Fourth Grade - Literature - Overview - March

Sayings and Phrases

This month, students are introduced to Money burning a hole in your pocket, A picture is worth a thousand words, and Birds of a feather, flock together. Students work on both group and independent activities in using these sayings and phrases. They are asked to participate in a matching activity, use a decision making chart, and write a letter.

These lessons may be used in any order, they are not related to any other lessons.

Poetry

The poems introduced this month are "Life Doesn't Frighten Me" by Maya Angelou and "the drum" by Nikki Giovanni. Study of the poems is done independently, in pairs and as a group activity. Some additional activities are provided.

The lessons may be used in any order, at any time during the month.

Stories

The reading of Treasure Island is begun this month and continues through the month of April. An adaptation is provided for independent student reading and recommendations for the use of the complete novel are included as well. If you intend to read the novel to the class, be sure to allow sufficient time over the months of March and April.

Activities are provided, but more activities and related books will be included next month.

Fourth Grade - Literature - Sayings and Phrases - Birds of a feather flock together

Objectives

Explain the meaning of the saying Birds of a feather flock together.

Participate in a matching activity based on interest.

Relate the saying to life experiences.

Materials

Copy of the saying, Birds of a feather flock together, on sentence strip or chart paper

A copy of the list of clubs for each student

A copy of the sheet containing the 8 people and their interests (cut apart) for each team

Suggested Books

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

Paxton, Tom. Birds of a Feather and Other Aesop's Fables. New York: Morrow, 1993.

Retelling in rhyme of ten of Aesop's fables. The final line of "Birds of a Feather" reminds us that "We're known by the company we keep."

Fraser, Betty. First Things First. New York: Harper & Row, 1990.

Primary picture book ("What to say when you see people doing the same thing.")

Teacher Reference books that contain definitions of the saying

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.

Spears, Richard A. NTC's Super-Mini American Idioms Dictionary. Lincolnwood, IL: NTC Publishing Group, 1996.

Teacher Note

The directions for the activity provided with this lesson specify that it be used in a group. The assignment, however, may be done independently in class or as homework, and it may also be completed by pairs of students.

Procedure

Ask the students if they have ever seen a group of birds flying together. They may have seen sparrows or crows around the city, or they may have seen ducks or geese passing by on their trips south or back north. Remind the students that if they have seen this they should have noticed that the birds flying together were of the same variety (all geese, ducks, sparrows, etc.). Ask the students if they have any idea why birds stay together with other birds of their same species. (These are the birds with which they live and reproduce.) Point out to students that wild animals live with their own kind as well. For example, rabbits live with other rabbits, foxes live with other foxes, etc.

Display the saying Birds of a feather, flock together. Ask students if they have ever heard the saying before, and if so, how was it used. If no one volunteers an answer, tell the students that the saying indicates that people with a similar interest (birds of a feather) tend to get together (flock together). Remind the students that when on the playground, people who enjoy playing ball start a game, those who enjoy jump rope join together, etc. Ask if they can see how the saying came to mean what it does. Ask students to share the names of people who are "birds of a feather," and why they fit that description.

Note that people do not usually join a game or choose a club that is participating in an activity they dislike. Therefore, when we see people playing basketball we figure that they like playing; when we see people looking at paintings in a museum we think that they enjoy art, etc. We would not expect someone who dislikes the water to join a swim club, for example.

Explain that the saying can also have another meaning attached to it. Tell the students that if a person associates with criminals or unpleasant people, others assume that the person who associates with them is also a criminal or an unpleasant person. As Aesop in his fable tells us, "We're known by the company we keep." Remind students that observers may think that a group of people are "birds of a feather" even if they are not. If possible, read to the class the Tom Paxton book, Birds of a Feather and Other Aesop's Fables.

Tell the students that they will now have an opportunity to match some "birds" with others "of their feather." In other words, they will match people with certain interests to clubs where other people have similar interests. Distribute the sheet containing the list of clubs to each student. Have the students read through the sheet silently or read it aloud while they follow along. Discuss what interests a person might have in order to want to join the particular club.

Divide the class into teams of four or five. Assign a recorder and a reporter for each team and distribute the information on the 8 characters (cut apart) to each team. Tell the students that each member should take a name and description. One at a time, the students should read aloud to their team members, the information about their character. Together the team members should decide which club (or clubs) would best meet that person's interests. The recorder should list these. When all the names have been assigned a club, the team should look for overlapping characters and clubs. Ask them to consider which characters might make good friends and why. Tell each team to try to match at least two sets of friends.

After students have had sufficient time to complete the activity, ask the teams to share their matches. Allow teams who disagree with a match to explain why they don't see the person belonging in that certain club. Remind the students that clubs may have several members and characters may belong to more than one club. Challenge them to always make the best match.

Close the activity by asking someone to explain the saying in his or her own words. Ask another student to give an example.

Possible matches are:

Lloyd Floyd - Debating Club and Drama Club - speak in public

Hilda Harp- Debating Club and Chess Club - react quickly to opponent

Lois Lily - Drama Club, Computer Club, Art Club, and Cooking Club - creative

Janet Jumpy - Debating Club, Chess Club, and Cooking Club - plan ahead

Alberta Dunn - Chess Club, Drama Club - memory

Boris Baris - Drama Club, Computer Club - tapes, speaking

Richard Regal - Art Club, Drama Club - creative clothing

Many matches are possible based on club membership.

Fourth Grade - Literature - Sayings and Phrases - Birds of a feather flock together





Boris Baris

Makes tapes of all the latest hits, likes to do tape-overs featuring his own voice.



Alberta Dunn

Can remember lines from every movie she's ever seen (and there are quite a few). Can quote the rules for every game she plays.



Lloyd Floyd

Known for being outspoken, has very strong opinions and likes to let them be known to everyone.



Janet Jumpy

Always has her next move planned, good at organizing groups of people, likes to socialize.



Hilda Harp

Quick to react to others and their actions, likes to compete.





Richard Regal

Puts together outfits that are the envy of others, has designed costumes as well as daily wear.



Mark Mill

Always willing to listen even if it means chatting with someone on the computer, will argue, but values the opinion of others.





Lois Lily

Mixes her own sauces for spaghetti, drew up plans for her bedroom and has also written adventure stories with characters she created.



Debating Club

Wanted: Good speakers and careful listeners!

If you aren't afraid to speak out in public and like to argue your point, this is the club for you. Must be a good listener so you can keep track of what your opponent is saying and be ready to react quickly. Ability to plan ahead an absolute must!



Chess Club

Do you enjoy playing strategy games?

Are you good at planning ahead?

Do you like to compete one-on-one?

Can you react quickly to the actions of your opponent?

Do you have a knack for remembering rules and patterns?



DRAMA CLUB

Are you the class clown? Do people always accuse you of performing when you speak? On Halloween, do you have the most outrageous, original costume (and the behavior to match it)? Can you always remember things that everyone else has forgotten?

Maybe you know all about microphones, taping, special effects, lighting, and sound. If so, you would be perfect for the crew. We NEED you!



Computer Club

Do you know the difference between byte and bite? Are you an Internet explorer? Is your phone always busy because you are using the modem? Are CD-Rom, memory, monitor, and keyboard words you use every day? Do you know how to navigate with a mouse? Do you dream of creating your own computer generated games? Are you comfortable hooking-up wires and making tapes?



Art Club

Do you have a rainbow of paint drips on your clothes? Do you sketch all the time? (In other words, your notebooks are filled with more pictures than notes!) Are you always coming up with creative ideas, sometimes regarding the clothes you wear? Have you ever carved a bar of soap into something instead of bathing with it? Do all you friends ask you to help them with their drawings?



COOKING CLUB

Would you rather be in the kitchen than anywhere else in your house? Do your friends ask you what you have for lunch before they even say HELLO to you? Would you rather read a cookbook than any other book? Can you plan dinner for six and shop for everything ahead of time? Are your own recipes considered to be daring and creative?





Fourth Grade - Literature - Sayings and Phrases - Money burning a hole in your pocket

Objectives

Explain the meaning of the phrase Money burning a hole in your pocket.

Use a decision making chart.

Write a letter explaining a financial decision and the reasons you made it.

Materials

Copy of the phrase, Money burning a hole in your pocket, on sentence strip or chart paper

Worksheet for weighing decisions (attached) for transparency or one per student

Suggested Books

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

An explanation of the saying and example of it in use are included on page 82.

Viorst, Judith. Alexander, Who Used to be Rich Last Sunday. New York: Atheneum, 1978.

Students of all ages will enjoy this humorous tale of how Alexander is separated from his money.

Teacher Reference books that explain the meaning of the phrase

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.

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

Spears, Richard A. NTC's Super-Mini American Idioms Dictionary. Lincolnwood, IL: NTC Publishing Group, 1996.

Teacher Note

It is recommended that the activity of recognizing the pros and cons of a decision and then weighing those points, be done together as a class. The worksheet can be used for other activities, a line is included for noting the particular decision that needs to be made.

Procedure

Ask students if they have ever been given money and been extremely anxious to spend it. Ask: Did someone warn you not to waste your money, or throw it away? Was it recommended that you save your money? Has anyone ever said that money burns a hole in your pocket? Allow the students to respond to each of the questions and ask for a show of hands in agreement as well.

Display the saying Money burning a hole in your pocket. Invite someone to read it aloud and explain what it means. Ask the students to visualize the coins and bills burning a hole and trickling out. Suggest that some people say that their money seems to disappear because they spend it so quickly.

Ask: Why is it difficult to save money? (so many things to buy, we want something immediately, it takes patience to wait) Have you ever saved money? What did you do to keep yourself from spending the money? Again, allow the students to answer, congratulating those who suggest reasonable techniques for saving.

Write the word "decision" on the board. Ask the students to tell what the word decision means (making up one's mind, a conclusion). Tell the students that when you make a decision, you need to think about both sides of an issue. You need to think about the reasons that you should do a particular thing and the reasons that you should not. We say that we "weigh" the options or choices and then we decide. Point out that when there is a small amount of money involved our decisions may be more simple because so little will be affected by it. When we have larger amounts of money the decision may be more complex.

Present the following scenario:

You have been saving your money to buy a new video game cartridge. You have almost enough money to buy it--only three more dollars to go and you'll have the twenty-five dollars you need. It has been very difficult for you to save the money because you like to SPEND money. Just when you are feeling good that you have been able to save so much, a friend calls; he is willing to sell you an older game cartridge for eighteen dollars. What should you do? What do you have to consider as you make a decision? How do you weigh your choices?

Tell the students that you have a choice of two decisions in this situation. Ask them what the two choices are (spend the money and buy the cartridge from your friend, or save your money and buy the new cartridge). Write these two choices on the board. Tell the students that together you will look at the reasons for and against each choice.

Display the transparency (or distribute copies to all). Tell the students that first you will look at the reasons you should spend your money and buy the game. Write "spend the money" on the line at the top. As the students suggest reasons, add them to the column beneath the plus sign (+) numbering each one. Possible responses are: you'd have a game, you could play right away, you could start saving your money again. Then list reasons against spending the money and place them beneath the minus sign (-), again numbering them. Possible responses are: the game is old, everyone is tired of playing it, you'd have to start all over again saving your money, your friend would have eighteen dollars toward a new game and you'd only have four ($22.00 - $18.00 = $4.00), you'd have to wait a longer time for the new game.

After you have listed all the reasons for and against an action, color in the same number of bars on the balance at the top (adding more if necessary). Explain to the students how a balance works and look at the results. Are there more reasons to spend the money or not spend the money? If you wish, do the exercise again, this time filling in "save the money." Compare the results. There should have been more pluses for one decision and more minuses for the other.

Demonstrate for the students that the balance can be used with any decision making provided that all the reasons for and against are considered. Explain that a decision is only considered to be fair if both sides are considered.

When the class has completed the exercise and a decision has been made, tell the students to write a letter to the "friend" who wanted to sell the older game cartridge explaining your decision and the reasons for that decision. Remind students to use a friendly letter format and to use correct spelling and punctuation. Within the letter have the students reference the saying by noting "My money is burning a hole in my pocket and I must spend it" or "Even though my money is burning a hole in my pocket, I have decided not to spend it." Invite students to read their completed letters aloud. If possible, create a scoring rubric with the students before writing.

Have students check off and score their own letters before handing them to you for scoring.

Additional Activity

Read the book Alexander, Who used to be Rich Last Sunday to the class. Students will appreciate Alexander's repeated comment: "I absolutely was saving the rest of my money."

Fourth Grade - Literature - Sayings and Phrases - One picture is worth a thousand words

Objectives

Explain the saying One picture is worth a thousand words.

Describe a situation that it would be more preferable to see than read about.

Relate the saying to a photograph by explaining why the picture was more valuable than just a description.

Materials

Copy of the saying, One picture is worth a thousand words, on sentence strip or chart paper

Photographs (see Teacher Note)

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.

Books Containing Photographs

Tucker, Jean S. Come Look with Me: Discovering Photographs with Children. Charlottesville, VA: Thomasson-Grant, 1994.

This book provides a number of photographs that would complement this lesson, even though it is intended to teach the art of photography to children. The photographs on pp. 16, 22, 24, and 26 are particularly useful.

Teacher Note

It would greatly enhance this lesson if a number of photographs were available. They should be the quality of photographs in Life or Sports Illustrated that depict an emotion or a dramatic scene. Newspaper photographs might also be used.

If you are able to acquire a number of photographs, students could work together to identify and then describe the emotions associated with the picture.

Procedure

Display a particularly expressive photograph. Ask the students to tell what is going on in the picture and the feeling it conveys. Point out that a picture may convey joy, pride, sorrow, anguish, frustration, etc.

Next, display the saying, One picture is worth a thousand words. Tell the students that even though they were able to easily identify a particular emotion, it might not be so easy to tell someone who hadn't seen the picture what it was about. Demonstrate this with a picture by telling what is included in it (a man smiling, a girl laughing, people standing in the street looking at a fire, etc.) and pointing out that a description falls short of what the picture actually shows.

Invite students to recall particularly striking photographs they have seen. Mention that they might have seen a photograph of a child's toy outside a burned-out building, or a photograph of a jump shot frozen in time with the player's determination evident on his face. The photograph might be of the Earth from far out in space showing clouds and water and land and making us realize how very small we really are, or it might show the sadness in a mother's face as she holds her injured child.

Have students work with a partner to list as many different emotions as they can. Have them discuss the kind of picture that might be associated with each emotion. If students seem unable to name a variety of emotions, have the group work together to make a list. Suggest that they think about happy and sad emotions. Help them to come up with lists that include words like the following: lonely, frightened, exuberant, fascinated, puzzled, hopeless, energetic, ecstatic, devastated, kindness, and wonderment.

If possible, provide one or more photographs to each pair of students. Direct them to identify the emotion or emotions pictured, then invite them to trade with others so a variety of pictures and emotions may be observed.

Remind students that the photographs do not always have to include people, they can show a single scene as well. Explain that an erupting volcano can show power, the path of a tornado can show devastation and a pine forest can portray peace.

Tell students that sometimes a photograph is worth money as well as words. Explain that in a race, a photograph can be taken to determine who crosses the finish line first. Tell them that sometimes in a horse race, a horse can win (or lose) by a nose.

Have the students think about a scene that would have been perfect to capture in a photograph. Maybe it was the expression on someone's face at a surprise party. It might have been a drenched cat or dog sitting in a doorway, or it could have been a sled full of children flying up in the air. Tell them to write about the scene describing it completely and referencing it as the picture they wish they had.

Fourth Grade - Literature - Poetry - the drum

Objectives

Recognize implied comparison (metaphor).

Identify "rhythm" in daily life.

Materials

Copy of the poem "the drum" on chart paper or transparency (attached)

Worksheet (attached)

Suggested Books

Student Reference

Hoberman, Mary Ann, selected by. My Song is Beautiful: Poems and Pictures in Many Voices. Boston: Little, Brown and Co., 1994.

Wonderful collection of poems; David Diaz highlighted the text with colorful backgrounds on which black cut-outs are superimposed.

Rediger, Pat. Great African Americans in Literature. New York: Crabtree, 1996.

Short biographical sketches appropriate for independent reading.

Teacher Reference

Strickland, Michael R. African-American Poets. Springfield, NJ: Enslow, 1996.

Profiles ten African American poets; including Angelo, Giovanni, Brooks, Hughes, and Greenfield.

Teacher Background

Nikki Giovanni was born June 7, 1943 in Knoxville, Tennessee. Her full name is Yolande Cornelia Giovanni, Jr. Students were introduced to her work in Third Grade with the poem "Knoxville, Tennessee."

The worksheet activity included in this lesson may be done in pairs or independently. Also, if time does not permit, you may wish to eliminate the worksheet and simply lead the activities.

Procedure

Display the poem "the drum" and tell the students to read the poem silently to themselves. Tell them to think about what the poem is about and to notice anything unusual about the way the poem is presented.

After allowing time for the students to read the poem silently, invite a volunteer to read it aloud. Ask: Was it an easy poem to read? Why? (Answers will vary.) Did you have to pause at any particular places in the poem? (no) What was different about this poem? (no capital letters, no ending punctuation) Does anyone remember what it is called when the author chooses to not follow the rules of punctuation or capitalization or spelling? (poetic license)

Read the poem aloud yourself. Ask the students: Do the words in the poem rhyme? (no) Does the poem have a rhythm? (yes) Remind students that rhythm is a pattern of sounds. Invite someone to clap the rhythm of the poem while you recite it again. Ask: If there is one clap given for each syllable, which words receive more than one clap? (daddy, gonna, rhythm)

Tell the students that "the drum" contains a metaphor. Remind them that a metaphor is a comparison of two different things that does not use the words like or as. (Write this on the board.) Ask: What two things are compared in this poem? (the world and a drum)

If you choose, distribute the worksheets and have the students work in pairs or independently. After allowing sufficient time for them to complete the work, discuss each of the activities and allow students to share their responses.

Note: Possible examples of rhythm in everyday life: heartbeat, alarm clock, windshield wipers, clock tick-tock, breathing, snoring, sweeping, jump rope, swing squeaking, footsteps.

Who is the speaker in this poem?

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Tell how old you think the speaker is. Use lines or words from the poem to explain why you selected this age.

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Rhythm indicates a pattern of sounds (beats or accents). Brainstorm all the examples of rhythm that you can think about in everyday life.

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Explain what it means to beat out your own rhythm.

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How is the world like a drum? When does it seem that the world is tight and hard?

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Why do you think Nikki Giovanni chose to write this poem without using capital letters or following all the rules of punctuation?

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Fourth Grade - Literature - Poetry - Life Doesn't Frighten Me

Objectives

Distinguish between real and make-believe fears.

Work cooperatively with others to answer questions about the poem.

Materials

Copy of the poem (attached) for each student

Copy of the worksheet (attached) for each group

Directions for brainstorming activity (attached) on chalkboard, chart paper or transparency

Suggested Books

Student Reference

Angelou, Maya. Life Doesn't Frighten Me. New York: Stewart, Tabori & Chang, 1993.

Angelou's poem is partnered with the very powerful paintings and drawings of Jean- Michel Basquiat.

Rediger, Pat. Great African Americans in Literature. New York: Crabtree, 1996.

Short biographical sketches appropriate for independent reading.

Teacher Reference

Strickland, Michael R. African-American Poets. Springfield, NJ: Enslow, 1996.

Profiles ten African American poets; including Angelo, Giovanni, Brooks, Hughes, and Greenfield.

Teacher Background

Place students in cooperative groups of no more than 5 for the activities in this lesson. Be certain that students display good manners when working in their cooperative group. Have them do a write-around (paper is passed around to each of the members of the group) when listing their fears. This will help to limit discussion and involve all members.

Procedure

Begin the lesson by putting the students into groups and having them complete the brainstorming activity. (Display the activity on the chalkboard, chart paper or transparency.) Tell the students to use a write-around method for making their list and assign one person in each group to be the recorder for the next two parts.

Brainstorming Activity

1. People are frightened by many different things. With the other members of your group, list all the things that frighten you.

2. Put the things in your list into two categories: real and make-believe.

3. Are more of your group members' fears real, or are more make-believe?

After students have had sufficient time to work within their groups, ask them to name some of their fears and list them on the board. Tally the number of real and imagined fears for each group.

Tell the students that the poem they are going to read today is about the fears that one person has. Write the title "Life Doesn't Frighten Me" on the board and tell the students that it was written by Maya Angelou.(Write her name on the board, too.) Explain that she is a famous author of poems and stories who is living today. Display a photograph of her and tell the students that she recited one of her poems at President Clinton's first inauguration. (Explain what inauguration means if students do not know.)

Distribute copies of the poem to each student and a copy of the worksheet to each group. Tell the students that they are to silently read the poem to themselves first, then they are to work with their group members to complete the worksheet. Assign a recorder for each group. Write the following on the board and tell the students to use it for reference as they read the poem.

A counterpane is a bedspread.

After groups have had time to complete the worksheet, take time to discuss it as a class. Read the poem aloud, or invite students to do so, before beginning the discussion. Ask: How does the poet put rhythm in this poem? (rhyme, length of lines, repetition of phrases) Is it an easy poem to read or is it difficult? Why? Do you like it? Why? Invite students to read favorite lines from the poem to their classmates.

Additional Activities

Graphing

Have students graph the number of each variety of fears (real, make-believe) using side-by-side bars of different colors (e.g. red for real, blue for make-believe) for each group

Art Activity

Divide the students into several groups and assign each group a portion of the poem to illustrate. You may wish to share the book Life Doesn't Frighten Me, illustrated with the works of Jean-Michel Basquiat (see Suggested Books) before or after students do their illustrations.

Fourth Grade - Literature - Poetry - Life Doesn't Frighten Me



Group Activity

1. Do you think the speaker is an adult or a child? Support your answer with lines from the poem.









2. Are the speaker's fears real or make-believe? List each in its proper category on the back of this page.

3. Do you think most adults fear real things or make-believe things?





4. Name a real fear you think an adult might have.







5. The speaker repeats one thought throughout the poem. Why do you think that she keeps saying that things "don't frighten me at all"?









6. The speaker says that she has "... a magic charm that I keep up my sleeve." Is the magic charm real or make-believe? Will the magic charm work on both real and make-believe fears, or only one?



Brainstorming Activity

1. People are frightened by many different things. With the other members of your group, list all the things that frighten you.



2. Put the things in your list into two categories: real and make-believe.



3. Are more of your group members' fears real, or are more make-believe?

Fourth Grade - Literature - Stories - Treasure Island

Objectives

Brainstorm connections to the words in the title Treasure Island.

Recall information about pirates.

Note instances of foreshadowing in the story.

Identify main characters and do character webs.

Materials

Copy of the Treasure Island excerpt for each student (attached)

Classroom-size map of the world

Suggested Books

Blishen, Edward. Children's Classics to Read Aloud. New York: Kingfisher Books, 1991.

Contains "Jim fights Israel Hands" on p. 139, which is the same as Chapter 26 "Israel Hands" in the novel.

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

The selection included in this lesson can be found on pages 30-35.

Stevenson, Robert Louis. Treasure Island. New York: Viking, 1996.

Beautifully illustrated by Francois Place, this selection from The Whole Story series contains many interesting sidebars and charts. An excellent choice if you intend to read the entire book to the class.

Teacher Note

The study of Treasure Island continues in April, so you may wish to take some time to build background information before beginning the story. The text of an adaptation is included and may be copied for the students' use. Although this will involve making many multi-page copies, they may be used again by other students at a later date. Several activities are included with this lesson, but more will be included in the April lessons.

If you decide to read the original to the class, be sure to allow sufficient time over the months of March and April so it can be completed. If you use the adaptation, reading a page or two of the original would be valuable for familiarizing students with the language of the time.

In First and Second Grades, students first met Robert Louis Stevenson through the poems "My Shadow," "A Good Play," "Bed in Summer," and "Windy Nights." The novel Treasure Island is quite different from any of these and students will probably not see any connection. Tell students that Stevenson was born in 1850 in Edinburgh, Scotland. As a child he contracted tuberculosis and was never allowed to join the navy as he dearly wished, but as an adult, he traveled widely and saw much of the world. Stevenson and his family moved to and lived on the island of Samoa in the South Pacific from 1888 until his death in 1894.

Procedure

Introduce the novel Treasure Island by writing the title on the board and asking students to web the words that they associate with either "treasure," "island," or the two words together. Put the students into pairs or teams to do this.

After several minutes, ask the students to share their the words in their webs as you write them in webs on the board. The web for "treasure" might include gold, silver, jewels, money, valuables, pirates, buried, secret, maps, dig, search, X-marks the spot, etc. The web for "island" might include surrounded by water, boats and ships, deserted, large, small, sandy beach, marooned, washed-up, etc. Note that "treasure island" would indicate that valuables are sure to be found there.

Ask the students to think about who would put a treasure on an island and why that person might do so. If students mention pirates, ask them to tell all that they know about them. Most likely their ideas of pirates will resemble the characters from Peter Pan. Students may be surprised to know that a pirate (relating to the sea) is anyone who robs or commits a crime of violence at sea. Tell students that pirates do not belong to a bygone era, but that they still exist today.

Display a world map and point to the area of the Caribbean. Tell students that long ago there were groups of sailors who sailed these waters and made a living by robbing other ships. They were pirates and many stories have come to be associated with them and the skull and crossbones flag that they flew (the Jolly Roger). Some stories tell of how they made prisoners "walk the plank" (blindfolded and bound, the victim was made to walk to the end of a short board and fall into the sea) and how they buried treasure. Explain that the island mentioned in Treasure Island is located here. The island is known as Skeleton Island.

Tell the students that the story Treasure Island is about pirates. Write the name Robert Louis Stevenson on the board and tell students that he is the author of the book. Refer to the Teacher Note for information about Stevenson's life and share it with the students. Explain that the pirates described in the story lived at the time of wind-powered ships (1700s to early 1800s).

Write the name Jim Hawkins on the board and identify him as the narrator of the story. Tell students that Jim is young enough to serve as a cabin boy in the story, which should help them to visualize his character. Explain that the cabin boy waits on the captain and does small jobs. Direct the students to listen (or look) for the names of the other main characters (more if you read the original, but the following if you read the excerpt): Squire Trelawney, Dr. Livesay, Long John Silver, Mr. Smollett and Ben Gunn. Explain that the story opens in England and the Union Jack that is mentioned in the story is the British flag. Squire refers to a country gentleman who was the chief landed proprietor in the area. Tell the students that they should be able to make character webs when they have completed the story, so they should think about the actions and background of each character as they read (listen).

There will be many words that will be new to the students. Suggest that they keep a list of new terms and be sure to take the time to discuss each. For your convenience, explanations of some terms (in bold print) are included below. The definitions with page numbers refer to clarifications in The Whole Story version of Treasure Island, other definitions come from Webster's College Dictionary.

eluding - avoiding capture

lubber - an awkward or unskilled sailor

buccaneers - p.34 - pirates; the word buccaneer comes from the barbecue (boucan) or grill where meat was roasted by these men. They preserved hides which they traded for rum and firearms.

lugger - p. 46 - fishing vessels that drew little water and were rigged for fast, close-hauled sailing (illustration pp. 78-79)

Fourth Grade - Literature - Stories - Treasure Island

quay (pronounced kee or kay) - wharf or landing place

nautical - having to do with sailors, ships or navigation (directing or moving through water)

coxswain - a person in charge of the ship's boat, the one who usually sails it

athwart - crosswise, lay them out

able - having the necessary skill

defied - challenged

frenzy - wild excitement

marooned - p. 292 - for breaking the pirate code - left on a desert island with only some water and weapons

rogues - scoundrels, dishonest persons

fortress - fort or stronghold

somber - serious

adrift - drifting, floating without control

plummeted - fell straight down, plunged

pieces of eight - p. 38 - doubloons, Spanish dollars, gold coins with designs stamped on them

- p.234 - coins stamped with the Dutch or Spanish coat of arms, value was determined by their weight

- p. 291 - accepted for exchange in every part of the world

hostage - person held for security

squalls - sudden, violent storms; in this case fights or battles

asunder - into separate parts

save (Long John Silver) - except

eluded - escaped

oxen and horses - we might say "wild horses"

You may wish to point out the following events as examples of foreshadowing, or ask the students to look for them:

1. Long John Silver's parrot is named for the pirate Flint.

2. Mr. Smollett complained that the crew seemed to know all about the treasure even though no one had breathed a word to them.

3. Silver tells a crew member named Dick that if he "joins up" he can end the cruise with money in his pockets.

Activities

Character Web

Have students make a web for each of the main characters. Encourage them to speculate about some of the descriptors and related words that they choose. For example: Long John Silver's parrot being named for the pirate Flint might indicate that Silver has been involved in pirate activity for some time; The fact that the parrot repeats "pieces of eight" means that it has heard conversation about the coins often enough to learn the words; Silver is missing a leg--how did that happen--was he made to walk the plank sometime before; etc.

Dioramas

Have students make dioramas of exciting points in the story: Jim and his mother find the gold coins; Jim realizes that he has a treasure map; Jim fights Israel Hands; etc.



Bibliography

Angelou, Maya. Life Doesn't Frighten Me. New York: Stewart, Tabori & Chang, 1993.(1-556-70288-4)

Blishen, Edward. Children's Classics to Read Aloud. New York: Kingfisher Books, 1991. (1-85697-825-7)

Fraser, Betty. First Things First. New York: Harper & Row, 1990. (0-06-021855-X)

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

Hoberman, Mary Ann, selected by. My Song is Beautiful: Poems and Pictures in Many Voices. Boston: Little, Brown and Co., 1994. (0-316-36738-9)

Paxton, Tom. Birds of a Feather and Other Aesop's Fables. New York: Morrow, 1993. (0-688-10401-0)

Rediger, Pat. Great African Americans in Literature. New York: Crabtree, 1996. (0-86505-802-4)

Stevenson, Robert Louis. Treasure Island. New York: Viking, 1996. (0-670-86795-0)

Tucker, Jean S. Come Look with Me: Discovering Photographs with Children. Charlottesville, VA: Thomasson-Grant, 1994. (1-56566-062-5)

Viorst, Judith. Alexander, Who Used to be Rich Last Sunday. New York: Atheneum, 1978.(0-689-30602-4)

Teacher Reference

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)

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)

Spears, Richard A. NTC's Super-Mini American Idioms Dictionary. Lincolnwood, IL: NTC Publishing Group, 1996. (0-8442-0916-3)