Book-Based Skill Builders

Curriculum Connections

Ida B. Fun with Similes
based on Ida B.
by Katherine Hannigan
Grades: 3–6

View and print the student activity sheet (PDF)



About the Book
Ida B has a peaceful life on her family farm surrounded by loving parents and her tree friends in the apple orchard. But when Ida B’s life is turned upside down by her mom’s cancer diagnosis she becomes bitter and lashes out at all those around her. With much support from a loving teacher and her parents Ida learns how to deal with her anger and discovers some important lessons about being a friend.

Set the Stage
Get the students ready to read by discussing these items:

  • Look at the book cover and discuss what the setting of this book may be by the clues offered.
  • The author uses several similes throughout the book. Explain that similes are a type of figurative language where two unlike things are compared using the words ‘like or as’. Have students listened for similes in the book as you read.
  • Have a brief discussion of how a person’s choices in the face of hardship can steer you into either more turmoil or make you stronger.

Review
After reading the book use some of these questions for discussion starters:

  • Why do you think Ida B had apple trees as friends to talk to and not real friends?
  • Why did Ida avoid going into the orchard after the apple trees where chopped down?
  • How did Ida B’s teacher help her work through her angry feelings?
  • How did Ida’s friend Ronnie help her turnaround her negative attitude?
  • Why was it so hard for Ida to apologize to Claire? Why did Ida say apologizing was like spring cleaning?
  • Ida made some poor choices as she tried to deal with her anger and bitterness. Brainstorm some better choices Ida could have made to avoid the trouble she found herself in.

Student Activity
Explore the world of figurative language by describing what each simile from the story means.

Related Activities
To extend the students’ comprehension of the book, try these:

  • Superhero Deluxe: Ida imagined herself as a superhero that she described as Superhero Deluxe, Friend of the Downtrodden. She imagined herself with specials powers to turn wrong into right and evil into good. Have students create their own superhero. They can draw a symbol of their superhero and describe what special powers they may have. Have volunteers present their superheros to the class.
  • The Earth’s Caretakers: Ida’s father said, “We don’t own the earth. We are the earth’s caretakers.” Discuss with your students ways that they can take care of the earth and leave it better than they found it. Create a class poster board that illustrates some of their best ideas and hang it outside the class for other students to see. If your school has a T.V. video program, you could also have several students present the poster on your morning program.
  • Recycling Saves the Planet!: Read the last page of the book that describes why this book was printed on 100% post-consumer recycled paper. Have your students research the process of recycling paper to find out why it improves the health of the earth and all its inhabitants. Ask students to come up with a recycling paper program for your school. If possible implement their strategy.
  • Green-Up the School: Have your class create a plan to raise funds to purchase several trees to help green-up your school grounds. Some local nurseries may also be willing to donate trees for your school to plant. Once trees are planted have a special tree naming ceremony and select several students to care for the trees.
  • New Student Welcome: Ida had a hard time adjusting to her new school. It is very hard to move to a new school where you have no friends and everything is new to you. Brainstorm with your students ways they could help a new student feel welcome at their school. Put their best ideas into action the next time a new student comes to school.

(PDF)
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