Tuesday, November 10, 2020

I Move A Lot and That's Okay by Shermaine Perry-Knights

Have you ever heard the phrase "military brat?"  When you hear those words you may feel unsettled because the word "brat" normally refers to a spoiled or annoying child.  In actuality though, it's a widely used term that connotates admiration and respect within the military community... a military brat is the son or daughter of (either acting or retired) personnel in the armed services.  Researchers estimate that roughly 2 million children and teenagers in the United States have one or both parents deployed at least once.  These children have to move/relocate on an average of 10 times more often than their peers. Moving that often may seem daunting to most people, but for children growing up in the military, they learn to embrace change, diversity, equity, and inclusion.  Many of them learn more than one language and develop a sense of worldliness.  

I Move a Lot and That's Okay by Shermaine Perry-Knights (affiliate link to Amazon) is a realistic fiction story that is based on her personal experiences as a "proud military brat."  She writes about what it's like to move from one place to another, the feelings of excitement and nervousness children sometimes feel when they have to move, and how families take care of each other throughout the process.  It's a story that will give you an insight into the lives these children lead and how they learn to be more resilient, flexible, and well-rounded as they grow up.  Keep reading to learn more about I Move a Lot and That's Okay and how you can integrate it into your language arts lessons.

Learn about life as a military brat, geography, new vocabulary,  and story elements with the book I Move A Lot and That's Okay by Shermaine Perry-Knights.

🍎 Author: Shermaine Perry-Knights
🍎 Date: October 16, 2020
🍎 Publisher: Innovation Consultants of DeKalb
🍎 Pages: 39

Story Summary from Amazon

I Move A Lot and That’s Okay teaches kids how to emotionally cope with relocation. Designed to build resilience and confidence in children, this picture book follows a bright-eyed girl in a military family as she shows the reader that she can embrace a new environment, language, and a different culture. Leaving their home and settling in another is tough on all kids. This is what military families go through when moving to a new station, far away from home in another city, state, or country. This adventure is filled with sadness, loss, acceptance, and hope. By the end of the story, young readers will be chanting the theme of the book: "I move a lot and that’s okay!” While this book features a military child, its message of resilience and hope are universal ones that help all children to overcome obstacles more easily.

Learn about life as a military brat, geography, new vocabulary,  and story elements with the book I Move A Lot and That's Okay by Shermaine Perry-Knights.

Making Connections

I Move a Lot and That's Okay is written from the perspective of a girl named Grace.  She finds out that her father has been stationed to a base in Italy and the family has to pack everything up and move.  Grace is both nervous and excited at the same time.  Before reading I Move a Lot, have a class discussion about moving.  Even if you don't have military children in your class, chances are you have students who have moved at least once or twice.  Ask your students if they ever had to move.  What was it like for them?  How did they feel?  Do they have any interesting stories about moving they'd like to share?  Although I Move a Lot is about life as a military child, your students will be able to relate to having to move from one place to another.

Learn about life as a military brat, geography, new vocabulary,  and story elements with the book I Move A Lot and That's Okay by Shermaine Perry-Knights.

Reading the Story

Shermaine Perry-Knights wrote I Move a Lot for students in mid to upper elementary school students who are able to read without having to rely on illustrations to understand the story.  You can do a picture walk through the story before reading with your class if you'd like, but it's not necessary.  However, the illustrations in I Move a Lot are attractive and well done so you could do a picture walk just for fun and to check them out.  Because I Move a Lot is written for mid to upper elementary students, it can be read independently or during small group instruction.

Learn about life as a military brat, geography, new vocabulary,  and story elements with the book I Move A Lot and That's Okay by Shermaine Perry-Knights.

Geography

Grace's family is moving from the United States to a base in Italy.  More than likely your students have heard of Italy... pizza and spaghetti... but the younger ones may not know where Italy is.  Pull out a world map.  Start by having your children find the country they live in.  Where is their country?  Where is the United States?  Where is Italy?  What does the shape of Italy remind them of?  What ocean and seas are between the United States and Italy?  Grace mentioned being nervous about volcanoes erupting.  Can your students find some of the volcanoes on the map?  What are some other interesting land features they can find?

Learn about life as a military brat, geography, new vocabulary,  and story elements with the book I Move A Lot and That's Okay by Shermaine Perry-Knights.

Story Elements

When students start learning how to read, they learn that stories traditionally have characters, settings, problems, and solutions.  They are taught that characters and introduced at the beginning of stories, that events in the story build-up to the largest problem (or choice that has to be made), and that additional events lead to the solution at the end.  I Move a Lot has all of these elements, but the problem of the story is NOT in the middle of the story... it's actually in the very first sentence!  Don't tell your students that right away.  Let them read the story on their own to see if they can find it by themselves.  Some of your students will say that Grace having to move is the problem, but it's not.  Grace having to manage her feelings about moving is the problem!
  • main characters: Grace, Grace's parents
  • minor characters: Mr. Mossburg, Mr. Joe, Silvia
  • setting: Colombus, Georgia, Fort Benning, school, TLF, Italy, schools, modern-day
  • problem: Grace has mixed emotions and feels unsure about having to move again.
  • solution: Grace is able to manage her feelings by searching for the positive things about moving that remind her she'll be okay.

Learn about life as a military brat, geography, new vocabulary,  and story elements with the book I Move A Lot and That's Okay by Shermaine Perry-Knights.

Vocabulary Development

As your students read I Move a Lot, your students who don't have any experience with military life may be confused about some of the vocabulary used in the book.  Before your students start reading I Move a Lot independently, hand them a small stack of post-its.  Whenever your students run into a word, phrase, or concept they don't understand have them write it onto a post-it.  When they are done reading the story, collect all of the post-its, attach them to an anchor chart or front board, and have a class discussion to help your students figure out what they all mean.  Here is a sample of what your anchor chart might look like:

Learn about life as a military brat, geography, new vocabulary,  and story elements with the book I Move A Lot and That's Okay by Shermaine Perry-Knights.

To learn more about Shermaine Perry-Knights and I Move a Lot and That's Okay, you can watch this podcast by Sistas Talk Podcast.  You can also visit her book's promo page at Innovation Consultants of Dekalb.


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