Chrysanthemum Activities

We love the book Chrysanthemum, by Kevin Henkes and we just did a week of fun activities to go along with this terrific book.

Chrysanthemum is a mouse who grows up loving her unique name—until she goes to school. The other mice tease her for having such a long and unusual name.  That is, until they meet their music teacher, who has a fantastic and flowery name of her own.

First, we made a Flower Garden of Names.  Starting with Chrysanthemum, then adding the names of friends and family members.

I wrote the names of Chrysanthemum, plus many of our family and friends’ names on strips of paper.  My 5 year old, The Queen Bee, copied one letter on each petal, then I helped her glue them onto a long sheet of white butcher paper, on which I’d pre-painted stems and grass.

I drew a simple flower petal template and traced it onto a sheet of white paper, then photocopied it onto different colored cardstock. The flower centers are from a one inch circle punch, found in any craft store’s scrapbooking section (Oh-so-many uses for the one inch circle punch. I’ve actually worn one out and am on my second one.).

Next we did a math activity.  We took our name strips and used cube counters and made a stack for each name, one cube per letter.

Then we ordered them from most to least.  Of course, Chrysanthemum’s was the longest.

Next, I gave her a card with a, e, i, o and u on it and we identified the vowels in all of the names, putting a cube on each vowel.

We sounded out the names without their vowels. They all sounded very silly! This attracted the attention of my 7 year old as well and we all went around calling each other by our vowel-less names for a while, followed by fits of giggles. Try it, it’s fun.

This reminded The Queen Bee that there is a song on one of The Letter Factory videos about vowels. It was awesome to see her connect this to what we were working on. A lightbulb moment. She even noticed that the y in Chrysanthemum’s name was making a vowel sound so we talked about the “sometimes y” rule.

She then pulled out the cards from a Hello Kitty matching game and made up her own game with the name cards. She matched a Hello Kitty card that had the same beginning sound as each name (Daddy/drum, Bella/bird and so on).

While we read Chrysanthemum, The Queen Bee wore her mouse ears headband that we made during our week of learning with another famous mouse, Angelina Ballerina.  The instructions for making them are in my Angelina post.

For more fun activities with literature, including another Kevin Henkes favorite, Lilly’s Purple Plastic Purse, click over to my Learning with Literature page. 

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16 Responses to Chrysanthemum Activities

  1. Mom says:

    Another fun thing to do with names is to spell them out just like you would be saying the name. “Hi G.R.A.C.E” or “Hi my name is S.A.L.L.Y!” When say-spelling them you get a rhythm that has a fun sound to it.

  2. Jill @ EHM says:

    What creative ideas! Love the mouse head bands to tie in the lesson.

  3. What great ideas! Your bio blurb up top is amusing enough that I’ll have to check out more of your posts as my girls grow. 🙂

  4. Beth says:

    What wonderful ideas!! Love how you even used math & the cubes!!! Thanks for linking to TGIF!! See you next week,
    Beth =-)

  5. eexpeditions says:

    Love this idea! 🙂

  6. Amanda says:

    My 5 year old would love these activities. I like the use of unifix cubes to do a name graphing activity! We are starting a collection of books and activities on our blog and this is exactly what we are looking for. We would love to have you link this and any other book and activity post up as well. The link will be open year long!

  7. Mrs. Random says:

    These are beautiful activites! Plus, I have a really, really unusual name myself (Xuan), and so I immediately sympathize with Chrysanthemum!

  8. It just occurred to me you could also discuss # syllables in the names using those cube counters. Thanks for all the ideas. We will have to get our Legos out and try some of your tips. By the way, Kevin Henkes has a new book coming out next month, Penny and Her Song. Can’t wait to read it!

  9. MiaB says:

    Your activities are great!! I’m going to have to get this book for my little peanut… she would love the flower activities 🙂 Would love to invite you share this at Sharing Saturday.

    Have a Happy Day

  10. I love your math lesson! What a great way to tie math to words!

    Thank you for linking up!

  11. Jill says:

    What a great idea!!! I love that you can use this idea for all different themes/word! Thanks sooo much for sharing!!!

  12. Giggly Girls says:

    Fabulous activities!!! We just love that book.

    Pinning this post to my pinterest.

    Popping in from the wrap-up

  13. lauriesibley says:

    My favorite “bringing books to life” activities are ones where you cross over into different curriculum areas. The math & graphing activity is a great one. And I also like the flower wall. :o)

  14. Ticia says:

    Kevin Henkes is such a fun author! I love all you did with names.

  15. Carrie says:

    What great activities for a great book. I love Kevin Henkes. We love reading Little White Rabbit and My Garden by him. Thank you so much for sharing at Sharing Saturday!

  16. Janet says:

    Such cute ideas! I love the flowers.

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