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A Teacher’s Guide for Grades 2-3:

Donavan’s Word Jar

Donavan’s Word Jar is the story of a young African-American boy, Donavan, on a search to solve his dilemma – he has too many words to fit in his word jar collection! We chose this novel for its powerful attention to some rich social and emotional themes: perseverance, family, empathy, education, and kindness. Students will find themselves relating to and being inspired by Donavan’s search for a solution; this curriculum will help students build connections between Donavan’s life story and their own lives.

Problem solve with Donavan, a curious and ambitious, 3rd grade, African-American boy who encounters a predicament with his highly unusual hobby of collecting words!

Donavan collects words. He discovers words in everyday situations, writes them down on slips of paper, and adds them to his word jar. But one day, he finds he has collected more words than will fit in his word jar. With his word jar full, Donavan must figure out what to do. He asks advice from his mother, father, and teacher before finally discovering a solution while visiting his grandmother.

In the end, Donavan decides to share his words with people who can use them, and he learns that words can have a powerful effect on people.

Author:  Monalisa DeGross

Our Reading with Relevance teacher’s guide breaks the novel into a series of thoughtful lesson plans. Each lesson is designed to support you to meaningfully explore the social and emotional themes of the day’s reading with your students, inspiring them to read deeply, think critically, talk openly, and write reflectively about topics that matter.

This teacher’s guide includes:

  • A facilitator’s guide with tips and resources for implementing the curriculum.
  • A map of Common Core Standards addressed through this program.
  • Seven individual lesson plans, including vocabulary, discussion questions, journal prompts, extension activities, and all handouts.
  • An assessment to monitor student progress.
  • Regular checkpoints to help teachers assess their students’ progress on ELA standards.
  • A culminating essay-building unit.
  • An appendix with additional teaching resources and activities to continue exploring this novel.

Pages: 60
Dimensions: 8.5” x 11”



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