Written by: Carmen Bogan
Illustrated by: Floyd Cooper
Published by: Yosemite Conservancy, 2017
Rodney can’t seem to sit still. At school, he is always more interested in what is happening outside the window than what is going on inside the classroom. Rodney has a reputation for goofing off. He can’t wait until the three o’clock bell rings.
Where do you think Rodney wants to be? Rodney can’t wait to get OUTSIDE.
Somewhat luckily, Rodney’s teacher, Miss Garcia, is planning a class field trip to the park on Friday. But Rodney knows the park well and going there does not excite him. However, when they finally arrive at the park, Rodney is in for a big surprise.
Let’s take a closer look at Rodney’s characteristics, as they are revealed to us in the story Carmen Bogan tells.
Observant. Rodney uses his senses to observe the world around him. He watches a “big black bird soar” overhead. He “smells yesterday’s lunch” near the cafeteria. And he catches a “tiny pill bug creeping across the windowsill.” Challenge readers to find additional evidence of observation in the text.
Energetic. When the three o’clock bell finally rings, Rodney runs. He runs out of his classroom, he runs out of the school, and he runs all the way home. He doesn’t even stop for the crossing guard. Why do you think Rodney has so much energy? What do you think Rodney wants to do when he gets home?
Kinesthetic. The most physical of all learning styles, kinesthetic learners absorb information best through touch, movement, and motion. This means that to really understand something, they need to touch it, feel it, and move it around. In what ways does Rodney show learning through movement?
Reflective. On the bus ride home from the field trip, Rodney is uncharacteristically quiet. The field trip pages are light on text and big on imagery as short, comparison sentences focus readers on Rodney’s park experience. How are Rodney’s experiences in the park different from the classroom? What is Rodney thinking about on the way home?
Smart. While his classmates view Rodney as a likable, curious, and goofy classmate, it is no secret to Miss Garcia that Rodney is also very smart. On the very last page of the book, Rodney effectively uses the “word of the week” to describe his park experience. Earlier in the week, Rodney struggled to define this word in front of the class. Being in the park helped Rodney to truly grasp its meaning.
Do you know someone like Rodney? Are YOU like Rodney? Be sure to ask readers: In what ways are you like Rodney? In what ways is Rodney like you?
Author Carmen Bogan is a writing coach for children and youth. This book grew out of her experience working with nonprofit organizations supporting public health through outdoor experiences for low-income children. Enjoy a Read Aloud of this Recommended Reading by Carmen herself on YouTube.
Connections to PLT Activities
Consider coupling this volume with the following PLT activities to practice kinesthetic learning and reflection:
#4 Sounds Around
#21 Adopt a Tree
#25 Birds and Worms
#63 Tree Factory
#67 How Big is Your Tree?
#78 Signs of Fall