Monday, June 11, 2018

Cooperative Learning with Brave Like My Brother

As a teacher, I was thrilled to discover Brave Like My Brother by Marc Tyler Nobleman. This slim title will make a perfect read-aloud and writing model for the upper elementary classroom. Told entirely in letters, Brave Like My Brother depicts a touching relationship between two brothers writing to each other during World War II. Joe’s letters home to younger brother Charlie share a fascinating account of an American soldier’s life abroad. The portrayal of war is neither too sugar coated nor too frightening for upper elementary students. Charlie’s letters to Joe share his struggles with a bully at home in Cleveland. The book’s large font and 100 page text should make it attractive to reluctant readers. 

Letter writing is a wonderful vehicle for sharing information. After reading Brave Like My Brother, students could work in pairs, each one taking on the role of a person separated from a loved one by war or circumstance. The letters could involve research into either a historical era or geographic region. It could be an exciting cooperative project. Here are some suggestions.

Student 1: Write letters to a sister/brother/friend describing your life as you travel to a new country and build a new life.
Student 2: Describe your life at home in response to these letters.

Student 1: Write letters home to a sister/brother/friend while you are at summer camp or on a vacation.
Student 2: Describe your life back home in response to these letters.

Student 1: Write letters to a friend during a move to a state across the country.
Student 2: Respond to the letters with information on how things are going in your friend’s old city.

Student 1: Write letters to a parent/sister/brother who is away on business, deployed, or incarcerated.
Student 2: Respond to the letters, explaining your current life situation.

Student 1: Write letters to a grandparent asking what life was like for them and explaining what your life is like.
Student 2: Write letters answering your grandchild’s questions.

In an age, when most people communicate by email or text rather than speaking on the phone, the ability to express ourselves by means of a letter is more important than ever. A cooperative letter writing exercise will give your students practice in both writing and essential life skills.

No comments:

Post a Comment