S 2 – 3 Week Plan 4th – 6th Grades haring Stories “Reading & Writing Ourselves & Others”


S 2 – 3 Week Plan 4th – 6th Grades haring Stories



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S

2 – 3 Week Plan

4th6th Grades
haring Stories


“Reading & Writing
Ourselves & Others”




Activity 2: Meeting Characters (Quest)
This activity and the one following it focus on “Priscilla and the Wimps,” a popular and widely recognized short story by Richard Peck (see “Teacher Tips” and Appendix C). In this activity, students experience an excerpt from the story in order to focus on one of the two main characters. Specifically, there are two sets of media—one reflecting the character Monk Klutter and the other reflecting Priscilla Roseberry—and in fact, each passage is presented in different forms: on-screen text, audio narration, on-screen text with audio narration, and character-based video narration. In each case, the student responds to the same questions: What do you think is important to the character? What do you think the character likes or needs? What do you think the character might think about? The different versions of the quest are titled as follows. Please see the “Teacher Tips” for the location of the quests.





On-screen text

Audio narration

Text + audio narration


Character video narration

Monk Klutter

Meeting Monk (M1)

Meeting Monk (M2)

Meeting Monk (M3)

Meeting Monk (M4)

Priscilla Roseberry

Meeting Priscilla (P1)

Meeting Priscilla (P2)

Meeting Priscilla (P3)

Meeting Priscilla (P4)

Since the Quest responses are reviewed by a classmate, you may assign the students to their media in different ways. For example, each student might be assigned a medium to provide her with practice in a certain area (e.g., reading or listening), or you may be more random in the assignment. Likewise, you may form student pairs so that each reviews a different character through similar media, or the same character through different media; or the assignments can be random.

Each student responds to her partner’s work with the following instructions: the reviewer does not provide feedback but instead just tries to understand the response as well as possible and then forwards the work to the teacher. Then, in a guided discussion, students are asked to share their understanding of the character they studied as well as the understanding they gained through their partner’s response. Since the students are presented with only a short passage, and since they experience the passage through different media, they should be assured that there is no “right answer.” Students should also discuss their experiences with the different media, and the teacher should try to illuminate the different benefits of each form. The shared understanding of the characters leads into the next activity. Note that this discussion may be simply merged with the discussion of the short story in the next activity if the class is pressed for time.




Language Arts


S
2 – 3 Week Plan

4th6th Grades
haring Stories


“Reading & Writing
Ourselves & Others”




Activity 3: Understanding Characters
In this activity (see “Teacher Tips”), students work through the short story “Priscilla and the Wimps” and discuss the characters together. Depending on your classroom style and environment, either you can have students read the story individually, or it can be read aloud by the teacher or by students taking turns. (Note that when students read aloud, they gain practice but rarely remember the content of what they read; one alternative would be to let the students read the story individually and then have the students read aloud a paragraph each.)

Though the students will have met the characters through the previous activity, their understanding will change and grow through the reading of the story itself. Indeed, the story addresses potentially serious subject matter—namely, school bullying—and some situations may require preparation or debriefing regarding the material. The material may be challenging for younger readers, but it remains noteworthy: the author has received many awards, and the story—“almost everyone’s favorite story,” according to Donald Gallo—is widely used in upper elementary and middle school Language Arts courses.

In a guided discussion afterward, the teacher should try to bring the students’ understanding to reflect their earlier encounters with the characters. Specifically, the story reveals Monk to be a bully and Priscilla to be a hero, so one level of discussion might focus on their different concerns: Monk’s selfish need for power and Priscilla’s altruistic support of her friend. A more advanced discussion might inquire whether Priscilla’s methods are actually any different than Monk’s: they both use force. You might ask your students, “Did Priscilla do the right thing? Why or why not?” Still, the key to this discussion might be found in the line (halfway through the story) “Gang members don’t need names. They’ve got group identity.” This is a point recurrent in the author’s other works, and it might show Priscilla’s methods to only seem like bullying, since in fact her force is not one of anonymous terrorism but personal retribution.
Enrichment: Discussion might study the frequent allusions to snakes in the language of the story.



Language Arts




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