Summer Learning with Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day by Judith Viorst

Weekly Trip to the Library for Nannies and Au Pairs

Read Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day. This story describes a day in which everything goes wrong for a boy named Alexander. When Alexander got up in the morning, he found gum in his hair, tripped on his skateboard, and accidentally dropped his sweater in the sink while the water was running.  Things got worse at breakfast when Alexander’s brothers got prizes in their cereal boxes while Alexander only got cereal in his box and after that incident, Alexander thought about moving to Australia.  Things got worse at school when Paul, Alexander’s best friend, told Alexander that he was no longer his best friend anymore.

After reading this story it is a great opportunity for the kids to discuss and write about bad feelings and to learn more about Australia. Allow the children to learn about Australia’s animals, language, and geography. Try speaking in Australian slang for a day and kids will love making an aboriginal musical instrument.

Activity One: Speak Australian Slang for the Day
Find the meaning to Australian slang at: http://www.koalanet.com.au/australian-slang.html.
Look up the meaning of the following words: Mate, bush, G’day, outback, boomerang, down under, didgeridoo, Barbie, car park, cozzie, joey, knickers, mum, roo, round-about and any other Australian term you find in the book or would love to learn. Do American’s have slang words too? Have a blast spending the day speaking in Australian slang. It’s hilarious.

Activity Two: Australian Animals
Help the kids discover what kind of animals live in Australia, You can find coloring pages of Australian animals at http://www.zoomschool.com/coloring/Australia.shtml. Click here to make masks of Australian animals and pretend you are visiting an Australian zoo.

Activity Three: Make a Didjeridoo
Listen to didjeridoo music for free at: http://www.didjshop.com/. Ask the kids to describe what they hear. Does it make a sound of an animal? Make a digeridoo using two cardboard wrapping paper tubes taped together. For children, make it only three or four feet long. Once the cardboard tubes are taped together, allow the kids to decorate it in bright colors using paint, markers, stickers, and anything else they can glue to the instrument. To play it, have the kids place it in front of them with one end resting on the ground. Have them place their mouths inside the tube and make the sound of a motorboat.

Activity Four: What Can You Do With 16
Sixteen is the number Alexander forgot in the book. Ask the children you care for how many ways can they come up with 16 cents? How many tens and how many ones are in the number 16? What grade will they be in when they are 16-years-old? How long do they think 16 paper clips will be (put the paper clips together and measure them).

Activity Five: Write or Tell a Story
Help the children write a story about a time they had a really bad day (like Alexander did in the book). Did the day get better? What happened to change their feelings? Ask them to write about a place they would like to move to when they have a bad day. Why did they choose this place? What would they do there? Could what happened to Alexander happen there too? Encourage them to use words found in Judith Viorst’s book such as: sailboat, invisible, sixteen, Australia, terrible, skateboard, breakfast, cupcakes, dessert, cavity, pajamas, dentist, horrible, and strawberry.

You can purchase the book by clicking the image or title below:

Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day

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