Anna Birketveit, Høgskolen i Bergen: Reading The Secret Garden and The Jungle Book in the classroom


I: Mary and Dickon (pupils see the whole text)

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I: Mary and Dickon (pupils see the whole text)

Dickon: I couldn’t stay in bed on a morning like this. Look at th’ garden.

Mary: Look at all the new shoots and the robin building a nest.

Dickon: We musn’t watch too close. He’s too busy for visitin’ an’ gossipin.

Mary: I have met Colin. He thinks he is very ill and cries at night believing he will die.

Dickon: If we could get him out here, he’d forget about lumps growing on his back. We’d just

be two lads and a little lass lookin’ on at th’ springtime. It’d do him more good than

doctor’s stuff.

II: One-sided dialogue. (Each character only sees his or her part.)

Student A reads Dickon’s part.

Dickon: I couldn’t stay in bed on a morning

like this. Look at th’ garden.

Mary:………………………………..

Dickon: We musn’t watch too close. He’s too

busy for visitin’ an’ gossipin.

Mary: ……………………………………….

Dickon: If we could get him out here, he’d

forget about lumps growing on his

back. We’d just be two lads and a

little lass lookin’ on at th’ springtime.

It’d do him more good than

doctor’s stuff.


Student B reads Mary’s part.

Dickon: …………………………………….. .

Mary: Look at all the new shoots and the

robin building a nest.

Dickon: ……………………………………..

Mary: I have met Colin. He thinks he is

very ill and cries at night believing he

will die.

Dickon: ………………………………………



I.Colin’s tantrum (pupils see the whole text)

Colin: I won’t let that boy come if you stay with him instead of me! You’re selfish for not

being with me.

Mary: What are you? You’re the most selfish person I know.

Colin: Well, I’m going to die!

Mary: I don’t believe it. You only want people to be sorry for you. But they’re not! You’re

too nasty. I was going to tell you about Dickon and his fox and crow, but I shan’t now.

Colin: (screams) There are lumps on my back. There are lumps growing!!

Mary: Somebody must stop him. He deserves a beating for being so selfish. He’s upsetting

everyone in the house.

(to Colin).

Stop! I hate you! You will scream yourself to death in a minute, and I wish you would.!

If you scream again, I shall scream louder.

Colin: I can’t stop. I’ve felt a lump coming on my back.

Mary: Turn over and let me look. There is not a lump as big as a pin. Don’t you ever talk

about it again.

II. One-sided dialogue (pupils see only his or her role)

Student A reads/acts the role of Colin


Colin: I won’t let that boy come if you stay

with him instead of me! You’re selfish

for not being with me.

Mary: ……………………………………….

Colin: Well, I’m going to die!

Mary: ……………………………………….

Colin: (screams) There are lumps on my back.

There are lumps growing!!

Mary: ……………………………………….

Colin: I can’t stop. I’ve felt a lump coming on

my back.

Mary: ……………………………………….


Student B reads/acts the role of Mary


Colin: ……………………………………….

Mary: What are you? You’re the most selfish

person I know.

Colin:…………………………………….

Mary: I don’t believe it. You only want

people to be sorry for you. But they’re

not! You’re too nasty. I was going to

tell you about Dickon and his fox and

crow, but I shan’t now.

Colin: (screams)………………………..!!

Mary: Somebody must stop him. He deserves

a beating for being so selfish. He’s

upsetting everyone in the house.

(to Colin).

Stop! I hate you! You will scream

yourself to death in a minute, and I

wish you would.!

If you scream again, I shall scream

louder.

Colin:………………………………………



Mary: Turn over and let me look. There is not

a lump as big as a pin. Don’t you ever

talk about it again.



To the teacher : A more challenging variation is to give the pupils only the roles of student A or B in writing and ask them to dramatise with only one of the roles written down.



Tasks for chapter 8 (I shall live for ever and ever.)

Write 5 sentences showing how


The Whole World changed for Colin.

Tasks for chapter 9 (Magic)


Answer the following questions.

  1. What change takes place with Mary and Colin?

  2. What happens to Mr Craven away in Austria?

  3. What happens when he gets home to his manor?

  4. How does Mr Craven feel when he sees his son healthy?

  5. Do you think Mr Craven is a good father?


4. The Secret Garden: A mixed bag of ideas and tasks for the classroom.
4.1 Comparison of the original and the adapted text.
A note to the teacher.
This task would be suitable for stronger pupils.

Make the pupils read the first page of the easy version of the novel in the Ladybird edition. Then make them read the start of the story in the original version. Parts of it has been copied onto this page. The whole text of the original version is available on the following link: http://www.gutenberg.net/dirs/etext94/gardn11.txt



If you think this works out successfully with pupils, you may try the same with other parts of the novel.

To the pupils.
Read the first page of The Secret Garden, Ladybird edition.
Read the following page in the original version.
CHAPTER I
THERE IS NO ONE LEFT


When Mary Lennox was sent to Misselthwaite Manor

to live with her uncle everybody said she was the most

disagreeable-looking child ever seen. It was true, too.


She had a little thin face and a little thin body,

thin light hair and a sour expression. Her hair was yellow,

and her face was yellow because she had been born in

India and had always been ill in one way or another.

Her father had held a position under the English

Government and had always been busy and ill himself,

and her mother had been a great beauty who cared only

to go to parties and amuse herself with gay people.

She had not wanted a little girl at all, and when Mary

was born she handed her over to the care of an Ayah,

who was made to understand that if she wished to please

the Mem Sahib she must keep the child out of sight as much

as possible. So when she was a sickly, fretful, ugly little

baby she was kept out of the way, and when she became

a sickly, fretful, toddling thing she was kept out of

the way also. She never remembered seeing familiarly

anything but the dark faces of her Ayah and the other

native servants, and as they always obeyed her and gave

her her own way in everything, because the Mem Sahib

would be angry if she was disturbed by her crying,

by the time she was six years old she was as tyrannical

and selfish a little pig as ever lived. The young English

governess who came to teach her to read and write disliked

her so much that she gave up her place in three months,

and when other governesses came to try to fill it they

always went away in a shorter time than the first one.

So if Mary had not chosen to really want to know how

to read books she would never have learned her letters at all.
One frightfully hot morning, when she was about nine

years old, she awakened feeling very cross, and she became

crosser still when she saw that the servant who stood

by her bedside was not her Ayah.
"Why did you come?" she said to the strange woman.

"I will not let you stay. Send my Ayah to me."
The woman looked frightened, but she only stammered

that the Ayah could not come and when Mary threw herself

into a passion and beat and kicked her, she looked only

more frightened and repeated that it was not possible

for the Ayah to come to Missie Sahib.

There was something mysterious in the air that morning.

Nothing was done in its regular order and several of the

native servants seemed missing, while those whom Mary

saw slunk or hurried about with ashy and scared faces.

But no one would tell her anything and her Ayah did not come.

She was actually left alone as the morning went on,

and at last she wandered out into the garden and began

to play by herself under a tree near the veranda.
Tasks

Compare the start of novel in the easy version of the The Secret Garden (Ladybird edition) with the original version.

Which one do you like best?

How are these parts different?


4.2 Questions for discussion.

1.Talk to the class about the way Mary is described. Remind them that the story was written in the 19th century. What does the description reveal about the way children were regarded.

Mary Lennox is described as spoilt, rude, bad-tempered, thin, miserable, sour-faced, no one liked her at all.
2. What is it to be rude? Give examples.

3. What is it to be spoilt? Give examples.

4. If you had to go to a foster home or be adopted, what would you worry about?

5. If you had to go to a foster home or be adopted, what kind of family would you want to go

to?

4.3 Telling and writing
Write an angle’s letter of apology for Mary.


  1. Write Mr Craven’s letter of praise about Mary.

  2. Write about the characters you like in the story and why.

  3. Write about who likes you and why.

  4. Imagine you are Mary as an old lady telling the story of the Secret Garden to her grandchildren. Begin like this. When I was your age, about 10 years old something strange and wonderful happened to me. My parents were dead and I lived in my uncle’s gloomy manor up in Yorkshire and was very unhappy and miserable. Then one day a robin showed me an old rusty key. It was the key to the most wonderful secret garden. Look! I have it still!(holds up the key) I always carry it with me as I believe it brings luck. Do you want to hear how it made my life change completely?…………

Write (or tell) the rest of the story.

6.Fastwriting

When Ben says: “Don’t go poking your nose into places where you don’t belong, what

do you think of?



  • Fast writing 10 minutes

  • Go together with your classmate and discuss the ideas you have come up with. Settle on one and write a 50-word story about it.

7.Have you ever found young animals, for example stray kittens, baby birds, hedgehogs

etc and tried to help them?

Tell or write about this experience.

Interview a vet about how to take care of a young stray animal.



4.4 Exploiting motifs
In the story there are certain motifs that can be further exploited such as the robin, the key, the skipping rope (children’s games), gardens, being bad tempered and grumpy
The Robin

Read the legend about The First Robin. Check out the following link which is accompanied by music.http://www.mamarocks.com/first_robin.htm
Interview the robin about his life.
Write a song

Imagine you are the robin and singing about yourself to robin ladies to attract them. Be his PR agent and write the lyrics to his song. (try to find a good tune first)

Example:

I can find the juiciest worms

If you want a fly

I’ll catch it before you can wink and eye

I’m so faithful and I’m so friendly

Look at my long tail feathers

Did you ever see a chest

as red as mine?


Keys

Brainstorm what kind of keys are there?

(Concrete keys and figurative keys like keys to understanding or keys to someone’s heart)

Find various keys and have an exhibition.

Pick a key and draw and write about it.

Dramatise or interview an old key.

Write “ a key’s story”.
Children’s games

Tell about rope skipping and hop scotch.

Tell about the song games the English learn and do.

Invite an English speaking person to tell about what games s/he played when young.


Gardens and manors

Look up “gardens” in an encyclopedia and find out what kind of gardens there are and how gardens have developed through the times. The following encyclopedia can be recommended: Oxford Children’s Encyclopedia, Oxford University Press, ISBN 0 19 910173 6

Do you have a garden?

Do you like/dislike it? Why?

Write a paragraph starting “ I like my garden because….” Or alternatively “ I dislike my garden because…”

Find out what is typical for English gardens.

Do English people like gardening?

Write a paragraph starting “ I think the English are very fond of gardening because…”

Do Norwegians like gardening? Explain.


Check out the following link to find out more about English gardens. http://www.britainexpress.com/History/english-gardens.htm

Check out the following link to find out more about manors and the lord of the manor:



http://www.building-history.pwp.blueyonder.co.uk/Manors.htm
Being bad-tempered and grumpy.

What makes you grumpy?

If you like you can tell about what makes your friend/brother/sister/parents grumpy.

Make a silly jingle about how grumpy you can be when….., or how grumpy someone was when……..

Make a refrain (Grumpy, humpy, jumpy, frumpy, lumpy, stumpy, mumpy etc. Look up these words in a dictionnairy. Are these words real English?
Presenting oneself to new people.

Talk about it in class.

Imagine you are going to Oslo to participate in Norway Cup. You are going to have your camp next to a team from ……… How would you go about making friends with this team?

Make a list of things you want to say about yourself and ask the other one(s) about.

How would you break the ice (start)?
Yorkshire and the moors

Find out about the Vikings’ settlement in York.

Find out about the moors. What do they look like? What do they mean to the English?

Find out about York.


4.5 Games

BINGO

This is a fake bingo.

It is meant to be a motivating drill of new words. The point is that everybody gets a BINGO at the same time and hopefully stays motivated throughout the game.

Copy the boards and give the pupils one board each. Make sure that pupils sitting next to each other do not get the same boards.

The teacher calls out the words, and the pupils cross out the words on the board as they are called. Make sure that the word MANOR is called last.

When all the words except MANOR have been called out, the pupils have crossed out all but the last one.

When at last MANOR is called out, the pupils will get BINGO at the same time.



MANOR


RUDE

UPSET

MOOR

ROBIN


DETERMINATION

MAGIC

BULB

BRANCH


SOIL

WEEDS

GHOST

EXCITING


BEWITCH

TANTRUM

CRIPPLE

Variation:

The pupils have boards with different words on and the first one to get 4 in a row horizontally or diagonally gets a bingo. The teacher may want to continue until the first one has got 3 rows of bingo, or the first one has crossed out all his/her words.

THE ADVERB GAME
(the idea is taken from Jill Hadfield, Intermediate Communication Games)

This game is played in groups of 3 or 4.



Cut out the following cards and place them face down. Pupils take turns picking up a card and making the others guess what adverb is on it. He or she should give the others clues from the story. For example about loudly he or she may say Colin shouted and cried this way.

About angrily the explanation may be: Mary reacted this way when no one came to dress her in India. The one who guesses correctly picks up the next card. The pupils may decide to award points for guessing correctly.



Passionately


violently

secretly

slowly

loudly


happily

softly

angrily

sadly


noisily

anxiously

uncomfortably

strictly


gently

regretfully

Timidly

boldly


tenderly

tearfully

politely

rudely


quickly

nervously

disapprovingly




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