"Leo, the Late Bloomer," by Robert Kraus, is a story about child development. It helps children, ages 6-8, understand that not everyone develops the same way. At first, Leo, the little tiger, can't read, write, draw and speak like his friends. His worried father wonders why, but his mother explains that nothing is wrong with Leo; he is simply a late bloomer. In time, Leo is delighted as he finally starts to bloom.
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Hand out paper daisy heads, each with five or six petals. Students cut out the flowers, folding the petals inward across the centre of the flower. Since the story equated Leo with blooming, talk about the word, bloom. Discuss how Leo bloomed and how that relates to children in the classroom. Have each one put his paper flower in water and watch them unfold. Then, initiate a flower planting project. Discuss patience as they wait for the planted flowers to bloom. Bring to their attention that all flowers bloom, or develop, at different times.
Positive Paper Flowers
Cover a large notice board with green paper. Cut out a two-inch yellow circle per student. Let each choose a colour for flower petals, then draw them in shapes of two-inches by five-inches. With a marker, each child writes one thing he has accomplished on each petal. Glue the flat edges of the petals to the yellow centre. Mount the finished results on the board so everyone can see how they are blooming.
Make a Video
Turn your classroom into a film studio. Place a video camera on a tripod so students can act as the videographers. Organise children into small groups, and allow them the option of acting or reading. The actors recreate a scene from the book or create their own skit, based on the book. Or, they can take turns reading the book in front of the camera. Then, watch the finished videos as a class.
Compare and Contrast
Read "Leo, the Late Bloomer." Then, read "The Little Engine that Could." Compare and contrast the main characters in the stories. Draw two large intersecting circles, called a Venn Diagram, on the board. Label each circle with a name, "Leo" and "Engine." On the outsides of each separate circle, write notes on how each character is different. In the centre, where the two circles intersect, tell how the engine and Leo are the same.
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