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

A. The illustrations used as a pre-reading activity: Domino game


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A. The illustrations used as a pre-reading activity: Domino game

The game is played in groups of three or four.

Copy the illustrations and cut out cards with one illustration on each card.

The cards should be dealt out equally to all the members of the group.

The first player begins by choosing a card from his/her hand and laying it down on the table as the first event of the story, describing as he/she does so, what happened in the story.

The second player should then choose a suitable card to follow on as the next event in the story, and lay it down on the table next to the first, narrating the next stage in the story.

The purpose of the game is to make up a joint story. When all the groups have finished, they can visit each other’s tables and explain the stories to each other. This activity may also trigger a follow-up writing activity.
B. The illustrations used as a post reading activity.
Copy the illustrations and cut out cards with one illustration on each card.

The pupils work in groups of three or four.

Put the pile of cards on the table in front of the group, and the pupils take it in turn to tell the event of the illustration on their card. The pupils may award each other points for telling the story correctly. One group member may serve as a judge and thus not be part of the game. The pupils may get 2 points for a detailed and correct account of the event. They may get 1 for a less detailed or less correct retelling. (0 if they are unfamiliar with the event).

4.8 Making a movie screenplay
Copy four passages from the book, for example pp. 6-7 (Mary has to leave India), pp. 14-15 (Mary talks to the gardener and discovers the Robin), p. 41 (Colin cries at night), pp. 46-47 (Colin shows Ben that he can walk).

These are key scenes with dramatic possibilities.

Notes for the teacher

Step 1

Divide the class into 3 or 4 groups. Give each group one of the passages. Ask them to read it, and to discuss what has happened up to that point in the story.

Step 2

The students work in their groups to produce a screenplay for their scene. They should try to imagine that they are filming this episode. They draw up a list of characters, invent dialogue and may want to discuss/find different sound effects.

Step 3

When they have completed the screenplay in their group, they allocate and act out the different roles within their group. They rehearse the scene for a short time.

Step 4

Each group performs their scene for the rest of the class.

4.9 Using the video of the book
The video of the Secret Garden is excellent. It is beautifully filmed and captures the mystery and adventures at Misselthwaite Manor. It portrays England and Yorkshire in a very romantic way underlining the close relationship to nature as a way of regaining health and bringing life to life. Pupils at “mellomtrinnet” should be able to cope with the spoken language in the film as there is a limited amount of it. Large parts of the film show rather than tell in language what happens. The film starts in India showing how very different Mary Lennox’s life was there with servants to dress her and obey all her commands. The way the film is shot in the beginning is very interesting as it has Mary’s perspective as a child. She watches her mother and father partying from under the bed and that’s how we see them too.
The video is available from Korinor skoleavdelingen Boks 13 Oppsal 0619 Oslo

Tel 22 65 712 24, fax 22 65 78 25

Activity 1

(to be carried out before the students have seen the whole video)

Show the students the scene where Mary wakes up in the night and hears somebody crying and she leaves her bed and find Collin crying in his bed. Pause the video after Collin says “Who are you?” Make the students guess how the conversation goes between Mary and Collin. Discuss their ideas and play the next few seconds of the clip and compare. Put the students into pairs. Play a few more seconds of the video. Pause it and the students continue the dialogue as they think it will progress.

Activity 2

Below you will find a summary of the chapters and the main plot of the Ladybird edition of The Secret Garden.
Compare the book and the film. Are there any differences?

1.Mary Lennox; Mary’s life in India, her parents’ death and her departure for England and Misselthwaite Manor in Yorkshire where she is taken by the housekeeper Mrs Medlock. She is told about the owner of the manor, her uncle who has a crooked back and since his wife’s death has lead a life away from other people.
2. The Gardens; Mary meets the housemaid Martha, and little by little she starts to like her. She learns from Martha that one of the gardens is locked up but that she can wander through the others. She meets Ben, the gardener, and sees the robin for the first time.
3.Robin shows the way. The day it is raining Mary starts exploring the house looking for the child who is crying. Mrs Medlock tells her off. The robin seems to show her the rusty key in the soil. Martha’s mother gives Mary a skipping rope.
4. Dickon; Mary finds the door to the secret garden and the key fits the lock. She enters the garden, finds it untidy and starts weeding. Dickon brings garden tools and seeds to the secret garden. They weed and prune it together. Mary is taken to see her uncle and she asks to have a bit of land, which he gladly gives her.
5. Colin; Mary hears a child crying at night and finds Colin in his bed. He tells her that he is ill and that he is going to die. Mary tells him about the gardens.

6. Rainy days; Mary tells Martha about Colin. She learns from Martha that Colin has not been allowed to walk since he was born. Mary tells Colin about Dickon. She spends the week with Colin as it is raining. He starts to cheer up.

7. The Secret is Told; The sun is shining again. Dickon and Mary see that the sprouts are coming up and want to show Dickon the garden. Colin is angry with Mary for spending the day with Dickon. Mary and Colin have a row where Mary calls Colin selfish. In the night she hears Colin having a tantrum, and she tells him that she hates him. She looks at Colin’s back and tells him that there are no lumps there and that he is forbidden to ever talk about them again. Colin learns about the secret garden.
8. I shall live for ever and ever; Dickon brings his animals with him to see Colin. They take Colin into the garden. Ben calls Dickon a cripple lad, and this makes Colin decide to try to stand straight. Colin believes he will get well and strong because of the magic that has happened.
9.Magic; Every day Colin practises walking in the secret garden and keeps this a secret.

Colin’s father comes home from his travels and has an urge to go to the secret garden. There Colin runs into his arms - no longer a cripple. Happy ending.

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