Title: The Cricket in Times Square



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Houghton Mifflin Harcourt StoryTown - 2008 Grade 4


Unit 5/Week 3

Title: The Cricket in Times Square1

Suggested Time: 5 days (45 minutes per day)

Common Core ELA Standards: RL.4.1, RL.4.2, RL.4.3, RL.4.4, RL.4.6, RL.4.9; RF.4.3, RF.4.4; W.4.2, W.4.4, W.4.9; L.4.1, L.4.4, L.4.5; SL.4.1
Teacher Instructions

Refer to the Introduction for further details.

Before Teaching

  1. Read the Big Ideas and Key Understandings and the Synopsis. Please do not read this to the students. This is a description for teachers, about the big ideas and key understanding that students should take away after completing this task.

Big Ideas and Key Understandings

The simple kindness of strangers can make all the difference in how you feel in hard times.



Synopsis

Chester Cricket meets Tucker Mouse and Harry Cat in Times Square. He relates the story of how he found himself transported to Times Square in a picnic basket that he had climbed into at his home in Connecticut. A friendship ensues among the characters, which helps Chester adjust to his new surroundings.



  1. Read entire main selection text, keeping in mind the Big Ideas and Key Understandings.

  2. Re-read the main selection text while noting the stopping points for the Text Dependent Questions and teaching Vocabulary.

During Teaching


  1. Students read the entire main selection text independently.

  2. Teacher reads the main selection text aloud with students following along. (Depending on how complex the text is and the amount of support needed by students, the teacher may choose to reverse the order of steps 1 and 2.)

  3. Students and teacher re-read the text while stopping to respond to and discuss the questions and returning to the text. A variety of methods can be used to structure the reading and discussion (i.e.: whole class discussion, think-pair-share, independent written response, group work, etc.)

Text Dependent Questions

Text Dependent Questions

Answers

Where are the animals when they first meet each other? What is it like there?

A subway news stand with a three legged stool and a high shelf above the stool.

This might be a good place to start a setting chart, as the setting will be very strange to most children who read this story.

Page #

Setting

330

Matchbox at Times Square New York

333

Drain Pipe

344


Corner of Times Square

344

Matchbox




What is Tucker Mouse like? What characteristics does Tucker Mouse have? Describe Tucker’s action that shows these characteristics.

Tucker is curious because he starts a conversation with a stranger. He’s lively and excitable because he leaps and dashes. He’s friendly and kind because he shares food with Chester. He eavesdrops because he likes to listen to humans. He’s messy because his nest is a jumble of odds and ends.

“Wistfully” is a beautiful word that means to think back on something that makes you sad. Why does the author say Chester was speaking “wistfully” when Tucker asked where his home was?

Chester thinks back on the feeling of safety of his home and now he feels alone. So he is longing for home, and sad about it, but also wants to express how much he loves his home, all at the same time.

What does Tucker Mouse do right away that helps Chester feel better? How do you know Chester starts to feel better?

He talks to him and shares food with him, offering him kindness when he is scared and alone. Pg 333 “He was touched that a mouse he had known only a few minutes would share his food with him.”

How do we know that Tucker Mouse likes to eat? Cite specific words (quotes) from the story with page numbers

Pg. 334 Tucker Mouse moaned with pleasure at the thought of all that food.

“Imagine!” Tucker exclaimed, “Trapped under roast beef sandwiches! Well. There are worse fates.”


Cautiously means to do something in a very careful way. Why does Chester jump back into the matchbox and then cautiously lift his head and look behind him?

Chester sees a cat. He knows that cats and mice are natural enemies. “And directly between these forepaws, in the very jaws of his enemy, sat Tucker Mouse.”

What is Tucker’s reaction to seeing the cat? Did this surprise you?


Tucker says, “he’s my best friend. Come out from the matchbox.” Answers will vary, but students should make a reference to something earlier in the story if they say no, since their own knowledge would lead them to be surprised.

How does Chester make the chirping sound? What musical instrument is played in a similar way?

He rubs his wings together. A violin.

Harry the cat says, “Too bad you couldn’t have found more successful friends.”“They’re going broke fast. I fear for the future of this newsstand.”.Re-read this section. Why does he say this?

Successful people will have businesses that are money makers. “Going broke” means to not make money in the business.

He is worried for the future of the newsstand because the friends are not successful in business.



On page 342-343 – use the words and the picture: Once the three friends emerge from the drain pipe, what do they see and hear? Describe the scene in detail.

  • Towers seem like mountains of light in the night sky

  • Neon signs ere blazing
  • Reds, blues, greens and yellows flashed


  • Air was full of the roar of traffic

  • hum of human beings

  • The sight was to terrible and beautiful for a cricket

But what does Chester see as he looks up? How did it change the way he feels? How did you find this answer?

  • He sees a star that looks just like the star over Connecticut

  • “It made him feel better to think that there was one familiar thing” (Note to teacher: you should point out to your students how very much information they can get from the picture of this scene that takes up all of page 343)

List the events that start on the stump where Chester was sitting in Connecticut until he lands on the pile of dirt in the subway.

  • He falls asleep in a picnic basket and gets trapped under sandwiches.

  • He gets carried far from his stump when the family leaves to return to New York by car and then by train.

  • After the second train ride, he took a flying leap and he landed in a dirt pile in the subway station in Times Square.

  • He meets the Bellinis, Tucker, and Harry

They show him Times Square and the stars (334 and 344)

Vocabulary





KEY WORDS ESSENTIAL TO UNDERSTANDING

WORDS WORTH KNOWING

General teaching suggestions are provided in the Introduction


TEACHER PROVIDES DEFINITION

not enough contextual clues provided in the text



Wistfully

Fates


Venturing

Scrounging

Admiringly

Logical


Sympathetically

Lurch


Furiously

Forlornly

Cautiously

Refined


Leery


STUDENTS FIGURE OUT THE MEANING

sufficient context clues are provided in the text




Acquaintance


Eavesdropping

Excitable

Jumble

Neatness


Swallow

Successful

Frantic

Gradually




Culminating Tasks

  • Re-Read, Think, Discuss, Write

1. Trace or map out the places where Chester finds himself having an unexpected interaction with his setting. It should include the train ride in the picnic basket with the sandwiches as well as the setting in Times Square. In addition, trace or map out the interactions with his new acquaintances. Include his reaction to finding the same star in Times Square that also shines on his Connecticut stump. Then, write a paragraph after filling in the story map of Chester’s interactions with the setting. Find specific quotes from the story to support each part of the map. Use as many of the vocabulary words as possible. This could be a beginning sentence for the culminating task: “Chester the Cricket had a great adventure to Times Square. Here is his story…..” This activity also serves as a guide for how to do an effective summary.
Story Map of the Chester’s Travels Stop by Stop

1 Stump


2 jumped into the picnic basket and fell aslepp

3 carried to a car

4 carried to a train car

5 transferred to New York City subway train

At a subway station, he leaped out of the basket to a pile of dirt


Story Map of the acquaintances Cricket meets along the way

1. Bellini Family

2 Tucker the Mouse

3 Harry Cat



2. Generally, crickets, mice, and cats do not get along. Reread the story and quote specific parts of the text where Chester, Tucker and Harry show cooperation, sympathy, and sharing. Look back at the answers to the questions that were discussed to help you as well. Fill in the following chart. Then using this information, write a well-organized paragraph.


Cooperation

Sympathy

Sharing

Chester warns Tucker about Harry Cat before he realizes that they are friends.

Chester sees a cat. He knows that cats and mice are natural enemies. “And directly between these forepaws, in the very jaws of his enemy, sat Tucker Mouse.”


When Chester does not understand, Tucker explains what a “long-hair” is.



Tucker shows sad feelings for Chester that he misses his home and feels lost.

Harry the cat says, “Too bad you couldn’t have found more successful friends…They’re going broke fast. I fear for the future of this newsstand.”

Pg 337 Chester buried his head in the Kleenex. He didn’t want to see his new friend, Tucker, get killed.

Pg 342 When Chester is afraid that he will not get along in NY, Tucker mouse says “sure you will.” Then they take him to Times Square.



Tucker shares the liverwurst with Cricket. He talks to him and shares food with him, offering him kindness when he is scared and alone. Pg 333 “He was touched that a mouse he had known only a few minutes would share his food with him

336 “Don’t worry,” said Tucker . “I’ll fed you liverwurst. You’ll be all righat.



Additional Tasks

  • How can you apply these same characteristics shown by the cricket, mouse, and cat to your daily life with your classmates?

Cooperation

Sympathy

Sharing











  • Readers Theater: small groups may read aloud parts of The Cricket in Times Square for an audience. The roles could be Chester, then Tucker and Harry. Students need to focus on conveying the personalities and emotions of the characters through their expression, pitch phrasing, and tone. This contributes to their fluency skills.





  • On the Internet, find images of Times Square in the day, at night and on New Year’s Eve. Write a caption for each image.

Answer: Crowded streets, lots of people, neon signs, cabs, towers of buildings could be included in captions.

Note to Teacher

  • You can use the illustrations to help children get a sense of both of these settings and how different they are from one another. Have the students analyze the details in the two pictures that show setting.

  • There is a good deal of high value vocabulary in this chapter of The Cricket in Times Square. Make sure you build in time to point out and discuss the words from the vocabulary chart with your students. It would be well worth the additional time.

Name ______________________________________________ Date ________________


The Cricket in Times Square”


  1. Where are the animals when they first meet each other? What is it like there?



  1. What is Tucker Mouse like? What characteristics does Tucker Mouse have? Describe Tucker’s action that shows these characteristics.



  1. “Wistfully” is a beautiful word that means to think back on something that makes you sad. Why does the author say Chester was speaking “wistfully” when Tucker asked where his home was?



  1. What does Tucker Mouse do right away that helps Chester feel better? How do you know Chester starts to feel better?



  1. How do we know that Tucker Mouse likes to eat? Cite specific words (quotes) from the story where you get clues.


  1. Cautiously means to do something in a very careful way. Why does Chester jump back into the matchbox and then cautiously lift his head and look behind him?




  1. What is Tucker’s reaction to seeing the cat? Did this surprise you?



  1. How does Chester make the chirping sound? What musical instrument is played in a similar way?



  1. Harry the cat says, “Too bad you couldn’t have found more successful friends...They’re going broke fast. I fear for the future of this newsstand.” Re-read this section. Why does he say this?


  1. On pages 342-343, use the words and the picture: Once the three friends emerge from the drainpipe, what do they see and hear? Describe the scene in detail.



  1. What does Chester see as he looks up at the sky? How did it change the way he feels? List two ways you could have found this answer

1 This story is a “duplicate.” (It is found in other basals, as well.) This particular revision was completed by a teacher who uses a different basal, so the page numbers have been removed. This may require you to make some adjustments/add page numbers to some of the questions.






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