During those first few weeks of back to school, it is really important to set classroom standards and expectations. I love to incorporate using books and activities to help students learn about our classroom rules. The Recess Queen is a great back-to-school book. This book highlights the importance of standing up for yourself and others, but also how important it is to include everyone, even the bullies. Sometimes bullies are insecure and lonely, so bringing them in on the fun can help them tremendously. The Recess Queen is a great book that students enjoy and I have a wide variety of fantastic activities to go along with it, I hope you enjoy these as much as I do!
The Recess Queen by Alexis O’Neill is a cute story that touches on the subject of bullying in a light-hearted way students can grasp. Mean Jean is the schoolyard bully, dubbed the Recess Queen. She reigns over the schoolyard and makes other students feel afraid and sad. Until one day, a new student steps up and puts Mean Jean in her place. The new student stands up for herself and others, but in a kind and compassionate way, showing Jean there is fun to be had by all.
I love to use this book to kick off the school year, to teach the importance of kindness, compassion, and love in the classroom. It is a no bully zone! These fun and engaging activities help students to learn the message of The Recess Queen and be creative, let’s take a look at some of my favorites!
Start with a Read Aloud
But first things first, we start with reading the book. This is one of the first read alouds I do in the school year and my students love it every.single.time! But we don’t stop with reading the book, instead we dig into the book with some fun and engaging activities.
We will actually use this book as our literacy focus for the entire week. Each day we will use this book to focus on a different skill or concept. By the end of the week we have such a deep understanding of this story, its themes and so much more!
Here’s how I teach The Recess Queen.
The Recess Queen Anchor Charts
After our first reading, we jump right into the our first discussion of the book. First up, characters! To get things rolling, I love to involve the class in creating an anchor chart. On the first day we focus on identifying the characters of the story, Mean Jean and Katie Sue. We then discuss character traits and identify the traits of our characters. When doing the anchor chart activity, it is a great time to discuss the differences between the two main characters, Mean Jean and Katie Sue. We finish this day up with students creating their own character trait charts for each of the main characters.
On another day, usually the third day, before reading our story again, we talk about finding the problem and solution in a story. We add the Problem and Solution definition cards to our anchor chart. With these concepts in mind, I read the story again. I ask the students to see if they can identify a problem and solution in our story.
After reading, we have a discussion about the problems and solution in the story. We add these to our anchor chart. Allow students to talk about each character’s traits and their problems and solutions in the story. This is a great activity to do together as a class and have students express what they think about each part of the story.
This anchor chart continues to grow and evolve all week as we dig deeper and deeper into this story.
Digging into Vocabulary
Through our reading of The Recess Queen we make a second anchor chart too! This anchor chart focuses on book vocabulary. I usually create this anchor chart on the second day. Before doing our second reading, we talk about some of the words we heard on the first day.
We create this vocabulary anchor chart with all of the words and definitions. I love that the word cards also have a picture. This visual image really helps students to remember the definitions.
After going over the vocabulary we take on our second reading of this great story. This time, as we come across a vocabulary word, we pause and talk about the meaning and how it helps us better understand the story.
It’s amazing how much more the students get into the story when they are really understanding these new words. We finish our day with students doing a related vocabulary activity. This opportunity to work with the vocabulary words again really helps them to learn the words and their meaning.
The Recess Queen Problem & Solution Craft
On the third day, after talking about problem and solution, the students love creating their own Mean Jean and Katie Sue craft. This is a fun activity that gives students an opportunity to practice identifying a problem and solution from a story.
After creating their own Mean Jean and Katie Sue, students will write down the problems and solutions they learned from the story. It is a very hands-on and engaging activity that students will love and can be showcased in the classroom!
Solve The Problem Book
A great activity to get students thinking about problems and solutions at school! The idea behind this activity is to have your students recognize the problem in the image, then come up with a solution to fix it. Each of these situations are relatable to the students which gets them thinking about how they can use problem / solution in everyday life. For the solution, students will draw a picture to depict the solution they came up with. This gives students a chance to use their mind and be creative, while also teaching them how to solve problems that sometimes arise at school. This is a great activity to kick off the year and is a great way to reinforce school rules and expectations.
The Recess Queen Sequence of Events Activity
Another skill I like to include when doing a book study is a sequencing activity. Often times sequencing practice is limited to just a few events. However, when connected to a book there is more detail. If you are looking for a way to helps your students understand the concept of the story, this sequence of events activity is great.
This is a cut-and-paste activity that is great for getting those fine motor skills going. It also allows students to truly dive deep into the story by taking the events and placing them in chronological order. They can color each block, cut it out and paste it in its proper place on the story timeline.
Understanding the events of the story and how they unfold is essential for learning what the book is truly trying to teach! Students can really make those connections to how Katie Sue had a positive influence on Jean through her actions.
More Fun Activities!
I’ve put all of my favorite Recess Queen activities together into one resource. All of the activities described above are included, but that’s not all! There are many other fun and engaging activities to use with your book study.
Connect this book to your own playground rules with a fun writing craftivity. With this wonderful story set on the playground, we have many opportunities to discuss recess time and playground rules. Students will create a crafty version of themselves and then work on describing a recess rule that they will follow. The students love this activity and sharing the recess rule they feel is important.
While math is not our focus in this book study, I love to bring in these lovable characters any time I can! Students love completing the 100 Chart Mystery Pictures that reveal our two main characters. It’s a great addition to a math center, morning work or an early finisher activity.
Another favorite is the Mean Jean and Katie Sue directed drawings. Over the week, students really connect with these characters. Learning to draw them is a highlight of the week. I love to display these in the classroom.
Bring The Recess Queen to your Classroom!
You can’t go wrong using this great book in your classroom. Whether you do this book study at the beginning of the year, or later as a way to talk about bullying, Mean Jean is a great way to engage students in these topics. I’ve pulled all my favorite activities together into one resource. I hope you and your students love this book study activities bundle for The Recess Queen.
Save These Recess Queen Activities
Pin this to your favorite classroom Pinterest board so you can quickly come back to find these engaging book-based activities for your class!