Oliver Button is a Sissy
One year, when I was teaching science to third graders, we were working on magnets and electricity. I placed objects on a table and asked students to vote whether the magnet would attract each particular item. I came to a nickel. I asked for a vote, “Raise your hand if you think that, yes, the magnet will attract the nickel." A few hands shot up immediately. Then I watched the others. I happened to have most of the “cool" third graders in this class. Those kids had their hands up so it didn’t take long for the others to raise their hands following their “leaders". One lone boy kept his hand down. Others started to snicker at him but he was not swayed. As it turned out, he was the only one that was right and I had a teachable moment. I commented on the fact that he should be proud that he stuck to his convictions and was not influenced by the crowd. Just like Oliver Button.
Even though this is a picture book, Oliver Button is a Sissy could still be the catalyst for great discussions about peer pressure and bullying with children from kindergarten through third grade. Beloved author and illustrator, Tomie dePoala, admits that Oliver Button’s childhood was based on his own childhood. He was teased and bullied because he was different. Like Oliver Button, he continued to pursue what he loved and did not follow the crowd.
Read the book to your class.
Write these sentences with large letters on 9" x 12" pieces of construction paper:
Oliver’s dad told him to go out and play ball.
Oliver took dance lessons for the exercise.
The girls rescued Oliver’s tap shoes from the boys.
The writing on the wall says Oliver Button is a sissy.
Oliver signs up for the talent show and practices hard.
Oliver lost in the talent show.
Oliver does not want to go to school.
The writing on the wall says Oliver Button is a star.
Mix up the papers and then give one paper to each of eight students. Ask students to stand in front of the class holding the cards so that the writing faces the audience. Allow time for others to read the sentences or the teacher can read the sentences aloud. Then take turns putting the sentences in order by moving the students to the right place in the sequence.