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March 24, 2013: I've been excited to hear from teachers who have been using I'M BORED in different ways in the classroom, and have decided to start posting them here. If you're a teacher with suggestions, anecdotes or ideas about using I'M BORED with students, I'd love to hear from you.
Thanks! -- Debbie
From Paula B. White:
"This book is excellent for teaching verbal irony at the secondary level and self-efficacy at the elementary level ~ I give it a 10! Humorous, courageous, and witty!
As far as literary features, here are my observations:
Situational Irony: Situational irony is a relationship of contrast between what an audience is led to expect during a particular situation within the unfolding of a story's plot and a situation that ends up actually resulting later on.
The audience is initially convinced that the little girl will indeed spend the duration of the book unable to find anything engaging to do. When a cynical potato challenges her ability to entertain herself, she reconsiders, rediscovers and then boldly reclaims her own capabilities. Their dialogue illuminates the bold self-efficacy that emerges from the little girl. The comical unfolding is situationally ironic because she ends up entertaining herself after all.
The situational irony affords the reader an engaging romp that serves as a reminder that they too are equipped with talents for greatness.
Self-efficacy is commonly defined as the belief in one's capabilities to achieve a goal or an outcome.
Another literary (rhetorical) device in your book is anaphora, which is seen in many famous speeches as well as literature; Martin Luther King Jr.: “I Have a Dream,” Winston Churchill: “We Will Fight,” Charles Dickens: Tale of Two Cities, etc.) and many children’s books alike (lots of use in Dr. Suess’s books as well). When anaphora, a phrase or clause repeated at the beginning of successive sentences is used, the device promotes importance due to its repetitive emphasis.
In the case of I'm Bored, it also helps build the rising action as is evident when your little girl proclaims everything she can do. This is seen in her repeated words “Kids can” followed by a verb with an exclamation. This is significant because this repetitive clause reiterates a positive reminder for the reader. The "Kids can" builds that self-efficacy in the reader. Kids remember what they can do and parents smile because they love to see self-efficacy in their children."
From Maria Selke, an elementary gifted resource teacher in West Chester, PA:
"I used I'm Bored with two different groups. One was a set of gifted second graders during enrichment. I used it as a read-aloud. We talked about what we do when we are bored, and how to address boredom (a common complaint with that population!). We had some fun brainstorming 'boring' things and we wrote a letter to Debbie Ohi about the book. With a third grade reading group I used it as a read-aloud introduction prior to starting The Phantom Tollbooth - since that story is all about a boy who is fighting boredom!"