Third Grade - Literature - Overview - December

Sayings and Phrases
Students are introduced to two phrases this month, The last straw and A feather in your cap. In one of the lessons they are asked to identify a personal accomplishment, and in the other they are asked to describe a series of irritations that would cause someone to exclaim, "That's the last straw!"
These lessons may be used in any order convenient to your schedule. An optional art activity is included with A feather in your cap. Continue to post the phrases if this was begun in September.

Poetry
Two humorous poems, "Jimmy Jet and His TV Set" and "Adventures of Isabel," are introduced this month. Each has additional activities that include writing another stanza for the poem, comparing characters, relating the poem to other literature, and drawing.
Within the lessons, students are given an opportunity to participate through pantomime and choral reading, and by making an illustrated booklet.
The order in which the poems are introduced is not important as they are not dependent on other material.

Stories
Hans Christian Andersen's "The Little Match Girl" and Kenneth Grahame's The Wind in the Willows are the focus this month. Andersen's story is brief, allowing it to be presented at any time available during the month, however due to its length, The Wind in the Willows requires a considerable amount of dedicated time.
Numerous activities are provided for The Wind in the Willows so reading the book early in the month would leave time for their exploration. They may be selected according to the interests of the students.

Third Grade - Literature - Sayings and Phrases - The Last Straw

Objectives
Explain the meaning of the last straw.
Describe a series of irritations that would lead to someone saying,"That's the last straw."

Materials
Copy of the phrase the last straw on sentence strip or chart paper
Copy of the saying It is the last straw that breaks the camel's back on sentence strip or chart paper

Suggested Books
Hirsch, E. D., Jr, ed. What Your Third Grader Needs to Know. New York: Dell, 1992.

Teacher Background
There is a commercially produced game that is based on the straw that broke the camel's back; if you have the game you may wish to demonstrate the last straw with it, or you could demonstrate with the stack of dominoes described at the beginning of the lesson.

Procedure
Ask the students if they have ever played a game where a number of objects are piled one on top of the other until they all crash down or if they have ever stacked dominoes until they fell over. Ask: What caused everything to fall over? (Answers will vary, but be sure that students realize that the stack was stable until the final object/domino was added to make it tumble down.) It was the addition of one last object/domino that made the stack fall down.
Display the last straw and the saying It is the last straw that breaks the camel's back. Remind the students that camels are used as beasts of burden. They are expected to carry all different kinds of supplies piled high on their backs. Tell the students that the saying It is the last straw that breaks the camel's back means that when too many things are piled on the poor camel's back, the addition of even one small thing (the last straw) is enough to break it.
Next, ask students if they have ever heard someone say, "That's it! That's the last straw." Have them recall when and where they heard it. Explain that just as the final object was enough to make the stack fall over and the straw was enough to break the camel's back, someone has reached the point where they can't take any more troubles or irritations.
Relate the following scenario to the students:

George and Steven, brothers who are eight and nine years old, were playing together in the living room. They got into a disagreement about a toy car. "It's mine," George yelled.
"No, it isn't! It's mine," Steven insisted.
"Lower your voices, or you'll wake your father," their mother called softly.
Steven reached for the toy and grabbed his brother's sleeve. Rrrriiippp went the shirt. "Let go," George shouted as his mother repeated her warning for them to lower their voices.
George ran around the room with Steven close behind. "Stop the noise," they heard their mother call from the kitchen, "settle down in there."
Steven grabbed at the toy one last time and George threw it with all his might. CRASH! The car hit their mother's lamp and sent it flying. Suddenly their mother appeared, she stood frowning with her hands on her hips. "That's it," she said through closed teeth, "that's the last straw. Steven, go to your room and George, you sit on a chair in the kitchen with me. I don't want to hear another sound."

Ask the students: What made the boys' mother say "That's the last straw"? (It was the broken lamp. She had spoken to the boys about the noise several times, but when they broke the lamp it was the last straw.) Ask students to think of other scenarios that might lead to someone saying, "That's the last straw." Suggest that they think about situations that take place in the classroom, on the playground, between friends, with someone trying to assemble a toy or model that keeps falling apart, with a shoelace that always seems to be untied, and finally, just a day of one disaster after another that leads a person to give up.
If there is time, allow students to work in small groups to role play the scenario or develop one of their own.

Third Grade - Literature - Sayings and Phrases - A Feather in Your Cap
Objectives
Explain the meaning of the saying.
Identify an accomplishment that would warrant a "feather."
Construct a paper cap and feather (optional).

Materials
Copy of the phrase, a feather in your cap, on sentence strip or chart paper
Construction paper in at least two colors, scissors, glue (optional)

Teacher Note
Instead of having the students identify their own accomplishments, have the entire class make caps and feathers and turn them in to you with their names clearly marked. Use the caps to recognize outstanding behavior or academic success by writing the accomplishment on the feather in the particular student's cap and displaying it for all to see.

Procedure
Read the following dialogue to the students:

Michael ran into his house calling to his mother. "I had a perfect checkout in reading today," he said proudly.
"Well," his mother said, "that's certainly a feather in your cap!"

Ask: What did Michael do? (had a perfect reading checkout) How did he feel? (proud) What did his mother say? (That's a feather in your cap.) What did she mean by that? (Answers will vary. Be sure that students recognize that she is saying that the perfect checkout is an accomplishment, something to be proud of that deserves an award.)
Display the phrase a feather in your cap and ask the students if they have any idea how it originated. Encourage them to think about books they have read or movies or television shows they have seen where a character is wearing a feather in his/her cap. Give students an opportunity to share their ideas then tell them that using a feather as an award began long ago in Europe. A feather was given to the sportsman who shot the first woodcock of the season. In the days when hunting meant being able to feed one's family, being a sure shot was greatly admired; a feather in his cap was one way to identify such a man.
Tell the students to take a moment or two to think about who they would award a feather to, and for what particular accomplishment. Allow several students to share their thoughts, then direct the students to think of themselves and their own personal accomplishments. Ask: For which accomplishment would you deserve a feather? Invite several students to share their thoughts.
(You may wish to have the students make feathers and caps and list a personal accomplishment, or you may wish to do this yourself--see Teacher Note. Directions for making the caps and feathers follow below.)
In closing, ask for volunteers to relate a short dialogue that demonstrates their understanding of the phrase a feather in your cap.

Directions for making a cap and feather:

1. Holding a piece of construction paper in portrait format, fold it in half, matching the top of the paper to the bottom.

2. Holding the paper with the fold at the top, fold the two ends (right and left) down so that they meet in the middle, creating a triangle with aproximately an inch of leftover paper below.

3. Fold the leftover paper upward, one piece to the front and one piece to the back of the cap.

4. The cap is now complete. Write your name across the brim.

5. Make a feather by folding a five inch by two inch scrap of paper down the center and then rounding off the ends and making cuts along the unfolded side.

6. Attach the feather inside the brim of the cap with a dab of glue.

*7. Students may write an accomplishment on the feather or you may collect the caps and complete them yourself.

Third Grade - Literature - Poetry - Jimmy Jet and His TV Set

Objectives
Enjoy the poem.
Determine the author's purpose.
Use pantomime and choral reading for participation.
Draw a picture of Jimmy Jet or one of the other characters mentioned (optional).
Rewrite the first stanza to reflect a new character (optional).
Listen to a story about other TV troubles (optional).

Materials
Copy of the poem, "Jimmy Jet and His TV Set" on chart paper or transparency
Copy of The Boy Who Turned into a TV Set and/or Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (optional)
Drawing paper
Crayons, colored pencils, or markers

Suggested Books
Cole, Joanna and Stephanie Calmenson. A Pocketful of Laughs. New York: Doubleday, 1995. Contains an excerpt from the book The Boy Who Turned into a TV Set by Stephen Manes.
Dahl, Roald. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. New York: Knopf, 1964.
Manes, Stephen. The Boy Who Turned into a TV Set. New York: Coward, McCann & Geoghegan, Inc., 1979.
Prelutsky, Jack. Something Big Has Been Here. New York: Greenwillow, 1990.
Contains "Nigel Gline."

Teacher Background
Students were introduced to Shel Silverstein's poetry in Second Grade with the poem "Smart." Many will be no doubt be familiar with other poems of his, as well as Dahl's book Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (or Willy Wonka) referenced in this lesson. If at all possible, secure a copy of the Manes' book, The Boy Who Turned into a TV Set, or A Pocketful of Laughs, so that you can share the story of Ogden Pettibone.
In the lesson, students participate in the poem through choral reading and pantomime; additional activities are included, or you may wish to simply have the students do a drawing of Jimmy Jet. Of course, any character mentioned in the additional activities could be the subject for the drawing as well.

Procedure
Ask: How many students have a TV? What do you like to watch? Cartoons? Adventures? Comedy? Scary shows? How much time do you spend watching TV? Have you ever been told that you watch too much television? Allow a few minutes for student response and discussion.
Tell the students that the poem you are about to read is by Shel Silverstein. Ask them if they recall the poem "Smart" by him. Remind them that it was about the boy who thought he understood the value of money, when he really didn't. Say "Jimmy Jet and His TV Set" is the story of a boy who loved to watch TV a little bit too much. Ask them if they can imagine what happened to him. Tell them to listen to find out if they are right. Read the poem.
After you have finished reading, ask for a volunteer to tell what happened in the poem. Ask: Has anyone ever said that you will turn into a TV if you keep watching it so much? Do you think that Shel Silverstein has ever heard anyone say that? Why do you think he wrote this poem? Do you think he was warning children or do you think he was making fun of some people's comments? Allow discussion.
Display the poem. Invite volunteers to read a stanza at a time and encourage the rest of the class to visualize the changes in Jim. Then divide the class in half and have one half read while the students who are listening participate by acting out the changes in Jimmy: having their eyes frozen wide and pointing to their tuning dial (chin), their antennae (out of hair), their TV tubes (head, brain), their TV screen (face), and vertical and horizontal knobs (ears) at the appropriate places in the poem. Switch sides reading and acting to give all students an opportunity to do both.
Have the students do a drawing of Jimmy Jet or select one of the activities that follow.

Additional Activities

The Boy Who Turned into a TV Set
Write the following on the board:

"If you keep watching TV so much," his mother often told him, "you might just turn into a television."

Tell the students that it is the warning given to Ogden Pettibone by his mother in The Boy Who Turned into a TV Set. Explain that the poem they have just heard about Jimmy Jet is only the beginning of the story, even more terrible things could happen and they did to Ogden Pettibone (at least temporarily).
Share the book by Stephen Manes or the chapter included in A Pocketful of Laughs with your class. They are sure to enjoy the adventures that occur (especially those on the bus) when Ogden's chest becomes a TV screen.

You Are What You Eat
Use the first stanza of "Jimmy Jet and His TV Set" as a framework and have the students substitute another child's name and love. Point out that the last name of the child and the love need to rhyme. Examples follow:

I'll tell you the story of Harry Bibbs--
And you know what I tell you is true.
He loved to eat barbecued ribs
Almost as much as you.

I'll tell you the story of Harriet Fly--
And you know what I tell you is true.
She loved to eat hot pecan pie
Almost as much as you.

I'll tell you the story of Harold Dandy--
And you know what I tell you is true.
He loved to eat all kinds of candy
Almost as much as you.

You can also share Jack Prelutsky's poem "Nigel Gline" which tells of a man who turns into a tree because of his strange eating habits.

Just Desserts!
Just as Jimmy (and Ogden) discovered, you can get too much of a good thing. Similar fates are met by Veruca Salt, Violet Beauregarde, Augustus Gloop and Mike Teavee in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. The names and numbers of the chapters that tell of the disasters follow.

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
Chapter 17 - Augustus Gloop Goes Up the Pipe
Chapter 21 - Good-by Violet
Chapter 24 - Veruca in the Nut Room
Chapter 27 - Mike Teavee is Sent by Television

Students will also enjoy hearing the songs of the Oompa Loompas who witness what happens to greedy children. Lines from their song about Mike Teavee are especially fitting.

"The most important thing we've learned,
So far as children are concerned,
Is never, NEVER, NEVER let
Them near your television set--"

Third Grade - Literature - Poetry - Adventures of Isabel

Objectives
Identify rhyme pattern.
Analyze reason for repetition of two lines within the poem:
"Isabel, Isabel didn't worry;
Isabel didn't scream or scurry."
Make a booklet illustrating the poem.
Write another stanza for the poem (optional).
Compare Isabel to other "outrageous" literary children (optional).

Materials
Copy of the stanza from "Adventures of Isabel" on chart paper
For each student
Manila paper
Scissors
Crayons
Sheet containing the lines of poem (attached)

Suggested Books
Cole, Joanna and Stephanie Calmenson. A Pocketful of Laughs. New York: Doubleday, 1995.
Cole, William, collected by. Beastly Boys and Ghastly Girls. Cleveland: World Publishing Co., 1964.
deRegniers, Beatrice Schenk, selected by. Sing a Song of Popcorn: Every Child's Book of Poems. New York: Scholastic, 1988.
Ferris, Helen, selected by. Favorite Poems Old and New: Selected for Boys and Girls. New York: Doubleday, 1957.
The books above contain poems by Ogden Nash.
Dahl, Roald. Matilda. New York: Viking Kestrel, 1988.

Teacher Background
There are several stanzas to the poem "Adventures of Isabel." Only one has been selected for this lesson. If you choose to do others with your class, be sure to read the verse throughly to be certain the content is appropriate.
Students may enjoy reading other poems by Ogden Nash and you will find titles containing other selections in the Suggested Books.
Ogden Nash was born on August 19, 1902 in New York City and he died on May 19, 1971 in Baltimore, MD. During his lifetime, he wrote 20 volumes of poetry, the lyrics for two musicals and several children's books. His poems show quite a variety in the length of their lines and stanzas.

Procedure
Ask the students if they have ever read a story or seen a movie or television show that was called "The Adventures of ..." Have several volunteers share the titles they recall. (Be sure that students note that the word adventures is plural and not to be confused with a story of one adventure.) Then ask why the story was titled such. Was it one story or a number or stories?

Third Grade - Literature - Poetry - Adventures of Isabel

Write the title "Adventures of Isabel" on the board. Ask the students what kind of story they expect to hear after reading the title (series of adventures with character named Isabel).
Ask the students what they expect of Isabel. Will she be courageous? Is she a super-hero? Is she a famous detective? Allow several students to share their predictions, then tell them that Isabel is a little girl. Ask them to speculate about the adventures a little girl might have.
Next tell the students that the poet Ogden Nash is known for his humorous poetry. Ask them if knowing that information causes them to change their minds about the content of the poem. Have they heard of any other unusual children written about in poems? (Students should recall Shel Silverstein's poem and possibly those of Jack Prelutsky and William Brighty Rands.)
Tell the students to close their eyes as they listen to the poem the first time and try to visualize Isabel and the things that happen. Read the poem.

Adventures of Isabel
Ogden Nash

Isabel met an enormous bear,
Isabel, Isabel, didn't care.
The bear was hungry, the bear was ravenous,
The bear's big mouth was cruel and cavernous.
The bear said, "Isabel, glad to meet you,
How do, Isabel, now I'll eat you!"
Isabel, Isabel, didn't worry;
Isabel didn't scream or scurry,
She washed her hands and she straightened her hair up
Then Isabel quietly ate the bear up.

After you have completed the poem tell the students to open their eyes. Ask: Is that what you expected would happen? What did Isabel look like in your imagination? Does she remind you of any other character you have read about or seen in movies or television? (Students may be reminded of Matilda by Roald Dahl and able to visualize an innocent-looking child who is secretly very powerful.) If students can name a character, take a few moments to discuss how they are alike.
Display the poem. Have a volunteer (or several) read the poem or have the entire class read. Ask the students what they notice about the rhyme pattern. How many lines rhyme at a time? (2) Be sure that they realize that cavernous comes from cavern (cave).
Tell the students that this is only one stanza of a much longer poem called "Adventures of Isabel." (Read other stanzas at this point, if you wish.) Explain that the lines "Isabel, Isabel, didn't worry; Isabel didn't scream or scurry" are included in each of the adventures. Ask the students why they think Ogden Nash did this. Ask: What do these lines tell us about Isabel? (Answers will vary.) What other adventures do you think she might have?
Ask the students to read the poem again silently and have them think about the number of pictures they would need to illustrate the whole thing. Take a few minutes to discuss what different students feel are the most essential parts. Draw 8 pages on the board or attach 8 sheets of paper. On the first page write "Adventures of Isabel" by Ogden Nash, then on the next page write: "Illustrated by:_____________," tell the students that their names would go there. Then, ask the students what they would draw on the next page. Suggest that the picture represent the first two lines of the poem (Isabel met an enormous bear, Isabel, Isabel, didn't care). Write the words ALines 1 & 2" on the page. Next, ask them to suggest a picture for the following two lines (The bear was hungry, the bear was ravenous, The bear's big mouth was cruel and cavernous.) Write the words ALines 3 & 4") Do the same for lines 5-8 (again writing the lines on the pages), then ask the students to think of a separate picture for line 9 and a separate picture for line 10.
Distribute a sheet of manila paper and scissors to each student and have them fold the paper in half twice, to form four large rectangles. (Holding in portrait format, fold top to bottom; then fold side to side.) Unfold, and holding the page in portrait format, cut the sheet in half across the middle to form two "books." Place one inside of the other and staple to secure. The resulting "book" should have eight "pages."
Give each student the preprinted lines of the poem and have them cut the lines apart and secure to the appropriate pages. (If it helps to keep order, have the students write the number of the page on which the lines belong next to them.) Have the students illustrate the poem. Remind them that a lot of detail is not necessary and that Isabel and the bear should look the same (same color hair, clothes, etc.) on all pages.
When all the booklets have been completed, invite the students to read along from their copies with you. They may also wish to exchange booklets to see their classmates' interpretations.

Additional Activity

Have the students write another stanza for the poem. Encourage them to list all the people, animals or creatures Isabel might meet and select one to write about. Remind them to include the lines "Isabel, Isabel, didn't worry; Isabel didn't scream or scurry."
Consider writing a stanza together as a class first. Possible opening lines are:
Isabel met the cafeteria cook,
Isabel met a gigantic frog,
Isabel met a horrible fish,
 

Adventures of Isabel

by Ogden Nash
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Illustrated by

______________________________
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Isabel met an enormous bear,
Isabel, Isabel, didn't care.

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
The bear was hungry, the bear was ravenous,
The bear's big mouth was cruel and cavernous.

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
The bear said, AIsabel, glad to meet you,
How do, Isabel, now I'll eat you!"

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Isabel, Isabel, didn't worry;
Isabel didn't scream or scurry,

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
She washed her hands
and she straightened her hair up

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Then Isabel quietly ate the bear up.

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Third Grade - Literature - The Little Match Girl

Objectives
Listen to the story "The Little Match Girl."
Discuss the author's purpose.
Recall and describe the visions the match girl had.
Identify the emotion personally felt after hearing the story.
Materials
Copy of the story "The Little Match Girl"

Suggested Books
Andersen, Hans Christian. The Little Match Girl. New York: G. P. Putnam's Sons, 1987.
Beautifully delicate illustrations by Rachel Isadora enhance this tale.
________. Michael Hague's Favourite Hans Christian Andersen Fairy Tales. New York: Holt, Rhinehart & Winston, 1981.
Collection of nine of Andersen's stories with delicate illustrations by Hague.
________. The Little Match Girl. Boston; Houghton Mifflin, 1968.
Blair Lent uses muted colors and many full-page illustrations.
Blegvad, Eric, selected, translated and illustrated by. Twelve Tales of Hans Christian Andersen. New York: Margaret K. McElderry Books, 1994.
Twelve tales including "The Little Match Girl."
Mathias, Robert, retold by. The Stories of Hans Andersen. Morristown, NJ: Silver Burdett Co., 1985. (0-382-09153-1)
Six of Andersen's stories, illustrated by Robin Lawrie; some with delicate borders, some pen and ink.
Zwerger, Lisbeth, selected and illustrated by. Hans Christian Andersen Fairy Tales. New York: Simon & Schuster, 1991.
Eight tales, including "The Little Match Girl," translated by Anthea Bell.

Teacher Background
Hans Christian Andersen was born April 2, 1805 in a town near Copenhagen, Denmark. He died in Copenhagen on August 4, 1875. He was primarily a novelist, although he tried his hand unsuccessfully at theater. Over the years he also wrote a number of travel books.
Some of Andersen's tales for children highlight the triumph of goodness and beauty, but some are pessimistic and unhappy. Andersen's stories clearly display his ability to identify with the outcast.
His story "The Little Match Girl" doesn't lend itself to typical activities associated with literature. It is a dark story without a happy ending, except that we are led to believe that the girl's death (and potential afterlife) is better than her life on earth. This is not a story to trivialize with sequencing or trite art activities. Likewise, a discussion of visions versus hallucinations would only detract from the story.
Students are asked to discuss the author's purpose and think about why the girl had the visions she did. There is a brief comment on awareness of the needy and unfortunates of society, but the lesson is not intended to preach or embrace any particular religious beliefs. Treat the story as one selection from the works of a well-known author.

Procedure
Tell the students that the story you are about to read, "The Little Match Girl," is frequently read around the holiday of Christmas. Explain that the story takes place in winter (in fact it takes place on the eve of the new year) and that may be part of the reason, but there seems to be another reason as well. Tell the students that when they listen to the story they should think about why it might be read around this particular season.
Write the title of the story ("The Little Match Girl") and the author's name (Hans Christian Andersen) on the board. Ask the students if they can recall any other stories they have read or heard by Hans Christian Andersen. They may recall "The Ugly Duckling," "The Emperor's New Clothes," "The Princess and the Pea," and "Thumbelina." Ask if after having read or heard the author's other stories they have any idea of what to expect in this story. (Answers will vary. Andersen's stories usually contain lessons, so there may be a lesson in this story. There is often a character who has a problem, so this character may have a problem also.)
Place the setting of the story in a city in Europe. Explain that long ago matches were not as common as they are today and lighters had not been invented. People heated their houses with fireplaces and used woodstoves. Because matches were necessary and people had to purchase them, they were often sold on the street by poor people hoping to make a few pennies in order to live. The main character of this story is such a person and the story tells what happens to her.
Read the story. Take time to show the illustrations, but do not stop to discuss the story during this first reading.
After you have read the story, ask the students if they have any idea why this story is frequently read around the Christmas holiday. Ask: What do you think Hans Christian Andersen was trying to tell people with his story? Remind them that he tells us that the people who found the girl didn't know about her visions, in fact they probably didn't notice her at all until she died. Tell the students to think about how we are reminded to be kind and generous to those who are less fortunate especially during this season of giving. Suggest that "The Little Match Girl" is the story of a very needy child who was ignored.
Ask the students to think about the visions the girl had. Have volunteers recall and describe them one by one. If necessary, reread the story, or those sections that include the visions. Prompt the students to recognize that in her condition and with the extreme weather, the girl thought about her most basic needs. She was cold and so she imagined a warm fire; she was hungry and so she thought of food; there was no happiness in her life so she thought of a Christmas tree with beautiful decorations. When she saw the falling star, she was reminded of her grandmother's words and of course she was reminded of this lady who she loved. Point out that the author let us see this little bit of happiness in the girl's life, but he really didn't tell us much else.
Take a few minutes to discuss the feelings that students had after hearing the story. Ask for volunteers to tell how the story made them feel and why. Ask if they think it is possible to feel both sad and happy after hearing "The Little Match Girl."

Third Grade - Literature - The Wind in the Willows

Objectives (to be selected by the teacher)
Select a character and make a character bag for him.
Compare and contrast a character in the story with another literary character.
Create a new character for the story.
Make a drawing or model of a character's house.
Make a map of the area where the story takes place.
Compose correspondence between two characters.
Make an acrostic for each character.
Determine which character is best for a job based on his behavior in the story.
Analyze chapter titles.
Materials
Copy of the book The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame
According to the Activity selected
A paper bag for each student
Crayons, scissors, colored construction paper
Catalogs and/or magazines

Suggested Books
Blishen, Edward. Children's Classics to Read Aloud. New York: Kingfisher Books, 1991.
Contains "Mr. Toad on the Run," which is comparable to Chapter 8, "Toad's Adventures," in the book.
Grahame, Kenneth. The Wind in the Willows. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1991.
First published in 1908, this version includes color illustrations by E. H. Shepard.
________. The Wind in the Willows: The Open Road. New York: Julian Messner, 1985.
Toad, Rat and Mole go off in a horse-drawn caravan in this chapter taken from the book. Lulu Delacre's illustrations are more cartoon-like than Shepard's delicate pen and ink renderings.
Video
Walt Disney Studios. The Wind in the Willows. Burbank, CA: Walt Disney. (34 min.)
Artistic license taken--J. Thaddeus Toad and his stolen red roadster are the subject of the video.

Teacher Background
Kenneth Grahame (1859-1932) was born in Scotland and grew up in England. He liked to walk along the Thames river and watch the animals that lived there.
Grahame's love of animals, who he thought were good and kind, led him to write about them. Letters about moles and rats that he sent to his son, Alistar, who he nicknamed "Mouse," became the stories in The Wind in the Willows.
Ernest H. Shepard's (1879-1976) illustrations for The Wind in the Willows are the best known. Grahame invited Shepard to come and visit the places where he envisioned his stories happening, and confided that he dearly loved the animal characters he wrote about. Originally the drawings were only black-line, Shepard added color in 1933.
Students were introduced to A.A. Milne's The House at Pooh Corner in First Grade, giving students the opportunity to see some of Ernest H. Shepard's earlier, wonderful illustrations. Some students may even recall the drawings of Christopher Robin, Pooh, Tigger, Owl, Eeyore, Piglet, Kanga, and Roo. If possible, show the illustrations from one of the Milne books and let the students compare Shepard's illustrations for the Pooh stories to those for The Wind in the Willows.
The first two chapters of The Wind in the Willows ("The River Bank" and The Open Road") provide the background necessary for the rest of the book. While it is not recommended, chapters may be selected at random provided these first two have been read. Students will learn the characters better and truly enjoy the friendship of Rat and Mole if the book is read in its entirety.

Procedure
Tell the students that the book they are about to read (hear) is called The Wind in the Willows. Explain that it was written many years ago (1908) and tells the adventures of several animal friends. These animals behave like people, living in houses, wearing clothes and traveling about in boats and caravans and cars. Ask if the students can recall any other stories they have read that have animal characters who behave like this. (Several of William Steig's books have similar characters: Dr. DeSoto, Sylvester and the Magic Pebble, as do Arnold Lobel's Frog and Toad are Friends, and James Marshall's George and Martha.)
Tell the students that they are to listen as each character is introduced, and think about a physical description of the character as well as clues about his personality traits. Explain that the book contains a series of adventures that will let them get to know each of the characters a lot better.
Read the book, or selections from it, frequently reviewing the characters' names and behavior. Select any of the following activities to use with the book.

Describe the Houses
Descriptions of the characters' houses are included in the chapters listed, as well as a good description of Toad's caravan in "The Open Road." Have the students draw a picture of the house they like best, or have them make a diorama of the interior.
Rat's house - Chapter 1 - "The River Bank"
Badger's house - Chapter 3 - "The Wild Wood" (very descriptive)
Mole's house - Chapter 4 - "Dulce Domum"
Toad's house - Chapter 12 - "Return of Ulysses" - Toad Hall
Chapter 2 - "The Open Road" - Great description of the caravan

Have the students write a paragraph telling why they like the house they chose. What is it about the house that makes it appealing? Would they like to visit the house? Do they think that the house suits the character? How so?

In My Opinion
Have students write a paragraph (or more) to answer one (or all ) of the following:

Which character would you choose for a best friend? What qualities does he have that you respect?

Which adventure was the most unbelievable?

Which adventure was the funniest?

Character Bag
Tell the students to think of words they would use to describe each of the characters. Explain that the words can describe the physical appearance or the behavior, or both. Have the students also think of the kinds of belongings that the character would have (a boat for Rat, a car
for Toad, etc.) as well as toys, games, music, etc. the character might enjoy. Write the characters' names on the board and list the suggestions given by the students.
Provide a paper bag for each student and have them decorate the bag with pictures and designs appropriate to the character of their choice. Inside the bag have them place words, drawings, magazine or catalog pictures, or actual items that would either describe or possibly belong to one of the characters. The character's name could be written on the bottom of the bag and classmates could be challenged to identify which character is being represented based on the contents of the bag.

Map the Story
Together with the students, make a list of the characters' houses and all other important places mentioned in the story. Distribute large pieces of paper (shelf or wrapping paper) and have the students work in teams to make a map of the area covered in the story. Remind the students that the river should be included and help them recall where the houses were located in relation to one another. (The inside covers of the Grahame-Shepard book display a map.) Discuss with the students the way the land would look if viewed from above (a bird's eye view). Have them make their illustrations accordingly. Symbols and a key could be required as well.

Titles of Chapters
Ask the students why they think Grahame selected the chapter titles he did. Do they always give a clue about what happens on the upcoming pages or do they sometimes tell about something else? Read through the titles with the class, taking time to discuss each. Students may also vote on the chapter they liked the best.

Chapter Titles
1 "The River Bank" - Rat and Mole meet here and the river becomes central to the story.
2 "The Open Road" - Toad, Rat and Mole begin an adventure.
3 "The Wild Wood" - Mole and Rat are lost.
4 "Mr. Badger" - Badger and his wonderful home are introduced.
5 "Dulce Domum" (Sweet Home) - Mole visits his own home.
6 "Mr. Toad"- Badger, Rat and Mole go to deal with Toad, who escapes from them and steals a car.
7 "The Piper at the Gates of Dawn" - Mole and Rat are faced with a strange sight as they search for Otter's son, Portly.
8 "Toad's Adventures" - Toad befriends the jailer's daughter and his escape is arranged.
9 "Wayfarers All" - Water Rat meets Sea Rat.
10"AThe Further Adventures of Toad" - Toad, dressed as a washerwoman, continues his escape.
11"Like Summer Tempests Came His Tears" - Toad is reunited with Rat.
12"AThe Return of Ulysses" - Like the Greek hero, Toad removes intruders from his home (with the help of Badger, Mole and Rat) and takes over.

Post Office
Tell the students to select two characters from the story and imagine what they might say to each other if they were writing letters. For example: Rat might write to Badger asking for his help in getting Toad to stop driving, Badger might write back to Rat explaining that he doesn't (or does) have a plan and will need to think about it. OR Mole might write to Rat inviting him to come and stay for awhile, and Rat might write back to say that he couldn't bear to leave his river, but that Mole might want to come and stay at HIS house.
Provide two sheets of writing paper for each student and have them fold the letters when they are complete, and address them, adding decorations and handmade stamps.

Who is Best for the Job?
Have the students tell who they would choose for each of the jobs below and why. Have them justify their choices based on the character's behavior in the story. Have them reference the occasion when the behavior was displayed.
To make a speech (Toad loved to make speeches, planned one when he returned.)
To help you with your homework (Badger seemed to be the best educated and most likely to solve problems.)
To sympathize with your problems (Both Mole and Rat could be sympathetic.)
To help you plan a trip (Rat loved to plan trips and adventures; Badger was very organized with his planning; Toad enjoyed going on trips.)
To take you out on a boating trip (Rat loved the water and would gladly take anyone out on his boat.)
To teach you to be an actor or actress (Badger encouraged acting, but Frog was the best at acting--he acted like he was sorry when he wasn't and he convinced people that he was an old washerwoman.)
To manage the equipment for your team (Rat was always so organized about getting whatever equipment was needed for a situation.)
To write and sing a song (Rat loved to make up and sing songs, as did Toad.)
To pack a picnic (Rat packed the best picnics and could always manage to make a meal out of very little.)
To let guests stay at his house (All of the characters were very generous about sharing their homes. Because of the location of his house, Badger probably had the most unplanned guests.)

Compare and Contrast
Have the students choose two animal characters, one from Wind in the Willows, and one from another story. Have them use a Venn diagram to compare and contrast the two. Remind students to think about both appearance and behavior. Students could also compare and two of the characters from the story.
After they have completed the diagram, challenge the students to write two paragraphs; one telling how the characters are alike; one telling how they are different. (Several of William Steig's books have similar characters: Dr. DeSoto, Sylvester and the Magic Pebble; as do Arnold
Lobel's Frog and Toad are Friends, and James Marshall's George and Martha.)

Character Acrostic
Have the students print the name of a character (Rat, Mole, Badger, Toad) in capital letters in a column. Then have them write a short sentence or phrase describing the character,
starting with a word that begins with that letter in the name. Examples follow.
Ready for adventure
A good friend to Mole
The best oarsman in the group

Made friends with Rat
Oars interested him
Loved to travel on the river
Easily excited

Built his house in the Wild Wood
Always ready to help
Dressed in a suit
Gave good advice
Entertained lots of guests
Read books

Talked a lot
Off on many adventures
Always loved to drive
Dressed like a washerwoman

Invent a New Character
Tell the students to think about adding a character to the story. Remind them that Otter is mentioned as are rabbits and weasels, however there are only four main characters. Ask the students to suggest another character to add to the story. Explain that they should write a brief description of the character, that incorporates physical appearance and personality traits, and then tell what kind of adventure might be associated with this character. Point out to the students that all four main characters are male. Ask them to think about how the story might change if a female were added. Have them suppose what might happen if Toad were married, or if Rat had an adventuresome sister. Invite the students to stretch their imaginations with this task.

Bibliography

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