Monday, August 27, 2012

Do Unto Otters to Teach the Golden Rule

As promised here are some ideas for my favorite book to read at the start of school to reinforce character education and how to treat others... Do Unto Otters by Laurie Keller.


Anyone who knows me can tell you that otters are my favorite animal. They have been ever since I was little growing up in Missouri visiting the St. Louis zoo. I could stand and watch that cute, playful river otter for hours. And we had a family friend who worked at the zoo, so I knew that otter's name was Emmitt. Then as I competed in gymnastics, my good luck charm that I took to every meet was a stuffed otter named (what else) Emmitt. Even now, when I recently ordered a Melonhead from Melonheadz Illustrating, I asked her to add in an otter. After laughing, she did a phenomenal job, don't you think?


So, of course, I was going to gravitate toward a book with an otter pun as the title! And after reading the book, I was hooked. What a cute and clever storyline! Mr. Rabbit is worried because he has new neighbors, and they are otters. Mr. Rabbit knows nothing about otters and is terrified that they will be bad neighbors. So, Mr. Owl teaches Mr. Rabbit about The Golden Rule.

Students love when I read this book... probably because I am one of those wacky teachers who uses silly voices and makes faces while I read. I also use lots of hand gestures. I've been know to pull a muscle when reading. Ha! But because the students love it so much, it becomes part of my classroom management. When a conflict arises, often I simply ask, "Did you do unto otters?" And that can open the discussion of what happened and what different choices could be made the next time. "Do Unto Otters" becomes my classroom mantra.

When I read any book, I always start with a little pre-reading prior knowledge activation. I show the cover and ask for predictions of what the book is about and why they think that. I ask what they know about treating others. And sometimes I even use a graphic organizer such as a Bubble Map or a KWL Chart.

During reading, I reinforce what is said, pointing out some things they may not notice in the pictures and text. We can also clarify any unknown vocabulary words to assist with comprehension. After reading we discuss what we just read, relating it to other things they know, they have read, or they have done (Text-to-World, Text-to-Text, and Text-to-Self connections). Then you can have the students do some sort of comprehension reinforcing activity.


I created a free packet to use with this book. It has six activity suggestions, although there are so many more you could choose. And I created reproducibles for five of those activities. One is a simple reader's response of recalling how I want others to treat me and how I want to treat others.


This one is my favorite. It is a writing prompt for students to write times in their life when they showed "otterly" good manners. As a fun added bonus, you can cut out 2 1/2" circles of students faces to glue on the otter body. I know! Cute, right?


The Remember a Time When Sheet helps reinforce the vocabulary in the book and also encourages students to remember when they showed those good manners.


Also in the packet is a blank Venn diagram and suggestions of things for the students to compare and contrast. And there is a blank poster template for students to create a poster showing one of the manners demonstrated in the book. You can hang those posters in the hall to show your class follows the Golden Rule.

So, get reading to help your students learn good manners.

14 comments:

  1. Cute idea! But I can't download the file; it says "invalid file" every time I click on the link.

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    1. Hmmm... let me check. The links work for me.

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    2. Try now. I reuploaded the file. Maybe it was a glitch.

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  2. I tried to download the file and it said "invalid file" as well!
    Twins, Teaching and Tacos.

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    1. Try now. I reuploaded the file to see if that would fix it.

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  3. This looks otterly adorable! I also tried to download it and it says Invalid File. However, I've been getting that frequently, so I think it's a TpT issue, not yours. I'll keep trying. I just love it. Thanks so much!

    Ѽ Lori
    Teaching With Love and Laughter
    luvyorkies@gmail.com

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  4. Hi, I´m always happy to see my graphics in any teaching document!! I can´t download the file either, I´ve try several times :(

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    1. Your graphics were perfect for this! Feel free to email me under the Contact Me tab, and I will be happy to email you the file. I am not sure what is going on with the download. Quite a few people have been able to get it; others have trouble. So I am happy to email it to you. :-)

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    2. I already downloaded, thank you! I like it a lot!!

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  5. I need to check this book out! Our school mascot is the otter.

    The Dalton Gang

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    1. Where is your school! My destiny is to work there! :-)

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  6. Rachel,
    Thank you so much for the freebie! I actually have this book and love it! I just found your blog and am now following it! I would love for you to drop by mine when you get a chance and pick up some freebie for you. I just added a freebies button!
    Patti :)
    A Series of 3rd Grade Events

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  7. This is so fun! I love using picture books while teaching! I am your latest follower--I would love to have you come by and see some of the books I recommend!

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  8. Just found your blog, loving it!! Thanks for sharing.

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