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Chester the Cat and ME

Chester is an artistic, self-centered, book writing cat from the stories of Melanie Watt. This book will get your students writing about themselves and creating interesting pieces of art with nothing but a photo, an acetate sheet and Crayola® Dry-Erase Crayons.

  • Grade 2
  • 60 to 90 Minutes
  • Directions

    1. Prior to the lesson ask each student to bring in an 8X10 photo of himself. If this isn’t possible the teacher can take a photo of students in class.
    2. Read the story “Chester” by Melanie Watt to the class. Chester is an egocentric cat that believes he is writing his own books and uses a red marker to add to Melanie Watt’s illustrations. Ask students to pay careful attention to the illustrations (and particularly the red marker add-ons) throughout the book as you read.
    3. As a group, do a quick analysis of the characters in the book (the mouse, the dog, Chester, Melanie). What do we know about them? How do we know it? What did they do? What were their challenges? How did they overcome them?
    4. In the story Chester has written an acrostic poem with his name. Explain how acrostic poems work. In their notebooks have students write an acrostic poem with their names. They must find one or two words that describe themselves for each letter of their name. Students may type up their acrostic poems and print their poems(optional).
    5. Give students their photos, a sheet of acetate paper and a red (or their favorite color if they are doing this for Choose Your Favorite Color Day) Crayola® Dry-Erase crayon. Have students cut the background out of the photo and glue their image onto a white sheet with their poem. Place the acetate over their photo and add a scene to their image relating to their acrostic poem as Chester does in the book. Encourage child to be creative and apply good pressure for bold lines.
    6. Have students present their work to the class as a poetry café. Display the students’ photos with acetates and acrostic poems.
  • Standards

    LA: Describe how characters in a story respond to major events and challenges.

    LA: Use information gained from illustrations and words in a text to demonstrate understanding of its characters, setting, or plot.

    LA: Recount or describe key ideas or details from a text read aloud or information presented orally or through another media.

    VA: Students will investigate, plan and work through materials and ideas to make works of art and design.

  • Adaptations

    Create a class book with all the pictures and poems where the teacher is the author that keeps getting interrupted by her students as they introduce themselves as her best student.

    Mix up photos and have students create an acrostic poem and scene for someone else in the class, highlighting that student’s strengths and abilities.

    Read other books in the Chester series and compare and contrast the stories.

    Hold a class debate on whether Chester is a good or bad cat, the antagonist or protagonist of the stories.

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