The Art of Friendship
Language Arts Connection: Although The Art of Friendship contains some advanced vocabulary words, they are strategically placed so students will glean most meanings - especially with your help through dramatizations and body language while reading. So, read it with "pomp and ceremony" and "with flare." Then, transfer enthusiasm for the story into enthusiasm for the words in the story. Words that allow for discussion and wordplay are: intensify, luscious, sumptuous, sulking, haughtily, substance, unaware, pretense, custom, demeanor, oblige, distasteful, courteously, contain, and delighted. Words like dash, feat, butt, taste and spread allow for discussion of homonyms and the concept of words having more than one meaning.
Lesson Idea: After reading The Art of Friendship, turn your classroom into a theater workshop to reinforce vocabulary acquisition - theory being: put words in a fun and meaningful context and students will soak them up. Have one student act as if she sprains an ankle, then, "sulking," "hobbles" to the nurse's office. Another student might forget a book at home, then "dash" back to get it so as not to miss the bus. Have one student "courteously" ask assistance and another "oblige." Explain that, naturally, their acting is all "pretense." Create more scenarios or, better yet, have students create them.
Project Idea: Turn the story into a play performed by your students. Ensure participation by all by allowing students to make props, rewrite character lines, create sound effects, narrate and act.
Creative Writing Idea: Use the formula in The Art of Friendship for students to create their own stories: 1) Rabbit is friends with an animal (chosen by student) that has a unique characteristic or capability. 2) The animal invites Rabbit for a meal (or other event) and uses its unique characteristic/capability. 3) Rabbit tries to imitate the feat when he hosts a meal - and "gets burned."