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.
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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!