About Me

I am a second-career teacher. In my other life, I crunched numbers as an accountant. Probably would have made a great math teacher had the thought occurred to me. No matter, I'm where I'm supposed to be; teaching third grade. Before that, 2nd grade and before that kindergarten. I have 2 grown daughters, 2 poodles, and 1 hubby. I live and work on Long Island.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

The One and Only Ivan…asking a moral question

There is a part in The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate when Mack, the animal keeper is being cruel to Ruby, the elephant attraction at the Big Top Mall and Video Arcade.

The custodian, George witnesses the treatment and ponders letting someone know. My third graders discussed whether the possibility of being fired should keep George quiet.

Peter: Animal cruelty is not ok and George should definitely report Mack to the authorities.

A must-read in all classrooms!
Amanda: Elephants belong to the same species as us and treating them poorly is wrong. George should not be afraid of getting fired if he tells. And when Mack comes to fire him, he should say “You can’t fire me because I quit!”

Chloe: George is probably worried about losing his job and his money so he shouldn’t tell about how mean Mack is being to Ruby.

Zachary: If I were George, I would definitely tell on Mack. The Big Top already lost Stella (another elephant) and I wouldn’t want Ruby to get hurt.

I love to question and hear what my students think when we are reading aloud. And, it’s a much-needed break from the test-driven Common Core curriculum. Perhaps, it’s even a better measure of their intelligence and certainly gives them opportunities to share their ideas and opinions with their peers.

If you haven’t read The One and Only Ivan, try to get your hands on a copy and read it with your class!


  1. It's on my list and hey, I'll bet you can squeeze Ivan into the CC!!!

  2. Thinking, formulating and sharing ideas and opinions - even better than Common Core - those are life skills! And we also loved Ivan (even though I usually can't read books where an animal..., well, I won't give it away, but you know, what happened to Stella).

  3. Literature that inspires deeper thinking and reflection commands a place in every classroom. Quality literature is a must have for teachers who value their learners and want to feed their curiosity. More power to you for recognizing the power of a great read. We teach so that children learn, not to have them pass tests. Effective teaching is the best test preparation. I loved hearing the voices of your young learners.

  4. I loved reading Ivan and researching the real Ivan. Did you know she has written a nonfiction book on the real Ivan? Don't know when it is due out but you will want to look for it! You are right - sharing thoughts and ideas is better than test prep!


Your comments mean so much! Thank you for leaving one.