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Parents Hand Out Unusual Punishments



Arts & Humanities
--Language Arts

Social Studies
--Current Events


Grades 2-up

News Content

Were the unusual punishments handed out by these parents fair or unfair?

Anticipation Guide

Before reading, invite students to share stories of times when their parents punished them for something they did wrong. In addition, you might ask students to share whether they felt the punishments were fair or unfair.

News Words

Next, introduce these words that appear in the News Word Box on the students printable page: punishment, message, detention, behavior, embarrassed, and acceptable. Discuss the meanings of any of those words that might be unfamiliar. Then ask students to use one of those words to complete each of these sentences:

  • This work is not _____," the teacher said. I cant even read your handwriting." (acceptable)
  • Everyone agreed that the judges sentence was a fair _____ for the crime. (punishment)
  • The presidents swift action was intended to send a strong _____ to the enemy. (message)
  • Paco was _____ because he and his teammates played so poorly. (embarrassed)
  • Mr. Randall, the principal, gave Sara two days of _____ for talking back to the cafeteria worker. (detention)
  • Four rules of _____ are posted on the classroom wall. (behavior)

    Read the News

    Click for a printable version of this weeks news story Parents Hand Out Unusual Punishments.

    You might use a variety of approaches to reading the news:

    Read aloud the news story to students as they follow along.

    Students might first read the news story to themselves; then you might call on individual students to read sections of the news aloud for the class.

    Photocopy the news story onto a transparency and project it onto a screen. (Or use your classroom computer's projector to project the story.) Read the story aloud as a class, or ask students to take turns reading it.

    Arrange students into small groups. Each student in the group will read a paragraph of the story. As that student reads, others might underline important information or write notes in the margin of the story. After each student finishes reading, others in the group might say something -- a comment, a question, a clarification -- about the text.

    More Facts to Share

    You might share these additional facts with students after they have read this weeks news story.

  • In Jacksonville, Florida, Marcia Harvey made her son Roland wear a sign after he misbehaved in his second-grade class. The sight of the teary-eyed eight-year-old boy upset some people who thought Harvey had gone too far; humiliating a child is not a good way to punish him, they said. Other people found it refreshing that Harvey is serious about instilling good behavior and habits in her child. The mothers heart was in the right place, they say. She wants her son to grow up to be a good person. (You might share this photo of the boy.)
  • In Temecula, California, 12-year-old Miasha Williams received a one-week suspension from school for bullying another student. As an additional punishment, her mother, Ivory Spann, made the seventh grader wear a sign that encouraged others not to be bullies. The girl stood outside a different school each day during her suspension, morning and afternoon, wearing the sign. The girls mother said she planned the unusual punishment so her daughter would understand the seriousness of the crime. At first she was boo-hooing and saying, But Mom, I didn't do anything," the mother said. Well, let me tell you, you did do something," was the mothers reply. She explained to her daughter that bullying can have serious consequences. I don't want that kind of environment at the school my child attends, or the school any child attends," the mother said in response to criticism of the punishment she handed out. In the end, the girl agreed with her mother: I don't want to hold the signs, but I think it's the right punishment," she said. The mother of another student who was suspended for the same offense made her daughter join the girl in wearing a sign one day during the week. (You might share this photo of the Miasha.)

    Comprehension Check

    Revisit the Anticipation Guide at the top of this lesson; ask students to compare the punishments they read about in the News for Kids article to punishments they have received at home. Were the punishments more or less severe? Did the punishments fit the crime"?

    You might follow-up that activity by asking some of these questions:

    Recalling Detail

  • What words appeared on the sign the little boy had to wear? (The sign said I was rude to my teacher," I am sorry," and I will make good choices.")
  • Why did the mother hand out that punishment to her son? (She wanted him to get on track." She wants him to be successful in life.)
  • Why did the girl in the story have to stand outside with a sign? (Students might respond about the girl who had gotten bad grades or the girl who engaged in bullying another student.)

    Think About the News
    Discuss the Think About the News questions that appear on the students news page. You might use the think-pair-share strategy with students to discuss this question. If you use this strategy

  • First, arrange students into pairs to discuss and list responses to the question.
  • Then merge two pairs of students together to create groups of four students. Have them discuss and add to the ideas they generated in their pairs.
  • Next, merge two groups of four students to form groups of eight students. Have students create a new combined list of ideas.
  • Finally, bring all students together for a class discussion about _____.

    Follow-Up Activities

    Citizenship respecting opinions. When it comes to issues of importance, people have many and varied opinions. That goes for the issue of fair punishments introduced in the Parents Hand Out Unusual Punishments" news story and many other issues. Prepare in advance four poster signs. Label each sign with one of these headings:

  • strongly agree
  • agree
  • disagree
  • strongly disagree Hang one of the signs in each of the four corners of the classroom. Then say to students The punishment given to the boy who acted up in class was a fair punishment." Have students move to the corner of the classroom with the sign that best describes their feelings about that statement. Provide students with an opportunity to share their feelings and to explain why they moved to the corner in which they are standing. Emphasize the differences of opinions and the importance of respecting the broad spectrum of responses. Repeat the activity by having students respond to the statement The punishment given to the girl who bullied was a fair punishment." Again, ask students to move to the corner of the classroom that has the sign that most closely describes how they feel about that statement. Provide time for discussion. Finally, you might continue the activity by having students move to the corner of the room that describes how they feel about statements on other issues of importance or controversy, such as two or three the statements below. (Choose statements that are appropriate for the grade level you teach.)
  • Students should wear uniforms to school.
  • Kids should be able to have TVs in their bedrooms.
  • Wearing a helmet when riding a bike should be mandatory.
  • Because many kids need more sleep, school should start two hours later than it now starts.
  • Chewing gum should be banned from schools.
  • Scientists should be allowed to use animals to test new medicines.
  • Kids younger than 18 should be able to make their own decisions about whether to get a body piercing.
    In each case, provide time for students to share their feelings; be sure to emphasize respect for all opinions.

    Language arts dictionary skills. Have students place the following list of words from the news story in alphabetical order.

  • punishment
  • message
  • successful
  • detention
  • behavior
  • embarrassed
  • acceptable
  • suspended
  • daughter
  • bullying After students alphabetize the list, have them write next to each word the number of syllables in that word. The correct answers should be as follows:
    1. acceptable (4)
    2. behavior (3)
    3. bullying (3)
    4. daughter (2)
    5. detention (3)
    6. embarrassed (3)
    7. message (2)
    8. punishment (3)
    9. successful (3)
    10. suspended (3)


    Use the Comprehension Check (above) as an assessment. Or have students work on their own (in their journals) or in their small groups to respond to the Think About the News questions on the news story page or in the Comprehension Check section.

    Lesson Plan Source

    Education World

    National Standards

    LANGUAGE ARTS: English
    GRADES K - 12
    NL-ENG.K-12.1 Reading for Perspective
    NL-ENG.K-12.2 Reading for Understanding
    NL-ENG.K-12.3 Evaluation Strategies
    NL-ENG.K-12.4 Communication Skills
    NL-ENG.K-12.9 Multicultural Understanding
    NL-ENG.K-12.11 Participating in Society
    NL-ENG.K-12.12 Applying Language Skills

    GRADES K - 4
    NSS-C.K-4.5 Roles of the Citizen

    GRADES 5 - 8
    NSS-C.5-8.5 Roles of the Citizen
    GRADES 9 - 12
    NSS-C.9-12.5 Roles of the Citizen

    See recent news stories in Education Worlds News Story of the Week Archive.

    Article by Ellen Delisio and Gary Hopkins
    Education World®
    Copyright © 2008 Education World