Literature Activities: Arthur's Birthday by Marc Brown
Summary of Book
Arthur plans the perfect birthday party for himself, and then discovers that Muffy is planning her party for the same day. Arthur's friends must decide which party to attend. Arthur and Francine come up with a plan that is fair to everyone. With a little teamwork, everyone has a happy birthday and none of the party guests has to choose which party to attend. This book teaches students how friends can work through their differences.
Since this book is about a birthday party, you can throw a party for Arthur. Have students draw a picture of a gift for Arthur or make him birthday cards. If you are really feeling adventurous, decorate the classroom and have a special birthday snack in honor of Arthur.
There is conflict in the book between Arthur and his friends. They must decide which party to attend, Arthur's or Muffy's. Does the class feel Arthur and his friends handled the situation in a fair manner? What could they have done differently? Talk with the class about ways to diffuse conflict. Introduce the "Stop, Think, Pick a Plan" process for solving problems with their friends. If students are having trouble at school with a friend, they first should "Stop" before reacting. They then "Think" about the situation before they "Pick a Plan". Some plans may include:
- Walk away
- Count to ten
- Make a deal
- Tell an adult
- Just ignore it
Students can also act out in front of the class situations that require them to deal with conflict. Write some situations on a card and have them role play the problem. Then, talk through how the students reacted and what they may have done differently. Share which of the options above could have helped Arthur.
Ask student to write their own story about their favorite birthday memory. Work on writing a good beginning, middle, and end. Encourage them to use good transition words such as:
- in the beginning
- in addition
Once they are done writing their rough drafts, have them edit their story and write a final draft. The stories can be bound together into a set of birthday stories.
Getting along with friends is often difficult. Students need to learn how to deal with tough situations in school. Arthur and his friends set a great example of how you can settle a dispute without hurting everyone's feelings. By working out their problem and coming up with an alternative, Arthur and Muffy both had a super birthday party.