Fourth Grade - Literature - Overview - January

Sayings and Phrases

The January lessons introduce six sayings and phrases. Students participate in the lessons through a variety of activities. Brainstorming, justifying, explaining, describing, creating, and relating are some of the ways students respond to the six.

You can lead a horse to water, but you can't make it drink, Go to pot, and Can't hold a candle to may be introduced in any order, however Make hay while the sun shines and When it rains, it pours should both be used before Lightning never strikes twice in the same place.

Poems

Two humorous poems are part of the January lessons. Because of related activities regarding poetic license, "The Pobble Who Has No Toes" should be introduced before "The Rhinoceros." The lessons contain opportunities for group and individual work.

Stories

The lessons on the stories "Saint George and the Dragon" and "King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table" complement the World History and Visual Arts lessons this month. Study of the Middle Ages continues into February and the lessons on King Arthur will extend there as well.

Students investigate the relationships between fairy tales and legends and are given several opportunities to be creative in their responses to activities. Individual and group activities are included.
 

Fourth Grade - Literature - Sayings and Phrases - You Can Lead a Horse to Water, But You Can't Make It Drink

Objectives

Explain the meaning of the saying.

Give examples that fit the saying.
 

Materials

Copy of the saying, You can lead a horse to water, but you can't make it drink, on chart paper or sentence strip

Suggested Books

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

Teacher Reference

Hirsch, Jr., E. D., ed. A First Dictionary of Cultural Literacy: What Our Children Need to Know. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1989.

Pickering, David, compiled by. Cassell Dictionary of Proverbs. London: Cassell, 1997.

Room, Adrian, revised by. Brewer's Dictionary of Phrase and Fable. New York: HarperCollins, 1959, 1995.

Procedure

Ask students if they have ever watched someone try to convince a young child to eat a particular food, like vegetables for instance, and have the child refuse to eat. Maybe they have been responsible for feeding a younger brother or sister, or have been the child in question, and understand the scenario firsthand. Ask them to tell all the ways they might have tried or heard someone else try. Tell them that promises, pleading, threats, and camouflage of the food are all techniques people try.

Display the saying You can lead a horse to water, but you can't make it drink. Ask students if they see any similarities. Point out that this saying indicates that you can give a horse water but it may refuse to drink in the same way that you can give food to someone but that person might refuse to eat.

Remind students that sayings always mean more than just the obvious. Ask students if they know anyone who has a desk at home for working but prefers to do their homework sitting on the floor. Do they know an older person who prefers to use an outdated item rather than a new one that they been given? Have they ever heard someone say, "Okay, you can make me go along, but you can't make me have a good time"?

Ask a volunteer to explain the saying You can lead a horse to water, but you can't make it drink in his or her own words. Be sure that the explanation identifies that you can provide something (an item or an opportunity) to someone, but you can't force them to take it (or use it).

Tell students that sometimes a person is given a job opportunity and then doesn't show up for work, that person is just like the horse who has been shown the water but then refuses to drink.

Invite students to think of other examples that illustrate this saying. If they are unable, suggest the following. Parents buy containers to help their children organize their toys and then the children don't use them or a person who has always used a typewriter won't use a new word processor.

Tell students that sometimes people change sayings slightly to have fun with them. Explain that someone came up with this modification: You can send me to college, but you can't make me think. Ask students if they suppose that someone could remain in college very long if that person wasn't thinking.
 

Fourth Grade - Literature - Sayings and Phrases - Go To Pot

Objectives.
Identify places or things that have been allowed to go to pot.
Write a description of how to keep a particular thing from going to pot.
Write about how a particular person maintains his or her skills (optional).

Materials
Copy of the saying, Go to pot, on chart paper or sentence strip

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

Teacher Reference
Hirsch, Jr., E. D., ed. A First Dictionary of Cultural Literacy: What Our Children Need to Know. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1989.
Room, Adrian, revised by. Brewer's Dictionary of Phrase and Fable. New York: HarperCollins, 1959, 1995.

Procedure
Ask the students if they have ever seen a garden that is all overgrown with weeds, or a yard where the grass hasn't been cut in a long time and has become quite high. Tell them that we might describe such a place by saying that the owner had let it go to pot.

Display the phrase, Go to pot, and ask the students if they have heard it before. Does anyone know what it means? If no one is able to tell the origin, tell the students that it came from what happened to scraps of meat, leftover from a roast or chicken or turkey. They were put in a pot to make soup or hash. When something is no longer taken care of, or there are only pieces of it remaining, we say that it has been left to go to pot.

Ask students if they can think of other examples of places or things that have been let go to pot. Are there boarded-up buildings with overgrown lawns in their neighborhood? Have they seen broken bicycles or toys laying in the alley? Is there a street or playground or shopping center that has litter and broken lights that has been let go to pot? As students identify examples, ask them to identify the reason the disrepair has occurred.

Next, ask students if they think it is possible for people to go to pot. Ask what they think would happen to an athlete if he or she didn't practice and exercise. What would happen to a musician if he or she didn't practice? Emphasize that not only can a person's skills deteriorate when they are not used, but that a person's health can also break down or deteriorate if that person doesn't eat properly and get needed rest and exercise.

Write the following on the board: a bicycle; a garden; a board game. Tell the students to think of ways that each can be kept from going to pot. List the suggestions they give under each. Then ask the students to write a paragraph explaining how to keep that item in good condition and safe from going to pot. Remind students to use a good opening sentence that tells what they are writing about. For example they might use: "In order to keep a bicycle (or game) from getting damaged and going to pot, you should do the following." or "There are several things you should do to keep a garden from going to pot."

If you prefer, the exercise may also be done with skills. Have the students think about how a top shooter in basketball keeps up his or her skills, or how an ice skater maintains his or her technique, or how a chess player knows the right moves to make. Ask students if they would want their hair cut or fixed by someone who had only done the job once before. Would they want a doctor to perform an operation if he or she hadn't done one in ten years? Have students write about how one of these people manages to keep his or her skills in top gear. You might also suggest mountain climbing, diamond cutting, race car driving, and/or stunt flying when discussing skills.

Additional Activities
Have the students brainstorm professions and/or skills that require maintenance to prevent them from going to pot. Have them tell in a paragraph what an individual (or individuals) would have to do to stay in form.

Ask students to consider the saying Practice makes perfect. Do they see any relationship between it and go to pot? Allow time for discussion. If no one recognizes it, point out that Practice makes perfect is really the opposite of Go to pot.

On the board, draw a horizontal line with an arrow pointing away from the center at each end. In the center of the line write the name of a skill (shooting baskets, playing the piano, etc.). Tell the students that with continued practice a person's skill would be heading toward perfection. (Write "perfection" after the arrow at the right end of the line.) Point out that conversely, without practice (study, use, etc.), someone's skill would decrease or go to pot. (Write "loss of skill" in front of the arrow at the left end of the line.)

Remind the students that sayings frequently give advice. When we are given advice we have the right to take the advice or ignore the advice. To make a decision, we judge what is the best course of action for us. Point out to students that the line demonstrates making the choice regarding practice in order to maintain a skill.

Fourth Grade - Literature - Sayings and Phrases - Can't Hold a Candle to

Objectives
Explain comparisons.
Brainstorm comparisons that illustrate the phrase.
Write about a comparison, using the phrase.

Materials
Copy of the phrase, Can't hold a candle to, on sentence strip or chart paper

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

Teacher Reference
Hirsch, Jr., E. D., Joseph F. Kett, James Trefil. The Dictionary of Cultural Literacy. New York: Houghton Mifflin, 1993.
Hirsch, Jr., E. D., ed. A First Dictionary of Cultural Literacy: What Our Children Need to Know. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1989.
Morris, William and Mary. Dictionary of Word and Phrase Origins. New York: Harper & Row, 1977, 1988.
Room, Adrian, revised by. Brewer's Dictionary of Phrase and Fable. New York: HarperCollins, 1959, 1995.

Teacher Background
The origin of this saying can be traced back to the time before electric lights were used. The position of linkboy, whose job it was to hold candles to illuminate the theater and the pathway home for patrons, was considered inferior, therefore to say that someone (or thing) can't hold a candle to indicated that person (or thing) was markedly inferior.

Procedure
Write the word "compare" on the board. Ask for volunteers to explain what it means to compare things. As students respond, note the key words they use to define compare on the board. For example they may say that when you compare two things you tell how they are alike. Or they may say that when you compare you check to see which one is better, or which you like more.

Ask students how they would say that they think a particular thing is good (like chocolate-chip cookies bought at the grocery, for instance) but it isn't as good as another similar thing (home-made chocolate-chip cookies). If they have difficulty, offer the following fill-in: I like chocolate chip cookies from the market but they __________________ my mother's home-made cookies. Suggest "aren't half as good as" or "don't taste nearly as delicious as" or "can hardly be compared to" as possible fill-ins if students have difficulty.

Then display the phrase Can't hold a candle to. Use it to fill in the sentence: I like chocolate-chip cookies from the market, but they can't hold a candle to my mother's home-made cookies. (If a student suggests "can't touch" as a fill-in phrase, use this time to discuss the similarities of the two.)

Tell the students how the phrase originated and point out that it is used when a comparison is being made that indicates that one item is inferior to the other. Explain that it would not be used if the comparison points out that the objects are equal in value, performance, usefulness, taste, etc. Note that the determination of something being inferior to another is often a personal opinion.

Invite the students to make comparisons using the phrase can't hold a candle to. Suggest that they think about sports teams or players, music and film celebrities, fast moving cars, etc. To showcase their comparisons, make two columns on the board and write Can't hold a candle to in between. List the suggestions they give (see examples below).
 
Shaquille O'Neal  can't hold a candle to Michael Jordan
margarine butter
yogurt ice cream

After students have had time to give a number of suggestions, tell students to choose one of the comparisons and use it as the opening sentence of a paragraph that explains the comparison. Tell students that they must indicate in which area Shaq can't hold a candle to Michael (for example). Then they must explain why, in their estimation, this is true. Has Michael earned more points in every game? What is it about him that makes you feel this way?

Fourth Grade - Literature - Sayings and Phrases - Make Hay While the Sun Shines

Objectives
Explain the meaning of the saying, Make hay while the sun shines.
Relate the saying, Make hay while the sun shines, to Strike while the iron is hot.
Create sayings that emphasize taking advantage of an opportunity.

Materials
Copy of the saying, Make hay while the sun shines, on chart paper or sentence strip
Copy of the saying, Strike while the iron is hot, on chart paper or sentence strip.

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

Teacher Reference
Hirsch, Jr., E. D., Joseph F. Kett, James Trefil. The Dictionary of Cultural Literacy. New York: Houghton Mifflin, 1993.
Hirsch, Jr., E. D., ed. A First Dictionary of Cultural Literacy: What Our Children Need to Know. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1989.
Pickering, David, compiled by. Cassell Dictionary of Proverbs. London: Cassell, 1997.
Room, Adrian, revised by. Brewer's Dictionary of Phrase and Fable. New York: HarperCollins, 1959, 1995.

Procedure

Display the saying, Strike while the iron is hot, and read the following.
 

"I've been waiting for the right moment to ask my mother if I could go to the game with you next Saturday," Joe told his friend Mike. "Last night she was in such a good mood I decided to strike while the iron was hot and ask her if I could go. It was the perfect opportunity. She said yes."
Tell the students to listen while you read the paragraph again, and then ask a volunteer to tell what happened.

Ask: What did Joe mean when he said "I decided to strike while the iron was hot"? (Answers may vary, but should indicate that Joe took advantage of an opportunity.) Ask if anyone can explain how the saying Strike while the iron is hot originated. If students are unable, tell them to look at the words in the saying. Tell them that strike means "to hit" and they should know that iron is a metal. Ask: Have you ever hit something that is metal? Did it bend easily or did it not move at all? (If there are metal railings or metal chair legs nearby use them for demonstration.) Tell the students that metal must be heated in order to make it pliable or able to be bent. Write the word blacksmith on the board near the saying and tell students that a blacksmith heats the pieces of metal he uses before he hammers them into shape. He has to hammer while they are hot. He has to take advantage of that opportunity. (Write the word opportunity on the board.) If he lets the metal cool, it will not bend. (Be sure that students know that a blacksmith makes horseshoes, but also makes gates and railings as well. Tools and weapons that are made of metal are often worked on by a blacksmith as well.)

Read and display the saying, Make hay while the sun shines. Ask for a volunteer to describe hay (dried grass used to feed horses and cattle). Where is hay grown? (on a farm) Why would a farmer want to cut the hay while the sun is shining? (It has to be dried, if it is wet when it is cut it might spoil.) Point to the word opportunity and ask students if they think that if a farmer cuts his hay on a sunny day, he is taking advantage of an opportunity (yes). Tell the students that the character Joe they heard about earlier, could have said that he decided to make hay while the sun was shining and have meant the same thing.

Ask students to make up their own sayings about taking advantage of an opportunity. Encourage them to think of everyday experiences. List these on the board and allow students time to discuss each. For example, a fisherman would want to cast his rod while the fish were biting, a person would want to dance while the music was playing, or shop while sales were going on. Some phone companies tell us we should call while the telephone rates are low. Students may have heard someone say "Seize the moment." That person was saying take advantage of the opportunity, don't miss it.
 

Fourth Grade - Literature - Sayings and Phrases - When it Rains, it Pours

Objectives
Explain the meaning of the saying.
Describe a scenario where the saying is appropriate.
Relate the saying to literature.

Materials
Copy of the saying, When it rains, it pours, on sentence strip or chart paper

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

Additional Literature for Read Aloud
Noble, Trinka Hakes. Meanwhile Back at the Ranch. New York: Puffin, 1987.
Referenced for irony in lesson on "A Tragic Story," this story tells of good fortune heaped on Elna Hicks and is perfect for this lesson.

Viorst, Judith. Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day. New York: Atheneum, 1972.
As one problem is heaped on another, it becomes obvious that Alexander's day is a perfect example of the saying when it rains, it pours.

Teacher Reference
Hirsch, Jr., E. D., Joseph F. Kett, James Trefil. The Dictionary of Cultural Literacy. New York: Houghton Mifflin, 1993.
Morris, William and Mary. Dictionary of Word and Phrase Origins. New York: Harper & Row, 1977, 1988.
Pickering, David, compiled by. Cassell Dictionary of Proverbs. London: Cassell, 1997.
Room, Adrian, revised by. Brewer's Dictionary of Phrase and Fable. New York: HarperCollins, 1959, 1995.

Teacher Background
When it rains, it pours has been used in several advertising campaigns and is the slogan for a well-known salt company. You may wish to discuss why this saying has been used in this way and why it remains popular. This direction was not taken in this lesson.

Procedure
Ask students to tell what happens when it rains. Tell them to explain rain as though the person they were speaking with had never seen rain before. (Descriptions will vary, but students should tell that a large quantity of raindrops fall when it rains.)

Display the saying When it rains, it pours. Ask students if they agree with the saying. Then ask if students have ever heard the saying before. Was it spoken in relation to the weather or something else?

If students do not connect the saying to anything other than weather, offer the following examples:

Joe's mother said to his father, "Today we got six bills in the mail."
His father replied, "Well, you know what they say: when it rains, it pours."

"Gosh," Sandra complained to her friends after school, "we have homework in every subject; when it rains, it really pours."

"Listen to this," Michael yelled as he came in the door, "I got elected class president, then my science project won first place then I got a perfect score on my history test."
"Well, they say when it rains, it pours," his mother said, "but you had a lot to do with making each of these happen. Congratulations!"


 After reading the examples, ask for volunteers to explain the meaning of the saying. Answers may vary, but be sure that students include the factor of a quantity of good or bad fortune in their responses.

Ask students if they can recall any stories they have read or heard that are examples of the saying. Is there a character who seems to have everything either go right or go wrong? (Both Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day and Meanwhile Back at the Ranch contain good examples that students may already know.) If there is time, either read a story to the class, or make a selection that fits this topic available to the students.

Finally, assign each student a partner, and have them work together to write a scenario that includes the saying When it rains, it pours. If appropriate to your students' course of study, you may require that this be done as a conversation, correctly punctuated with quotation marks.
 

Fourth Grade - Literature - Sayings and Phrases - Lightning Never Strikes Twice in the Same Place

Note: This lesson should be used after Make hay while the sun shines and When it rains, it pours.

Objectives
Explain the meaning of the saying, Lightning never strikes twice in the same place.
Discuss sayings and phrases that contain weather words.
Give evidence to support or refute the saying.

Materials
Copy of the saying, Lightning never strikes twice in the same place, on chart paper or sentence strip
List of sayings and phrases containing weather words for transparency (attached)

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

Teacher Reference
Hirsch, Jr., E. D., Joseph F. Kett, James Trefil. The Dictionary of Cultural Literacy. New York: Houghton Mifflin, 1993.
Hirsch, Jr., E. D., ed. A First Dictionary of Cultural Literacy: What Our Children Need to Know. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1989.
Morris, William and Mary. Dictionary of Word and Phrase Origins. New York: Harper & Row, 1977, 1988.
Pickering, David, compiled by. Cassell Dictionary of Proverbs. London: Cassell, 1997.
Room, Adrian, revised by. Brewer's Dictionary of Phrase and Fable. New York: HarperCollins, 1959, 1995.

Teacher Background
Students should recall When it rains, it pours and Make hay while the sun shines as weather related sayings. Be sure that you have introduced these sayings prior to this lesson.

Procedure

Ask the students to think of weather words. Write the words they suggest on the board. The list will probably include sun, rain, thunder, clouds, lightning, snow, wind, hail, sleet, and perhaps hurricane and tornado. Then ask students to recall the two sayings containing weather words that they have recently discussed (When it rains, it pours and Make hay while the sun shines). Remind students that while weather words were included in these sayings, the sayings themselves actually referred to much more.

Display the transparency of sayings and phrases that contain weather words. Ask volunteers to explain the meaning of the first two, When it rains, it pours and Make hay while the sun shines. Then have a student read the rest of the list. Take a brief inventory, by show of hands, of the number of students familiar with each.

Divide the class into pairs and have each pair discuss three of the sayings or phrases. (Dividing the class into three sections and assigning three sayings or phrases to a section will ensure that all are discussed.) Allow five minutes for this activity and then take just a few minutes with the entire class to discuss the interpretations. At this time correct any misconceptions about the sayings and phrases that students may have. Ask students to think about why weather words would be used so frequently in sayings and phrases (weather is common, easily observable). Ask students to share any other sayings or phrases they may know that contain weather words.

Next, read and display the saying, Lightning never strikes twice in the same place. Point out that this saying is presented as if it were a fact. Make two columns on the board, marked "agree" and "disagree." Ask: Is it true that lightning never strikes twice in the same place? Tally student responses that agree with the statement and those that disagree. (If the entire class disagrees [or agrees] with the statement, still allow them to do the following activity, but focus on the one opinion.)

Have the students again work with their partners to come up with reasons and examples to support their position. If partners have opposing views, have them list the reasons and examples for both. Allow 2 to 3 minutes for this activity.

Allow the students who agree with the statement to present their reasons first. Take time to discuss each as it is presented. Then allow those who disagree to present. Again, discuss each.

(If necessary, tell students that scientifically the statement is incorrect. Lightning can strike the same place twice and in fact, does. Point out that many buildings have lightning rods attached for just this reason. People also can be struck by lightning more than once. One man was struck on 7 different occasions over a 35 year period.)

When the discussion is concluded and all agree that lightning can in fact strike the same place twice, ask students to substitute the words "good luck" for "lightning." Ask: Can good luck ever strike twice in the same place? Can the same person have good fortune happen to them more than once? Take a few minutes to discuss. (Students may recall Elva from Meanwhile Back at the Ranch and When it rains, it pours.)

Next ask students to substitute "bad luck" for "lightning." Ask: Can bad luck ever strike twice in the same place? Can the same person have bad fortune happen to them more than once? Again, discuss. (Students may this time recall Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day.)

Tell the students that long ago when this saying originated people believed that lightning did not strike the same place twice. Ask: What do you think people long ago believed about good and bad luck?

Conclude the lesson by telling students that people today still say lightning never strikes twice, but usually when referring to an opportunity. Read the following example.

Samantha told her friend Alice, "You should buy both of those books while they are on sale. Chances are they won't ever be again. You know, lightning never strikes twice."
Ask a volunteer to explain the example, then challenge students to make up their own.

when it rains, it pours
make hay while the sun shines
raining cats and dogs
come rain or shine
under the weather
put something away for a rainy day
as right as rain
rain check
like greased lightning
head in the clouds
every cloud has a silver lining

Fourth Grade - Literature - Poetry - The Pobble Who Has No Toes

Objectives
Enjoy the poem.
Draw a picture of the "Pobble."
Identify nonsense words created by Lear.
Answer content-based questions on the poem.

Materials
Worksheet with answers for teacher (attached)
For each student
Copy of the poem "The Pobble Who Has No Toes" (attached)
Worksheet (attached)
Drawing paper, crayons

Suggested Books

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

Lear, Edward. The Nonsense Verse of Edward Lear. New York: Harmony Books, 1984.

Pen and ink drawings by John Vernon Lord highlight this collection that includes "The Pobble..."

________. The Nonsense Poems of Edward Lear. New York: Clarion Books, 1991.

Illustrated by Leslie Brooke with pen and ink and some color prints, this collection includes "The Owl and the Pussycat" and "The Pobble Who Has No Toes," as well as "The Courtship of the Yonghy-Bonghy-Bo."

________. Nonsense Poems. New York: Dover Publications, Inc., 1994.

Wonderful, inexpensive ($1.00) paperback that contains more than ninety limericks as well as several poems, illustrations are Lear's own.

Teacher Reference

Hayward, Camille. " Lear's Nonsense." Book Links, May 1996, pp. 43-48.

Provides additional insights into Lear's life and his poems.
 

Teacher Background

Students were first introduced to Edward Lear in Grade One Literature when they heard "The Owl and the Pussycat." He was revisited in Second Grade when his limericks were enjoyed.

Edward Lear (1812-1888) is often thought of as the originator of the limerick but the form originally appeared as early as 448-380 B.C. Lear actually modeled his verses after pieces of writing published in 1822. Lear did, however, add wonderful humor to his limericks and rhymes by poking fun, as in "The Courtship of the Yonghy-Bonghy-Bo," at the long and complicated Latinate names given to plants and animals during this period

Lear's life was quite interesting. He was the twentieth of twenty-one children and suffered from epilepsy and hypochondria. He was an accomplished artist and his paintings of birds were compared to those by Audubon. Lear made landscape sketches which were used as models by scientists, and he taught drawing to Queen Victoria.

Procedure

Distribute copies of the poem, "The Pobble Who Had No Toes," to the students. Read the title and author's name aloud. Ask the students if they recall any other poems they have read or heard, written by Edward Lear, and if they do, allow time for them to share. If they do not, remind them of "The Owl and the Pussycat" and Lear's limericks. (Read a few to the class, if
you like.) Point out that Lear invented words and enjoyed putting nonsense words and ideas in his poems. Suggest that Lear loved to create official sounding words -- like the Latin names used during that period in science -- that were really intended to just be silly.

Tell the students that there are two words in the poem that will be familiar to them but that actually have different meanings in this poem and they are bark and park. Write the word "bark" on the board and tell the students that, in this context, the word means boat. Explain that a bark is a small sailing boat. Next write "park" on the board and tell the students that it is an area containing woods, pasture and lakes with a country house situated on it. Explain that these are commonly used words in England, Edward Lear's home country. Tell the students to look for bark and park as well as nonsense words in the poem as they follow along. Tell them that they will find more references to England and English life in the poem as well.

Read the poem aloud, asking the students to follow along.

When you have completed reading, ask for a show of hands of those who found the words "bark" and "park." Ask how many saw and heard nonsense words and invented words. Ask: Did you see the words "Runcible Cat with crimson whiskers"? Explain that runcible is an invented word that Lear used in the poem "The Owl and The Pussycat." Perhaps, in "The Pobble Who Has No Toes," this means the cat who used the runcible spoon in that poem. (A runcible spoon is a cross between a spoon and a fork.) Be sure that students know the meanings of "forlorn" and "garnished," both in stanza four. Explain that Lear has capitalized words that are usually not capitalized, which is a poet's privilege to do. Ask the students if they can find other examples in the poem (World, Porpoise, Mermaids). Tell the students that this is called "poetic license' and that they will see exceptions like this in other poems they will read in the future.

Ask the students if the lines in the poem rhyme (yes). Select a stanza and have a volunteer name the words that rhyme. Ask the students how they would describe this kind of poem (narrative, tells a story).

Distribute the worksheet and read through each of the directions aloud, clarifying any questions students may have. If you wish, students may be assigned to work in groups when completing the worksheets. Each student, however, should complete his or her own paper.

Allow sufficient time for students to work.

When students have completed the worksheets, go over them as a class or collect them for grading purposes. Point out to the students that they have spent some time reading about and discussing the Pobble, when in fact none of them has ever seen one. Distribute drawing paper and direct the students to draw a picture of the Pobble in one of the scenes from the poem. If possible, display the drawings with a copy of the poem.
 

Additional Activity

Invite the students to pretend that they are writing a poem called "The Pobble Who Has No Earlobes (or Belly Button, etc.)." Tell them to explain how the Pobble could keep his earlobes (or whatever) by telling what Aunt Jobiska would say. Then have them tell how he lost the earlobes (or whatever).
 

Fourth Grade - Literature - Poetry - The Pobble Who Has No Toes
 

Name ANSWER KEY___________________________________________________
 

"The Pobble Who Had No Toes" by Edward Lear
 

1. Edward Lear liked to join words together in a group to make silly sounding phrases. Find two examples in this poem. Some of the words in these groups are joined by hyphens (-).
 

Fish fiddle de-dee

tinkledy-binkledy-winkled
 

2. The Pobble's Aunt Jobiska had three different things to say about a Pobble's toes. Without writing her exact words, what did she have to say about them? Why do you think she made the last statement?
 

1. Lavender water tinged with pink is the best thing for a Pobble's toes

2. No harm can come to a Pobble's toes if his nose is warm

3. Pobbles are happier without their toes

Answers may vary, but should indicate a desire to make the Pobble feel better or some similar statement.
 

3. What happened right before the Pobble's toes were missing?
 

A sea-green Porpoise took his scarlet flannel from his nose
 

4. What do you think happened to the Pobble's toes?
 

Answers will vary.
 

5. How would you suggest the Pobble keeps his nose warm?
 

Answers will vary.
 

6. List all the words in this poem that have to do with the sea or water. Include the names of animals and people associated with water. (HINT: There are at least fifteen; more if you write the word "fish" all three times that it is mentioned, and "swam" the two times it is mentioned.)
 

lavender water, swam, Bristol Channel, boats, ships, Sailors, Admirals, fish, shore, sea-green porpoise, shrimps, crawfish, mermaids, Bark, rowed, (fish, fish, swam)
 

Fourth Grade - Literature - Poetry - The Pobble Who Has No Toes
 

Name ____________________________________________________
 

"The Pobble Who Had No Toes" by Edward Lear
 

1. Edward Lear liked to join words together in a group to make silly sounding phrases. Find two examples in this poem. Some of the words in these groups are joined by hyphens (-).

2. The Pobble's Aunt Jobiska had three different things to say about a Pobble's toes. Without writing her exact words, what did she have to say about them?
 

1.

2.

3.
 

3. What happened right before the Pobble's toes were missing?
 
 
 

4. What do you think happened to the Pobble's toes?

5. How would you suggest the Pobble keeps his nose warm?
 
 
 

6. List all the words in this poem that have to do with the sea or water. Include the names of animals and people associated with water (there are at least fifteen; more if you write the word "fish" all three times that it is mentioned, and "swam" the two times it is mentioned). (Use the back of this paper if necessary.)

Fourth Grade - Literature - Poetry - The Pobble Who Has No Toes
 

The Pobble Who Has No Toes by Edward Lear

The Pobble who has no toes
Had once as many as we;
When they said, "Some day you may lose them all;" --
He replied, -- "Fish fiddle de-dee!"
And his Aunt Jobiska made him drink
Lavender water tinged with pink;
For she said, "The World in general knows
There's nothing so good for a Pobble's toes!"

The Pobble who has no toes,
Swam across the Bristol Channel;
But before he set out he wrapped his nose
In a piece of scarlet flannel.
For his Aunt Jobiska said, "No harm
Can come to his toes if his nose is warm;
And it's perfectly known that a Pobble's toes
Are safe, -- provided he minds his nose."

The Pobble swam fast and well,
And when boats or ships came near him,
He tinkledy-binkledy-winkled a bell
So that all the world could hear him.
And all the Sailors and Admirals cried,
When they saw him nearing the further side, --
"He has gone to fish, for his Aunt Jobiska's
Runcible Cat with crimson whiskers!"

But before he touched the shore,
The shore of the Bristol Channel,
A sea-green Porpoise carried away
His wrapper of scarlet flannel.
And when he came to observe his feet,
Formerly garnished with toes so neat,
His face at once became forlorn
On perceiving that all his toes were gone!

And nobody ever knew,
From that dark day to the present,
Who so had taken the Pobble's toes,
n a manner so far from pleasant.
Whether the shrimps or crawfish grey,
Or crafty Mermaids stole them away --
Nobody knew; and nobody knows
How the Pobble was robbed of his twice five toes!

The Pobble who has no toes
Was placed in a friendly Bark,
And they rowed him back, and carried him up
To his Aunt Jobiska's Park.
And she made him a feast, at his earnest wish,
Of eggs and buttercups fried with fish; --
And she said, --"It's a fact the whole world knows,
That Pobbles are happier without their toes."

Fourth Grade - Literature - Poetry - The Rhinoceros

Note: This poem should be introduced after "The Pobble Who Has No Toes."

Objectives
Note Nash's use of poetic license.
Identify rhyme pattern.
Write a pair of lines, or a second line, following the form of the poem.
 

Materials

Copy of the poem, "The Rhinoceros," on chart paper

Picture of a rhinoceros (optional)
 

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.

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

Teacher Background

Students should recall Ogden Nash's poem "The Adventures of Isabel" that was read in Third Grade. He was also referenced last month in the lesson on "Clarence." Students may enjoy knowing that, during his life, Nash lived in Baltimore for a short period.
 

Procedure

Display the poem, "The Rhinoceros," and ask students to read it silently to themselves.
 

The Rhinoceros by Ogden Nash
 

The Rhino is a homely beast,

For human eyes he's not a feast,

But you and I will never know

Why Nature chose to make him so

Farewell, farewell, you old rhinoceros,

I'll stare at something less prepoceros.
 

After allowing time for a silent reading, point out that the author is Ogden Nash. Ask if students remember his other poems, "The Adventures of Isabel," and "The Boy Who Laughed at Santa Claus." Remind the students that these were both humorous poems and ask if they think "The Rhinoceros" is also.

Be sure that all students know what a rhinoceros looks like. If a picture is unavailable, give a description.

Invite a volunteer to read the poem aloud. Assist with any pronunciation problems and thank the student for his or her reading. Next, have the whole class read the poem.

Write the word "prepoceros" on the board. Next to it write the word "preposterous." Tell the students that preposterous means absurd, ridiculous, and laughable. Point out that prepoceros is not a word. Ask students why they think Nash chose to use it (rhyme, humor). Ask if anyone recalls what we say the poet is using when he makes up words, capitalizes or makes lower case words that should not be (poetic license). Can they find another example of poetic license that Nash took? (Nature) Tell students that like Edward Lear, Nash enjoys creating his own outrageous words.

Have students note that Nash begins the poem by simply talking about the rhinoceros in the first two lines, then in the next two lines he seems to be speaking to us, his audience. Who is Nash speaking to in the last two lines? (the rhinoceros)

Have a student name the rhyming words at the end of the lines (beast-feast, know-so, rhinoceros-prepoceros). Ask if anyone recalls the name for two lines that rhyme (couplet). Ask students to try to think of a different second line (His skin is tough to say the least), or a completely new pair of lines that paint the rhino in a very different light. Have the students think of him as handsome. Try having them write their own pairs of lines or second lines for the following:

The rhino is a handsome chap

(But much too large for someone's lap)
 

The rhino is a handsome fellow

(He turns my heart to wiggly jello)
 

The rhino is a good looking guy

(But much too heavy to ever fly)
 

Suggest that students make their lines as humorous as possible.

Students who are interested could continue the poem, substituting "Hello, hello" or "Welcome, welcome" instead of "Farewell, farewell."
 

Additional Activities
 

Invite the students to read more Ogden Nash and to illustrate an Ogden Nash zoo. Tell the students to copy the Nash animal poem of their choice and do an accompanying illustration. Either display the pictures and poems or put them together in book called "Outrageous Animals."
 

Have the students research the rhinoceros to find out what is special about his appearance. How do his tough armor-like skin and short legs help him? Has the rhinoceros ever been an endangered animal? What is special about the rhino's horn? (It really isn't a horn, it's actually hair.) Have them prepare either a written or an oral report.
 

Provide a selection of poetry collections and challenge students to find other poems about the rhinoceros. They might do a survey to see if there has been a greater number of humorous poems or serious poems written about the rhinoceros.
 

Fourth Grade - Literature - Stories - St. George and the Dragon
 

Objectives

Examine the story for evidence of the elements found in fairy tales.

Imagine and list the sounds that might have been heard during the battle between St. George and the dragon.

Write a composition incorporating the sounds.

Observe a painting of St. George and the Dragon and compare and contrast it to the story (optional).
 

Materials

Copy of the story of "St. George and the Dragon"

Reproduction of one of the paintings of St. George and the Dragon (optional)
 

Suggested Books

Hodges, Margaret, retold by. Saint George and the Dragon. Boston: Little and Co., 1984.

Beautifully illustrated by Trina Schart Hyman with gorgeous borders and highlighted with the flowers of the British Isles, this book tells the story of George the Red Cross knight. (The book is also available in paperback.)
 

Related Art

St. George and the Dragon - Raphael (available through Instructor Magazine, January 1987)

Ross, Stewart. Fact or Fiction: Knights. Brookfield, CT: Copper Beech Books, 1996.

Small reproduction of a painting of St. George and the dragon.

Williams, Helen. Stories in Art. Brookfield: Merlion, 1991.

Explains how artists tell stories with their works; includes Saint George and the Dragon by Paolo Uccello.
 

Teacher Background

"Saint George and the Dragon" may be used this month, or if you have difficulty obtaining a copy at this time, it may be used in February as well. This lesson asks students to compare the story to the elements typically found in a fairy tale. A similar activity is done with King Arthur so if you postpone this lesson and begin the study of Arthur first, you may want to review this activity before proceeding.

The story "Saint George and the Dragon" is taken from Edmund Spenser's Faerie Queene.
 

Procedure

Tell the students that the story you are about to read, "Saint George and the Dragon," is a legend. Explain that a legend is a story from the past that is regarded as historical. It comes from the Latin "legenda" which means "things to be read." Write "legend" and "story regarded as historical" on the board. Explain that early legends were narratives of the saints and martyrs of the Christian Church. The hero of a legend was supposed to possess extraordinary qualities.

Explain that, in fact, St. George was a martyr of the Christian Church. This meant that he gave his life for the beliefs of his religion. Years later, he was made a hero of the Middle Ages and was named the patron saint of England by Edward III in 1348. Tell the students that as they listen to the story they will hear how George became a hero.

Next to the word "legend" on the board, write the words "fairy tale." Ask students to recall some of the elements found in most fairy tales. Have them recall how most fairy tales begin and end, that they usually include someone of royalty, that magic is included, that an evil character is included, that the numbers 3 or 7 figure in the story (remind them that this can mean that something happened 3 or 7 times, or there were 3 or 7 of a particular thing), that a lesson is learned, and that animals may be characters.

Tell the students that as they listen to the story they should look for elements found in most fairy tales. Distribute the worksheets and direct students to make notes on them. Advise them that they might not hear the exact words at the beginning and end, but to jot down what they hear if it seems similar. Suggest that they use the back of the page when they are trying to keep track of the number of times something happens. Tell them that you will discuss their lists after reading the story. Read "Saint George and the Dragon" to the class.

After you have read the story, allow the students to work with a partner and compare notes. Tell them to read through each of the eight elements and compare answers. Limit the amount of time students have to do this.

After allowing time for discussion, call on students to respond to each of the 8 elements. (See sheet containing Teacher Notes [attached].) Take time for discussion when necessary. You may also wish to allow students to note similarities to fairy tales and other stories they have read.

Ask students if they can identify any particular qualities that all heroes and/or fair maidens seem to have in common.
 

Sounds of the Battle

(Adapted from an activity suggested by Nancy Rocher in Instructor Magazine, January 1987.)
 

Reread the section of the story that describes the battle between Saint George and the dragon. Have the students list words that describe the sounds they might have heard if they had witnessed the fight. Be sure that students understand that they are to list sounds and not actions or conversation. Clarify this beforehand by asking them to list the sounds of rain (splash, drip, drop, sploosh, sprinkle, splish, pitter-patter). Tell them that onomatopoeia is the name given to words that imitate sounds. Write the italicized words on the board.

Have each student take a piece of paper and fold it into fourths (fold in half side-to-side, then top-to-bottom). Tell them to write the following headings, one to a section: Sounds the dragon made; Sounds the horse made; Sounds the armor and weapons made; Sounds the Red Cross Knight made.

Tell them to jot down the sounds that might have occurred as the terrible battle took place.
 

Sounds the dragon made

hiss, roar, slither, flapping, thunder, crash, bang, scrape of teeth and claws, screech, bellow, burp, growl, shriek, yowl, howl, growl, crunch, snap
 

Sounds the horse made

whinny, whine, whimper, gallop, thud, clip-clop, shriek, snort
 

Sounds the armor and weapons made

clash, scrape, clang, whoosh, bang, slice, thwack, thud, clatter, clink, slam, bash, boom, screech, clank, ping
 

Sounds the Red Cross Knight made

gasp, shriek, yell, whimper, thud, crack
 

After the students have made their lists, allow volunteers to suggest a few words for each section. Then have the students form teams of 4 or 5. Tell them that they will first share their lists with one another, then they will compose a composition telling about the battle through sounds. Provide the following example.
 

George gasped as the huge hulk of the dragon towered above him. Thud, the ground shook as the dragon walked. Swoosh, its wings cut through the air. Scrape, scrape sounded its scales as it slithered across the ground. The horse whinnied and whined in terror.
 

Tell teams to select a recorder and a reader. Team members should take turns suggesting sentences. After a ten to fifteen minute period, call on groups to share their writing. You may also wish to have students complete this exercise independently for homework. Partners could proofread and provide feedback the following day.
 

The Story in Art

If you were able to obtain any of the Suggested Books containing one of the paintings of St. George and the dragon, allow one or two students to look at it at a time. Keep a notebook next to the book for comments. Encourage students to jot down thoughts they have about whether the subjects in the painting look the way they expected.

The elements found in most fairy tales are:

1. The story opens with the words "Once upon a time ..."
 
 
 
 
 

2. Magic events or characters are part of the story.
 
 
 
 
 

3. One of the characters is someone of royalty.
 
 
 
 
 

4. One of the characters is evil or wicked.
 
 
 
 
 

5. The number three or the number seven is used in the story.
 
 
 
 
 

6. A lesson is learned or a message is delivered.
 
 
 
 
 

7. Animals may be characters.
 
 
 
 
 

8. The story ends with the words "...and they lived happily ever after."

Fourth Grade - Literature - Stories - St. George and the Dragon
 

Teacher Notes:

The elements found in most fairy tales are:

1. The story opens with the words "Once upon a time ..."

"In the days when monsters and giants and fairy folk lived in England, a noble knight was riding across a plain."
 

2. Magic events or characters are part of the story.

The Fairy Queen sent the Red Cross Knight on his journey.

The spring where George falls is magic and the apple tree where he later falls is also magic. He is restored by these two.
 

3. One of the characters is someone of royalty.

Una is a princess. George is sent out by the Fairy Queen.
 

4. One of the characters is evil or wicked.

The dragon is evil.
 

5. The number three or the number seven is used in the story.

Three characters set out on the journey, the Red Cross Knight, Princess Una and the dwarf.

George engages the dragon three times in the story. First he races at the dragon, then he pierces its left wing, then his sword strikes the dragon's head.

Three actions happen again: George tries to free his shield three times. He cuts off the dragon's tail. He cuts off the dragon's paw.
 

6. A lesson is learned or a message is delivered.

The Red Cross knight learns that he was stolen by the fairies, that he is a mortal.
 

7. Animals may be characters.

The dragon may be considered an animal, although no such animal exists.
 

8. The story ends with the words "...and they lived happily ever after."

So Una and the Red Cross Knight were married and lived together joyfully.
 

Fourth Grade - Literature - Stories - King Arthur
 

Objectives

Identify similarities between a legend and a fairy tale.

Select a character and describe his or her traits.

Differentiate between fact and fiction within the stories.
 

Materials

Selections from the Suggested Books

Chart paper for noting fact and fiction
 

Suggested Books

Hodges, Margaret and Margery Evernden. Of Swords and Sorcerers. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1993.

Retold by true storytellers this collection of tales contains ten chapters that begin with Merlin and Arthur and end with Arthur's death. The exciting adventures are illustrated with beautifully detailed woodcuts by David Frampton. Excellent choice for the classroom.

Lehane, Brendan and the Editors of Time-Life Books. The Enchanted World: Legends of Valor. Alexandria, VA: Time-Life Books, 1984.

Outstanding illustrations accompany the tales of King Arthur and his knights. The visuals alone make this book worthwhile.

Lister, Robin, retold by. The Legend of King Arthur. New York: Doubleday, 1988.

Fourteen tales from the legends of Merlin and Arthur are included, told by Merlin. Use the illustrations, some of the vocabulary may need to be censored.

Perham, Molly. King Arthur and the Legends of Camelot. New York: Viking, 1993.

Seventeen chapters including "The Sword in the Stone," "How Arthur Won Excalibur," and "The Round Table." Pen-and-ink drawings by Julek Heller.

Russell, William F., selected by. Classics to Read Aloud to Your Children. New York: Crown Publishers, 1984.

Contains the selection "How Arthur was Crowned King" from Morte d'Arthur by Sir Thomas Mallory. This selection takes approximately 10 minutes to read.

Sabuda, Robert, retold and illustrated by. Arthur and the Sword. New York: Athenum, 1995.

Striking illustrations of stained glass emphasize one form of art that flourished during this historical period. This tale that introduces Arthur and the sword is highly recommended.

San Souci, Robert. Young Lancelot. New York: Doubleday, 1996.

Lancelot's life from birth until he became the greatest champion of the Round Table is told in this beautifully illustrated book.

Talbott, Hudson, written and illustrated by. King Arthur: The Sword in the Stone. New York: Morrow Junior Books, 1991.

Gorgeous detailed full page illustrations accompany an easy to read text. Inside cover pages feature colorful examples of heraldry. This would be an excellent choice to share with the class.

________. King Arthur and the Round Table. New York: Morrow Junior Books, 1995.

Impressive two-page illustrations highlight the second in this "Tales of King Arthur" series. Students are sure to enjoy this sequel.
 

________. Excalibur. New York: Morrow Junior Books, 1996.

Another in the "Tales of King Arthur" series, this book tells the story of Arthur, Excalibur, and the Lady of the Lake. Again, the illustrations are wonderful.

Williams, Marcia, retold and illustrated by. King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Candlewick Press, 1996.

Cartoon-like illustrations and a liberal sprinkling of humor make this a book students are sure to enjoy. The format and small illustrations do not make it suitable as a read aloud, however.

Teacher Resource

Crawford, Thomas. King Arthur Coloring Book. New York: Dover Publications, 1995.

Included are detailed illustrations suitable for copying.
 

Audio Tapes

Richardson, Ian, performed by. The King Arthur Audio Collection . New York: HarperCollins, 1979. Caedmon SBN 118

The Howard Pyle version of King Arthur fills four tapes in this set read by Sir Ian Richardson. The language is formal English and may take some adjustment for students. The running time is 4 hours.

Weiss, Jim, retold by. King Arthur and His Knights. Benicia, CA: Greathall Productions.

The tape includes "The Sword in the Stone," "The Round Table," and "King Arthur, Guinevere." It is also available on CD. This would be a wonderful addition to the classroom.
 

Additional Titles

Hodges, Margaret. The Kitchen Knight. New York: Holiday House, 1990.

The story of King Arthur's nephew Gareth; how he is knighted by Lancelot and battles the Red Knight. Gorgeous illustrations by Trina Schart Hyman.

Howe, John, retold and illus. by. The Knight with the Lion: The Story of Yvain. Boston: Little, Brown & Co., 1996.

Tells the story of Yvain, one of the knights of the Round Table, and his adventures that begin when he defeats the Black Knight.

Philip, Neil. The Tale of Sir Gawain. New York: Philomel, 1987.

Chapter book with few illustrations, will be enjoyed by more accomplished readers.

San Souci, Robert. Young Merlin. New York: Doubleday, 1990.

Tells of the life of Merlin from birth until the age of seventeen. Wonderful illustrations by Daniel Horne. Students are sure to enjoy this book.
 

Teacher Reference

Crawford, Sue. Lands of Legend: Great Mysteries. New York: Boatwright Press, 1989.

Explores the legend of Arthur and Camelot in the area of Avalon. Arthur's remains were uncovered in 1189, under the direction of King Henry II.

Doherty, Paul. King Arthur. New York: Chelsea House, 1987.

Explores artifacts that tell about the life of the actual King Arthur.

Materials Relating to the Middle Ages

Baines, Francesca. Castles: Worldwise. New York: Franklin Watts, 1995.

While this book is intended for a younger audience, the cut aways and overlays are excellent visuals.

Glubok, Shirley. Knights in Armor. New York: Harper & Row, 1969.

Black and white photographs and etchings, along with a clear, engaging text introduce the reader to knighthood and all that is associated with it.

Kerr, Daisy. Medieval Town: Worldwise. New York: Franklin Watts, 1997.

Short passages and clear, attractive illustrations make this a great introductory selection.

________. Knights and Armor: Worldwise. New York: Franklin Watts, 1997.

Detailed drawings highlight a very basic text. Wonderful visuals.

Ross, Stewart. Fact or Fiction: Knights. Brookfield, CT: Copper Beech Books, 1996.

Illustrations and photographs highlight this compendium of information related to knights.

Young, Caroline. Castles, Pyramids and Palaces. Tulsa, OK: EDC Publishing, 1989.

Clear colorful illustrations by Colin King show cut aways of a number of buildings including a medieval castle. Text is kept brief and simple.
 

Teacher Background

The stories of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table continue into the February lessons when castles, knights and the Middle Ages are studied in greater detail in World History and Visual Arts. Begin reading selections now so that your students will be familiar with Arthur and able to draw parallels to castle life, chivalry, jousting, and knighthood. Students will be asked to independently read a selection on Arthur in February.

If possible, read a variety of books about King Arthur -- the picture book variety as well as the chapter book. Provide supplemental texts as well and encourage students to look for references to Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table. You may wish to read (or play) short selections from the books by Thomas Mallory (Morte d'Arthur) or Howard Pyle, however the language is more difficult and students may not appreciate the stories because of difficulties with the translation.

The lesson on "St. George and the Dragon" asks students to consider which elements of fairy tales relate to legends. If your students did this activity, they should be able to relate the elements to the legends of Arthur as well. If your students did not do this activity, you may wish to use the worksheets on fairy tales with King Arthur.

Procedure

Introduce the students to King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table by telling them that Arthur was a king who lived in England sometime prior to the 10th century. Explain that he was a minor king who was not noted for any particular accomplishments except that stories foretold his second rise to power. Tell students that Arthur became much more powerful in death -- due to the stories told about him -- than he was in life. Remind students of the folk heroes they read about in Second Grade. John Chapman, aka Johnny Appleseed, did many great things in his life, but he did not accomplish many of the feats credited to him. The same could be said for John Henry and John Luther Jones, aka Casey Jones.

Students should recall that a legend is a story that is historical. Because Arthur truly lived, the stories about him are legends. Referenced in those stories are other facts -- the search for the

Holy Grail, life during the Middle Ages, etc. -- that balance the make-believe. Tell students that as they hear and read stories about King Arthur, they should try to separate the fact from the fiction. Provide a piece of chart paper to be used for noting examples of both. Encourage students to add to these lists as their study of the Middle Ages continues.
 

Character Traits

Have students keep several pieces of note paper for use when hearing or reading the stories of Arthur. Students should first list the names of the main characters in the stories (Merlin, Arthur, Guinevere, Lancelot) providing space after each name for note taking, then they should list the lesser characters and leave smaller amounts of note taking space for those (Ector, Kay, the Lady of the Lake, etc.). Tell students that they should jot notes about the characters as they hear and read the legends. They should consider both the descriptions of the appearance and the behavior of these characters. Briefly review character traits by asking students to name and describe some. Remind students to consider the actions and not just the words of each character. Tell them to check to see if all versions of the legends describe the characters in the same way?

Have students select a character from their lists and have them write a personality profile. Tell them to consider what would happen to that character if he or she were alive today. What job could they imagine the character having? Why would that character be well suited for that job? What would it say on their resumé ?
 

Knights of the Round Table

List the vows of the Knights of the Round Table, which were renewed each year on the Feast of the Pentecost.

To live pure lives

To speak the truth

To fight for the right

To be faithful to the king

Ask students to consider how realistic these vows really were. Could a knight expect to uphold each of them at all times? Would it be realistic to expect someone to live that kind of life today?
 

The Swords of Arthur

Remind the students Arthur is identified as the rightful king after he pulls the sword from the anvil, however this is not the sword he will use for the rest of his life. Ask: Why do you think the author has Arthur take Excalibur from the Lady of the Lake? Why does Arthur have two swords? Why is the scabbard so important? If no harm can come to Arthur while he has the scabbard, is the author telling us that Arthur should not take his sword out? Is he safe because he does not battle? What does the word excalibur mean? Why would an auto company use Excalibur as the name of one of its cars?
 

Fact or Fiction

When your students have completed their study of King Arthur, the Knights of the Round Table and the Middle Ages (at the end of February), ask them to weigh how much of what they read was fact and how much was fiction. Ask them to speculate why authors romanticized this period of history, and why we as readers seem to enjoy reading about brave knights who fought giants, dragons and other horrible creatures to protect and defend beautiful damsels.
 

Fourth Grade - Literature - Stories - King Arthur
 

Men vs Women

Have the students look back over their notes and find the words that describe the actions and personalities of the characters. Ask them to consider the following.

How differently are men portrayed than women?

Are men always brave and women always helpless?

Are men clever and women foolish?

Are all the characters either handsome or beautiful?

Do women ever do any of the brave deeds?

Ask students to think about why people were portrayed in a certain way at that time. Challenge them to update the story. How might the relationships between the characters be different? How would the story be different if it were about a woman and not a man? Suppose this was the story of a queen and not a king. Could a woman be as strong and wise as Arthur?

Bibliography


 


Cole, Joanna and Stephanie Calmenson. A Pocketful of Laughs. New York: Doubleday, 1995.(0-385-32154-6)

Cole, William, collected by. Beastly Boys and Ghastly Girls. Cleveland: World Publishing Co., 1964.

Crawford, Sue. Lands of Legend: Great Mysteries. New York: Boatwright Press, 1989.(0-531-18247-9)

deRegniers, Beatrice Schenk, selected by. Sing a Song of Popcorn: Every Child's Book of Poems. New York: Scholastic, 1988. (0-590-43974-X)

Ferris, Helen, selected by. Favorite Poems Old and New: Selected for Boys and Girls. New York: Doubleday, 1957. (0-385-07696-7)

Hirsch, E. D., Jr., ed. What Your Fourth Grader Needs to Know. New York: Dell, 1992.(0-385-31260-1)

* Hodges, Margaret, retold by. Saint George and the Dragon. Boston: Little and Co., 1984.(0-316-36789-3)

* Hodges, Margaret and Margery Evernden. Of Swords and Sorcerers. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1993. (0-684-19437-6)

Lear, Edward. The Nonsense Verse of Edward Lear. New York: Harmony Books, 1984.(0-517-55501-8)

________. The Nonsense Poems of Edward Lear. New York: Clarion Books, 1991.(0-395-57001-8)

________. Nonsense Poems. New York: Dover Publications, Inc., 1994.(0-486-28031-4)

Lehane, Brendan and the Editors of Time-Life Books. The Enchanted World: Legends of Valor. Alexandria, VA: Time-Life Books, 1984. (0-8094-5221-9)

Lister, Robin, retold by. The Legend of King Arthur. New York: Doubleday, 1988.(0-385-26369-4)

Noble, Trinka Hakes. Meanwhile Back at the Ranch. New York: Puffin, 1987. (0-14-054564-6)

Perham, Molly. King Arthur and the Legends of Camelot. New York: Viking, 1993.(0-670-84990-1)

Russell, William F., selected by. Classics to Read Aloud to Your Children. New York: Crown Publishers, 1984. (0-517-55404-6)

* Sabuda, Robert, retold and illustrated by. Arthur and the Sword. New York: Athenum, 1995.(0-689-31987-8)

San Souci, Robert. Young Lancelot. New York: Doubleday, 1996. (0-385-32171-6)

Talbott, Hudson, written and illustrated by. King Arthur: The Sword in the Stone. New York: Morrow Junior Books, 1991. (0-688-09404-X)

________. King Arthur and the Round Table. New York: Morrow Junior Books, 1995.(0-688-11341-9)

________. Excalibur. New York: Morrow Junior Books, 1996. (0-688-13381-9)

Viorst, Judith. Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day. New York: Atheneum, 1972.

Williams, Helen. Stories in Art. Brookfield: Merlion, 1991.(1-56294-174-7)

Williams, Marcia, retold and illustrated by. King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Candlewick Press, 1996. (1-56402-802-X)
 

Additional Titles for King Arthur

Hodges, Margaret. The Kitchen Knight. New York: Holiday House, 1990. (0-8234-0787-X)

Philip, Neil. The Tale of Sir Gawain. New York: Philomel, 1987. (0-399-21488-7)

San Souci, Robert. Young Merlin. New York: Doubleday, 1990. (0-385-24801-6)
 

Audio Tapes
Richardson, Ian, performed by. The King Arthur Audio Collection . New York: HarperCollins, 1979. Caedmon SBN 118
Weiss, Jim, retold by. King Arthur and His Knights. Benicia, CA: Greathall Productions.(1-882513-06-1)
 

Teacher Reference

Doherty, Paul. King Arthur. New York: Chelsea House, 1987. (0-87754-506-5)

Hirsch, Jr., E. D., Joseph F. Kett, James Trefil. The Dictionary of Cultural Literacy. New York: Houghton Mifflin, 1993. (0-395-65597-8)

Hirsch, Jr., E. D., ed. A First Dictionary of Cultural Literacy: What Our Children Need to Know. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1989. (0-395-59901-6)

Morris, William and Mary. Dictionary of Word and Phrase Origins. New York: Harper & Row, 1977, 1988. (0-06-015862-X)

Pickering, David, compiled by. Cassell Dictionary of Proverbs. London: Cassell, 1997.(0-304-34911-9)

Room, Adrian, revised by. Brewer's Dictionary of Phrase and Fable. New York: HarperCollins, 1959, 1995. (0-06-270133-9)
 

Materials Relating to the Middle Ages

Baines, Francesca. Worldwise: Castles. New York: Franklin Watts, 1995. (0-531-14334-1)

Glubok, Shirley. Knights in Armor. New York: Harper & Row, 1969.

Kerr, Daisy. Medieval Town: Worldwise. New York: Franklin Watts, 1997. (0-531-14426-7)

________. Knights and Armor: Worldwise. New York: Franklin Watts, 1997. (0-531-14425-9)

Ross, Stewart. Fact or Fiction: Knights. Brookfield, CT: Copper Beech Books, 1996.(0-7613-0453-3)

Young, Caroline. Castles, Pyramids and Palaces. Tulsa, OK: EDC Publishing, 1989.(0-7460-0463-X)
 

* Required or strongly recommended for lessons