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Let's Get Along


  • Arts and Humanities
    --- Literature
  • Social Studies
    --- Sociology


    • 3-5
    • 6-8

    Brief Description

    A book by Eve Bunting teaches valuable lessons about getting along with people we do not know.


  • share their thoughts about why getting along with people is valuable.
  • compare and contrast themselves with someone from a different culture.
  • write and share information about a peer.
  • understand key vocabulary: rioting, hooligan, culture, nationality, race, difference, shelter


    culture, rioting, differences, getting along, Los Angeles riot, diversity, multicultural

    Materials Needed

  • a copy of the Caldecott Award-winning book Smoky Night by Eve Bunting (Harcourt, Brace and Company, 1994)
  • paper and pencils
  • pictures of people of different cultures (library books and National Geographic magazine are good sources)

    The Lesson

    Anticipatory Set
    Display a picture of a person your students would consider to be from a different culture. (National Geographic magazine and library books are good sources of such pictures.) Ask students to share what they know or think about the person in the picture. Write their ideas and feelings on a sheet of chart paper or a white/blackboard.

    Guided Practice
    Draw a Venn diagram on the board. Invite students to brainstorm their thoughts about similarities and differences between themselves and the person in the picture.

    If you would like students to work on their own or in pairs to create a Venn diagram, you might use this template. Students can save a copy of the diagram to their computers and type their thoughts into it.
    The Lesson
    If you teach young children, you might write on a board or chart the following vocabulary words: rioting, hooligan, culture, nationality, race, difference, shelter. Discuss the meaning of the vocabulary words; write students definitions on the board.

    Read aloud to students the book Smoky Night, the 1995 Caldecott Award winner by Eve Bunting.

    From Amazon.com
    Bunting addresses urban violence in this thought-provoking and visually exciting picture book inspired by the Los Angeles riots. Although they're neighbors, Daniel's cat and Mrs. Kim's cat don't get along. Nor do Daniel and his mother shop at Mrs. Kim's market. "It's better if we buy from our own people," Daniel's mother says. But when Daniel's apartment building goes up in flames, all of the neighbors (including the cats) learn the value of bridging differences. Illustrator David Diaz's dazzling mixed-media collages superimpose bold acrylic illustrations on photographs of carefully arranged backgrounds that feature a wide array of symbolic materials -- from scraps of paper and shards of broken glass to spilled rice and plastic dry-cleaner bags. Interestingly, Diaz doesn't strongly differentiate the presumably Asian American Mrs. Kim from the African American characters -- even the artwork here cautions the reader against assumptions about race. (Ages 5-up)
    As you read aloud, stop at pre-determined spots to discuss questions such as
  • How do you think the boy feels when he sees the rioting from his window?
  • What does it mean when the boy says, Mama says its better if we buy from our own people?
  • Why do you think the boy cant understand Mrs. Kims words?
  • What do you think is the most important lesson from this book?
  • Why do you think some people dont like other people that they do not know?

    As a class, discuss the consequences when people do not get along with each other.


    Check for Understanding
    Ask students to write five reasons why getting along with others is a valuable character trait. Invite some students share their thoughts with the class.

    Submitted By

    Kristina Davenport, an education student at the University of Idaho in Coeur d'Alene

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