book cover The King of Large
by June Colbert

Novel | 175 pp | Years 58

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[ Care and Compassion | Doing Your Best | Responding to Text ]

Care and Compassion

How does the author demonstrate the importance of family, friends and others in supporting Robbie's physical and emotional wellbeing? Identify the main characters in Robbie's life and brainstorm examples from the story that demonstrate that they cared for him. For example, Mr Adesso (p 45, 51) and Robbie's Mum (p 54) and Dad (p 19).

How do the supporting characters behave towards Robbie's health and feelings? Assign a different supporting character to each group member and complete the PMI worksheet to identify examples of the positive and negative support that this person offers. In the 'Interesting' column, describe the effect of each action on Robbie. Share each group member's PMI and discuss the findings. When does the behaviour of others have a negative impact on Robbie's health and lead to him make poor decisions? Prepare a group response that provides explanations for why Robbie made his health situation worse by binge eating.

Share the group responses and discuss the explanations presented. How does the treatment of others affect the health and behaviour of students in the classroom or school environment? Using Robbie's situation as a springboard, brainstorm examples of how a person's self-esteem and wellbeing can affect their behaviour and decision making.

Identify one situation from the class examples that you can relate to and plan a short sequence of events that show how care and compassion can support individuals who may make poor decisions. Plan and prepare the situation to present as a skit to the class.

Present the group skits. The audience should evaluate the performances of other groups. At the conclusion, discuss what the class can learn from the performances in regard to the ways that they interact with others.

How does Robbie demonstrate care and compassion to those around him? Brainstorm and record examples where Robbie supports his friends and family by showing care and compassion for their problems and concerns. You could include, for example, Robbie's support of Kevin on pages 4041 and page 111, and his concern for Wick on page 150 and 156.

Select one of the problems that Robbie tried to help someone with as identified in the class discussion. Outline the series of events relating to that situation using the Chain of Events worksheet. Use this as a guide to retell the situation as a comic strip . Consider some of the humorous ways that Robbie accentuates dire situations through techniques such as his use of font size (p 56), underlining (p 88) exaggerations (p 16) and try to include similar examples in your comic strip dialogue.

Publish the individual comic strips as a comic book for the whole class to read. Discuss the different situations represented in the comic book and identify specific actions that Robbie took to support the people he cared about. As a class, share similar personal experiences.

Why is it important for individuals to care about those around them? Consider the different types of bullying that occur in The King of Large such as the name calling at the swimming pool (p 12), Kevin being teased about his brother (p 42) and the notes that were left for Robbie (p 29). List examples of bullying behaviour that you have witnessed or experienced and discuss how this must feel for the person being bullied. Brainstorm actions and responses that show care and compassion, as well as reflect school rules for behaviour, that others could make to support the victim. Establish or revisit classroom codes of behaviour to help reduce incidents of bullying behaviour.

Plan and publish an anti-bullying poster for display.

Plan an anti-bullying campaign to take beyond the classroom. Actions could include a public display of anti-bullying posters, inviting a well-known local celebrity to address the school at an assembly on why bullying should not be tolerated, inviting another class to participate in your classroom focus, writing a report in the school newsletter or approaching the Student Council to ask them to support and promote a whole school anti-bullying campaign.

Doing Your Best

Why did Robbie have so much trouble losing weight even though he knew he needed to do so for his health and to feel better about himself? As a class, list the different steps that were taken to help Robbie lose weight and identify those things that either hindered or helped him. Read pages 3639 aloud where Mr Adesso talks about "Our Health" to the class. Brainstorm a list of the health issues that could be potentially dangerous for students.

Select one of the health issues from the class brainstorm that is relevant to you. Conduct research to find out the facts about that issue and the actions that people can take to reduce risks and to be healthier. Present your findings in a poster that promotes a healthy lifestyle and display in the classroom.

Invite members of the local community to talk to the class about health issues and how they work at maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Consider local sportsmen and women, health specialists and well-known personalities from within and beyond the school, such as the principal or a local member of parliament. Before the visit, brainstorm possible questions that you could ask in relation to health programs the speaker participates in, goals they set themselves and the challenges they face in maintaining their health. Keep a record of significant strategies and actions they recommend for improving their health.

Using your research findings to guide you, set a goal to improve your health in the area your have investigated. Identify strategies that you will use to help you achieve your goal and plan a schedule for assessing your progress. Review the problems that Robbie faced and check that your plans are realistic and healthy. Before you start, assess your current fitness levels. For example, you may wish to take your pulse after a brisk walk, weigh yourself, or time yourself on a bike run. Keep a diary that records the actions you take, the challenges you face and your progress. After a set period of time, write an evaluation of your personal health program, assess your progress and explain strategies to overcome problems. Consider a new goal that you may need to set for yourself to further improve your health.

How can we help ourselves and each other to do our best in maintaining a healthy lifestyle? Share individual efforts in the goal-setting task and make a list of successful strategies and actions that people tried. Develop recommendations that will help others live a healthier life and plan ways to share these with others in the community. Consider inviting another class to view and hear about the work done. You could also present posters, recommendations and reports to a school assembly, write a piece for the school newsletter, or display student work in the local health centre.

Responding to Text

On pages 50 and 51, Robbie considers the words 'dangerous' and 'overweight' and observes that they never mean anything good. He challenges the reader to use these words in positive ways. Write a paragraph using both words so that they have a positive meaning or outcome.

June Colbert uses similes and metaphors to create vivid images for the reader such as "skinny as a lead pencil" (p 158) and "It's Shamu the giant whale!" (p 11). Search through the text to find as many similes and metaphors describing Robbie as you can and make a list of them. Compile a second list of similes and metaphors to describe Wick, using examples from the text as well as creating new ones. When the list is finished, work together using some of your examples to create a poem about Wick.

Write a character profile of Robbie based on information in the story using the Profile worksheet to compile your information.

On page 125 Robbie describes the different writing tasks that Ms Was set the class and he writes his first play. Working with a partner, write a play script for one of the scenes in the book involving Robbie and either Dr Myron Frances Spencer or Mr Adesso that relates to his weight problem. Rehearse your play and present it to the class.

© Curriculum Corporation 2006