Absolutely Perfect!

Today, we continued building our learning community by reading and discussing a book by Kevin Henkes entitled Chrysanthemum. (Click on the links to learn more about the author and the book). While the story is simple, the ideas are significant. After reading, we spent time discussing the form and function of Chrysanthemum as a problem solver. While it was not initially obvious how Chrysanthemum could help us learn about problem solvers (form) and the problem solving process (function), as we dug deep into the words and actions of the primary and secondary characters, we discovered there was more to learn than we first thought.

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In addition to referencing the TASOK Learner Profile and seeking to apply what we learned to our interactions with others, we also took time to think about the text through the layers of the literary analysis triangle. Kevin Henke’s word choice is particularly powerful. In the days ahead, we will continue to analyze the text using this tool, considering the main character, her community, and the conflict (internal and external). In addition, we will make connections to other stories, draw conclusions, and identify the theme.

Listen to the story reread aloud.

Throughout the reading and analysis of this text, it was easy to put ourselves in the shoes of Chrysanthemum, but how would the story have been told if Victoria was the main character. As a scholar, consider a different point of view.

Challenge: Write a letter from the perspective of Victoria to Chrysanthemum. Retell the events of the story, apologize for the actions of Victoria, and explain the lesson learned. As you write, think about what qualities of a learner each character needs to strive to grow.

Challenge: Somewhere in your letter, strive to use a list of synonyms in the same way Chrysanthemum’s father did.


Character, Community, Conflict, Connection, and… Cup Stacking?

We started off our day today by spending time with Eve Bunting’s book One Green Apple (Interview with Eve Bunting). While reading, we discussed character, point of view, author’s purpose, conflict, and theme. As part of our analysis, we referenced TASOK’s Learner Profile, trying to identify qualities evidenced in the main character, Farah. We will be rereading this text to further discuss Farah as a problem solver, recording our thoughts in our problem solving journals. Our captured thoughts will allow us to compare and contrast ideas with several other texts.

As an extension of our reading, at the end of the day, groups embraced a cup-stacking challenge that required communication, reflection, thinking, risk taking, focus, patience, and perseverance. Through this activity, scholars experienced what George S. Patton intended when he said,…

“Accept the challenges so that you can feel the exhilaration of victory.”


Below is a padlet containing evidence of our time of reflection and discussion after the activity.

As you continue to reflect on this team-building task, please feel free to post additional ideas about yourself as a problem solver and the process of problem solving.


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Today we discovered, like a freshly pressed glass of apple juice, striving to stack cups with rubber bands and string is satisfying.

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