The Recess Queen Activities
The Recess Queen activities for Kindergarten and First-grade students include simple lesson plans featuring ideas for the book, The Recess Queen. Reading, writing, math, STEM, craft, and center activities, too!
If you look at the images of this book, you can tell it is a little frayed around the edges… Yes! I love it that much! The Recess Queen by Alexis O’Neill is a great book for the beginning of the year and we usually refer back to it when we discuss appropriate recess behaviors, but it can honestly be used at any point during the year.
The Mean Jean the Recess Queen Summary
Nobody dared to challenge Mean Jean’s status as the ultimate queen of recess until a new student named Katie Sue joins Jean’s class. Tiny Katie Sue’s arrival turned out to be a golden opportunity for Mean Jean to learn how to be a nicer and more inclusive friend during recess. Despite her small size, the new girl, Katie Sue, had a massive impact on the playground. As Mean Jean hung out with Katie Sue, she started picking up some important lessons about empathy, teamwork, and embracing others. This encounter transformed Mean Jean from a bossy schoolyard bully to a kinder and more welcoming playmate.
This is one of those great back to school read alouds that your students will love and provide a great opportunity to talk about conflict resolution. One of our first week of school activities is to practice recess behavior. We model good choices and also discuss poor choices. Basically, don’t be a Mean Jean the Recess Queen student!
This CLASSIC first page is also a great source to use as a writing mini-less for a strong beginning! Additionally, the illustrations are a perfect demonstration for those students who are still making their written stories known through their drawings.
As with all of our Engaging Readers, there is a retelling activity that we do on the second day with this close-read book.
The Recess Queen Activities: Crafts and Directed Drawing
We love how this Katie Sue craft turned out. We always think of the book crafts as the cherry on top! Naturally, the book is the ice cream sundae because we love a good book!
We also love when students learn more about illustrating through a directed drawing. These Recess Queens are the BEST! I feel like Jean has missed an appointment for a brow waxing.
The Recess Queen Activities: Character Studies
We love looking at how our main characters evolve in a story. This anchor chart is a great graphic organizer as we look at a variety of character traits. Building this anchor chart is a great activity to do as a whole group.
At first, students will want to describe the characters’ physical traits, but with each reading lesson throughout the school year, you will notice students going deeper with their character descriptions.
The power of these reading unit lessons is in the student discussions. This is an interactive activity and students discuss each of the writing prompts with their partner before ever writing a response. Most of their meaning is made through illustrations at this point in kindergarten. We are patient. We know the point of these lessons is for students to do the thinking work.
As their transcription skills catch up, we have seen time and time again how detailed they become in their written responses too. These pictures really do show how the Mean Jean changed by the end of the story.
The Recess Queen Activities: Reading Responses
Throughout the week, students engage in reading response activities that solidify reading comprehension questions and strategies. Once again, the point of this reading resource is to engage students in the deep discussions and the thinking work of readers.
The Recess Queen Activities: Opinion Writing
On the final day with the book, students work on writing an opinion piece. Writing opinions on a shared experience like this reading is a great way to support students.
The Recess Queen Activities: Print and Teach Lesson Plans
We have included resources that are not only supportive in kindergarten, they work beautifully in first grade classrooms as well. These Recess Queen print and teach activities can be found here:
If you would like to see more student examples with The Recess Queen, hop on over to Deanna Jump’s blog:
The Recess Queen Video
Four days out of the week we engaging in the actual book. I’m reading and turning pages. However, it is wonderful to offer students another example and model of reading fluency.
These videos are GOLD!
The Recess Queen Activities: STEM and Centers
For the STEM companion lesson, students plan, design, and test out a slide for Mean Jean! Thank you to Ms. Fox’s students for sharing a fun picture of this activity!
You can find the STEM fun activity and some centers here:
You can find each of these centers by clicking on the pictures below.
The Overhead Station has always been one of those “cool” factor centers. LOL!
Around the 6th week of school, we begin to work on fluency and automaticity with our letters. The Time Me! Center is perfect for that. Some students are also working on sight words, so this center is easy to differentiate. One set of cards has letters and one set has sight words. Of course, this is an editable file, so you can customize it to meet your classroom needs. You may be saying, “BUT WAIT! I have one student who only knows 5 letters!” My answer is this… then make them a set of cards with those 5 letters this week (so they overlearn them), then next week add 2 more letters that they are working on!
The sentence center is a standard in our classroom. Some students may just write one sentence, while others write more than one.
At the writing center, there are lots of opportunities to differentiate. Some students may still be drawing pictures at this center. Others may be making lists or writing stories.
The Dough Center is always fun. I like to offer several different options (for math and literacy centers). This math option offers numeral building and writing. It also has 2D shape building.
RECESS QUEEN ACTIVITIES AND LESSON PLAN TEMPLATES
Download this free editable Recess Queen PDF lesson plan format and make it your own. This is also available as a PDF version! Click on the image to download this file from Google Drive.
DO YOU WANT OTHER EASY PLANNING FILES LIKE THIS?
You can find a whole year’s worth of lesson planning made simple by clicking:
MORE BACK TO SCHOOL BOOK IDEAS
Here are a few of my other favorite books to start the school year off right!
I hope you found some great Mean Jean the Recess Queen Activities! As I said, we love to spend a full week on this book to dive deep while also discussing how to be a caring member of your classroom community.