Esio Trot Teacher’s Book  Part I  Teacher’s Guide and Teaching Plan


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Esio Trot

Teacher’s Book

Part I 

Teacher’s Guide and Teaching Plan


Students read an extract of Esio Trot by Roald Dahl (pp.21–25). They do a reading comprehension and vocabulary exercise. Then they focus on the use of the imperative and adverb. After that they do some activities about describing and looking after animals, and a game of encoding and decoding messages written in a secret language.

The Story

Mr. Hoppy has fallen in love with Mrs. Silver, a widow who lives downstairs. But she cares only about her pet tortoise Alfie. One day, she tells Mr. Hoppy she would be happy to see it grow bigger. He comes up with a magic plan to make it grow faster, and in the end makes Mrs. Silver his wife too.

Learning Targets

Knowledge dimension

Interpret information

Present information

Interpersonal dimension

Participate in discussions


Participate in a game

Generic Skills and Attitudes

  1. Collaboration skills

  2. Creativity

  3. Communication skills


Student are able

  1. To understand the text and vocabulary of the extract.

  2. To practise the use of the imperative and adverb.

  3. To raise awareness about how to look after animals.

  4. To learn describe animals and looking after them.

  5. To use language in a fun way by writing secret messages.

Language Focus


Names of parts of animals

Describing animals and physical features of animals


Imperative form of verb


Text Type


Activities and Skills Focused

  1. Reading a text – whole-class work

  2. Understanding the text and vocabulary – whole-class work

  3. Language focus – whole-class work

  4. Describing animals and looking after animals – pair work, group work

  5. Playing a decoding game – pair work, group work


  1. Extract from the story Esio Trot

  2. Reading comprehension exercise

  3. Vocabulary exercise

  4. Worksheet on imperative forms of verbs

  5. Worksheet on adverbs

  6. Worksheet on description of animals

  7. Worksheet on decoding game

  8. Suggested additional activities

Catering for Learner Diversity

For weaker students, the teacher can provide more examples in the following before students attempt the tasks given:

  • vocabulary

  • reading comprehension

  • language focus

  • describing animals

For pair work and group discussions, more able students can be put together with weaker ones so they can help the latter complete the tasks more easily.

A few additional activities are included for students of higher abilities in English and greater creativity.

Suggested Number of Lessons



Pre-reading activity

Ask students questions about animals and pets.

Focus on tortoises as pets, and ask students how much they know about them.

Introduce the story by going over the gist of the story with students.

Ask students if they were Mr Hoppy, what magic plan would they use to make Mrs Silver’s tortoise grow faster.

While-reading activity

Read the extract up to the end of the secret message given by Mr Hoppy to Mrs Silver. Ask students what the message might mean. Help them to work out the original message.

Read the rest of the extract.

Post-reading activity

Do the reading comprehension.

Tell students the answers may not appear in the same order as in the original text.

Do the vocabulary exercises.

For Question 2, tell students that some changes may be necessary to make the words grammatically suitable for the sentences.

Language focus


Start by giving students some orders.

Ask them what kind of sentences they are, and the form of verb used.

Do the exercises.

For Practice 2, elicit from students some ideas as examples. For weaker students, tell them to work in pairs or groups.


Ask students to deduce the form of an adverb from the first task.

Explain how to change adjectives into adverbs, and the exceptions.

If time allows, play a game Adverb Charade: a student mime an action in a certain manner (e.g. row a boat angrily) for other students to guess.

Activity: describing animals

Show some flashcards of animals to students, and ask them for adjectives to describe them.

Ask students about the different body parts of the animals.

Go over the vocabulary lists and explain unfamiliar words.

For the draw and describe game, start off with a demonstration: prepare a drawing of an imaginary animal of your own, and describe it for students to draw.

Game: secret messages

Tell students to write a few more secret messages in “tortoise language” for their classmates to decode. Tell them not to make the secret language too complicated or difficult to decode.

Give some help to weaker students, and tell them to work in pairs or groups.

Suggested ways of writing secret messages:

  1. Use the letters that come before or after the original letters.

  2. Write letters upside down, or as mirror images.

  3. Replace certain letters with other letters.

  4. Leave out certain letters.

This game can be held as a competition. In groups, students write a secret message. Collect them and put them on the notice board. Students try to decode as many of them as possible in a given time. The group with the most correct answers is the winners.

Additional activities

Chanting competition

To make sure students know how to read all the words, tell them to read after you the message on p.24.

Divide the class into groups, and tell them to chant the message in an interesting way. Or they can imagine they are Mrs Silver, and read the message to Alfie the tortoise with a lot of expression.

For stronger students, do the same thing with the secret message. (Caveat: some work on phonics may be necessary for this activity.)


Tell students to be creative in their writing. They can be humorous and imaginative in these regulations.

Tell them to use both the positive and negative forms of the imperative.


Tell students to work in small groups.

Information and pictures about animals can be obtained from the Internet.

The final products can be displayed on the notice boards.

Part II 

Student Book with Answer Key


Mrs Hoppy is telling a friend on the telephone what he said to Mrs Silver.

Complete the sentences in the speech bubbles.


  1. Match the words/phrases in the first column with the meanings in the second column.



  1. secret

(13) two

  1. slave

(3) in the opposite direction

  1. backwards

(11) making mistakes when speaking

  1. magic

(12) belonging to you for your whole life

  1. message

(14) many

  1. expression

(7) speak softly

  1. whisper

(6) feelings

  1. examine

(10) animal

  1. bewildered

(8) look at closely

  1. creature

(2) a person who is owned by another

  1. stumble

(1) something known by only a few people

  1. your slave for life

(9) confused, not able to understand

  1. a couple of

(5) a piece of information

  1. an awful lot

(4) power to make impossible things happen

  1. Put these words in the following sentences. Remember to make changes if necessary.

  1. The firemen will be ready in a couple of minutes when they receive a fire alarm.

  2. Although she was angry, she did not show any expression.

  3. She told me a secret and I promised her not to tell anyone.

  4. The student stumbled over the difficult words when he reading the passage.

  5. This robot can only go forward, not backwards.

  6. When he saw his brother’s strange behaviour, he was bewildered.

  7. There are many kinds of creatures living on the earth.

  8. In the old days, many poor people worked as slaves.

  9. In order not to disturb the sleeping baby, she whispered to her guests.

  10. Work carefully! You have made an awful lot of mistakes in your writing.

  11. The boss left a message for his secretary before he went out.

  12. The old man said he knew magic and could turn stone into gold.
  13. The dentist examined the teeth of the little girl.

  14. To win his girlfriend’s heart, he said he would be her slave for life.


A. The imperative form of the verb

  1. What things does Mr Hoppy tell Mrs Silver to do?

Find 5 of them in the passage and write them in the spaces below:

1. Wait here!

2. Hold Alfie up to your face.

3. Whisper the words to him three times a day.

4. Let me hear you practice them.

5. Try to get a little more expression into it.

  1. Mrs Silver should tell Alfie to do many things in order to make it grow bigger.

Write 5 of them in the spaces below:

1. Get bigger.

2. Grow up.

3. Spring up.

4. Put on fat.

5. Gobble food.

Language notes:

When we give an order or instruction to someone, we use the imperative form of the verb. For example:

Picture of man giving orders to servant:

e.g. Give me a cup of coffee.

Bring me the newspaper.

Wash this shirt.

Look also at the negative form below:

Picture of man giving orders to servant:

e.g. Don’t turn on the fan.

Don’t make so much noise.

Don’t close the door

1. Orders to pets
Mr Hoppy is training a dog. Write down the orders he is giving to it in the pictures below.

( ) ( ) ( )

( ) ( ) ( )

2. Do’s and don’ts. Write 5 pieces of advice to someone who has a bird/fish/lizard/etc. on how to look after it.

e.g. Give it a shower with warm water once a week.


B. Adverbs

Fill in adverbs in the following sentences based on the reading passage:

    • Mrs Silver wanted to know how to make Alfie grow faster.

    • To understand the magic words better, Mrs Silver looked at the paper closely.

    • At first, Mrs Silver could only read the words very slowly.

    • If Mrs Silver said the words to Alfie properly, it would grow faster.

Language notes:

When we describe how someone does something, we use an adverb.

An adverb is usually formed by adding –ly to an adjective.


He is slow.

Her voice is soft.

Their discussion is loud.


He walks slowly.

She sings softly.

They discussed loudly.



He is a good student.

The athlete is fast.


He studies well.

He runs fast.


1. Look the pictures below and describe the action of each person/animal.

2. Describe your classmates:

Write 5 sentences about your classmates’ habits using adverbs.

e.g. Tommy Wong always plays noisily in recess.

  1. Find the differences (Pair work)

In the two pictures of the pet shop below, there are 10 differences.

You will look at Picture A, and your partner will look at Picture B.

Now describe your pictures to each other and find the differences.

Picture A Picture B

  1. Describing animals

Vocabulary list (A): different parts of animals

head, neck, body, legs, tail, eyes, ears, nose, mouth, beak, teeth, hair, feathers, scales, horns, fins, limbs, paws, claws, etc

Vocabulary list (B) describing animals

long, short, square, triangular, oval, circular, rectangular, smooth, rough, hairy, hairless, bushy, large, small, tall, fat, thin, spiky, etc

Look at the pictures of these imaginary animals. Describe the features of each animal with the words on the vocabulary lists.

C. Draw and describe an animal of your own creation

Draw an imaginary animal of your own creation. Then describe it to your neighbour. Your neighbour has to draw it without looking at your picture.

D. Oral discussion (Group work)

In small groups, find out from each other about their pets or favourite animals, and then report to the whole class.

Questions for discussion

    • Do you have a pet? If no, have you ever had a pet, or do you want to have one?

    • Describe your pet, or your favourite animal.

    • How do you look after it?

    • What kinds of food do you give it?

    • Do you speak to your pet? What do you say to it?

E. Oral discussion (Group work)

Imagine you are an animal. How would you like others (human beings) to take care of you?

1. The message by Mr Hoppy is written in tortoise language. In the message all the words are spelled backwards.

Here is another message in tortoise language. What does it say?


Write another short message in tortoise language and let you neighbour work out its meaning.

2. Look at the speech by the bird below. It is written in parrot language. Can you work out the meaning of the message, and how the message is written.

3. In pairs, invent a language for the goldfish below. Write a message in goldfish language, then let your classmates work out its meaning.

In the space below, explain how you wrote the secret message, and its original words.

  • state the original message

  • explain how you wrote the secret message.

Additional activities

1. Chanting competition:

Read aloud in groups Mr. Hoppy’s message in tortoise language (p. 23) and then in human language (p. 24) of the book.

  1. Writing:

Write a list of regulations for your teachers/parents/friends/pets.

e.g. Regulations for teachers:

  • Play a game in every lesson.

  • Don’t give us too much homework.

  1. Project:

Make a booklet or poster about your pet/ favourite animal including texts and pictures.

Suggested contents:

  • A description of the appearance of the animal

  • A description of its daily habits

  • A list of advice on how to look after it

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