Friday, February 20, 2009

Book Club - The Rag Coat, Week 2

Our week 2 book, The Rag Coat by Lauren Mills, was a favorite for everyone. Set in Appalachia, Minna's family is poor and cannot afford a coat for her. Minna desperately wants to go to school but without a coat she is not able. After her father's death, her mother's friends The Quilting Mothers, piece together a coat from their rag scraps. The result is not only a colorful coat but one that is full of stories and love. But that is not the way Minna's new classmates see it. To them it is a coat of rags and they tease her about it. Once they hear the stories of the coat they are apologetic for their behavior. A valuable lesson for all.

We began class making our own "rag coats". Using 1x1 squares of scrapbooking paper in various colors and patterns, the kids glued them to a coat outline. Some chose to make a pattern with their pieces, others were more random in placement. There was some discussion as we worked as what rags were and how every scrap was saved to use for something else. Being resourceful when not having any money and how this also related to other time periods like the Great Depression was something for us to think about.

The most discussed topic was regarding the way we treat our friends. Teasing and how it can hurt someone and how it makes us feel if we are teased. We all agreed that we do tease our siblings, though we don't do it to be mean, sometimes we are just joking around with them. Miss Margot admitted that she still does this with her sisters!

One question was have you ever been brave which led to a discussion about things you might do that are brave. Evan said that standing up for yourself or someone else is a brave thing to do.

The statement that Papa made, "People only need people," we all agreed was correct. Even if you don't have food or money or a house, if you have friends and people in your life they can help you get the things you need.

When Minna ran into the woods after being teased and sitting on a log led to our discussion about where we like to go when we need to be alone. Mary likes to go in her tree fort. Faith has a special place outside. Paige likes to go to her room, so does Judah.

We learned what a keepsake was. Minna had the feed sack the Papa wrapped her in. Many of us have special things and so do our family members. Rebekah said her mom has lots of keepsakes.

What is the most important thing to own if you want to have a friend? Be giving, said Hannah. You don't have to own anything Lindy pointed out. But a cheese sandwich helps said Jewels because that is what she would own!

The kids all did a great job sharing and thinking thoughtfully about their answers. It was nice to see them taking turns and calling on each other to answer questions.

We fininshed up with corn bread muffins that everyone enjoyed.

See you all next week, Happy Reading!

We worked hard on our Rag Coats....

Scrapbook paper in 1x1 squares to represent our rags.

A coat in progress.

Everyone worked so hard, it was a quiet room for 19 kids!

We cut the coats out and mounted them onto a larger piece of construction paper.

Don't they look great! Just like our character Minna's. Many students chose to display their project at showcase.

We pass a basket around the room with our book questions. Everyone takes a turn reading a question and answering or calling on someone to answer.

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