Thank You Mr. Falker (Understanding Disabilities) Lesson Plan

Thank You Mr. Falker by Patricia Polacco

Created by Meghan Montgomery, 3LPlace, May 2017

Applies To:  Relationships, Critical Thinking, Self-Awareness, Social Awareness

Purpose: To better understand one individual’s learning disability and the incredible struggles one might face when living with a learning disability


  • To understand one person’s learning disability 
  • To emphasize the power of a positive relationship
  • To empathize with the complexity of dyslexia in a hyperlexic world
  • To witness bullying in text and through the graphic illustrations demonstrated in the book
  • To self- or co-advocate for one another in relatable situations
  • To encourage hope—often times time lessens pain or allows individuals to talk or identify with others who have struggled similarly

Materials needed:

  • The library book Thank You, Mr. Falker
  • Worksheets (see attachments below)
  • Pens/Pencils
  • iPads (for those who prefer typing/FC)
  • Blank paper for those who need to dictate to rewrite
  • Energy and attention—a stretch or movement break positioned between the reading and the output

Activity Steps

1. To listen to the book Thank You, Mr. Falker on two separate occasions—spaced a few days a part. Looking carefully at the imagery. Asking less comprehension based questions, but offering more identifying and connectable discussion points (ex. Oh that must feel SOOOO terrible! Have you ever felt that way?”) 

2.  (A) Choose one image from an array of four different images of the main character in distressing situations. Identify what might be going on in the image as well as feeling/associations/connections to the image

      (B)  Think critically about a teacher (present or past) that has inspired/inspires—making one want to be their best self, followed by identifying their inspiring qualities, followed by thinking of what one would say to this teacher if given the opportunity 

3. (A) Draw an image of what your inspiring teacher/person looked/looks like—Remember that representational drawing isn’t needed. One can always imagine this teacher/person in symbols, shapes, colors, fun lines, etc. (A) and (B) can be done in any order

   (B)Write and mail a letter to this teacher to express the memories, gratitude, pains, later in life outcomes,  etc., thanking them for believing in you at a difficult time

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