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Fifth Grade - Literature - Overview - October

There are ten literature lessons this month. Five lessons are devoted to poems, three to sayings, and two to the study of a prose fiction piece. As in September, the unit strikes a balance between enjoyment and analysis. The three poetry pieces are simple in narrative structure, and language, but their symbolism may be abstract and philosophical. In the two lessons devoted to each of the first two poems, the first will emphasize understanding and the second will involve closer attention to language and meaning. This month's sayings will be used mainly as prompts for students' own creative writing and discussion, while the prose extract will serve primarily as experience in reading a continuous prose fiction piece. Five lessons contain a prompt for using the Reading Response Journal. This serves to foster students' personal response to literature. You may display the references to the selections in the unit, especially The Red-Headed League, ahead of formal classroom study so as to encourage students to be familiar with the material. If those selections are available in your school or classroom library, it would help to encourage students to read them ahead of time.

Fifth Grade - Poetry - A Poison Tree (Part 1)

Objectives
Understand the poem literally.
Appreciate the language of the poem.

Materials
Text of the poem "A Poison Tree," attached (for transparency)

Suggested Books
Teacher Reference
Erdman, David V. ed. The Complete Poetry & Prose of William Blake. New York: Anchor, 1992.

Teacher Background
The lyric poet and painter, William Blake is considered one of the most original poets in the English Language, and his work seen as a break from tradition. Blake was born in 1757 in London, England. He took up writing while still a young man in his twenties. Though quite respected today, this was certainly not the case in Blake's own lifetime. Today, his poetry is placed within the body of work belonging to the Romantic era. His Songs of Innocence published in 1789 continue to be his most popular work. William Blake died in 1827.

William Blake was a lyric poet in the true sense of the word, for lyric, is derived from the word "lyre," the name of a stringed instrument of ancient times, and Blake was a musician. Indeed, many of Blake's poems, including "A Poison Tree" which was listed as song number 49 in a collection titled Songs of Innocence and of Experience, were intended to be sung. Lyric poetry is traditionally verse that is intense in conviction and expresses the thoughts and feelings of the poet. Further, "A Poison Tree" is excerpted from that section of the collection titled Songs of Experience. The complete collection Songs of Innocence and of Experience, is subtitled "Shewing the Two Contrary States of the Human Soul." Experience should thus be viewed as the opposite of innocence. This preoccupation with good and evil, while a trait of the poet, also reflects a certain unease that marks the Age of Revolution in Europe, for the poem is published in the year 1789, considered the start of the French Revolution.

This is the first of two lessons devoted to "A Poison Tree," the first of two of poems by Blake in this month's literature unit. The other is "The Tiger." Your reading might be the very first introduction to the poem that students receive. Attempt to sell them on poetry. To help students appreciate the music of the piece, practice reading it before presenting it to the class. Each poem suggests a particular reading. Model such reading to your class, and steer them away from a sing-song approach that renders every poem a copy of another.

Procedure

You may consider not revealing the poem's author or title. If you do reveal the author or title, you might wish to put those two pieces of information to use in preparing the student for the upcoming reading. To do so, check whether students recognize the author or piece.

Next read the poem a first time, being careful to convey the music, and emotions of the piece. After the first reading, ask questions of a general nature, such as: What was the poem about? Or, ask questions that require personal responses to the piece, such as: What did that poem make you feel? Then, display the poem on transparency, on chart paper or on the board, and ask students to follow silently while you give a second reading. After the second reading, you may ask questions that develop issues brought up after the first reading. Next, you may offer a third reading, entertain volunteers who might want to read the poem aloud, or you may request volunteers. Always establish a supportive atmosphere for student readings, be sure to praise students' performances, and allot ample time for this phase of the lesson. Remember, your overall aim is to foster a positive attitude to poetry.

Have students copy the poem into their exercise books. Next, ask them to translate the poem into their own contemporary English prose. Emphasize to students that Blake wrote this poem in the eighteenth century and it reflects the language of his time as well as his own personal style. Remind them that being twentieth-century Americans, they should change the poem's stanzas to paragraphs, avoid rhyming, and replace all unfamiliar words, expressions, and sentence patterns with those that they would use in their own neighborhoods and with friends. Allow the use of a dictionary. Above all, make sure that students understand that they should not attempt to explain the poem, but simply rewrite it in everyday language. You may assign them to groups or have them do the exercise individually. Time should be allotted for this activity. It should be complete prior to the next lesson. It will form the basis of the next lesson.

Finally, discuss what the poem may mean. First ask open-ended questions that relate to the big picture, such as: What is the poem about? (bottled-up anger) Why should it be called 'bottled-up anger?' (Because it is not expressed.) Why is bottled-up anger a poison? (Because it can be destructive.) Why is bottled-up anger called a 'tree?' (Because it can grow.) In what ways  are bottled-up anger and a tree similar? (They grow, are nourished, they bear fruit.) What does it mean that the tree bore a fruit? (One thing led to the other.) Why does the poet refer to the tree's fruit as an apple, and not a pear, for example? (after the apple considered to be the fruit in Genesis) Why does the apple shine to the poet's foe? (because of anger, envy, or jealousy) Why is it that the apple was stolen at night? (because it is difficult to see at night and darkness represents evil) How does the narrator (the one telling the story) feel at the end of the poem? (happiness, relief) How would you judge the narrator? (evil) What are your thoughts about the poem?

Assign the translation exercise as homework for those who have not completed it in class.

Additional Activity

You may have your students attempt this exercise:

1. Draw or represent by painting, collage, etc. your idea of Blake's Poison Tree, showing its fruit.
 

Journal

You may have your students respond to the following prompts in their journal.

1. How do you deal with negative feelings towards other people in real life?

2. How do you respond to bad things happening to bad characters in the movies or in books you read? How does it make you feel to see good things happen to book and film characters you like?
 

Fifth Grade - Poetry - A Poison Tree (Part 1)
 

A Poison Tree
by William Blake

I was angry with my friend;
I told my wrath, my wrath did end.
I was angry with my foe:
I told it not, my wrath did grow.

And I waterd it in fears, 5
Night & morning with my tears:
And I sunned it with smiles,
And with soft deceitful wiles.

And it grew both day and night.
Till it bore an apple bright. 10
And my foe beheld it shine,
And he knew that it was mine.

And into my garden stole,
When the night had veild the pole;
In the morning glad I see; 15
My foe outstretched beneath the tree.

Fifth Grade - Poetry - A Poison Tree (Part 2)

Objectives

Analyze the poetic devices in the poem: literal language, figurative language, symbol.
 

Materials

Text of the poem "A Poison Tree," attached (for transparency)
 

Suggested Books

Teacher Reference

Erdman, David V. ed. The Complete Poetry & Prose of William Blake. New York: Anchor, 1992.
 

Teacher Background
Vocabulary
Words in the lesson

1. Figurative language: Figurative language is language that speaks to our emotions and the imagination. It is the language of poets, the opposite of the language of scientists. It does state exactly what is meant. Literal: He is kind. Figurative: He's so sweet.

2. Literal language: Literal language is language that is precise and clear, saying exactly what It means. It is the language of scientists and mathematicians, the opposite of the language of poets.

3. Symbol: A symbol is something that stands for something other than itself. The bald eagle is the symbol of the United States.

Procedure

Start by having students read the translation of the poem done for the preceding lesson. You may alternate readings of Blake's version with students' translations, or you may compare a line of Blake's version with as many students' translations as you wish. Next ask students to supply the translation of these words: wrath (anger), foe (enemy), wiles (trickery), beheld (saw), veild (hid), outstretched (lying). Display the words and meanings contained in the Vocabulary section of Teacher Background in this lesson on chart paper, on the board or on transparency. Discuss their meanings. Then, lead the class in a line-by-line or stanza-by-stanza analysis of the poem for the purpose of categorizing important words in the poem. You may also ask groups or rows to search for examples of a given sort. You may assign a stanza to a group for a complete analysis. You may ask students to draw up a three-column table in their books for placing the appropriate examples, or you may do so on the board or on chart paper. The headings are, Literal Language, Figurative Language, Symbols. Examples of figurative language in the poem are waterd, veild, sunned. Examples of symbols in the poem are apple, tree. Words used literally include friend, and foe.
 

Fifth Grade - Poetry - A Poison Tree (Part 2)

The Poison Tree
by William Blake

I was angry with my friend;
I told my wrath, my wrath did end.
I was angry with my foe:
I told it not, my wrath did grow.

And I waterd it in fears,
Night & morning with my tears:
And I sunned it with smiles,
And with soft deceitful wiles.

And it grew both day and night.
Till it bore an apple bright.
And my foe beheld it shine,
And he knew that it was mine.

And into my garden stole,
When the night had veiled the pole;
In the morning glad I see;
My foe outstretched beneath the tree.

Fifth Grade - Poetry - The Tiger (Part 1)

Objectives
Understand the poem literally.
Appreciate the language of the poem.

Materials
Text of the poem "The Tiger," attached (for transparency)

Suggested Books

Teacher Reference
Erdman, David V. ed. The Complete Poetry & Prose of William Blake. New York: Anchor, 1992.

Student Reference
Blake, William. The Tyger. San Diego: Harcourt Brace& Company, 1993. A picture book of the poem in its original form, with gripping color illustrations by Neil Waldman.

Teacher Background
Here is a second work by the lyric poet William Blake. "The Tiger" is listed as song number 42 in the Songs of Experience section of Songs of Innocence and of Experience. Whereas "A Poison Tree" seems to depict the darkness of the human heart, "The Tiger" suggests the evil in external nature and its implications for its creator. Yet, all is not dark, and the two-sidedness of life still shows through, for as the poet asks in Line 20, "Did he who made the Lamb make thee?"

This is the first of two lessons devoted to "The Tiger." To help students appreciate the haunting music and the subtle dramatic tension of the piece, practice reading it before presenting it to the class.
 

Procedure

Start by telling students that they will be studying another poem, but do not reveal the author and title of the poem except after the third reading. Go straight into the first reading, and convey the music and drama of the piece. After the first reading, ask: What was the poem about? Ask: What title would you give to this poem? (Commit to no answer.) Next, display the poem (without the title or author) on transparency, on chart paper or on the board, and ask students to follow silently while you give a second reading. After the second reading, again ask students to suggest a title for the poem and to determine who the author is. Seek justification for the answer. For example, were Nikki Giovanni suggested as the author, you may ask: What made you think it's by Nikki Giovanni? You may ask more direct questions that will draw attention to the qualities of the poem or of an author's style, such as: Does the rhythm, or word pattern remind you of Nikki Giovanni? What words in this poem reminded you of the author. In this way, students will hopefully see the need to justify their answers and will learn how to analyze literature. Next, offer a third reading, entertain or request volunteers who might want to read.

After the third reading, study the poem closely, encouraging as much participation as possible from the class. Students may use dictionaries. Proceed as follows:

Line 1: Point to the use of exclamation marks and ask for things that burn bright (star, sun, fire).

Line 2: Ask: Have you ever found yourself in the forests at night? Can you imagine a tiger in the forests at night? What would that be like? Does fire seem brighter at night?

Line 3: Ask what 'immortal' means (undying) and who is immortal (God, Creator).

Line 4: Ask what the words 'frame' and 'symmetry' mean? (create; balance, beauty)

Stanza 1: Ask: What is stanza 1 asking? (Who created such a frightening yet lovely beast?)

Line 5: Ask what 'deeps' means (ocean), who lives in the deeps (Answers may vary.), and who lives in the sky? (God, Creator)

Line 6: Point out that the word 'fire' proves that the answer to the earlier question: 'What burns bright?' was correct. Point out that the use of fire as an image suggests the destructiveness of the tiger and that this image of fire might have been suggested not only the fierceness of the tiger but also by the orange color of its coat. Then, ask: Can fire be beautiful? (Answers may vary.)

Line 7: Ask what 'aspire' means (seek ambitiously). Ask: What does the line mean? (This line in its allusion to heights and ambition through the use of the word 'aspire' seems to continue to question the reason for the existence of the tiger.)

Line 8: Ask: What does the line mean? (The word 'fire' suggests both creation and destruction.)

Stanza 2: Ask: What does stanza 2 mean? (Tiger, where did you come from?) Note that the poet continues to wonder at the origin or purpose of the tiger.

Line 9: Ask: What is the shoulder a part of? (the arm) What do 'arm' and 'art' suggest? (building an object) This line could be interpreted as, 'What strength, what skills.'

Line 10: What does 'sinews' mean? (strings) What does line 10 mean? (Who shaped your heart?) Point to the common expressions such as 'cold-hearted' and 'heartless' that suggest that one's heart determines their character.

Line 11: Ask: When does one's heart begin to beat? (when one is alive)

Line 12: Ask what 'dread' means? (fear) What would be the tiger's hands and feet? (paws) Stanza 3: Ask: What does stanza 3 mean? (What was your maker thinking when he made you?)

Line 13: Ask: What do 'hammer' and 'chain' suggest? (work, building, bondage)

Line 14: Ask: What is a furnace? (a place for smelting, hell) What does line 14 mean? (What drives you? What makes you do the things you do?)

Line 15: What is an anvil? (a heavy iron block used in certain workshops )

Line 16: Ask: What does line 16 suggest? (terror, death, paws)

Stanza 4: What does stanza 4 mean? (What are you here for? Why were you created?)

Line 17: Ask: When does one throw down his spear? (when the fighting is over)

Line 18: Ask: What do 'tears' suggest? (sadness or joy)

Line 19: Ask: Who does 'he' refer to? (the tiger's maker) What is his work? (the tiger) What is the line asking? (Was he happy to see what he had done?)

Line 20: Ask: What does 'lamb' make you think of? (meekness, sweetness) What is line 20 asking? (Did the same creator make things as different as the lamb and the tiger?) Ask: How different is the tiger from the lamb? Ask: Is the maker of the lamb that of the tiger?

Stanza 5: Ask: What does stanza five mean? (How does your creator feel about you?)

Stanza 6: Ask: What do you notice about stanza 6? (It is the same as stanza 1) Ask: Why are the first and last stanzas the same? (To give a sense of closure as in a circle, of completeness, summary.)

Now, ask for suggestions for a title and the author and reveal those. Finally, without necessarily trying to suggest what the poem may mean in any definite and final way, ask for students' impressions of the poem. Ask, for example: What remains with you after reading the poem? (You do not have to commit to or correct any answers here.) What places are suggested in the poem? (heaven, hell, sky, sea, furnace, workshop, jungle) Ask students: Did you feel any dread during the poem? Did you experience any sense of wonder during the poem? Did any new questions arise in your mind during the poem? What parts of the tiger's body mentioned in the poem are the most terrifying? What feelings do you think the poet wanted to evoke in you?

Finally, ask: Why might this poem interest us? (It may teach us something about ourselves or the world.) Is the poem saying something about the world? (Answers may vary) What is the poem saying about the world? (Answers may vary.) What is saying about nature? (Answers may vary.) What is it saying about men? (Answers may vary.)

Activity
Ask students to draw and color or make a collage of the tiger inspired by their reading of the poem. Ask them to be creative doing this. They may, for example, represent the tiger's eyes as burning flames.

Journal
You may ask your students to respond to this journal prompt.
1. How much did you enjoy reading this poem? Do you think this poem is suited for your class? Would you have preferred to read this poem when you were younger or older?

Fifth Grade - Poetry - The Tiger (Part 1)

The Tiger
by William Blake

Tiger! Tiger! burning bright
In the forests of the night,
What immortal hand or eye
Could frame thy fearful symmetry?

In what distant deeps or skies 5
Burnt the fire of thine eyes?
On what wings dare he aspire?
What the hand dare seize the fire?

And what shoulder, and what art?
Could twist the sinews of thy heart? 10
And when thy heart began to beat,
What dread hand and what dread feet?

What the hammer? what the chain?
In what furnace was thy brain?
What the anvil? What dread grasp 15
Dare its deadly terrors clasp?

When the stars threw down their spears
And watered heaven with their tears,
Did he smile his work to see?
Did he who made the lamb make thee? 20

Tiger! Tiger! burning bright
In the forests of the night,
What immortal hand or eye
Could frame thy fearful symmetry?

Fifth Grade - Poetry - The Tiger (Part 2)

Objectives
Analyze the language of the poem: literal language, figurative language, metaphor, symbol, personification.

Materials
Text of the poem "The Tiger," attached ( for transparency)

Suggested Books
Teacher Reference
Erdman, David V. ed. The Complete Poetry & Prose of William Blake. New York: Anchor, 1992.

Teacher Background
Vocabulary
Words in the lesson

1. Figurative language: Figurative language is language that speaks to our emotions and the imagination. It is the language of poets, the opposite of the language of scientists.

2. Literal language: Literal language is language that is precise and clear, saying exactly what

It means. It is the language of scientists and mathematicians, the opposite of the language of poets.

3. Metaphor: A metaphor is a figure of speech that compares unlike things without the use of the word "like" or "as." For example: 'He's a mule,' is a metaphor in which a man and a mule share the quality that is stubbornness.

4. Personification: Personification is giving an animal or inanimate object the qualities of a person.

5. Symbol: A symbol is something that stands for something other than itself. The bald eagle is the symbol of the United States.

Procedure

Simultaneously display the text of the "The Tiger" on transparency and the vocabulary for this lesson on chart paper or on the board and lead students in a brisk line-by-line analysis of the poem. You may allot time for them to work silently before the classroom discussion begins. You may organize students into groups for this task or they may work individually. You may also assign groups to seek out specific items, metaphors for example, in the poem or assign stanzas or lines for a complete analysis. In any case, it must be followed by a classroom discussion with as much individual participation as possible. You may proceed the other way around, and provide the examples and categories as presented below and ask students to work backwards and justify why each term is categorized the way it was. This would be a less engaging, less demanding approach. Symbols used in the poem include: Tiger, lamb, furnace, spears. Figurative language includes: burning, twist, smile. Metaphors used in the poem include: Tiger burning. Examples of personification include: hand, feet, (stars) threw, (stars') tears. Literal language includes: deeps, skies, symmetry, eyes, heart.
 

Additional Activities

You may assign the following activities:

1. Write a character sketch of William Blake, the author of "A Poison Tree," and "The Tiger."

Make it one-paragraph long. Talk about the author's heart and mind, what would he like?

What would he not like? But do so only from these two poems. Another way to approach this task would be to ask yourself, What kind of man would write two poems like "A Poison Tree,"and "The Tiger."

2. The apple is a symbol in the poem "A Poison Tree," and the tiger is a symbol used in "The Tiger." Write a short paragraph about either symbol. In that paragraph, address the following questions: What is the apple/tiger? Where does it grow/live? Who created it? What does it do? Is it good or evil?

3. Compare the symbol of the apple in "A Poison Tree" with the symbol of the tiger in "The Tiger."

4. Contrast the symbol of the apple in "A Poison Tree" with the symbol of the tiger in "The Tiger."

5. If you were to choose your own personal symbol, what would it be, a fruit, a fish, bird, plant, man-made object, a heavenly body such as the moon? Poets often choose a symbol based on personal experience. For example, if you were touched by a lovely balloon on a very important birthday, balloons may become your symbol and remind you of your joy, excitement, growth etc.

Journal

You may ask your students to respond to this journal prompt.

1. Now that you have studied the poem a bit more, do you still feel the same way about it as you felt the first time it was read to you?
 

Fifth Grade - Poetry - Some Opposites

Objectives
Understand the poem.
Appreciate its humor.

Materials
Text of the poem, "Some Opposites," attached (for transparency)

Suggested Books
Teacher Reference
Hirsch, E. D. What Your 5th Grader Needs To Know. New York: Doubleday, 1993.

Teacher Background
Richard Wilbur is an American critic, poet, editor, and translator. He was born in New York in 1921. His writing is influenced by that of T. S. Eliot and is done in a style that is urbane, well crafted. Wilbur uses traditional rhyme, and makes use of irony and intellect to create tension. In 1957, Wilbur was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for his poetry collection Things of This World: Poems published the year before. He published Opposites in 1973.

Read this poem as if it were a dramatic monologue, a conversation with oneself, or a silent series of questions and answers going on in one's head.

Procedure
Tell students that you will read a poem that is quite different from the two preceding poems by William Blake. Read the poem a first time, conveying the sense of interrogation, hesitancy, and reflection implied in the poem. After the first reading, ask students general questions that require their personal response to the poem. For example, ask: What is your

reaction to this poem? What are your impressions of this poem? (Do not commit to any answer.) You may allow student discussion on the answers provided, then display the text of the poem on chart paper, or the blackboard, and read the poem aloud a second time. After the second reading, ask questions that develop on the issues raised after the first reading. For example, you may ask: What is the poem about? (opposites) What does the author seem to be saying about opposites? (some opposites are absurd, some are difficult to imagine, some are impossible.) Next, ask questions that require deeper thinking. Ask students to offer their impressions of what a riot is. Ask them to give instances of riots they know. Then, ask them to imagine lots of people keeping quiet. Ask: Why would lots of people be quiet? Why would lots of people be together and be quiet? In what sorts of places would lots of people be together and keep quiet? Ask students whether that pair of opposites was easy to picture or imagine and whether these opposites are possible.

Then, take the second stanza and ask students to determine the opposites there. Ask students to imagine a cookie with a hole around it. Ask students to name such a cookie.

Direct students' attention to stanza three. Ask: What is the opposite of two? Ask: What is the opposite of three? Ask students to discuss whether two can really have an opposite.

Ask students how many objects are there in stanza four (three). Ask students to identify those objects (a cloud, a white reflection in the sea, a huge blueness in the air). Ask: Which pairs are opposites? Ask them to support their answers.

Direct their attention to the last stanza of the poem. Ask them what is the opposite of opposite? Ask them whether they, too, quit? Ask: Did you notice that the two last lines of the poem rhymed? Ask: Do you think that the poet used the word 'quit'solely because it rhymed with 'opposite'? (Poets rarely choose words for their sounds only.) Ask them whether they quit when things get difficult. Ask: What do you think was the intention of the poet? Ask them to compare this poem with Blake's "A Poison Tree," and "The Tiger." Ask them, in a second instance to contrast this poem with those of Blake's by explaining the difference in reference to the figures of speech such as metaphors and personification. Finally ask students: Are Blake's poems and "Some Opposites" opposites?

Fifth Grade - Literature - Sayings and Phrases - Few and far between

Objectives
Understand the saying.
Use the saying as title of a short screenplay.

Materials
Text of the saying, few and far between

Suggested Books
Teacher Reference
Hirsch, E. D. What Your 5th Grader Needs to Know. New York: Doubleday, 1993.

Teacher Background
The expression, few and far between, means something is rare or not easily available.

Procedure
Present the text of the saying orally and in writing on the board or on chart paper. Ask: Have you ever heard the saying, few and far between used? Ask: Who was using the saying? To whom? What were they talking about? On what occasion? You may discuss who uses sayings anymore; what age groups, inhabitants of which regions, characters in which stories or movies. Ask: What is the meaning of the saying, few and far between? Allow for possible discussion of the answers. Emphasize that the saying, few and far between really means that something is rare or not easily available. Ask students to imagine they were Hollywood screenwriters writing a one-page, two-minute screenplay entitled "Few and Far Between." Tell them that the title will be the only place where the text will be used, and that no character must use that line. Tell students that the entire one-page screenplay must bring out the meaning of the title. Cite the example of the film "A Few Good Men" starring Demi Moore, Tom Cruise, and Jack Nicholson. Tell them that the saying "a few good men" usually refers to the United States military and that the movie stars not only a woman, Demi Moore's character, but also a man, Jack Nicholson's character who is not a very good man as the title might suggest. Explain that this shows that students may be creative as long as they stick to the idea of something being 'few and far between.' Students may work in pairs or individually. If they work in pairs, each person may take up a character. There should be no more than two characters in any case. Each character must speak one line at a time. Each line requires a response. Each response must be slightly different from what might have been expected. Read the following example of a short screenplay.

"Few and Far Between"

It is nine A.M. Ron is at a diner, having a coffee. Enter Pablo, his friend from grade school.

Ron: Hi, Pablo! Good to see you! You've grown scarce, pal. No one sees you around here anymore.

Pablo: Hello there, Ron. Long time no see!

Ron: Have a sit. Waiter! (Ron whistles at the waiter.) A cup of coffee for my main man, Pablo.

With this kind of weather, Pablo always takes his coffee with cream. Two sugars. Right, Pablo?

Pablo: That was a while back, Ron. Black coffee, waiter. No cream. No sugar.

Ron: Tough guy you've become, Pablo.

Pablo: If that's what it takes, I'll be a tough guy.

Ron: So what brings you to these remote parts, Pablo? I reckoned you'd still be back in New York. What happened? In trouble with the law again?

Pablo: Something like that.

Ron: Well, what brings you here, pal?

Pablo: So you don't know?

Ron: Know what?

Pablo: (Laughing.) The stuff's right under your nose and you don't know it?

Ron: What stuff?

Pablo: (Leaning over. The waiter moves in. He waits for her to leave.) Billy found gold in the hills around here. I figured this could be my big break.

Ron: Really? Billy, my brother?

Pablo: Yeah, real gold. It was in the papers.

Ron: Sorry to disappoint you, Pablo. There ain't no gold around here that you can find.

Pablo: What do you mean? (Standing.)

Ron: Because, Billy only found the gold ring our mother lost a while back. There shouldn't be too many of those lying around. Still, you're welcome to nose around. God knows how rarely you come around, cousin. Just be gone before it crosses your mind to stir up trouble 'round here. Adios, amigo!

Point out that in that screenplay not only are Pablo's visits few and far between but so are the instances one finds gold around.
 

Additional Activities

You may also ask students to bring in at any time copies, or newspaper or magazine clippings, TV references of characters using these or any sayings done before.
 

Fifth Grade - Literature - Sayings and Phrases - Chip on your shoulder
 

Objectives
Understand the saying.
Use the saying as topic of in-class discussion.
 

Materials

Text of the saying, chip on your shoulder
 

Suggested Books

Teacher Reference

Costello, Robert B. Random House Webster's College Dictionary. New York: Random House, 1996.

Hirsch, E. D. What Your 5th Grader Needs to Know. New York: Doubleday, 1993.
 

Teacher Background

The expression, chip on your shoulder is used in various contexts which color its meaning. In some contexts, it could be the equivalent of someone being in a bad mood for a brief moment. In others, it could suggest a deeper attitude, one in which someone is always trying to prove a point, almost as if they were acting out on some deep-seated fear. Carry out this lesson as a discussion.
 

Chip: 1. A small, slender piece, as of wood, separated by chopping, cutting, or breaking. 2. A mark or flaw made by the breaking off or gouging out of a small piece. 3. Anything trivial or worthless.  4. Idiom-chip off the old block, a person who strongly resembles one parent in appearance or behavior. (Random House Webster's College

Dictionary)
 

Procedure

Before citing the saying for study in this lesson, explain to students that you are going to act out a saying. Then, carry out this dramatization, or prepare a student to do so. Walk back and forth in front of the class with a chip of wood on your shoulder. Make sure that the chip is visible to students. Be aware that carrying this chip on your shoulder will affect your physical mannerisms. For example, you may have to ensure that your chip is there by looking over your shoulder. You may even have to walk in such a way as to prevent it from falling. Remind students that you were literally acting out a saying, and ask them to guess the saying. Present the text of the saying, chip on your shoulder orally and in writing on the board or on chart paper. Ask: Have you ever heard the saying, chip on your shoulder used? Ask: Who was using the saying? To whom? What were they talking about? On what occasion? You may discuss who uses sayings anymore; what age groups, inhabitants of which regions, characters in which stories or movies. Ask: What is the meaning of the saying, chip on your shoulder? And allow for possible discussion of the answers students provide. Ask: Suppose you came up and brushed that chip off my shoulder, what do you think my reaction would be? (Answers may vary.) Emphasize that the saying, chip on your shoulder may suggest that someone is in a bad mood. It may also

refer to a longer-lasting attitude to life, especially one which suggests that someone is always trying to prove some point or the other, or acting on their private fears, being overly sensitive to others. The example of a student who is overly eager to point out his teacher's errors illustrates this use of the saying. In this case, the student may be trying secretly to prove that he is intelligent. Explain that the appearance that such a person is driven to prove that point is more important here than what they are trying to prove. Explain that the saying thus speaks to the workings of our minds and the way we perceive ourselves, or wish to be perceived by others. Explain that the saying puts us on guard against socially unacceptable behavior especially behavior that we exhibit as a result of the personal circumstances of our life, such as recent difficulty with friends, family or certain groups and individuals. The above explanation may lead to a discussion of motivation, the question of why people act the way they do, and the extent to which people act out their fears. As long as the discussion focuses on social practices, or internal motivation for social action, the lesson is on track. Finally, offer the various meanings of the word chip in the above-cited excerpt from the dictionary to widen the contexts that the expression may be used in.
 

Activity

Ask your students to find sayings that express the kind of sensitivity and aggressiveness suggested by the saying chip on your shoulder. Having a bad day, and under the weather, are just two examples of these.
 

Journal

You may ask your students to respond to this journal prompt.

1. How often do you have a chip on your shoulder? Do other people notice it? How do other people respond to you when you have a chip on your shoulder? How does your behavior change when you have a chip on your shoulder? How do you get rid of the chip on your shoulder?
 

Fifth Grade - Literature - Sayings and Phrases - Catch forty winks
 

Objectives

Understand the saying.

Use the saying as part of class discussion.
 

Materials

Text of the saying, Catch forty winks
 

Suggested Books

Teacher Reference

Costello, Robert B. Random House Webster's College Dictionary. New York: Random House, 1996.

Hirsch, E. D. What Your 5th Grader Needs to Know. New York: Doubleday, 1993.
 

Teacher Background

The expression, catch forty winks, means to have a quick sleep. Carry out this lesson as a discussion.
 

Wink: 1. To close and open one or both eyes quickly. 2. To close and open one eye quickly as a hint or signal of something sly or of humorous intent. 3. Blink. 4. The least bit. (Random House Webster's

College Dictionary).

Procedure

Present the saying, catch forty winks orally and in writing, on the board or on chart paper. Ask: What is the most important word in this expression? (wink) Ask: What does the word 'wink' suggest? (Answers may vary.) Ask: What does the expression, catch forty winks mean? Ask: How long would it take you to wink forty times? Ask: Is the expression, 'catch forty winks' literal. Or, ask: Does the expression, catch forty winks mean exactly what it says? (no) Remind students that they have studied figures of style. Ask: What figure of style is 'winks' in this expression? (imagery) Ask: What is the word 'wink' an image of? (sleep) Offer the various meanings contained in the above-quoted excerpt from the dictionary and explain to students that winking suggests sleep or in some cases something quick, sly or humorous. Ask students to recall from conversation or in literature and film expressions that use 'wink' as a key word. List those expressions and ask students to discuss their meanings. Such expressions include 'In the wink of an eye.'
 

Fifth Grade - Literature - Stories - The Red-Headed League (Part 1)
 

Objectives

Enjoy the story.

Observe details significant to plot.

Predict upcoming events based on observation of details.
 

Materials

Text of the tale "The Red-Headed League" (condensed from the story by Arthur Conan Doyle)
 

Suggested Books

Teacher Reference

Hirsch, E. D. What Your 5th Grader Needs to Know. New York: Doubleday, 1993.
 

Teacher Background

Arthur Conan Doyle was born in Scotland in 1859. He is one of the finest writers of mysteries in the English Language, and one of the most prolific. Doyle was a medical doctor by training. His fictional character, Sherlock Holmes is a detective who puts his amazing powers of observation and deduction to work solving and preventing crimes that the police would be unable to. Inform your students that this is a condensed version and invite them to read the original as well as any of the other many Sherlock Homes stories. Inform them that short stories are ideal for readers who have difficulty with completing longer works. Familiarize yourself with the pacing of the story before you read it to your students. The story should be delivered at a leisurely pace that is close to spoken language. This is the first of two lessons on "The Red-Headed League." If this is possible, deliver both lessons in one sitting. If you do so, ensure that students have ample time to discuss and predict upcoming events in the story. If any of your students have read the story before, ensure that they participate without ruining the fun for everyone.
 

Procedure

Ask: Have you ever read a Sherlock Holmes story? Or watched a Sherlock Holmes movie? Tell students that you are about to read a Sherlock Holmes story titled, "The Red-Headed League." Ask: Who is Sherlock Holmes? Emphasize that Sherlock Holmes is a detective. Ask: How do detectives solve crimes? Emphasize that in this story Sherlock Holmes prevents a crime by first paying attention to certain details and second, based on these observed details, predicting what will happen next. Tell students that is exactly what is required of them during these two lessons; listening to the details of the story and in the tradition of the best detectives, predicting the would-be criminal's next move. Write the title, "The Red-Headed League" on the board, or on chart paper. Tell the students that "The Red-Headed League" is one of the Adventures of Sherlock Holmes and its author is Arthur Conan Doyle.

First, tell students that the title is often the first clue as to what will happen in a story, and remind them that anyone who has read stories or watched movies expects certain events even before they have read the first line. Tell students "The Red-Headed League" is a detective story and ask: What do you expect to find out in this story? Ask students to answer in the form of questions. Write those questions and their answers on the board or on chart paper bearing in mind that they may change as the lesson progresses. These questions and answers should include the following:

1. Where and when is the story taking place? (Tell them that it is London, England, 1890.)

2. Who is telling the story? (Tell them it is Dr. James Watson, Sherlock Holmes's companion.)

3. What kind of story is it? (Tell them it is a detective story.)

4. How does the story begin? (with a minor crime, suspicions that a major crime is in the works)

5. How does the story end? (crime stopped, criminal or would-be criminal arrested)

6. Who is the detective? (detective Holmes)

7. Who helps the detective? (Dr. James Watson)

8. Who is the criminal? (sometimes it is hard to tell from the start)

9. What is the crime? (sometimes it is hard to tell from the start)

10. What does the title have to do with the story? (sometimes it is hard to tell from the start)

Ask students to listen carefully while you read. Explain that you will read the story in two parts and that you will pause after the first half to allow them to predict the events of the second half of the story. Tell them the sentence 'Now, I want to know who played this prank on me and why.' will be their cue that you have reached the end of the first half. Inform students that you will write the names of each character on the board as he enters the story. Tell students to try to answer the remaining questions while you read. Inform students that they will discuss their answers at the end of the first half of the story. Read: 'One day last fall ...' up to 'Now, I want to know who played this prank on me and why.' At the end of the reading of the first half of the story, ask: What should you know by now from the list of questions you have drawn up? Refer to the questions and answers written on chart paper or on the board before the reading and make appropriate changes. At this point, the questions and answers should include these.

1. Where and when is the story taking place? (221B Baker Street, London, England, October 9, 1890)

2. Who is telling the story? (Dr. James Watson, Sherlock Holmes's companion, aided by Mr.Jabez Wilson and Sherlock Holmes himself)

3. What kind of story is it so far? (a mystery in which no one knows exactly what happened)

4. How does the story begin? (with a prank)

5. How will the story end? (the prankster unmasked, its purpose revealed)

6. Who is the detective? (Sherlock Holmes)

7. Who helps the detective? (Dr. James Watson, Jabez Wilson)

8. Who is the criminal? (possibly Vincent Spaulding, Duncan Ross)

9. What is the crime? (still a mystery but looks like a prank so far)

10. What does the title have to do with the plot so far? (A red-headed league has been formed

and disbanded. Its job has been to give red-headed men easy work.)

Ask: What further questions should you be asking? What can be expected of the rest of the story? Additional questions may include these.

11.What is the true purpose of the Red-Headed League?

12. Who is Vincent Spaulding?

13. What has Mr. Spaulding been doing in the basement of the pawn shop?

14. Was there a prank?

15. Who played the prank on Mr. Jabez Wilson? Why?

Ask: What predictions can you make in relation to these questions? Ask: What things do you expect to hear more of, keep your eyes on? If you were Sherlock Holmes what would you do next? What questions would you ask? Of Whom? What assignments would you give? To whom? What doesn't fit? What's too good to be true? What's out of place?
 

Fifth Grade - Literature - Stories - The Red-Headed League (Part 2)
 

Objectives

Enjoy the story.

Observe details significant to plot.

Predict upcoming events based on observation of details.
 

Materials

Text of the tale "The Red-Headed League" (condensed from the story by Arthur Conan Doyle)
 

Suggested Books

Teacher Reference

Hirsch, E. D. What Your 5th Grader Needs to Know. New York: Doubleday, 1993.
 

Teacher Background

If this second of two lessons devoted to The Red-Headed League is taught after a break, you may wish to re-read from the start. Please do so only after students have had the time to predict, discuss and refine their predictions about upcoming events in the story.
 

Procedure

Ask students to listen carefully while you read in order to observe Sherlock Holmes carefully, understand why he is doing what he does and what he will do next. Ask students to say, "Aha!" if they understand what Sherlock Holmes has done, if they have predicted correctly what he has done, or if they know what he will do next. Ask them to share their insights at these times. If you are continuing the reading, start from 'You were wise to come to me,' right up to the end of the story.

At the end of the story, ask students to respond orally to the remaining questions.

1. Where and when is the story taking place? (221B Baker Street, London, England, October 9, 1890)

2. Who is telling the story? (Dr. James Watson, Sherlock Holmes's companion, Mr. Jabez Wilson)

3. What kind of story was it? (a detective story)

4. How did the story begin? (with a prank that was the preparation for a crime)

5. How did the story end? (a heist was prevented, a notorious criminal caught)

6. Who solves the mystery of the prank and prevents the crime? (Sherlock Holmes)

7. Who helped the detective prevent the crime? (Dr. James Watson, Jabez Wilson. Inspector Merryweather)

8. Who is the criminal? (Vincent Spaulding a.k.a. John Clay, Duncan Ross a.k.a. Mr. Morris)

9. What crime was about to be committed? (a bank heist)

10. What did the title have to do with the plot? (a red-headed league was the ploy to get Mr. Wilson out of the way of the bank heist)

11. What was the true purpose of the Red-Headed League? (to allow for a tunnel to be built to the City and Suburban Bank)

12. Who is Vincent Spaulding? (Oxford-trained thief, forger, murderer)

13. What has Mr. Spaulding been doing in the basement of the pawn shop? (digging a tunnel to the bank)

14. Was there a prank? (yes)

15. Who played the prank on Mr. Jabez Wilson? Why? (Vincent Spaulding a.k.a. John Clay, to get him out of the way)

Ask: How well did you do playing Sherlock Holmes? What predictions were wrong? What predictions were right? Invite students to read the unabridged original or one of the many Sherlock Holmes stories at the library.
 

Journal

You may have your students respond to the following prompt in their journals.

1. Who do you think is more cunning, Sherlock Holmes or Vincent Spaulding? Why?
 


Bibliography


 


Teacher Reference

Blake, William. The Tyger. San Diego: Harcourt Brace & Company, 1993. (0-15-292375-6)

Costello, Robert B. Random House Webster's College Dictionary. New York: Random House,1996. (0-679-43886-6)

Erdman, David V., ed. The Complete Poetry & Prose of William Blake. New York: Anchor, 1992. (0-385-15213-2)

*Hirsch, E. D. What Your 5th Grader Needs to Know. New York: Doubleday, 1993. (0-385-21464-7)

Student Reference

Blake, William. The Tyger. San Diego: Harcourt Brace& Company, 1993. (0-15-292375-6)
 

*Required or strongly recommended for lessons.