Extension and Engagement Extension and Engagement

Grade 5

Share these activities with your students before, during, or after the module to build engagement and invite interest in┬ámodule texts and to extend students’ interest in the module topics and themes after reading.

GRADE 5: MODULE 1

GRADE 5: MODULE 1

 

Text(s): The Crossover by Kwame Alexander

Verbal Expression: Poem


The Crossover is a story told in poetry from the point of view of a high-school basketball player. In his poems, he uses words, such as slammerific, combinating, and dunkalicious to describe how he plays. He also uses rhyme and arranges the words and lines in different ways. Write a poem about an activity that you enjoy.



  • Include made-up words.

  • Use rhyme in some of the lines.

  • Try arranging some words and lines in interesting ways.

Text(s): Babe Didrikson Zaharias: The Making of a Champion by Russell Freedman

Performance Arts: Talk Show Role-Play


Babe Didrikson Zaharias was one of the greatest athletes of all time. Imagine that she has been invited onto a talk show to discuss the obstacles she faced and her accomplishments. Work with a partner to create a role-play.



  • Together decide what the talk-show host will ask and how Babe Didrikson Zaharias will respond.

  • Decide who will play each part.

  • Rehearse the parts.

  • Then perform the role-play for the class.

Text(s): “Free Minds and Hearts at Work” by Jackie Robinson

Social Justice/Diversity: Poster


In the essay “Free Minds and Hearts at Work,” Jackie Robinson outlines his core belief that we all have a responsibility to fight for positive change.



  • Think about the positive changes you would like to see in the world.

  • Create a poster to inspire others to fight for positive change in the world.

  • Include words from the essay as well as your own.

  • Include images.


Content Areas: Racial Prejudice in the Major Leagues


Jackie Robinson was the first African American to play baseball in the Major Leagues during the twentieth century. In his essay, Robinson refers to the obstacles he faced. Do research to learn more about these obstacles and how Robinson overcame them.



  • Find out about the racial prejudice Jackie Robinson faced in the field and on the road

  • Learn more about Robinson’s character.

  • Find out about those who supported his efforts.

  • Share what you learned with the class.

Text(s): We Are the Ship: The Story of Negro League Baseball by Kadir Nelson

Visual Expression: Storyboards


Imagine that you are planning a film version of We Are the Ship and you need to create storyboards, or drawings of what each scene will look like.



  • Sketch the main events on index cards, and put the cards in order.

  • Decide which events and players to include in your film and whether to show events in the order they happened or use flashbacks.

  • Share your cards with classmates.

Text(s): All Module Texts

Across the Module: Collage


This module explores the power of sports to tear down social barriers and strengthen individuals and communities. Sports also have the power to unite and inspire people. Create a collage to share these ideas.



  • Use quotes from the texts in the module as well as your own words.

  • Include photos of some of the athletes described in the texts.

  • Include images that help convey the power of sports. Use images from the Internet and/or your own artwork.

GRADE 5: MODULE 2

GRADE 5: MODULE 2

 

Text(s): Thunder Rolling in the Mountains by Scott O’Dell and Elizabeth Hall

Performance Arts: Dialogue


In chapters 14 and 15 of Thunder Rolling in the Mountains, Sound of Running Feet sees white females up close for the first time and interacts with them. We hear about the events from her point of view only.



  • Work with a partner to imagine what the young girl (Dirty Face) is thinking and feeling.

  • Brainstorm how Dirty Face might describe what happened when she returns home. What ideas about Indians might she have had before? What might she think now?

  • Create a dialogue between Dirty Face and a friend who has never met Native Americans. How might the friend react?

  • Perform the dialogue for the class.

Text(s): Shi-shi-etko by Nicola I. Campbell

Visual Expression: Illustration


Before Shi-shi-etko must leave for the government boarding school, her parents and grandparents take turns reminding her of the ways of her people and the importance of nature in their culture. The book conveys the beauty of their way of life through words and illustrations.



  • Choose a spread from the book, and make your own illustration for it.

  • Decide whether to use paint, crayons, pastels, or cut-outs, or a combination of art materials.

  • Fold a paper in half along the horizontal side.

  • Include the words on one page.

  • Add the illustration to the other page or to both pages.

Text(s): “Chief Joseph” + “Nez Perce and the U. S. Cavalry” + “Nez Perce”

Connecting Texts: Map


The U.S. government took millions of acres from Native American tribes such as the Nez Perce. Make a map that shows how the Nez Perce were displaced by the U.S. government. Use information from your reading or search for more. On your map:



  • show the large area where the Nez Perce ranged when Lewis and Clark first met the tribe.

  • show the reservations. Search the Internet, using “Nez Perce reservation map.”

  • include a key that explains each area.

Text(s): “Indian Country Diaries”

Verbal Expression: Group Discussion


Many people who first suggested Indian boarding schools felt badly for Native Americans as the U.S. government took over more and more lands. They thought that the boarding schools would help. Work in small groups to explore these ideas. Discuss questions such as these:



  • How much did white people know about the Native American culture and way of life?

  • What were their attitudes toward Native Americans?

  • Why did some people think assimilating would help Native Americans? Were they right?

  • Native Americans were not allowed to use their own languages. Do you think that was a good idea or not?

  • Today we explore different cultures in school? Do you think that is important? Why or why not?

Text(s): “Lincoln Hall Speech, Washington, D.C., 1879” by Chief Joseph

Performance Arts: Speech


In his speech, Chief Joseph describes injustice and expresses sorrow. He speaks on behalf of his people. In class, you read his speech in three sections. Choose one section to deliver to the class. You may memorize it or read it aloud.



  • Think about the values and ideas Chief Joseph expresses in this section of the speech.

  • Practice saying the section of the speech aloud. Try to show Chief Joseph’s deep feeling as well as his dignity.

  • Deliver your speech to the class. Make eye contact with audience members, and use gestures to emphasize key points.

  • Tell classmates why you chose this section of the speech and what you hoped to share.


Teaching Extension: Build Background Knowledge


Show this video of the speech set to music.

Text(s): All Module Texts

Across the Module: Social Justice


This module explores the many injustices toward Native Americans since the days of the European explorers. In a small group, discuss the following questions:



  • What were their attitudes of white settlers toward Native Americans?

  • What were the attitudes of white settlers toward Native Americans?

  • How much did white people know about Native American cultures? Would a greater awareness have made a difference in what happened?

  • Do you think most Americans today are aware of the culture and values of Native Americans? What more can be done to promote knowledge and respect for Native American culture?

  • Why is it important to teach an appreciation of other cultures in American schools?


Content Connection: Social Studies

The module focuses on the Nez Perce, but it was just one of many tribes that lived in North America. Visit the following website to see where the major tribes of North America lived when the first Europeans arrrived: https://www.learner.org/interactives/historymap/indians.html



  • Choose a tribe to learn about.

  • Find out what happened to the tribe in the past and where it is today.

  • If possible, find examples of the tribe’s language.

  • Share what you learned with the class.

GRADE 5: MODULE 3

GRADE 5: MODULE 3

 

Text(s): Who Was William Shakespeare? by Celeste Davidson Mannis

Visual Expression: Coat of Arms


William Shakespeare helped his father apply for a coat of arms, which was a symbol that meant the father was a gentleman. The coat of arms was shaped like a shield and included the motto “Not Without Right” and a design. Create a coat of arms for your family.



  • Cut the shape of a shield out of poster board or cardboard.

  • On the shield, write a motto that expresses one of your family’s values. You may write the motto in English or in your first language if it is not English.

  • Add a design, objects, or symbols that have meaning to your family.

  • Share your coat of arms with the class.


Verbal Expression: Blank Verse and Couplets


Blank verse consists of lines that have ten syllables each and do not rhyme. A syllable with a short stress is followed by a syllable with a long stress. While much of the play Hamlet is in blank verse, the play also includes couplets. A couplet is two rhyming lines that usually have the same meter as blank verse.



  • As you quietly read aloud the following couplet from Hamlet, emphasize each underlined syllable slightly:


But , woe is me, you are so sick of late,


So far from cheer and from your former state



  • Now create one or two couplets about a subject of your choice. Remember, the lines in a couplet rhyme, and there are ten syllables in each line.

  • Share your couplet(s) with the class.


Performance Arts: Soliloquy


In Shakespeare’s plays, a character sometimes speaks directly to the audience in what is called a soliloquy. Imagine that you are in a play written about William Shakespeare.



  • Choose an event from Shakespeare’s life, or make up an event based on one of the theories Celeste Davidson Mannis presents. For example, no one knows why Shakespeare left Stratford, but one theory is that he had joined a troupe of actors and left with them.

  • Create a soliloquy in which Shakespeare reveals his thoughts about the event to the audience.

  • Perform your soliloquy for the class.

Text(s): The Shakespeare Stealer by Gary Blackwood

Content Areas: Social Studies


Search the Internet for a map of Shakespeare’s London by “map of London layout,” or visit this site: http://elizabethanmuseum.weebly.com/london-streets.html



  • On the map, find these places mentioned in The Shakespeare Stealer: St. Paul’s Cathedral, London Bridge, The Tower, and The Globe.

  • Print out the map from the site, or draw your own.

  • Mark each place on the map, using a number.

  • Create a key that gives the name of the place next to its number.


Performance Arts: Acting Out a Scene


Work with a partner or small group to act out a scene from The Shakespeare Stealer.



  • Choose an event that is exciting or suspenseful.

  • Decide who will play each part.

  • If possible, include some props or costumes. For example, if a student plays the role of Falconer, some kind of cloak or blanket would be useful.

  • Rehearse the scene a few times.

  • Then perform the scene for the class.


Content Areas: Foreign Language


In the Elizabethan era, sword fighting was used for self-defense, for settling personal quarrels, and as an art form. Nobles prided themselves on their skills, and the art of fencing was studied throughout Europe. Many of the fencing terms In The Shakespeare Stealer are in Italian since Italian fencing methods were popular at the time.



  • Visit the following website: sites.google.com/site/renaissancefencingedinburgh/articles/italian-fencing-glossary

  • Find the meanings of these terms from the text (or related to them): stoccatta, passata, stramazzone, punta riversa.

  • Using your arm as an imaginary sword, try out some of the moves described.

  • You may also want to try out these defensive moves, which are mentioned in the book: high ward (forehead), broad ward (waist), base ward (knee).

  • Present the moves for the class along with the terms.


Visual Expression: Pun Poster


A pun is a kind of wordplay or figurative language, involving a word with two meanings or two words that sound the same (such as board and bored) but have different meanings. Create a poster that illustrates both meanings.



  • Make up a pun, or choose one from The Shakespeare Stealer, such as this one p. 131: Oh, we knew how to make boards well enough. It wasn’t until your time that we learned how to make an audience bored.

  • On your poster, write the sentence or sentences with the pun.

  • Include images that illustrate each meaning. You may draw the images or use ones from the Internet.


Verbal Expression: Group Discussion


In The Shakespeare Stealer, some characters disguise themselves even when they are not acting on stage. Do you think people disguise themselves in real life? Discuss questions, such as these:



  • On p. 172, Julia says, “We play the roles others expect of us.” What does she mean? How might this apply to your life?

  • On pp. 176–177, Julia tells Widge she is happy for him, but her eyes say something else. Are there times when it is right to disguise your true feelings?

  • On p. 214, Widge puts on a cheerful face when he is unhappy. Do you think that was the right thing to do? Have you ever done that?

Text(s): The Shakespeare Stealer by Gary Blackwood + Hamlet animated video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OtNMjZoZNbM

Connecting Texts: Actor’s Craft


The actors who read the lines in the animated Hamlet used clear diction, or pronunciation, and read with appropriate emphasis. These were just some of the skills that Widge had to study to become a player, or actor. Practice these skills by reading aloud one or two short quotes from one of Shakespeare’s plays.



  • You might read aloud the quote from As You Like It, which is referenced on p. 47 of The Shakespeare Stealer:


“All the world ‘s a stage, and all the men and women merely players. They have their exits and their entrances; And one man in his time plays many parts.”



  • To find other quotes, search the Internet by “Shakespeare quotes from plays.”

  • Choose a quote whose meaning you understand, or ask someone for help.

  • Practice reading your quote aloud. Pronounce each word clearly and with the appropriate emphasis.

  • Add gestures to help convey the meaning.

  • Recite your quote for the class.

GRADE 5: MODULE 4

GRADE 5: MODULE 4

 

All Module Texts


NOTE: By fifth grade, it is important to begin introducing to students to the gray areas of justice and morality. Some questions to consider are Can essentially good people can act badly? and Can people with whom we disagree strongly still act morally and do good in the world? The Civil War was fought by individual Americans for a range of reasons, some of which students will learn in this module. It will help students become active and constructive citizens to appreciate that the people on each side do not become individually “good” or “bad” solely on the basis of their Civil War allegiance. There were Americans who supported slavery who were otherwise moral people and Americans who opposed slavery that acted in other immoral ways.

Teaching Extension: Social Sensitivity (Enslavement, Discrimination, Racism)


Access and read tools to support teaching sensitive topics, such as:



Teaching Extension: Causes of the Civil War



  • Display this table:


    • State’s rights

    • Economy

    • Role of federal government

    • Preservation of the Union


Slavery




  • Introduce the module by explaining that the Civil War was a brutal war fought between northern and southern states in America from 1861 to 1865. It was fought over the issues listed on the left, all of which were connected in some way to the institution of slavery.

  • Share this information:

  • In the 1800s, the economy in the South consisted mainly of small farms and of large plantations that relied on slave labor for planting and harvesting crops. As world demand for cotton increased, many plantations grew cotton exclusively.

  • In the 1800s, the Northern economy became more reliant on manufacturing and trade, and new immigrants supplied inexpensive labor. Northern states began phasing out slavery, and many states were considered free states.

  • Members of Congress and various presidents attempted to maintain a balance between slave states and free states as well as territories. Various compromises were made, but tensions kept mounting.

  • When Abraham Lincoln was elected in 1860 on a platform to eliminate slavery in the territories (though not in the southern states), many Southerners felt it was the first step toward ending slavery. With Lincoln as president, they feared the power of the federal government. Seven southern states seceded, or left the Union. The actions that followed resulted in the Civil War.


Text(s): “Split Over Slavery” by Michael Green

Content Areas: Geography


“Split Over Slavery” describes the complexities of the 1860 election. With a partner, create a map showing the results.



  • Search the Internet by “map of 1860 election.”

  • Together create a map and annotate it. Show which states voted for each of the four parties:

    • Republican Party (Lincoln)

    • Northern Democrat Party (Douglas)

    • Constitutional Union Party (Bell

    • Southern Democrat Party (Breckinridge)



  • Include the number of electoral votes for each state.

  • Then, search the Internet by “map of Confederate states.”

  • With your partner, compare the two maps. What patterns can you find?

  • Share your maps and thoughts with the class.

Text(s): “The Fall of Fort Sumter” by Barbara D. Krasner

Verbal Expression: Dialogue


“The Fall of Fort Sumter” describes the sequence of events that led to the fall of Sumter. Three main groups were involved in these events: President Lincoln and members of federal government, Major Anderson and other officers; General Beauregard and other Southerners. Work in a small group to imagine the conversations that may have taken place.



  • Review the sequence of events that led to the fall of Fort Sumter.

    • November 1860: Major Anderson takes command at Fort Moultrie.

    • December 20: South Carolina makes decision to secede.

    • December 26: Major Anderson decides to move troops to Fort Sumter. Requests reinforcements.

    • January: South Carolina cannons fire on ship carrying soldiers to Major Anderson.

    • February: Anderson asks Lincoln for troops and help.

    • March: Lincoln must decide whether to send reinforcements, ask Anderson to evacuate, or send aid only. He decides to send aid.

    • April: General Beauregard asks Major Anderson to surrender and then fires on Fort Sumter.



  • Together decide which moments to dramatize through dialogue. You may invent characters (such as advisors to the main characters), but be true to the facts.

  • Invent dialogue for one or more events.

  • Practice the dramatizations and share them with the class.

Text(s): Bull Run by Paul Fleischman

Content Areas: Music


On page 7 of Bull Run, Gideon says that the Union troops march to the songs “Hail Columbia” and “John Brown’s Body.”



  • Search the Internet by “Hail Columbia” to learn the significance of this song throughout American history.

  • Then search the Internet by “John Brown’s Body” to listen to the song and learn about its history, including John Brown’s rebellion and what happened as a result.

  • Share your findings with the class. If you wish, perform or share a recording of one of the songs.


Verbal Expression: Poem


Page 104 of Bull Run lists the northern and southern characters in the book and the pages where their voices can be heard. Create a poem about one of the characters.



  • Choose one of the characters, and read through the pages listed for him or her.

  • Think about the character’s experiences and thoughts as well as your own feelings about the character.

  • Create a poem that conveys your feelings or point of view about the character. Include details from one or more of the monologues.


Content Areas: Science of Photography


The character of Nathaniel Epp is a photographer. At the time of the Civil War, photography was a relatively new practice. As a result, the Civil War is one of the first to be documented with photographs, such as those by Matthew Brady. Brady believed photographers had an obligation to document history, and he shared some of the first battlefield images most ordinary people had ever seen.


Civil War photography required many chemicals, a darkroom (place without any light), and a lot of time. Subjects had to sit very still while the photographer completed several steps. Today, many cell phones include excellent cameras that take instant photographs and there are free apps such as Snapseed to help us edit them.



Verbal Expression: Letter


The characters in Bull Run are northern and southern, enslaved and free, African American and white, male and female. Write a letter exchange between two characters with very different experiences.



  • Choose two characters from different groups.

  • Reread the pages narrated by each character. Think about these questions as you get to know the characters:

    • What are there perspectives toward the Civil War?

    • What would they hope to gain from it? What might they lose?

    • What are their views about the War? Do they think it is just?



  • Write a letter from one character to another in a different group, and then write the reply.

  • Read your letters to the class, using expression to capture the individual voice of each writer.

Text(s): The River Between Us by Richard Peck

Visual Expression: Scrapbook


In The River Between Us, we experience the beginning of the Civil War through Tilly’s eyes. Create a scrapbook that captures how another main character might have experienced this period.



  • Choose a male or female character.

  • Review what you know about the character from the novel.

  • Imagine the character’s feelings and thoughts.

  • In the scrapbook, use images from the Internet or make drawings.

  • You may also include words.


Performance Arts: Acting Out a Scene


The novel includes a number of dramatic scenes. For example, on pp. 75–79 neighboring women come to Tilly’s house to accuse Calinda and Delphine of being spies. Work with a partner or small group to act out a scene.



  • Choose a scene that has some conflict or significance in the novel.

  • Practice the scene.

  • Perform it for the class.


Social Justice/Equality: Group Discussion


The River Between Us explores issues of race and slavery. Discuss questions such as these:



  • The novel takes place in Grand Tower and Cairo, which are in southern Illinois, near the Missouri border. How did the choice of setting allow the author to describe a variety of attitudes toward the war, race, and slavery?

  • Which characters seem to be free of racial prejudice? Which characters are clearly prejudiced?

  • The author includes two time frames: 1862 and 1916. He also includes two narrators, Howard and Tilly. Why might the author have written the novel in this way? What do you think he is saying about social justice and racism over that period? Does there seem to have been progress?

Text(s): “Split Over Slavery” and The River Between Us by Richard Peck

Visual Expression: Political Cartoon


During the Civil War, people used art and theater to express their ideas about the divided country. The article “Split Over Slavery” show a political cartoon that shows the pain of a divided country. Page 87 of The River Between Us includes a play that expresses confidence in Lincoln and the belief that the country will come together again. Imagine that you live during the Civil War. Create your own political cartoon to convey your ideas.



  • Think of the message you want convey.

  • Decide what images and words to include.

  • Create your cartoon, and share it with the class. 

Text(s): “The River War” by Sam Smith (https://www.civilwar.org/learn/articles/river-war

Visual Expression: Poster


“The River War” describes how important rivers were for controlling territory during the Civil War. They were also important forms of transportation, which is why so many American towns are located near rivers. Learn about rivers in your state.


Create a poster conveying information about rivers in your state.



  • Find a map of your state. Look for one that shows natural resources and the products different states make.

  • Locate and name the rivers.

  • List the main cities or big towns that are located on the river.

  • Notice the kinds of land and communities along the river. Are there farms? Are there cities with industry?

  • Then look on a map of the United States. Try to find where your river comes from and ends. Does it lead to bigger rivers or perhaps to an ocean? Where might people want to go on this river? For what purpose?

  • Show the information you learn on your poster. 

GRADE 5: MODULE 5

GRADE 5: MODULE 5

 

Text(s): “on paper” by Jacqueline Woodson and “Learning to Read” by Ellen Watkins Harper


NOTE: The Teaching Extension activity is ideal for background building prior to reading, but can also be used to extend student interest during and after reading the poems.

Teaching Extension: Build Background about Slavery and Literacy



  • Share the following information with students:

    • Ellen Watkins Harper was a free black who grew up in the South before the Civil War. She was a poet and journalist who believed in the importance of education, spoke out against slavery, and helped enslaved people escape. Born almost 150 years after Harper, Jacqueline Woodson is a black poet and novelist whose writing is often rooted in family stories about segregation in the South.

    • Both poets understood the importance of education in the context of African American history.

    • Before the Civil War, teaching enslaved people to read and write was illegal in all southern states except Maryland. In part, this was because slave owners feared that literate slaves would be able to forge the passes they needed to travel from place to place. Slave owners also wanted to prevent slaves from reading about ideas of freedom and from organizing revolts.

    • After the Civil War, the education of the freed was hugely important to former slaves, free blacks, and reformers. They all understood that reading and writing were essential tools for building an independent life.

    • The federal government helped fund schools at first, but then the states were given the responsibility.

    • Officials in the South, however, continued to discriminate against former slaves. Jim Crow laws were passed, requiring racial segregation in schools and other facilities. Schools for African Americans were usually underfunded.



  • For more information about the value freed slaves placed on literacy, see this article: https://news.illinois.edu/view/6367/198842 

  • You may also want to view and possibly share this video about education during Reconstruction: https://www.coursera.org/learn/edref/lecture/UOcHh/3-3-after-emancipation-education-of-african-americans-in-the-reconstruction 


Social Justice/Equality: Poster


In each poem, the speaker conveys the understanding that reading or writing is empowering. Work with a group to brainstorm ways that reading and writing empower individuals as well as communities.



  • Consider the importance of reading in everyday life and in getting an education.

  • Consider how people use the written word to express and/or share ideas, information, feelings, and demands.

  • Share your ideas on a poster. You may add images as well.

Text(s): “Hours” by Hazel Hall and “9” by E. E. Cummings

Visual Expression: Collage


Both poets use images to convey their thoughts and feelings about time.



  • Choose the poem you like best.

  • Create a collage, using photos and/or your own artwork to convey the images in the poem.


Content Areas: Science


While there is clock time, E. E. Cummings points out that our experience of time is subjective. That means that our perception of time changes. For example, when a person is in extreme danger, time may seem to slow down. Scientists say that this happens because the mind is processing the situation more quickly. Work in a small group to discuss perceptions of time in other kinds of situations.



  • Together consider situations like these:

    • Times when you are bored or highly engaged

    • Performances, games, or other pressured situations

    • Trips to places you know or don’t know



  • List perceptions that are shared and those that differ.

  • Group situations according to perceptions of time.

  • Share your lists with the class.


Content Areas: Mathematics


Consider how you spend your hours during the week. How much of your time is scheduled? How much free time do you have? Is there anything you would like to change?



  • Choose a typical weekday.

  • List your activities, including sleep, mealtimes, screen time, school, etc.

  • Next to each activity, write the number of hours and/or minutes.

  • Add up the times.

  • Change minutes to hours where possible.

  • Subtract the total from 24.

  • Think about your day. Is there time for another activity? If so, what might it be? Is your time too scheduled? If so, is there anything you might want to change or omit?

  • Consider how this day compares with other days during the week.

Text(s): Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster

Teaching Extension: Build Background about Figurative Language


Before students read the book, review what they have learned about figurative language.



  • Ask: What is the difference between figurative language and literal language? How do can we understand figurative language? (Literal language includes words and phrases that have the same meaning as in the dictionary. Figurative language includes words and phrases that have a different meaning. You need to make comparisons or associations to understand figurative language.)

  • Elicit different kinds of figurative language. (metaphor, simile, symbol, pun)

  • Have students distinguish between a metaphor and a simile. (A simile uses the word like or as to make a comparison using the word like or as. A metaphor makes a comparison without using like or as.

  • Elicit from students that a symbol is a word or image that stands for something else. For example, a white dove stands for peace.

  • Remind students that a pun is a kind of wordplay, involving a word with two meanings or two words that sound the same but have different meanings


Content Areas: Science


In Phantom Tollbooth, the Terrible Trivium is the demon of wasting time. Scientists have discovered that many people waste time when shifting from one activity to another. They often have trouble starting the new activity because they think it is going to be more difficult or more boring than it turns out to be. They might also be overly afraid of making mistakes. These ideas or fears make them want to avoid the activity.



  • Consider times when you have wanted to avoid activities. What made you want to avoid them? List the reasons.

  • List some ways you find to avoid activities. For example, you might talk to friends, doodle on paper, play video games, watch TV, surf the Internet.

  • Think of strategies that you use to get started, or ones that you might use. For example, some people find it helpful to visualize doing the task or to divide a task into smaller parts.

  • Visit websites such as this one for ideas: https://www.wikihow.com/Do-Your-Homework-on-Time-if-You%27re-a-Procrastinator

  • Share strategies with classmates.


Content Areas: Mathematics/Language Arts


The dodecahedron in the story has twelve faces, and each one has a different emotional expressions. Create your own dodecahedron, and use it to play a game with a partner.



  • Visit this website to see a spinning dodecahedron: https://www.mathsisfun.com/geometry/dodecahedron.html

  • Find the directions for making one on the website.

  • Copy the small shape shown on the website.

  • Cut out your shape and glue it together.

  • On another sheet of paper, list twelve adjectives that describe different emotions, and number them.

  • Then number each face on your dodecahedron.

  • Roll your dice, and make the expression that matches the number. If the number has shown up before, roll again

  • Have your partner guess the word that describes the emotion.

  • Take turns until all numbers have been rolled for each dodecahedron.


Performance Arts: Debate



  • Work with a partner to create a debate between King Azar and the Mathemagician. The issue is whether words or numbers are more important.

  • Decide who will be King Azaz and who will be the Mathemagician.

  • You may want to brainstorm arguments for each side together.

  • Practice the debate.

  • Perform it for the class.


Visual Expression: Book


The characters in Dictionopolis only understand literal meaning. Imagine that you are an author from Dictionopolis and are writing a book that includes language used in the story.



  • Create a page for each of these types of figurative language or word play: idiom (or expression), pun, simile, metaphor.

  • Write the example from the story at the top or bottom of the page.

  • Draw a picture that shows the literal meaning.

  • Create a cover.

  • Staple the pages together, or connect them in some other way.

  • Share your book with the class

Text(s): Through the Looking Glass (excerpt) by Lewis Carroll: https://ebooks.adelaide.edu.au/c/carroll/lewis/looking/chapter6.html 

Teaching Extension: Building Background about the Story


Before students read the excerpt, provide this context to orient them in the story:



  • This chapter comes in the middle of a book about a young girl named Alice who falls through a “looking glass,” or mirror, into a strange make-believe world filled with unusual creatures.

  • In this chapter, Alice has been wandering through a forest when she sees a large egg in the distance, which turns out to be Humpty-Dumpty.

Text(s): 


”I’m Nobody” by Emily Dickinson


“on paper” by Jacqueline Woodson


“Learning to Read” by Ellen Watkins Harper


“Hours” by Hazel Hall


“9” by E. E. Cummings


NOTE: If students cannot access additional poems through a library or the provided website, have them work in small groups to read a poem. Organize five groups and assign each one of the module poems. Each group can read its poem chorally or devise a creative way to present it.

Connecting Texts: Poetry Reading



  • Choose a poem from this module or another poem by one of the poets. To find additional poems by one of the poets, go to a library or visit this site: https://www.poetryfoundation.org/ 

  • On a class sign-up sheet, write the name of the poem and your name beside it. Choose another poem if your first choice is already listed.

  • Read the poem again, paying special attention to words and phrases that create vivid images or convey strong feelings. You may want to emphasize this language in your reading.

  • Practice reading the poem until your reading is smooth and fluent.

  • Work with classmates to decide the order of the poems to read.