Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Did the crab do the right thing?

I've been reading my new favorite book to the K through 3rd grade classes that have been coming to the library this week - my new favorite book being This Is Not My Hat by Jon Klassen - and I've stumbled upon an interesting discussion question.  In my last post, I described a little of what this book is about; a small fish steals a hat from a big fish and the big fish gets his hat back in the end. At one point in the book, as the little fish is swimming towards his hiding place, he swims past a crab and he tells us that the crab knows where he - Little Fish - is going but promised not to tell the big fish.  Well, big surprise, the crab rats out the little fish.

The first class I read this to was a kindergarten class and I just out of the blue asked if they thought the crab did the right thing and to my surprise they all said 'no.'  When I asked them why, they said because the crab had lied to the little fish.  So I said 'but what about the fish? Did he do the right thing?' And, of course, they said 'no, he's a stealer.'  So then they decided it was okay for the crab to have told, even though he said he wouldn't.

I found this so interesting that I decided to ask all the classes if the crab did the right thing and a lot of the kids say 'no' because he lied.  In the older grades, more of the kids start out with a 'yes' because what the fish did was worse.  Then there were the few kids who said the crab had to tell because the big fish is so big that he scared the crab into telling.

It's been really fun to see their gears turning as they weigh Crab's moral dilemma.  And so unexpected! I thought we'd be talking about Little Fish's fate - just like Rabbit's in I Want My Hat Back.

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