Celebrating What We CAN Do with Bello the Cello!
“What's my song?"
"Will it fit in?"
These are the questions we find a young cello named Bello asking himself in the brilliant book, Bello the Cello, as he tries to navigate the novelties of his first day at school. When inspiration from the magical sounds of his new classmates mixes with the encouragement and the gentle nudge of other whimsical characters, Bello arrives at the discovery of his gift, the magic of his song.
My students and son absolutely love Bello the Cello ! We discussed how Bello felt when he finally found ‘his’ song and how wonderful it is that everyone is unique and has their own talent to share with the world. My second grade students were so inspired by Bello and the quote from Mr. Moon. They all wrote about their own special talent ( what they CAN do) and how they will use their talent to make a difference in the world.
We also discussed how our differences and unique talents were not only special but essential. We cooperated to complete this pyramid challenge which proved to all of us how important it is to do our part when working as a team.
I bought 3 large packages of styrofoam cups and numbered them from 1 to 10 over and over until they all had a numeral on them. I put each numbered package down in piles in 3 separate parts of the room and divided the children into 3 groups of ten. Every child was assigned a number and the challenge was for them to work together to build a pyramid.
The rules were that they could only touch the cups with their assigned number on them and the team that could build a pyramid first using all their cups would be the winner. If any part of their pyramid fell, they had to fix it before continuing.
The teams learned the importance of working together. The pyramid could never have been built unless every member did his or her part. Every member of every team was special and needed.
We practiced our sequencing skills with Bello the Cello by making story wheels. The children and I discussed the beginning, middle, and ending events from the story and they then wrote and illustrated the events on their story wheel. To make the story wheel, each child used a pencil and ruler to divide each of two paper plates into four sections. They wrote the title and author ( Bello the Cello by Dennis Mathew) in the top right quadrant of one plate. Then they rotated the plate one quarter turn clockwise, labeled the top “Beginning,” and wrote about and drew a corresponding event there. They did the same with the next and final quadrant, labeling them “Middle” and “Ending, writing about and drawing those events. To make the wheel cover, the students drew a large dot in the middle of the second plate where the four lines intersect. Next, they carefullly cut away one section of the plate, leaving the dot intact. Then they erased the pencil marks remaining on the plate and personalized it with their favorite part or characters of the story. They attached the wheel cover to the wheel with a brad.
We also practiced our sequencing skills, along with story elements and details, by working together to create a story mural. I divided the students into five cooperative work groups and assigned each group one of the following parts:
They had to include details, be able to talk about their group experience, and share their work with the whole class when they were done.
They really did an awesome job and were so proud of their work!
The children loved imagining themselves as musical instruments from the story. They decided what they would most like to be and told why they wanted to be the instrument they choose.
We decided together what the most important scene in Bello the Cello was. We really loved the ending, when Bello helped the other students relax at nap time with his soothing song. Everyone worked hard and was so engaged while creating their own individual diorama to take home as a souvenir of this great book!
And even my son’s Roblox characters are so fascinated with the story and charming musical characters!
I hope you found this post worthwhile and that it inspires you to plan some fun literacy activities for some special children.
I actually have a book coming out soon with 180 more screen-free activities and ideas for all different subjects and based on over 200 children’s books. It’s called: Educate the Heart: Screen-Free Activities for Grades PreK-6 to Inspire Authentic Learning and you can find all the details here.
Thank you so much for your time and attention. I’d love to connect further so feel free to leave me a comment, email, or even a link if you have something to share.
“A book is a present you can open again and again.” Garrison Keillor
Ps. I found this great recipe for treble clef ( Ms.Melody) pretzels here!