Teaching Civics with Children’s Literature: Zip, Zip…Homework

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Zip, Zip…Homework written and illustrated by Nancy Poydar

Zip, Zip…Homework by Nancy Poydar tells the story of Violet – a young student with a new backpack.  Violet gets a new backpack just for homework with lots of pockets.  She practices zipping, snapping, and velcroing all the pockets in her backpack every night – just in case she gets some homework to put in them.  Finally, Ms. Patience, Violet’s teacher, assigns homework.  Unfortunately, Violet loses it and instead of admitting her mistake, she chooses to lie and gets caught.  In the end, Ms. Patience teaches Violet a valuable lesson about being truthful.

“When recess time came, Ms. Patience said, ‘Violet, the truth is more important than homework, you know.’  Violet never imagined Ms. Patience saying that.  ‘I kept the truth zipped up,’ said Violet.  ‘But did you lose the truth?’ asked Ms. Patience.  ‘No,’ said Violet, and she told Ms. Patience the truth.”

“That night Violet told her parents the truth.  It was her special homework assignment, and it was harder than the homework she didn’t do the night before.”

Curriculum Connections:
Zip, Zip…Homework is a great book to read to younger students when discussing some qualities of a good citizen – practicing honesty and trustworthiness, taking responsibility for one’s actions, and demonstrating self-discipline.  This book correlates nicely with the Virginia History and Social Science Standards of Learning for K.8, 1.10, and 2.10.

Additional Resources:
Trustworthiness lesson:  This pdf document provides an idea to teach younger students about trustworthiness by asking leading questions and having them draw pictures.

Honesty worksheet:   This link includes a free worksheet of questions about honesty.

Responsibility lesson plan:   This lesson plan encourages students to take responsibility for their actions instead of making up excuses.  There are some nice questions and discussion prompts included in this lesson.

Character Counts Values Jar:  This is an idea for a whole class incentive to be good citizens.  Anytime a teacher catches a student being trustworthy, honest, caring, respectful, responsible, or generally a good citizen, a color-coded marble will be placed in a jar.  Once the jar is full, the class will be rewarded.

General Information:
Book: Zip, Zip…Homework
Author: Nancy Poydar
Illustrator: Nancy Poydar
Publisher: Holiday House, Inc.
Publication Date: September 2008
Pages: 32
Grade Range: K-2
ISBN-10: 0823420906
ISBN-13:  978-0823420902