Fourth Grade - Literature - Overview - November
 

Sayings and Phrases

Students are introduced to three sayings this month, An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, Don't count your chickens before they hatch and Two wrongs don't make a right. Their accompanying lessons may be used in any order as each is independent of the others. Students do illustrations and create a cartoon with two of the lessons. In the third they are asked to brainstorm possible responses to a given situation, then rank the responses from best to worst, justifying their decisions.
 

Poems

Students recall the term "metaphor" and identify examples as they read the poem "Dreams" by Langston Hughes. They then compose their own metaphors basing them on the values Hughes attributes to dreams.

Before students read or hear the poem "Humanity," they participate in a visualization exercise. That exercise provides a foundation for a discussion of humanity and acting in a humane way. Students also analyze the poet's perspective in writing this poem.
 

Story

Only one story is read this month, but there are several activities based on Robinson Crusoe from which to choose. Students take notes as they listen to the story and use these to illustrate the major events, write a journal entry or complete a time line. Students may also speculate about the location of Crusoe's island and relate the survival theme to several other literary works.

After the initial lesson(s) on the story, notes and time line, students could work independently on some of the activities. Students could also select another survival theme book from the list of Suggested Books and do an independent comparison.
 

Fourth Grade - Literature - Sayings and Phrases - Two wrongs don't make a right
 

Objectives

Explain the meaning of the saying.

Brainstorm and discuss possible responses to wrongs.

Rank the responses from best to worst, and justify the decision.
 

Materials

Copy of the saying, Two wrongs don't make a right, on chart paper

Scenarios on chart or individual pieces of paper for groups

Suggested Books

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

Teacher Background

If students are already familiar with the saying you may wish to eliminate the beginning of the lesson and go directly to the brainstorming activity. This provides a vehicle for the discussion of appropriate and inappropriate behavior. You may wish to modify the activity to include scenarios specific to your class.
 

Procedure

Display the saying Two wrongs don't make a right and ask the students to read it silently. Ask how many have ever heard the saying before. What does the saying mean? Do they recall when they heard it? Take a few minutes to discuss their responses.

Remind the students that young children often justify a retaliation, or getting back at someone, by placing the blame on the other person. "He or she hit (pushed, kicked, shoved, slapped) me first" becomes the refrain. Usually someone then explains that just because someone behaved toward you in an improper way doesn't mean that it is okay for you to do the same in return. This is a very basic example of two wrongs not making a right. Ask the students if they have heard other people excuse their behavior in such a way--perhaps they have done so themselves.

Tell the students that while retaliation is one way of responding to a wrong it is not the only one. Have them consider one of the following scenarios. (Choose one for the class to consider; use the others for group activity.)

At the store someone gives you too much change...

Someone calls you a name you don't like ...

Someone steals your backpack...

Your favorite tape or CD is damaged by your friend...

Someone knocks into you in the hallway...

A friend tells a secret that you asked him not to tell...

Someone makes fun of your new haircut...
 

Ask the students if they can see that the scenario has started with a wrong. Remind them that first wrong can be used as an excuse or as a reason for retaliation (second wrong) or another response might occur. Ask them to brainstorm responses to the wrong, then talk about the wisdom of each response. Have the students rank the responses from best to worst and justify their decisions.

After brainstorming and discussing responses to the one scenario as a class, put the students in groups and assign a different scenario to each. Tell the groups that they should brainstorm possible solutions then rank them from best to worst. Remind the students that they should be able to justify their decisions. Allow sufficient group time then ask each group to share their solutions and justifications with the rest of the class.
 

Fourth Grade - Literature - Sayings and Phrases - Don't count your chickens before they hatch
 

Objectives

Explain the meaning of the saying.

Design a cartoon that illustrates the correct use of the saying.
 

Materials

Copy of the saying, Don't count your chickens before they hatch, on chart paper or sentence strip

Drawing paper

Crayons or markers
 

Suggested Books (Contain the fable "The Milkmaid (Maid) and the Milk Pail.")

Calmenson, Stephanie, retold by. The Children's Aesop. Honesdale, PA: Boyd's Mills Press, 1988.

Hirsch, E. D., Jr., ed. What Your First Grader Needs to Know. New York: Doubleday, 1997.

Mathias, Robert, retold by. Aesop's Fables. Morristown: Silver Burdett, 1983.

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

Contains the saying and an explanation.
 

Teacher Background

Students were introduced to the fable of "The Maid and the Milk Pail" in First Grade and related the saying to two very basic life experiences: planning on a snack that wasn't available and planning on a trip that gets rained out. Fourth Grade students should be able to identify and relate a greater variety of life experiences.
 

Procedure

Begin the lesson by reading or telling the fable "The Maid and the Milk Pail." Then ask the students to explain what happened in the story. (The milkmaid was carrying milk which she planned to sell. As she walked she planned on what she was going to do with the money. She planned to sell the milk and buy the eggs which would hatch into chickens. Then she planned to sell the chickens to get the money to buy a dress. However, she spilled the milk and ruined her plans. In other words, she planned on having things turn out a particular way and ended up being disappointed.)

Display the saying, Don't count your chickens before they hatch, and ask a student to tell what it means. (Don't plan on something too much or you might be disappointed.) Ask: Have you ever planned on something and then been disappointed when it didn't happen? Did you ever count your chickens before they were hatched?

Ask the students: What do we call it when someone tells us what to do? (say they give advice) Ask: Does anyone recall last month's saying that gives advice? (Don't put all your eggs in one basket.) What advice would you give to someone who is counting their chickens before they hatch? (Plan and prepare so that you aren't disappointed.)

Ask students to make up conversations between two people in which the advisory Don't count your chickens before they hatch is given. Ask the students make this into a cartoon with two characters having the conversation. Provide drawing paper and tell the students to use at least two frames for their cartoon and to color their work as well. If necessary give the following as an example.

Eric: I'm going to be the best basketball player on the team, then I'm going to get a contract with a big team. With all the money I make I'll buy a fancy house.

Joe: Don't count your chickens before they hatch.
 

Fourth Grade - Literature - Sayings and Phrases - An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure
 

Objectives

Discuss the meaning of the saying An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

Brainstorm examples of "an ounce of prevention."

Illustrate an example of the saying.
 

Materials

Copy of the saying, An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, on chart paper or sentence strip

Ounce and pound weights or measures

Drawing paper and crayons or markers
 

Suggested Books

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

Procedure

Display the ounce and pound weights (or measures). Ask the students to identify which is the larger and which the smaller. Ask: Are they close in size? (no) Does anyone know how many ounces are in a pound? (16) Do you think an ounce of anything could make much difference? (Answers will vary.)

Display the saying An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure and ask a volunteer to read it aloud. Ask for a volunteer to define prevention (keeping something from happening) and another to define cure (remedy, restoration, correction). Ask a volunteer to restate the saying. (It's better to keep something from happening than it is to have to fix it.) Remind the students that taking along an umbrella when it looks like it's going to rain is better than sitting around in wet clothes.

Draw a balance scale on the board, showing the pans in balance. On one side write "an ounce of prevention," on the other side write a "pound of cure." Tell the students that according to the saying one side is worth as much as the other. Taking an umbrella is certainly worth not having to sit in wet clothes.

Remind the students that there are many "ounces of prevention" that occur every day. Ask them if they can think of any little things we do to prevent big problems. List these on the board. The list might include:

changing the oil in the car

studying nightly for a spelling (or any) test

sewing on a loose button

fixing a loose step

putting breakable things out of a baby's reach

taking an umbrella when it looks like it's going to rain

putting a cover on your books

having your eyes checked

brushing your teeth daily

reading the directions before trying to build something

stopping to look for traffic before crossing the street

closing the windows before going out when it looks like it's going to rain

writing your name on all your belongings
 

Have the students identify the large problems that could occur and tell what would need to be done to repair the problem. An example would be: without oil in the car, the car's engine could burn up; then to repair it, a new engine or new car would have to be purchased.

Tell the students to select one of the preventions from the list and think about how they would illustrate both it and its cure. Provide drawing paper and holding the paper in a vertical position have the students fold the paper in half matching the top to the bottom. With the paper folded, have them print "an ounce of prevention" on the front (with an appropriate drawing) and inside write "a pound of cure" (with an appropriate drawing).
 
 
 

Fourth Grade - Literature - Poetry - Humanity
 

Objectives

Discuss the meaning of the title, "Humanity."

Analyze the poet's perspective.
 

Materials

Text of poem "Humanity" on chart paper
 

Suggested Books

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

Contains the poem.

Taylor, Theodore. The Cay. New York: Doubleday, 1969.

See Additional Activities for the annotation.
 

Teacher Background

It is possible to use the poem to study the rhyme scheme or alliteration (grasp and grope, falling faint), but the content of the poem seems to provide more than enough. While this lesson is limited to content, you certainly may explore the poem in other ways.
 

Procedure

Tell the students that in order to prepare for the next poem they need to do a visualization exercise. Tell them to close their eyes and imagine that they are swimming. Tell them that they are to imagine that they are good swimmers who enjoy gliding through the water and diving deep below the surface to see the undersea life. Say:

Imagine you are swimming in a beautiful bay. The sun is shining down and the water feels cool on such a warm day. You are enjoying yourself and have been surfacing and diving for quite some time. This time as you dive you suddenly feel a sharp pain in your side. It takes your breath away and you are gasping. You can't swim because the pain is too great. You are trying to swim back up to the surface but you can't. Just when you think you can't possibly hold on any longer, someone takes your hand. Suddenly you are being pulled up to the surface where you can breathe again. It feels so good to be in the sunlight and breathing again.

Tell the students to open their eyes and tell how they felt at the beginning of the visualization when they were swimming in the beautiful bay. (Answers will vary, but should include some mention of comfort and enjoyment.) Then ask how they felt when the pain began and they couldn't swim. (Again, answers will vary but will probably include fear and panic.) Finally ask how they felt when someone took their hand and pulled them to safety. (Answers will vary but relief and happiness will most likely be mentioned.)

Ask the students if they thought about who was rescuing them at that moment or if they were just happy to be rescued. Ask: Would it matter if you liked or disliked the person who rescued you? Would it matter what the person looked like or what language he or she spoke? Ask the students to identify the most important issue at the time (being saved).

Tell the students that the exercise they just did is a perfect introduction to the poem "Humanity." Write the title on the board and ask the students to tell what word they recognize in it (human). Ask what it means to be human. Remind the students to think about how humans are different from other animals. List the responses they give about being human under the title. Introduce the word "humane" and write it on the board. Explain that it means to show compassion, tenderness and sympathy and that it is one of the definitions of humanity. Tell them to think about what the poet Elma Stuckey is saying about people and being humane in the poem "Humanity." Read the poem.
 
 
 

Humanity Elma Stuckey
 

If I am blind and need someone

To keep me safe from harm,

It matters not the race to me

Of the one who takes my arm.
 

If I am saved from drowning

As I grasp and grope,

I will not stop to see the face

Of the one who throws the rope.
 

Or if out on some battlefield

I'm falling faint and weak,

The one who gently lifts me up

May any language speak.
 

We sip the water clear and cool,

No matter the hand that gives it.

A life that's lived worthwhile and fine,

What matters the one who lives it?
 

When you have finished reading the poem ask the students if they think the title fits the poem. Does the poet speak about people acting in a humane way? (yes) How are compassion, tenderness and sympathy shown in the poem? (helping a blind person, saving a drowning person, lifting a sick or injured person, giving a drink of water) As the students give their responses write them on the board under the word humane.

Display the poem and ask: What else does Elma Stuckey say about being humane? (Anyone can do it.) Should it matter who helps another? Should the person receiving the kindness choose who may or may not help him or her? What do you think the poet thinks is most important? (Answers may vary.)

Ask for a volunteer to read the poem or have the entire class read it together. After the reading ask the students to look at each stanza individually. Point to the first stanza and ask for a volunteer to tell why the race of a person would not matter to someone who is blind (not able to see the color of the skin anyway). Ask the students to think about whether a blind person can be selective about who he or she asks for help (not initially, because the person can't see).

Point to the second stanza and remind the students of their visualization exercise. Did they stop to wonder who was saving them or were they just happy to be saved? Would they immediately say thank-you or would they first ask the race or nationality of the person who saved them? Does it matter most who saves you or that you get saved?
 

Point to the third stanza. Remind the students that battles and war frequently involve people of different nationalities. The battles may be fought in countries that are not the homelands of the people involved. The languages spoken may not be the same, therefore a person might be given help by someone who spoke another language.

Point to the last stanza and show the students that the pronoun "I" changes in this stanza to the pronoun "we." Ask: Why do you think the poet changes from speaking for one person to speaking for all people? (Accept reasonable responses.) What is the author saying in the last two lines? (Race and nationality don't matter, living a worthwhile life does.)

Tell the students that Elma Stuckey makes a very important statement in this poem: If race, language and appearance are unimportant when someone helps us, they should also be unimportant when considering anyone living a worthwhile life. Have them look back at what was written about humanity and humane and consider how the title fits the poem in a larger sense.
 

Additional Activity

The Cay by Theodore Taylor is an account of the relationship between a white American boy named Phillip and an older black West Indian man named Timothy. Phillip is accidentally blinded as the result of a blow to the head that he receives while trying to escape to a lifeboat. Also cast adrift after escaping the torpedoed ship, Timothy rescues Phillip before his blindness sets in. After they are cast on a deserted island Phillip is left to consider that his life depends on Timothy, a man very different from himself whom he knows nothing about.

Phillip's blindness and the racial differences of the two main characters are reasons to connect this story to the poem, but The Cay is a worthwhile reading on its own. When Phillip asks why there are different colors of skin, Timothy admits that he doesn't know anymore than he knows why there are different colored fish and flowers. He does allow however, that he thinks that under the skin all people are the same.
 

Fourth Grade - Literature - Poetry - Dreams
 

Objectives

Recall the term "metaphor."

Identify the metaphors in the poem.

Relate Langston Hughes' life to this poem.

Compose metaphors.
 

Materials

Copy of the poem "Dreams" on chart paper
 

Suggested Books

Hughes, Langston. The Sweet and Sour Animal Book. New York: Oxford, 1994.
 

Books containing "The Dream Keeper" (additional activity)

Hudson, Wade, selected by. Pass It On: African-American Poetry for Children. New York: Scholastic, 1993.

Hughes, Langston. The Dream Keeper and other poems. New York: Knopf, 1994.
 

Teacher Reference

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

Teacher Background

Students were introduced to metaphors earlier this year when they read the poem "Fog" by Carl Sandburg. "Dreams" presents the metaphors in a much more direct way. Help the students to recognize that both poems include implied comparisons of two unlike things.

In First Grade students were introduced to Langston Hughes' poetry with the poem "Hope." An additional activity in this lesson references The Sweet and Sour Animal Book recommended in this same lesson. In Third Grade students again meet Hughes and his poem "Dream Variation."

Langston Hughes (James Mercer Langston Hughes) was born on February 1, 1902, in Joplin, Missouri and died May 22, 1967 in Harlem in New York City. His father left the family when Hughes was very young, and because his mother was forced to look for work they traveled from place to place. After that Hughes spent much of his remaining childhood with his maternal grandmother. During his adult life he traveled to many parts of the world and worked at many different jobs. He was a cook, a busboy, and he worked on board a merchant ship.

Hughes was a prolific writer who left a wonderful legacy in his poetry, plays, novels, and short stories. The poems selected for The Dream Keeper (which includes both poems refenced) are as relevant to children today as they were in 1932 when first published.
 

Procedure

Begin the lesson by displaying the poem and asking the students to read it silently. Tell them to first think about what the poet Langston Hughes is saying about the importance of dreams and secondly to think about how they would read this poem. Would they speak loudly like someone giving a command or softly like advice to a friend, or like saying a prayer? Allow time for the students to read the poem.

After the students have had an opportunity to read the poem silently at least twice, ask for volunteers to read it aloud to the class. Be sure to ask for examples of both the forceful and gentle deliveries. After several readings ask the students which version sounds better. Tell them to listen with their hearts as well as their ears.

Ask for a volunteer to describe the kind of dreams Langston Hughes is talking about. Ask: Does he mean the kind of dreams we have when we are asleep? (no) Can you give another word that means the same as this meaning of dreams? (hopes, ambitions, plans) Are dreams important to Langston Hughes? How do you know? (He says to hold fast to them. The descriptions of life without dreams are so sad.) What is another way of saying "hold fast"? (hold on tightly)

Tell the students to look at the last two lines of each stanza, each of the lines begins with the word "life." Tell the students to read them again silently and think about what the poet is saying about life. (He is comparing life to two things: a bird and a field.) Ask: Do you recall the term that means a comparison of two unlike things? (metaphor) Remind the students of the poem "Fog"by Carl Sandburg read earlier this year and the way that fog was compared to a cat. Ask a student to read the poem aloud again. Take a few minutes to discuss "a broken-winged bird that cannot fly" and "a barren field frozen with snow," making sure that students realize that a barren field has nothing growing on it. Ask: Why do you think Langston Hughes chose such sad, serious things to compare to life without dreams?

Read or tell the students about Langston Hughes' life making sure to include his father's absence in his childhood and youth and he and his mother's vagabond lifestyle. Tell also about the number and variety of jobs he held in his life (see Teacher Background).

Students were introduced to Hughes' poetry in First Grade when they read "Hope" and then again in Third Grade with "Dream Variation."(If students recall these poems, some discussion could certainly take place regarding the titles and content of Langston Hughes' poetry.) Ask the students if hearing about his life gives them any ideas about why he wrote the poem "Dreams." Ask: What dreams do you think Langston Hughes had? (Accept reasonable responses.) Do you think that his dreams came true? Do you think that he thought most people's dreams came true?

Point out to the students and have them notice that there is a rhyme pattern to the poem (2nd and 4th lines) but that the rhythm of the poem is really what we feel when we read or hear "Dreams." Tell the students to think about the images that Langston Hughes paints. They are sad, hopeless pictures that we get about life without dreams. Ask them to think about what Langston
 

Fourth Grade - Literature - Poetry - Dreams
 

Hughes might have written if his life had been different. Could he have written a happy poem about what dreams are? How might he have completed the line "For when dreams grow" or "For if dreams fly"? (Write the two lines on the board and follow each with "Life is...") Ask the students to make suggestions. Remind them that to maintain the rhyme pattern their mtaphors should end with words that rhyme with "grow" or "fly." (If you wish to emphasize the metaphors only and not worry about rhyme scheme, do so. Trying to do both may prove to be too difficult.)

Possible ideas are:

For when dreams grow

Life is the treetops

Where warm breezes blow.
 

If students are having trouble suggest that they make a list of words that rhyme with grow: snow, blow, flow, glow, sew, bow. (Life is a present wrapped up with a bow.)
 

For if dreams fly

Life is a kite

Soaring high in the sky.
 

Possible rhyming words are sigh, lie, cry, why, buy, pie. (Life is creamy ice cream served with apple pie.)
 

Another line that students might use is "For when dreams soar." Point out that while these lines are very different from Langston Hughes' beautiful poem, they still emphasize the importance of dreams. Langston Hughes chose to say how bleak life can be without dreams; the poems they are composing celebrate the joy and promise that dreams hold.

Students may copy their poems (and illustrate them as well, if they wish,) and you can display them with the poem "Dreams." A note can be added to the display stating that the poems are an affirmation of the importance of dreams.
 

Additional Activities
 

"The Dream Keeper"

If possible, read the poem "The Dream Keeper" by Langston Hughes and discuss the theme of dreams in his writing. The dream keeper in the poem invites dreamers to bring their dreams to him for protection from the world. Ask the students to think of ways that the "world" keeps a person from fulfilling his or her dreams and then have the students brainstorm ways that person can avoid the pitfalls that stop dreams from coming true.
 

The Sweet and Sour Animal Book

Students may enjoy seeing a very different side of Langston Hughes that is evidenced in his The Sweet and Sour Animal Book. This book, illustrated by students from the Harlem School of the Arts, contains Hughes' alphabet for children. Previously unpublished, it was rediscovered fifty years after it was written. Students will appreciate his witticisms and be charmed by the beautiful artwork. Some students may wish to try writing in this style of Hughes.
 

Fourth Grade - Literature - Robinson Crusoe
 

Objectives

Identify things Robinson Crusoe did to survive.

Determine the most difficult element of Crusoe's survival.

List events occurring over Crusoe's twenty-seven years on the island.

Construct a time line of Robinson Crusoe's life from birth to age 54.

Illustrate events occurring over Crusoe's twenty-seven years on the island (optional).

Relate the survival theme of the novel to other literary works (optional).

Write a journal entry from the point of view of a person marooned (optional).

Determine a possible location for Crusoe's island and draw a picture of how it might look.
 

Materials

Classroom-size world map

Worksheet, "Events in the Life of Robinson Crusoe," 1 per student (attached)

Worksheet completed with notes for teacher (attached)

"Events in the Life of Harry Maxx" on chart paper or on the board (attached)
 

Suggested Books

Defoe, Daniel. Robinson Crusoe. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1920.

Includes striking illustrations reproduced from paintings by N. C. Wyeth.

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

Related Survival Themes

George, Jean Craighead. My Side of the Mountain. New York: Puffin Books, 1959.

________. Julie of the Wolves. New York: Harper, 1972.

O'Dell, Scott. Island of the Blue Dolphins. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1960.

Paulsen, Gary. Hatchet. New York: Puffin Books, 1987.

Sperry, Armstrong. Call It Courage. New York: Macmillan, 1939.
 

Teacher Background

The selection in What Your Fourth Grader Needs to Know is greatly abridged. While this retelling may be all that you are able to cover during class periods, be sure that students see the length of the original novel (over three hundred pages). Students will also appreciate seeing illustrations--N. C. Wyeth's are spectacular.

This lesson is based on the selection in Hirsch's book. If you decide to read the entire novel or another adaptation, you will have to modify some activities, especially the worksheet.

If you choose to do the activity with survival themes you may wish to note that Hatchet contains the musings of the main character regarding his parents' divorce and "the Secret" which is his mother's romance with another man. It is possible to read the excerpts that include some very vivid descriptions without disclosing this information.

Daniel Defoe was born in England in 1660. By 1683 he was a merchant and traveled widely. He was a staunch supporter of William of Orange and frequently wrote his sentiments. In 1703 he wrote a pamphlet to discredit High Churchmen; he was arrested and while imprisoned lost his business. In 1719, he wrote Robinson Crusoe, told in first person as were all of his novels. He frequently discussed the government in his paper Review which he wrote from 1704-1713, during Queen Anne's reign. Defoe was as well known for his political opinions as he was for his novels. He died in England on April 24, 1731.
 

Fourth Grade - Literature - Robinson Crusoe
 

Procedure

Write the name Robinson Crusoe on the board. Read it aloud and ask the students if they have ever heard of him before. If students have, allow them to share what they know. Tell the class that Robinson Crusoe is both the name of a book and its main character. Explain that the novel Robinson Crusoe was originally written for adults. The author, Daniel Defoe (write on the board), told the story of one man's realization that he needed to change his ways and become more humble and thankful. The book explains his religious awakening. Tell the students that the book is also a story of survival and that is the part of the book you will consider. In fact that is the part of the book that made it most interesting to children and why they began reading the story as well.

Write the word "survive" on the board. Ask students to give the meaning and write "to live through or endure some hardship." Be sure that students realize that this can mean something as severe as a disaster or can sometimes be used lightly to indicate making through an evening babysitting your cousins. Next write "survivor" and explain that it means a person or thing who survives.

Ask students if they have ever read or seen a television show or movie about survival. To avoid having them give extensive retellings ask the students to recall one item the survivor had and used in order to survive. List the items they mention on the board under survive and survivor. Tell the students that they will soon hear what Robinson Crusoe used for his survival and how long he survived.

Before you begin reading, distribute worksheets to all students. Tell them that they are to take notes while listening to the story. Explain that note taking requires only writing a word or two, it doesn't mean writing complete sentences. Suggest that a quick sketch might also be used to help recall an important point. Remind students that if they had taken notes while listening to the lengthy poem "Paul Revere" they might have written "April 18, 1775; British coming; signal--one, if by land; two, if by sea; North Church; saw two lights (draw 2 lanterns); rode to Lexington and then to Concord; warned the colonists" (note these on board).

Read through the entire sheet with the class, making sure that they realize the time increments listed. Tell them that you will help point out each new time period as you read, and will check notes from time to time.

Begin reading, stopping to cue them at each new time period (especially 20 years later--which reads "after 5 years" in the story). From time to time check their note taking skills and allow catch-up time for students who may be having difficulty.

When you have completed the reading ask the students: How long did Robinson Crusoe survive? (27 years, 2 months, 19 days) Who tells his story? (Crusoe ) Tell the students that this is called "first person." Even though Defoe wrote the story, he tells it as though Crusoe is speaking.

Direct the students' attention to the survival items listed on the board and ask them to determine which were similar to Crusoe's supplies (tin of biscuits, dried meat, rum and tobacco, several axes and other implements, several rifles with powder and shot, wood, clothing). Is there anything that they think Crusoe would have like to have had? Ask students to think of other factors that helped his survival (his age, the climate in that part of the world, good natural "supplies" on the island--wildlife, plants) Ask the students to consider which part of Crusoe's survival they would personally find to be most difficult. Would it be most difficult to be alone, or to not have certain items along, or to have the ordeal last so long?

Tell the students to look at their notes and recall the things that Crusoe did to survive.

Which do they think was most important? Would they build a shelter first or look for food? Would they make clothing, shelves and a garden or would they keep trying to get back to civilization? Take time to discuss the benefits of each.

You may wish to work on the time line next or do other activities beforehand. For that reason and the sake of convenience each of the following activities is treated separately.
 

Designing a Time line

In order to help students understand the transfer of information from their notes on the

worksheet "Events in the Life of Robinson Crusoe" to a time line, demonstrate with the following.

Write the "Events in the Life of Harry Maxx," on the board or chart paper, in a list as students did with Robinson Crusoe. Tell the students that they will use Harry Maxx's life as an example of what to do with Robinson Crusoe's life. Explain that if they know the year of Harry's birth they can figure out the year that each of the following events occurred and they can figure out his age at the time as well. Take them through the events in the list transferring each to a time line, explaining how you were able to determine the year of the event and Harry's age for each.
 

Harry was born in 1987, that is the first line on our time line; we mark 1987 and write Born.
 

The next year is 1993, Harry completed Kindergarten so we mark 1993 and write Completed Kindergarten. Ask: Who can tell me how old Harry is? (6) We need to know that to figure out the rest of the time line. Write Age 6 after Completed Kindergarten. (Be sure to leave space between the two dates, on the time line the greatest space is six years, the least is three.)
 

We have to figure out the next line in our time line. It is five years after 1993. Ask: Who can figure out what year? (1998) Who can figure out Harry's age? (11) Stop to be sure that students are following the procedure, then mark 1998 on the time line and write Completed Fifth Grade - Age 11.

The next line is eight years later, Harry has completed eighth grade. Who can figure out the year? (2001) How old is Harry? (14) Mark 2001 on the time line and write Completed Eighth Grade - Age 14. (If necessary show that 1993+8= 2001 and 6+8= 14. Be sure students return to 1993.)
 

Harry has completed high school now, it is twelve years later. What year is it? (2005) How old is he? (18) Mark 2005 on the time line and write Completed High School - Age 18.
 

Now we come to the final line on our time line. It is sixteen years later. Who can figure out which year? (2009) How old is Harry? (22) Mark 2009 on the time line and write Completed College - Age 22.
 

Be sure that students can tell the steps you have followed by inviting one (or several) to quickly review them. Ask a volunteer to add one more event to the time line by suggesting an event and telling how many years later it occurred.
 
 
 

Fourth Grade - Literature - Robinson Crusoe
 

Events in the Life of Harry Maxx
 

Born - 1987
 

June 15, 1993 - Completed Kindergarten
 

Five years later - Completed Fifth Grade
 

Eight years later - Completed Eighth Grade
 

Twelve years later - Completed High School
 

Sixteen years later - Completed College
 

When you have completed the time line of "Events in the Life of Harry Maxx" have students look at the time line of "Events in the Life of Robinson Crusoe." Remind them of how they figured out the years to mark and Harry's age. Tell them to figure out Crusoe's age when he was shipwrecked (27) and remind them that they will add the years later to both his age (27) and that year (1659). Tell students to determine the years and ages on the sheet with their notes before transferring the information to their time lines. If you wish, students may work in teams to determine the years and ages, and to verify events, however each student should complete a time line.
 

Journal Entry - Point of View

Remind the students that Robinson Crusoe is told in first person so we get to know some of Crusoe's thoughts as well as his actions in this story. The novel includes entries from his diary, some of which are simple weather reports ("Rain all day.") and some tell the plans he considered to make his life more bearable. Tell the students to think about what he might have written when he first came to the island or what he might have written when he found the footprint. Have the students write an entry (or entries) from Crusoe's point of view.

If you decide to have the students do illustrations, the entries can be used with them; if you compare survival themes in several books you will want to compare the entries in My Side of the Mountain.

Students can also write about survival from a personal point of view. Tell them to imagine that they have been separated from everyone else after a plane crash over water or a boat disaster. They have been washed ashore but they are all alone. Ask them to imagine the thoughts of a person in that predicament and write as though they are that person. Tell them to consider what their first concerns might be. Then, have them write a second entry pretending that it is sometime later in the year and they still have not been rescued. Tell them to think about how their enthusiasm about a rescue actually occurring might have changed. Would they see their surroundings differently? Would tasks have become possible that seemed impossible before? Have them recall Crusoe's reflections on his past life and ask them to think about what might cause regrets for them if they had so much time alone to think about their past.
 

Illustration - 27 Years on the Island

Have the students use their notes to recall the events that occurred in Crusoe's life. There are six events that are related to the island and Crusoe's ill-fated voyage makes seven. Students should work in teams of seven to illustrate the life on the island, or teams of four (a more manageable number) could complete 8 pages (2 per student) illustrating the events and a cover.

Students could work independently on this project as well and they could add several sentences of explanation to each page. If students have completed the journaling activity, the selections they wrote could be used here as well.
 

Where in the World

Although the selection does not indicate it, Crusoe was actually sailing from South America (near Brazil) to Africa when his shipwreck takes place. He was traveling with other plantation owners in a quest for slaves who would work on their lands. The voyage had become troubled before the ship went down and the men had actually begun sailing more into the Gulf of

Mexico rather than across the Atlantic ocean. Ask the students to imagine where in the world Crusoe must have been based on the facts that the only bad weather he reports is rain (in the winter months), plants and fruit are continuously plentiful, and the weather is sunny and warm.

Have the students use the world map to locate possible places where his island might have been. Have them make a map of the island, locating Crusoe's dwelling on one side and the other side facing the distant mainland he could see.
 

Survival Tales

After reading Robinson Crusoe, read selections from My Side of the Mountain and Hatchet. Have students compare and contrast the three. Have them consider the ages of the three characters, whether their isolation was planned or forced, what supplies they had available, where the story takes place, who tells the story, whether a journal is kept, and how they are rescued.

You may wish to ask the students to tell which story they enjoyed best and why. Ask which one seemed most believable and why, which one seemed to be the most difficult experience and why.

An interesting aside would be to ask the students how the story might have changed if the main character was a girl or woman. You might wish to replace one of the selections with Julie of the Wolves or Island of the Blue Dolphins for a different perspective. An additional survival choice would be Call it Courage.

Be sure to also reference The Cay if you read it as part of the poetry lesson "Humanity."
 

Fourth Grade - Literature - Robinson Crusoe
 

Events in the Life of Robinson Crusoe
 

Born - 1632
 
 
 
 
 

September 30, 1659
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Three Years Later
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Fifteen Years Later
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Twenty Years Later
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Twenty-three Years Later
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Twenty-seven Years Later

December 19, 1686
 
 
 

Fourth Grade - Literature - Robinson Crusoe
 

Events in the Life of Robinson Crusoe
 

Born - 1632

Robinson Crusoe lives in York with his family, goes to sea in 1659, against the wishes of his father.
 

September 30, 1659 - 27 years old

Shipwrecked, Crusoe is the only survivor. He is washed upon an island. He returns to the ship for provisions, makes a shelter and clothes, and makes several attempts to build a boat and leave the island. He builds a table and shelves, acquires a she-goat and kid to add to a dog and 2 cats from the ship and 2 parrots he tames. He fears cannibals known to inhabit this part of the world.
 

Three Years Later - 1662 - 30 years old

He finds corn and rice growing from chickenfeed that was scattered about. He nurtures the plants and continues for several years to put all the seed back into crops.
 

Fifteen Years Later - 1674 - 42 years old

He sees a man's footprint in the sand. This causes him great concern.
 
 
 

Twenty Years Later - 1679 - 47 years old

He finds the shore littered with human remains. He becomes greatly concerned about being discovered by the cannibals. He loads his guns but doesn't fire them or make any other noise that might allow him to be discovered.
 

Twenty-three Years Later- 1682 - 50 years old

He finds a campfire on the shore and knows the cannibals are on his side of the island. He sees the cannibals and their captives. As he watches one of the captives breaks free and runs toward him. He helps the man escape by shooting at the cannibals. Crusoe decides this man can be his companion and servant, he names him Friday.

Twenty-seven Years Later - 54 years old

December 19, 1686

The cannibals return with captives. Crusoe and Friday save two men, one of whom turns out to be Friday's father. The other man, a Spaniard, and Friday's father go to bring the rest of the Spaniard's companions. An English ship arrives and Robinson Crusoe and Friday are rescued and taken to England.
 

Fourth Grade - Literature - November
 
 

Bibliography


 
 

Defoe, Daniel. Robinson Crusoe. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1920. (0-684-17946-6)

George, Jean Craighead. My Side of the Mountain. New York: Puffin Books, 1959. (0-14-034810-7)

________. Julie of the Wolves. New York: Harper, 1972. (0-06-021943-2)

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

Hudson, Wade, selected by. Pass It On: African-American Poetry for Children. New York: Scholastic, 1993. (0-590-45771-3)

Hughes, Langston. The Sweet and Sour Animal Book. New York: Oxford, 1994.

________. The Dream Keeper and other poems. New York: Knopf, 1994. (0-679-94421-4)

O'Dell, Scott. Island of the Blue Dolphins. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1960. (0-395-06962-9)

Paulsen, Gary. Hatchet. New York: Puffin Books, 1987. (0-14-034371-7)

Sperry, Armstrong. Call It Courage. New York: Macmillan, 1939.

Taylor, Theodore. The Cay. New York: Doubleday, 1969. (0-380-00142-X)
 

Teacher Reference

Strickland, Michael R. African-American Poets. Springfield, NJ: Enslow Publishers, Inc.,1996. (0-89490-774-3)