangled together. They slowly pulled the islands together and planned all the fun they would have. After hearing the story Sami and Thomas worked together to figure out how to get Sami in the fort. They ran to their dad and told him the plan. Together the three of them build stairs. Thomas and Sami were happy having worked together so they could play together.
  • Story elements - list title, author, characters, setting, beginning, middle, end, or problem & solution.
  • Strong thought – What could Thomas have done or said instead of telling his mom that it wasn’t his fault that his sister Sami couldn’t climb the rope.
  • Summarize - {someone} Sami {wanted} wanted to go into the fort {but} but she couldn’t use the rope {so} so she was sad. {then} Then mom told Sami and Thomas to story about two kids working together to they could get together and play. Thomas and Sami {finally} finally understood what they needed to do so that Sami could get into the fort as well.
  • Theme – Two heads are better than one.
  • Visualize – Sami and Thomas had a brand new fort to play in. Visualize what your fort would look like.
You can pick up the Problem Solution Freebie from either one of my stores.
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Use this picture as your pin for an extra entry.

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