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Out of a Jar

Many of you may already be familiar with Deborah Marcero’s book, In a Jar, a strong mentor text for students as they reflect on memories made and shared.

Out of a Jar, also by Deborah Marcero is her newest picture book and it artfully depicts many tough emotions a person can have, both the positive and the negative and the impact of bottling them up. This is a book that will not only strengthen any social emotional curriculum, but help students to have conversations about coping with tough emotions.

My class started the year in reader’s workshop with narrative, Kate DiCamillo’s The Tiger Rising our mentor text for the work we would do around character and theme. It is here that I learned that sometimes our students make connections better than we do. As we read about Llewellyn trying to put his own feelings in a jar, one student exclaimed, “It’s just like in The Tiger Rising! Rob is also trying to keep his feelings in the suitcase.” “Oh yeah!” the class excitedly chorused as they shared in the “Ah-Ha” moment. Then another, “Rob’s feelings start to spill out of him when he talks to Sistine just like Llewellyn’s jars are beginning to crack.” Excited by the spontaneous connections my students were making, I quickly charted their thinking in this initial compare and contrast work.

Getting back to the reason, I chose Out of a Jar –to support my social emotional curriculum, I gave my students their own jars much like Llewellyn. After some reflection, they identified some of their own tough emotions and the causes of them.

Since the students, took the read aloud in the direction of comparing and contrasting Out of a Jar to The Tiger Rising, it only seemed fitting that we use these two books to connect back to the work we were doing in reader’s workshop around theme. We have been learning that books teach us about the world and how to be in the world. Here are some of what Llewellyn and Rob have taught us about how to deal with tough emotions.

It’s OK to have tough emotions as long as you understand what you can do with them.

It’s important to feel your feelings and not keep them locked up.

When you share your feelings with people that you trust, you will feel better inside.

If you don’t deal with your feelings, they will make you feel uncomfortable.

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