Fourth Grade - Literature - Overview - October
 

In the month of October, Literature continues to include Sayings and Phrases, Poetry and Stories, and adds Speeches.
 

Sayings and Phrases

Continue to post the sayings and phrases in your classroom if this was started last month. Don't put all your eggs in one basket, Etc. and Half a loaf is better than none stand independent of one another and may be introduced in any order. They may be taught on successive days or anytime throughout the month.
 

Poetry

"George Washington" and "Concord Hymn" are the poetry selections this month. They relate to material covered in American History and Art. American History Lesson 5 should be taught before "Concord Hymn," but otherwise they may be introduced in any order you choose.

Continue reading additional poetry to your students. The Helen Ferris book Favorite Poems Old and New is a wonderful source, and poems by Jack Prelutsky and Shel Silverstein continue to be favorites at this age.
 

Stories

Both stories this month, "Rip Van Winkle" and " The Legend of Sleepy Hollow" were written by Washington Irving. Multiple activities are suggested so that the lessons may continue over several days. Some activities may also be used as homework assignments. "Rip Van Winkle" should be introduced before "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow."

If you choose to read the condensations of the stories included in the Hirsch books, try to obtain one of the illustrated versions as well. Students will enjoy seeing an artist's interpretation of the events.
 

Speeches

Patrick Henry's "Give me liberty or give me death" speech is the students' first introduction to the study of this literary form. Emphasize, that like a play, some of the power of the speech comes from the speaker's gestures and tone of voice. Reading the suggested selections about Patrick Henry's oratorical skills will help to emphasize this.

This lesson includes a group activity and resulting individual project which are completed in one day. Students are asked to interpret information in order to answer questions, then use their answers to write an "Investigative Report." Other suggested activities requiring whole class participation can be extended for two or three more days.
 

Fourth Grade - Literature - Sayings and Phrases - Don't put all your eggs in one basket
 

Objectives

Explain the meaning of the saying.

Relate to other sayings that give advice.
 

Materials

Copy of the saying, Don't put all your eggs in one basket, on sentence strip or chart paper
 

Suggested Books

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

Procedure

Ask the students if they have ever cracked open a raw egg or seen someone else do it. Was it difficult to do? Probably not, because raw eggs can be easily broken. Have the students imagine a basket full of raw eggs. Explain that it is likely a basket would have been used when people gathered eggs years ago. Next tell them to predict what would happen if the basket was dropped. Most, and probably all of the eggs would break resulting in a terrible mess. Remind the students that repairs to broken eggs are out of the question, recalling Humpty Dumpty.

Display the saying Don't put all your eggs in one basket. Ask the students if they think it is good advice. What is the disastrous outcome that might occur from putting all your eggs in one basket? Tell the students that the saying actually means more than just what it says. Ask if anyone would like to give an explanation of what else it might mean. Be sure to allow all students who have interpretations to share theirs. If none of the students comes up with the interpretation that the eggs represent prospects and possibilities, explain this idea to the students. Tell them that when you limit your plans and possibilities to one thing (all the eggs in one basket or container) you may be disappointed when something happens (you drop the basket) and you lose everything.

Remind the students that if you plan an activity outdoors and it rains you might be disappointed, but if you decide ahead of time to move the activity indoors in case of rain you have at least two possibilities and not just one. Take a few minutes to discuss the range of this advice. It relates not only to plans for a sunny/rainy day but also to plans to attend a particular college, see a particular movie, or purchase a particular piece of clothing. Help the students to recognize the importance of flexibility in planning. Discuss what the results might be if a football or basketball team had only one play to depend on all the time.

Ask the students how the saying Don't put all your eggs in one basket is different from on the warpath, bury the hatchet, and once in a blue moon. While students may correctly note that one is a saying (or sentence) and the others are phrases, help them to see that one gives specific advice. Students may recall other sayings they have learned that also give advice. Have volunteers name others they may remember such as Do unto others as you would have them do unto you, Never leave till tomorrow what you can do today, Don't judge a book by its cover, Practice what you preach, Don't cry over spilled milk, Let bygones be bygones. If time permits, discuss the students' perceived value of each proverb.
 

Fourth Grade - Literature - Sayings and Phrases - Etc.
 

Objectives

Explain the meaning of et cetera and etc.

Use et cetera (etc.) appropriately.
 

Materials

Copy of the words et cetera and etc. on sentence strip or chart paper
 

Suggested Books

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

Teacher Background

Fourth grade students will no doubt be familiar with etc. having seen it used in books or having heard it used. If the situation presents itself, or has already presented itself, discuss et cetera and etc. when encountered in text and explain the usage. Be sure students pronounce the word clearly, specifically ET cetera not EX cetera, know how to use the abbreviation both at the end of a sentence and within, and understand that the word and is not used with etc.

Procedure

Begin the lesson by asking the students to participate in an activity that produces a very long list. You could have them name things you see at a baseball game, or foods found in a supermarket, or things children like to do in their free time. Be sure that the list generated is lengthy.

Ask the students to think about how they would write such a list if they were sending a letter to someone and wanted to include the information. Would they want to have to write every single thing that is on the list? Probably not.

Explain that it is possible to write only some of the things in your list while at the same time letting the reader know that the list is actually much longer. That can be accomplished with the use of et cetera. Et cetera is a Latin phrase that means "and so on" or "and the rest." Etc. is the abbreviation. Write et cetera and etc. on the board or display the sentence strip or chart paper.

Demonstrate that it would be possible to say, "At the ball game we saw the field, the stadium, the players, the scoreboard, the bases, the concession stands, etc." Write the sentence on the chalk board. Explain that while you didn't list every single thing you saw, the reader knew the kind of things you were talking about because you had listed a number of things that fit in the category of things to see at a ball game. Demonstrate that etc. may be used in the middle of a sentence as well discussing the following sentence after you have written it on the board. "We took suntan lotion, an umbrella, buckets and shovels, food, etc. when we went to the beach the other day."

Play an oral game with the students asking for volunteers to give statements containing items in a particular category and use et cetera as well. Challenge the students to use et cetera in the middle of the sentence as well as at the end. Some categories could be: animals at the zoo, players on a particular sports team, flavors of ice cream, reptiles, etc.

Be sure students get an opportunity to say the word et cetera and at some time during the day, write the word et cetera and its abbreviation etc. Tell the students that the word "and" is never used before et cetera because it would be redundant, that is it would be saying the same thing twice "and and so on."
 

Fourth Grade - Literature - Sayings and Phrases - Half a loaf is better than none
 

Objectives

Explain the saying Half a loaf is better than none.

Connect life experiences to the saying.

Judge the value in receiving a substitution or part of something.
 

Materials

Copy of the saying, Half a loaf is better than none, on chart paper or sentence strip
 

Suggested Book

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

Procedure

Ask the students if they have ever wanted a particular thing but had to settle for a different version, or a different style than the one they originally wanted. Maybe they wanted several things (the complete series of a book or comic, all the recordings by a particular performer) and only received two of the desired five. The students may offer examples, or you may suggest different versions of video games, a different brand of athletic shoes, a different snack food than the one desired, or only the first three books in a particular series, two of the CDs by a particular performer rather than all seven.

Discuss with the students whether it would be better to receive a different version or receive nothing at all. Would it be better to have some items of a desired group or none? Suggest that while there might be initial disappointment about settling for a substitution or part, the end result would be satisfactory. Again pose the question "Would it have been better to receive nothing?"

Display the saying Half a loaf is better than none. Have the students read it silently then ask for a volunteer to read aloud. Be sure that everyone recognizes that loaf refers to a loaf of bread. Ask for a volunteer to explain the saying. Can the students see the connection between this saying and their past discussion? Did they agree that a substitution is better than not having anything at all? Did they agree that having a part is better than having none?

Provide an example of the saying in use by creating a scenario or reading the following from What Your Fourth Grader Needs to Know.

By selling raffle tickets, Clarkson School raised money to buy a swing set, monkey bars, and two basketball backboards.

"But," said Billy, "I was hoping we could get one of those big spiral slides, too."

"Hey, don't complain," said Juan. "Half a loaf is better than none. Race you to the hoops!"
 

If necessary, take a few minutes to allow the class to discuss the scenario.

Write the saying A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush on the chalkboard. Ask the students to read it silently and ask for a volunteer to read aloud. Ask for someone to explain the saying. Point out that a sure thing is worth more than something you "might" get, if the student does not explain this. Ask for volunteers to provide scenarios. Suggest that the students think about using the words "might" and "probably" when they give their examples (my cousin might be able to get us tickets ..., or I can probably get my friend to take us....).

Ask the students how A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush relates to Half a loaf is better than none. Allow several students to give their interpretations. End the lesson by reminding the students that these sayings tell us that having something, even if it is not exactly what we wanted (or as much as we wanted), is better than having nothing or taking a risk and possibly ending up without anything.
 

Fourth Grade - Literature - Sayings and Phrases - Half a loaf is better than none
 

Objectives

Explain the saying Half a loaf is better than none.

Connect life experiences to the saying.

Judge the value in receiving a substitution or part of something.
 

Materials

Copy of the saying, Half a loaf is better than none, on chart paper or sentence strip
 

Suggested Book

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

Procedure

Ask the students if they have ever wanted a particular thing but had to settle for a different version, or a different style than the one they originally wanted. Maybe they wanted several things (the complete series of a book or comic, all the recordings by a particular performer) and only received two of the desired five. The students may offer examples, or you may suggest different versions of video games, a different brand of athletic shoes, a different snack food than the one desired, or only the first three books in a particular series, two of the CDs by a particular performer rather than all seven.

Discuss with the students whether it would be better to receive a different version or receive nothing at all. Would it be better to have some items of a desired group or none? Suggest that while there might be initial disappointment about settling for a substitution or part, the end result would be satisfactory. Again pose the question "Would it have been better to receive nothing?"

Display the saying Half a loaf is better than none. Have the students read it silently then ask for a volunteer to read aloud. Be sure that everyone recognizes that loaf refers to a loaf of bread. Ask for a volunteer to explain the saying. Can the students see the connection between this saying and their past discussion? Did they agree that a substitution is better than not having anything at all? Did they agree that having a part is better than having none?

Provide an example of the saying in use by creating a scenario or reading the following from What Your Fourth Grader Needs to Know.
 

By selling raffle tickets, Clarkson School raised money to buy a swing set, monkey bars, and two basketball backboards.

"But," said Billy, "I was hoping we could get one of those big spiral slides, too."

"Hey, don't complain," said Juan. "Half a loaf is better than none. Race you to the hoops!"

If necessary, take a few minutes to allow the class to discuss the scenario.

Write the saying A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush on the chalkboard. Ask the students to read it silently and ask for a volunteer to read aloud. Ask for someone to explain the saying. Point out that a sure thing is worth more than something you "might" get, if the student does not explain this. Ask for volunteers to provide scenarios. Suggest that the students think about using the words "might" and "probably" when they give their examples (my cousin might be able to get us tickets ..., or I can probably get my friend to take us....).
 

Ask the students how A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush relates to Half a loaf is better than none. Allow several students to give their interpretations. End the lesson by reminding the students that these sayings tell us that having something, even if it is not exactly what we wanted (or as much as we wanted), is better than having nothing or taking a risk and possibly ending up without anything.
 

Fourth Grade - Literature - Poetry - George Washington
 

Objectives

Decide if three descriptions of George Washington are accurate.

Discuss the form of the poem.
 

Materials

Copy of the poem on chart paper or transparency

Introductory lines of first three stanzas (italicized parts) on three sheets of chart paper or transparency
 

Suggested Books

Ferris, Helen. Favorite Poems Old and New: Selected for Boys and Girls. New York: Doubleday, 1957. Wonderful collection.
 

Teacher Background

In the American History and Art lessons this month, students are given information about George Washington. They learn about his accomplishments and add to the information they gained in First Grade. Students may recall the poem "Washington" by Nancy Byrd Turner read in First Grade also.

The authors of this poem, husband and wife Stephen (1898-1943) and Rosemary (1898-1962) Benét, also wrote a book called A Book of Americans with Stephen in charge of the men and Rosemary, the women.

This lesson is rather long, due in part to the length of the poem. It can be divided into two parts with the first lesson addressing the three stanzas of "incorrect" information and the second addressing the poem in its entirety.
 

Procedure

Tell the students that they have been given a very important job. They have the responsibility of deciding if two poets, Stephen and Rosemary Benét have written a good description of George Washington. Remind the students they have learned a lot about George Washington's life and so they should be able to decide if the description is accurate. Be sure that the students know that accurate means correct, without error. Display the italicized portion of the first stanza and read it to the class.

Sing hey! For bold George Washington,

That jolly British tar,

King George's famous admiral

From Hull to Zanzibar!
 

Explain that the word "tar" means sailor and Hull and Zanzibar are places. (Hull is a port on the Humber River in England and Zanzibar is an island off Tanzania in east Africa.) Comment that the rhyme is good and then ask the students if they think it is accurate (no). Have students tell why the stanza is inaccurate (Washington was not a sailor, and certainly not an admiral.). If someone remembers the boat in Washington Crossing the Delaware remind the students that Washington was leading the Continental Army, not the navy.
 

Note to the students that it seems peculiar that this stanza would contain incorrect information and then suggest that they take a look at the second stanza. Display the italicized part of the second stanza and read it to the class.
 

Sing ho! For grave Washington,

The staid Virginia squire,

Who farms his fields and hunts his hounds

And aims at nothing higher!
 

Explain that "grave" and "staid" mean serious and solemn. A "squire" is a country gentleman, a landowner. Tell the students that the stanza says that Washington is a serious man who is most concerned with his own farm and hunting with his dogs. He really doesn't care much for others or for doing anything else with his life.

Ask the students if that is an accurate description of Washington (no). What are some of the careers Washington had? (surveyor, soldier, statesman, commander-in-chief, president) Was he only worried about himself? (no) How do we know? (He was a member of the first Constitutional Congress, fought against the British, served as president.)

Once again comment that it is rather curious that this poem could be so famous and still be incorrect. Suggest that they try one more stanza and test it for correctness. Display the italicized part of the third stanza and read it to the class.
 

Sing ha! For Emperor Washington,

That hero of renown,

Who freed his land from Britain's rule

To win a golden crown
 

Remind the students that an emperor is a ruler who makes the laws for the people who live in his kingdom. The stanza even mentions the golden crown he would wear. Explain that "renown" means fame. This is a well known man.

Ask the students if that is an accurate description of Washington (no). Did Washington want to rule the people of America? (no, he was nominated to be president) Did he fight to be free from England so that he could be in charge? (No, he believed in the rights of the people.)

Tell the students there is a reason why this poem tells so much incorrect information. You may wish to give them a moment to suggest their own possible reasons, then explain that you have only given them a part of the true story. You have read the first three stanzas but you have only read a part of them. Tell the students that you will now read the poem in its entirety. Tell them to listen and decide if they think the Benéts really did put accurate information in their poem.

(The poem in its entirety is provided for your convenience in creating a transparency. Likewise the three italicized stanzas are provided on a sheet so that they may be separated and used as transparencies.)
 

George Washington by Rosemary and Stephen Vincent Benét
 

Sing hey! For bold George Washington,

That jolly British tar,

King George's famous admiral

From Hull to Zanzibar!

No--wait a minute--something's wrong--

George wished to sail the foam.

But, when his mother thought aghast,

Of Georgie shinning up a mast,

Her tears and protests flowed so fast

That George remained at home.
 

Sing ho! For grave Washington,

The staid Virginia squire,

Who farms his fields and hunts his hounds

And aims at nothing higher!

Stop, stop it's going wrong again!

George liked to live on farms,

But when the Colonies agreed

They could and should and would be freed,

They called on George to do the deed

And George cried "Shoulder arms!"
 

Sing ha! For Emperor Washington,

That hero of renown,

Who freed his land from Britain's rule

To win a golden crown!

No, no, that's what George might have won

But didn't for he said,

"There's not much point about a king,

They're pretty but they're apt to sting

And, as for crowns--the heavy thing

Would only hurt my head."
 

Sing ho! For our George Washington!

(At last I've got it straight.)

The first in war, the first in peace,

The goodly and the great.

But, when you think about him now,

From here to Valley Forge,

Remember this--he might have been

A highly different specimen,

And, where on earth would we be, then?

I'm glad that George was George.
 

Display the entire poem now and invite the students to follow along as you read it again. Ask the students if they have a different opinion of the poem, and possibly the authors, now. Ask if the students think that the correct information was actually given. Be sure to explain the meaning of any vocabulary words that have not already been discussed (aghast, shinning, sting, specimen). Does the final stanza give us an accurate picture of George Washington? (Yes, he was a good man, a great leader, who was concerned with his country in war and peace.)

Tell the students to look at the way the poem is visually presented. Part of the lines are italicized and part are not. Ask the students why they think it was done that way. Did the authors have something particular in mind when they did this? (Answers may vary.) Do you like this way of presenting a poem? Are there any advantages?

Tell the students to pretend that they have been given the job of writing three more lines to follow Sing ho! For our George Washington! (even though the Benéts' next three lines fit very well). Could they come up with three more lines, rhyming two of them (the 2nd and 4th)? Have students suggest possible second lines and take it from there. For instance:
 

A leader brave and strong

(possible rhymes: long, wrong, song)

He helped our country to be free

And so we sing his song.
 

A hero for all days

(possible rhymes: days, ways, praise)
 

Have the entire class work together to write this stanza, or have groups or individuals work.
 

Fourth Grade - Literature - Poetry - Concord Hymn
 

Objectives

Recognize the poem as a tribute to the minutemen.

Identify a person or event that should be memorialized.

Write about a monument and a dedication created in honor of the person or event.
 

Materials

Copy of the poem on chart paper or transparency
 

Suggested Books

Cohn, Amy, compiled by. From Sea to Shining Sea: A Treasury of American Folklore and Folk Songs. New York: Scholastic, 1993.

Collection of songs, stories and poems that tell the history of America.

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

Teacher Background

"The shot heard round the world" is covered in History Lesson 5. Be sure that this lesson has been taught before beginning the study of "Concord Hymn."

Tell the students that this poem was not written at the time of the battles of Lexington and Concord, but was written 51 years later to honor the men who fought at these battles. Students should recall that some of the paintings of Revolutionary War genre studied this year were actually painted 100 years after the event pictured.

Ralph Waldo Emerson was born May 25, 1803 in Boston, Massachusetts and died April 27, 1882 in Concord, Massachusetts.
 

Procedure

Write the word "Concord" on the board and ask the students to tell where Concord is located and what happened there. (They should recall the battles of Lexington and Concord in Massachusetts and "the shot heard round the world.") Tell them that the author of this poem, Ralph Waldo Emerson lived in Massachusetts and wrote this poem in honor of what happened at Concord. The poem was read at the dedication of a memorial there fifty-one years later.

There are several vocabulary words that may be new to your students, do not worry about explaining them before the first reading. Instead, before you share the poem suggest that the students think about the title "Concord Hymn" and see if they get the feeling of a song as they listen to it. Be sure that you have practiced the poem so that it will flow as you read it.
 

Concord Hymn
 

By the rude bridge that arched the flood,

Their flag to April's breeze unfurled,

Here once the embattled farmers stood,

And fired the shot heard round the world.
 
 
 

The foe long since in silence slept;

Alike the conqueror silent sleeps;

And Time the ruined bridge has swept

Down the dark stream which seaward creeps.
 

On this green bank, by this soft stream,

We set today a votive stone;

That memory may their deed redeem,

When, like our sires, our sons are gone.
 

Spirit, that made those heroes dare

To die, and leave their children free,

Bid Time and Nature gently spare

The shaft we raise to them and thee.
 

Ralph Waldo Emerson
 

After reading the poem take a few minutes to discuss first impressions. Ask the students: How would you describe the poem? (serious, solemn) How do you think the poet felt about what had happened at Concord and the people who fought there? (great respect, felt it should be memorialized)

Display the poem. Tell the students you will read the poem again but this time you will stop to discuss words and ideas. If there are questions raised by your students take time to answer these as well.
 

Concord Hymn
 

By the rude bridge that arched the flood,

Their flag to April's breeze unfurled,

Here once the embattled farmers stood,

And fired the shot heard round the world.
 

rude - crude, rough in workmanship - the rude bridge

arched - curved span of a bridge or doorway - bridge that arched the flood

unfurled - unfolded, spread out - the flag unfurled by April's breezes

embattled - prepared for battle - the embattled farmers stood
 

The foe long since in silence slept;

Alike the conqueror silent sleeps;

And Time the ruined bridge has swept

Down the dark stream which seaward creeps.
 

foe - enemy - the foe (redcoats) long since in silence slept

in silence slept - has been dead - the foe long since in silence slept

conqueror - victor, one who overcomes the enemy - Alike the conqueror (minutemen) silent sleeps

ruined - fallen - And Time the ruined bridge has swept
 

On this green bank, by this soft stream,

We set today a votive stone;

That memory may their deed redeem,

When, like our sires, our sons are gone.
 

soft - gentle - by this soft stream

votive - dedicated as an act of gratitude - We set today a votive stone

redeem - recover, recall - that memory may their deed redeem

sires - fathers, forefathers - When, like our sires, our sons are gone
 

Spirit, that made those heroes dare

To die, and leave their children free,

Bid Time and Nature gently spare

The shaft we raise to them and thee.
 

Spirit - courage, God - Spirit, that made those heroes dare

shaft - a monument in the form of a column - The shaft we raise to them and thee
 

When you have finished going over the vocabulary invite students to read the poem, either as a group or individually. Have them maintain a measured read and not rush through the poem.

Have students recall that "Concord Hymn" was read on the day a monument was dedicated to honor the minutemen who fought at Concord. Have them name other monuments they may know. List their responses on the chalkboard and discuss the reasons why the monuments were erected.

Have the students think about a person or event that they would memorialize and the reasons why. Have them think about creating the monument and dedicating it. What kind of monument would they choose to make and what would they say at the dedication? Have the students write two paragraphs about their memorial, the first describing the monument they would make and the second describing what they would say at the dedication.
 

Fourth Grade - Literature - Rip Van Winkle
 

Objectives (according to Activities provided)

Determine the year that Rip falls asleep and the year he awakens.

Determine the next year that Hudson's crew would be expected to appear and predict how they might look.

Research and report on nine-pins.

Select a discovery or invention that you think would be most impressive to someone awakening from as twenty-year sleep and write about it.

Distinguish between fact and fiction contained within the story.
 

Materials

Copy of the story

Classroom-size map of the United States

Suggested Books

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

Condensation of story included.

Howe, John, retold and illustrated by. Rip Van Winkle by Washington Irving. New York: Little, Brown and Co., 1988. Illustrations are wonderful.

Irving, Washington. Rip Van Winkle. Mankato, MN: Creative Education, 1993.

Beautiful, dream-like illustrations by Gary Kelley; full text of the original story.

________. Rip Van Winkle. New York: William Morrow and Co., 1987.

Full text of the original story with luminous illustrations by N.C. Wyeth.

Storr, Catherine, retold by. Rip Van Winkle. Milwaukee: Raintree, 1984.

Illustrations by Peter Wingham are muted colors, many full-page.
 

Websites that provide additional information

http://www.ucalgary.ca/~dkbrown/storclas.html

Classics for Young People, part of the Children's Literature Web Guide provides full-text of "Rip Van Winkle" and other stories.
 

Teacher Background

Washington Irving was born in New York City in 1783. He wrote under the pseudonyms Diedrich Knickerbocker and Geoffrey Crayon. "Rip Van Winkle" and "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow" were included in The Sketch Book of Geoffrey Crayon that was published in 1819-20.

Irving also wrote biographies of Columbus and George Washington as well as many other books. "Rip Van Winkle" is based on a German story about a goatherd named Peter Kraus. Irving extended the original story with details about Rip's home life and the reason for his wandering. Most of the story tells about his life before and after the long sleep.

If you decide to read the original text or make it available to your students, know that there will be vocabulary that they may find difficult. Remind the students that the story "Rip Van Winkle" was written almost 200 years ago when our language contained many different words than it does today.

Select one of the illustrated editions, if possible so that you can show the pictures that

accompany the story. The Howe book and the Washington Irving book with Wyeth's illustrations are both good choices.
 

Fourth Grade - Literature - Rip Van Winkle
 

Procedure

Introduce the story by writing the following words on the board:

Rip Van Winkle

Catskill Mountains, New York

Explain that Rip Van Winkle is both the title of the story and the name of the main character. Students may be familiar with the story of Rip Van Winkle having heard it before, or having seen it as a film or cartoon adaptation.

Have a student locate New York on a map and point to the Appalachian Mountains while you explain that the Catskill Mountains are a part of these. Ask for a volunteer to name the river that runs through this area. (Hudson River) Then ask if anyone recalls who explored this region and river (Henry Hudson). Tell the students that Henry Hudson, his son and some members of his crew were set adrift in a boat without food or oars after a disagreement; they were never heard from again and legend tells that they have appeared in the area several times since those first explorations in 1609. The members of that ill-fated crew enter into the telling of this tale.

Explain that the story opens in a village that was founded by Dutch colonists. (Remind the students that the Dutch are people who originally came from Holland.) Tell the students that you will not tell the year the story takes place, but you will leave it up to them to listen and see if they can figure it out for themselves.

Tell them that you would also like them to listen for the descriptions of the character Rip Van Winkle. Explain that you are not so interested in the physical aspects as you are concerned about his character traits. Encourage students to jot down words to describe his behavior and personality, then begin reading the story.

When you have completed the story, ask the students if they were able to figure out the time period when the story takes place. They should be able to recognize that it begins before the American Revolution (King George the Third's portrait at the inn, later General Washington's portrait) and closes after the colonies are free from England. Ask if there are other clues that let them know the approximate time period.

Next ask student volunteers to tell some of the words that they chose to describe Rip Van Winkle and write these on the board. Kind, lazy or careless about his own farm, helpful to others, thoughtful, curious, frightened, confused, happy, content are all words that might be suggested. Be sure to ask the students to give an example or examples from the story to support their choices. If no one suggests the word hen-pecked, you may wish to add this to their list, explaining the meaning of the word as you do.

Select from the activities suggested below any that you would like to pursue with your students. You may wish to assign different tasks to groups and one or two tasks to the entire class.
 

Activity One

Present the following scenario to the students and let pairs or groups work together to

answer the questions. When time is called and students are asked to give their answers, be sure to have at least one of the pairs (or groups) explain how they were able to figure out the dates.

Henry Hudson and his crew explored the Hudson River in 1609. Legend says that he returns every 20 years. Since the American Revolution has not yet taken place when the story "Rip Van Winkle" opens and the first presidential election hasn't yet taken place when it ends, in
 

Fourth Grade - Literature - Rip Van Winkle
 

what year did Rip Van Winkle go to sleep and in what year did he awaken?
 

The progression would be:

1609 - 1629 - 1649 - 1669 - 1689 - 1709 - 1729 - 1749 - 1769 - 1789

1769 is the last year in the 20 year progression that occurs before the American Revolution therefore it is the year Rip Van Winkle fell asleep. He awakened 20 years later in 1789.
 

Activity Two

If you wanted to go to the Catskills and look for Henry Hudson and his crew, what is the next year that he and his crew are scheduled to appear? How would you expect them to look if you were able to find them? Would they look any older than when Rip Van Winkle saw them?
 

Continued Progression

1789 - 1809 - 1829 - 1849 - 1869 - 1889 - 1909 - 1929 - 1949 - 1969 - 1989 - 2009 - 2029 - 2049

Activity Three

Nine-pins is the game that the dwarfs that Rip Van Winkle met were playing. Therefore, at least how many years has this game been around? What is the name given to this game today? How are the pins set up for this game? How is it played? Why do you think it has remained a popular game for so many years? Does it require a lot of equipment? Does it require any special skills in order to play? How many people may play at a time?
 

Activity Four

Think about the many discoveries people have made and inventions that have been developed over the years, like the invention of the automobile or Columbus's voyage to the New World. Can you imagine how someone would feel if they had gone to sleep for twenty years like Rip Van Winkle and awakened and found out about one of them? Choose one of the story starters below and write a paragraph about the amazing discovery that was made or invention that was developed while you were asleep and how you felt when you woke up and learned about it.

1. I can't believe that it is possible to sail across the great Atlantic and not fall off. You're telling me that this Columbus fellow ...

2. When I went to sleep only birds and insects could fly ...

3. An automobile! What is an automobile? Where is the horse to pull it? ...

4. What do you mean that men landed on the moon? I thought that just going up in the spaceship

was amazing enough but ...

5. Make up your own story starter about any discovery or invention that came about whil you were asleep.
 

Activity Five

Although "Rip Van Winkle" is a fictional account, it contains references to events that
 

Fourth Grade - Literature - Rip Van Winkle
 

actually occurred, real people who lived, and places that exist today. The author presents these in many different ways. They may be given as background information when we learn the setting of the story or they may be provided with a description of the characters or events. For instance, we don't know if there ever was a man named Rip Van Winkle but we do know that there are mountains in New York called the Catskills. Can you find other references that Washington Irving included in this story?
 

Fourth Grade - Literature - The Legend of Sleepy Hollow
 

Objectives

Compare and contrast Ichabod Crane and Brom Van Brunt (Brom Bones).

Discuss foreshadowing in the story.

Analyze the author's style (optional).

Demonstrate how the character Ichabod Crane would move if observed (optional).

Create a character montage for Ichabod or Brom (optional).
 

Materials

Copy of the story "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow"

Classroom-size map of the United States

A copy of the descriptions of Ichabod and Brom for each pair of students (attached)

Transparency or copy on chart paper of selections from the story (attached)

Drawing paper, crayons, markers or paints
 

Suggested Books

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

Condensation of story included.

Moses, Will, retold and illustrated by. The Legend of Sleepy Hollow. New York: Philomel, 1995. Complete story, illustrations in the style of Grandma Moses by her great-grandson.

San Souci, Robert, retold by. The Legend of Sleepy Hollow. New York: Doubleday, 1986. Complete story with wonderful illustrations by Daniel San Souci.

Standiford, Natalie, adapted by. The Headless Horseman. New York: Random House, 1992.

A "Step into Reading" book based on "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow," written for students at grades 1-3 reading level.

Websites that provide additional information

http://www.ucalgary.ca/~dkbrown/storclas.html

Classics for Young People, part of the Children's Literature Web Guide provides full-text of "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow" and other stories.
 

Teacher Background

Students were introduced to the work of Washington Irving with "Rip Van Winkle." With the introduction of this story they will become more familiar with the author's style and be able to make some observations.

As was true with the story "Rip Van Winkle," "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow" contains hints of the supernatural, however, once again the emphasis of the story is on the characters and their relationships.

Some of the vocabulary in the story will be difficult for the students. If you are reading aloud and come to words that you know are unfamiliar to your students, pause and allow them to try to figure out the meaning. This would be an ideal time to discuss context clues that help a reader figure out unfamiliar words. You may also wish to provide dictionaries to several students and assign them the task of finding definitions for unknown words. A careful reading of the story by you before sharing it with the class would allow you to discover the words not easily defined in context.

If you are not able to get multiple copies of the story and wish to include students in the

reading of the story, you could divide the story into parts and assign readers to each of the sections. Be sure to allow sufficient time for students to practice their parts before sharing with

the rest of the class.

All selections from the story that are used in this lesson come from What Your Fourth Grader Needs to Know (see Suggested Books).
 

Procedure

Ask students if they are familiar with the story "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow." Many will have seen the cartoon version on television as it is frequently shown around Halloween. The Disney version stays close to the story-line so students who have seen it should have a general

idea of the story.

Tell the students that the story was written by Washington Irving and ask them to recall

the other story of his that they have recently read ("Rip Van Winkle"). Ask if they recall the setting of that story (New York) and explain that "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow" also takes place there. Have a student point to New York on the map. Ask the students if they recall which people first settled in New York (the Dutch). Tell the students that this story takes place in an area east of the Hudson River where farming was the typical occupation of the people living there. Describe how long ago, the people in a farming or rural community might get together and decide to hire a teacher. To provide more than wages alone--the people could not usually pay a lot-- the schoolteacher would live at the homes of his pupils and their families would provide meals as well as lodging.

Tell the students that the main character in the story "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow" is a teacher named Ichabod Crane (write the name on the board). Next to Crane's name, write the name Brom Van Brunt. Tell the students that Brom is another character in the story.

Explain that you want them to get to know these two characters a little better before you begin reading and that they will do this by reading some passages from the story that describe these two men. Have each student select a partner before you hand out the sheets containing the descriptions of Ichabod and Brom. Direct the students to read the descriptions, discuss them with their partner and then be ready to join the rest of the class in comparing and contrasting the two men. Acknowledge that there will be some vocabulary that will be new to the students. Suggest that they try to figure out the meanings from context and assure them that you will define any unknown words when the class reconvenes as a group. Allow several minutes for the pairs to read and discuss the men (and their horses).

After the students have had a chance to read the descriptions, call their attention back to the board and ask them to tell how Brom and Ichabod are alike. Remind the students that when we compare we look for similarities. The only similarities students will probably note are that both are men and both have horses. Write these on the board in a column between the two men's names.

Next ask the students to contrast the men. Remind the students that to contrast means to look for differences. As each descriptor is mentioned list it (with a different color chalk from that used for the comparisons) under the appropriate name. Encourage the students to use the exact words from the selections and make the contrast a part of their statement, for example: "Brom was burly, but Ichabod was lank."

Ask the students if the descriptions of the characters remind them of any other characters they have met in books or on television or in film. Take a few minutes to discuss their

suggestions. Are the students reminded of any living persons who fit these descriptions?
 

Tell the students that you will begin reading the story and that they should keep these character portraits in mind. Explain that you will stop during the reading of the story to again

include them in the story's analysis. Begin reading the story.

When you reach the section that gives a description of Ichabod's interest in the supernatural, stop and project this paragraph for students to see. Briefly discuss why the author is sharing this information with us. What does Irving want us to know about Ichabod? Why?

Continue the reading until you reach the description of Ichabod's dance with Katrina while Brom sits brooding. Project this for the students to see and read. Ask the students if they get any kind of feeling from those lines. They may express foreboding, or the impression that "Uh-ooh, something's going to happen." Ask if they have ever felt that before with a story. Did

they feel it when the old woman/queen gave Snow White the apple to eat? Tell them that the author does this in a story on purpose; it is called "foreshadowing." Write the word

"foreshadowing" on the board and ask the students to look at the two words--fore and shadow--that form this word. Explain that fore comes from before and with shadow it indicates the shadow falling in such a way that it touches that which is to come.

Again continue reading the story until you come to the description of Brom's behavior after the Headless Horseman has appeared. Ask the students why they think the author did this. Did Irving actually tell us that Brom was the horseman? Do you think that he was? Why?

Complete the story and draw the students' attention back to the board. Ask the students if they think Brom would have let Ichabod win the heart of Katrina. Can they think of anything Brom wouldn't have done in order to win Katrina? Take a few minutes to discuss this and ask the students how they would describe the relationship of Ichabod to Brom.

In closing, invite the students to do a drawing or write a short piece on any part of the story that they felt they could easily visualize when reading or listening to "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow." Irving's descriptions are colorful and detailed providing students several selections from the story to choose from.

On another occasion you may wish to have students do one of the activities listed below.

Activity One

Direct the students in determining the author's style, pointing out that just as they have learned to recognize the work of particular artists by their style, so it is with authors, too. Ask the following questions and have the students respond in paragraph form.

What can you tell about Washington Irving's style of writing from having read these two stories? What does he tell about the characters in his stories? Do you get a good idea how they look and act? Does he include a lot of dialogue? Does one of the characters tell the story or does he use a third person (the storyteller) to tell what is going on? What "special" element does Irving include in these stories?(supernatural) Does he spend a long time talking about it or does he simply introduce the idea of something far from the ordinary?
 

Activity Two

Washington Irving's description of Ichabod Crane immediately brings a picture to mind. Ask for volunteers to demonstrate how this lanky character might walk across a room, run in place, comb his hair, dance. How might he look if he was riding a bicycle, roller-skating, playing basketball? Remind students that the movements need to be exaggerated.
 

Activity Three

Have students select either Ichabod Crane or Brom Bones and do a character montage. Words and pictures that relate to that character can be clipped from magazines and glued to a piece of construction paper that bears his name.
 

Brom Van Brunt and Ichabod Crane
 

Brom Van Brunt

"The most formidable of these was the burly Brom Van Brunt, a local hero of some renown. His Herculean frame had earned him the nickname of Brom Bones. Riding about on his steed Daredevil, a creature full of mettle and mischief, Brom was always ready for a fight or a frolic. Yet with all his roughness, he possessed a strong dash of good humor at the bottom." (p.23)
 

Ichabod Crane

"... there lived a worthy fellow by the name of Ichabod Crane, who instructed the children of the vicinity. He was tall but exceedingly lank, with long arms and legs, hands that dangled a mile out of his sleeves, feet that might have served for shovels, and a frame that seemed only loosely joined together. He had huge ears, large green eyes, and a long snipe nose. To see him striding along a hill on a windy day, one might mistake him for some scarecrow escaped from a cornfield." (p.22)
 

"The horse was gaunt and sway-backed; his rusty mane and tail were knotted with burrs; one eye had lost its pupil and was glaring and spectral, but the other had the gleam of a devil in it. He must have had fire and mettle in his day, for he bore the name of Gunpowder. Ichabod was a suitable figure for such a steed; his elbows stuck out like a grasshoppers' and as he rode, the motion of his arms was not unlike the flapping of a pair of wings." (p.23)
 
 
 

"He had read several books quite through, and was a perfect master of Cotton Mather's History of New England Witchcraft, in which he most firmly believed. It was often his delight, after school was dismissed, to study old Mather's direful tales until dusk. Then as he wended his way home, every sound of nature would stir his overexcited imagination: the moan of the whippoorwill, the cry of the tree toad, or the dreary hooting of the screech owl." (p. 22)
 

"Ichabod danced proudly with the lady of his heart, his loosely hung frame clattering about the room, while Brom Bones sat brooding by himself in the corner." (p.24)
 

"And Brom Bones, who shortly after his rival's disappearance conducted Katrina in triumph to the altar, looked exceedingly knowing whenever the story of Ichabod was related, and always burst into hearty laughter at the mention of the pumpkin." (p. 25)
 

Fourth Grade - Literature - "Give me liberty or give me death"
 

Objectives

Analyze Patrick Henry's speech to answer questions (group activity).

Identify the speaker, and the time and purpose of the speech, citing statements from the speech as support.

Evaluate the effectiveness of the speech.
 

Materials

A dictionary available to each group or individual

Sample speech for chart or transparency (attached)

For each student

Copy of Patrick Henry's speech (attached)

Copy of the questions (attached)
 

Suggested Books

Fritz, Jean. Where was Patrick Henry on the 29th of May? New York: Coward, McCann & Geoghegan, 1975. Pages 36-39 tell of Henry's dramatic presentation of the speech and the events that followed.

Hakim, Joy. From Colonies to Country. New York: Oxford Press, 1993.

Pages 61-62 contain a description of Henry's stirring delivery of the "Liberty or Death" speech.

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

Speech included in this edition with information on Patrick Henry's political activities in the years before the speech.
 

Teacher Information

Patrick Henry's speech was mentioned in the earlier Fourth Grade American History lessons but the content of the speech was not discussed. This lesson is intended to stand independent of those lessons but requires knowledge of the Revolutionary time period for successful completion of the activities.

This lesson can easily be divided into two or three lessons. As it is written, it is intended to be used on the first day for small group discussions of the speech and questions that result ultimately in individual responses. The second day can be used to discuss the individual responses and the supporting information that the students identified. The third day can be used for discussion of the contents of the speech itself. Points to consider are Patrick Henry's perceptions of slavery and his concerns that ultimately became two amendments in the Bill of Rights (right to bear arms and no quartering of soldiers). Students should consider whether his speech was sensitive to the needs of all people (slaves, women) or whether it was intended to only speak for some. Ask the students to evaluate how effective Patrick Henry's speech was. Did his audience do as he asked? Did his delivery have anything to do with the response of the audience? It would be fitting to read the description included in either the Fritz or the Hakim book (see Suggested Books) during this lesson.

If you wish, all parts of the lesson may be done as whole class activities led by you. This would take much less class time, but would eliminate independent student investigation.

Procedure

Divide the class into groups of three or four students. Assign the job of reader to one student in each group, but provide a copy of the speech and the questions for each student. Present the speech and the question sheet without any introduction of speaker or content. Tell the

students that they are being given the job of investigators. Their job is to read the speech and then answer the questions. Through careful examination of the speech and discussion of the questions they should be able to determine who gave the speech, when it was given and what was

its purpose.

Assure the students that the answers to all the questions can be found in the speech.

Explain that the exact words to answer the questions may not be included, but that they will be able to interpret the information and come up with responses. Give the following example or a

similar one. (Write on chart paper or board or make into a transparency.)

"Parents and friends, teachers, staff and students, we are gathered here tonight at the beginning of a new year. We can make this the very best year this old building has ever seen, but we all must help. We need everyone, teachers, students and staff, the assistant principal and myself included, to arrive on time every day, ready to work. We need everyone committed to keeping this building attractive and clean. We need everyone to take responsibility for themselves AND their neighbors. Will you help? Will you promise to be on time, ready to work and learn, willing to give your best every day? Parents will you help your children keep this promise? Everyone who says they will promise, stand up and show that you care."

Ask: Who is speaking? (the principal) How do you know? (speaking to teachers, staff, students, parents; mentions new year; willingness to learn; assistant principal) Where is the speech being given? (this old building, probably the school) What does this person want everyone to do? (be on time, ready for work, keep the school clean, take responsibility for self and others) How will the speaker know that the audience agrees? (They will stand up.)

Tell the students they should take time to throughly discuss their answers within their groups just as you have demonstrated. Then they should come up with a consensus. Tell the class that each student is responsible for keeping his or her own answers and notes. Remind the students that they should be able to defend their responses based on the information contained within the speech, referencing the words of the speaker where possible.

Assign one student in each group the job of discussion leader. Explain that the job of discussion leader is really a job of moderator encouraging all group members to share their opinions on the questions.

Explain that after the groups have been given time to read and discuss the speech and the questions, they will be expected to write three paragraphs that tell the following:

Who gave the speech?

When was it given?

What was the purpose of the speech? (List the three questions on the board.)

Allow the groups to spend about twenty minutes reading the speech and discussing the questions. Post the time and note the halfway point. When the time is up, have the students leave their groups and prepare to work independently.

Tell the students that they will have ten minutes to answer the three questions that you listed on the board. Remind them that their paragraphs should contain each of the answers and justifications. Demonstrate for the students that their paragraphs should address each question as a statement, e.g. The speaker is ________________ (or has to be ________________ ) because
 

Fourth Grade - Literature - "Give me liberty or give me death"
 

_______________________________.

The speech had to have been given ____________________ because this was around the time of ____________________. The speech says that ____________________ had happened just before.

The speech was given in order to ___________________________________________.

This was important because ______________________________________________________.

Tell the students to title their papers "Investigative Report" (write on the board). They should then skip a line and begin writing making sure that paragraphs are indented and contain complete sentences which are punctuated correctly. Remind the students that neat handwriting and correct spelling are required and supporting statements must be included with each answer.

See Teacher Information for the directions for additional activities that follow this first lesson.
 

"Parents and friends, teachers, staff and students, we are gathered here tonight at the beginning of a new year. We can make this the very best year this old building has ever seen, but we all must help. We need everyone, teachers, students and staff, the assistant principal and myself included, to arrive on time every day, ready to work. We need everyone committed to keeping this building attractive and clean. We need everyone to take responsibility for themselves AND their neighbors. Will you help? Will you promise to be on time, ready to work and learn, willing to give your best every day? Parents will you help your children keep this promise? Everyone who says they will promise, stand up and show that you care."
 

1. Who is the speaker? (If you can't assign a name, can you tell whether it is a man or a woman, a free man or a slave, a black person or a white person. What profession does this person have?)
 
 
 

2. When is this speech taking place? (If you don't know the specific year, can you tell what other events have happened right before.)
 
 
 

3. Who are the audience? (Are there words in the speech that give you a clue as to whom the speech is being given? Are there clues as to where the speech is taking place?)
 
 
 

4. Are there words in this speech whose meaning you don't know? (Which words did you look up? Which did you guess?)
 
 
 

5. Are there words that have a different meaning today than they did at the time the speech was given? (Were you surprised by any of the definitions you found?)
 
 
 

6. What is the problem addressed in this speech? (What is the most important concern of the speaker? What does the speaker want his listeners to do?)
 
 
 

7. What things concern the speaker? (What does he worry will happen before others realize the seriousness of the situation?)
 
 
 

8. Does the speaker want war or peace? (Think about what the speaker is really saying, not just the words he uses.)
 

"Mr. President ... This is no time for ceremony. The question before the House is one of awful moment to this country. For my own part, I consider it as nothing less than a question of freedom or slavery...

"There is no longer any room for hope. If we wish to be free ... we must fight!

" ... They tell us, sir, that we are weak; unable to cope with so formidable an adversary. But when shall we be stronger? Will it be next week, or the next year? Will it be when we are totally disarmed, and when a British guard is stationed in every house? ... The battle, sir, is not to the strong alone; it is to the vigilant, the active, the brave. There is no retreat but in submission and slavery! Our chains are forged! Their clanking may be heard on the plains of Boston! The war is inevitable--and let it come! I repeat, sir, let it come!

"... Gentlemen may cry, 'Peace, Peace'--but there is no peace. The war is actually begun! The next gale that sweeps from the north will bring to our ears the clash of resounding arms! Our brethren are already in the field! Why stand here idle? What is it that gentlemen wish? What would they have? Is life so dear or peace so sweet to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take, but as for me, give me liberty or give me death!"
 
 

Bibliography


 
 

*Cohn, Amy L., compiled by. From Sea to Shining Sea: A Treasury of American Folklore and Folk Songs. New York: Scholastic, 1993. (0-590-42868-3)

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

Fritz, Jean. Where was Patrick Henry on the 29th of May? New York: Coward, McCann & Geoghegan, 1975. (698-30559-0)

Hakim, Joy. From Colonies to Country. New York: Oxford Press, 1993. (0-669-36834-2)

Hirsch, E.D., ed. What Your Third Grader Needs to Know. New York: Dell, 1992. (0-385-31257-1)

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

Howe, John, retold and illustrated by. Rip Van Winkle by Washington Irving. New York: Little, Brown and Co., 1988. (0-316-37578)

Irving, Washington. Rip Van Winkle. Mankato, MN: Creative Education, 1993. (0-88682-629-2)

________. Rip Van Winkle. New York: William Morrow and Co., 1987. (0-688-07459-6)

Moses, Will, retold and illustrated by. The Legend of Sleepy Hollow. New York: Philomel, 1995. (0-399-22687-7)

San Souci, Robert, retold by. The Legend of Sleepy Hollow. New York: Doubleday, 1986. (0-385-23397-3)

Standiford, Natalie, adapted by. The Headless Horseman. New York: Random House, 1992. (0-679-91241-X)

Storr, Catherine, retold by. Rip Van Winkle. Milwaukee: Raintree, 1984. (0-8172-2108-5)