Swamp Angel Activities (cont.)

Swamp Angel

Written by
Anne Isaacs
Illustrated by
Paul O. Zelinsky

Page created by Katie Alexander and Lori Rever
Concordia University Wisconsin

A. Anticipation Activities

Activity #1:
  • (Wisconsin Model Standard: A.4.1. Use effective reading strategies to achieve their purpose in reading. Comprehend reading by using strategies such as activating prior knowledge, establishing purpose...)

Before reading **Swamp Angel** with the class, find out what students already know about tall tales. Have them brainstorm what they already know about tall tales. They can include factual information about tall tales, or can merely list other tall tales that they have read (Tall tales are like folk tales, **Paul Bunyan** and **Pecos Bill** are tall tale characters, etc.). This will get them thinking about characteristics of tall tales and allow them to point many out in the story. If they do not know a lot about tall tales, have them write down questions or other thoughts in the next section of the chart. After the story is done, make sure to have the students revisit the KWL chart and write down what else they learned about tall tales. This could even be done as part of the consolidation activities.

*Created using Kidspiration:

Activity #2:
  • (Wisconsin Model Standard: A.4.3 Read and discuss literary and nonliterary texts in order to understand human experience. Demonstrate the ability to integrate general knowledge about the world and familiarity with literary and nonliterary texts when reflecting upon life's experience.)

In **Swamp Angel** , the students will get to hear how the main character in the story caused a **constellation** shaped like a bear to form in the sky. Though the story is a tall tale, this constellation is real! It is called **Ursa Major** (shown above) which means "Great Bear" in Latin. When studying the stars, many civilization believed this formation of stars looked like a bear. The Big Dipper is actually part of **Ursa Major** (point this out to the kids)! Have the students look at the picture above and ask them:
  1. Taking away the picture and looking only at stars and lines connecting them, does the constellation actually look like a bear? Does it look like something else to you?
  2. Make a prediction about how the constellation will be introduced in the story. How will the main character cause this constellation to be formed?

B. Building Knowledge

Activity #1:
  • (Wisconsin Model Standard: A.4.2 Read, interpret, and critically analyze literature. Recognize and recall elements and details of story structure, such as sequence of events, character, plot, and setting, in order to reflect on meaning.)

While reading the story or directly afterwards, have students work on a character web for the main character of the story, Angelica "Swamp Angel" Longrider. This chart will help them organize their thoughts about the character and pick out specific examples from the text to support their ideas.

*Created using Kidspiration:

Activity #2:
  • (Wisconsin Model Standard: A.4.2 Read, interpret, and critically analyze literature. Recognize and recall elements and details of story structure, such as sequence of events, character, plot, and setting, in order to reflect on meaning.)

Below is a ****VoiceThread**** that challenges students to collect evidence from the text to prove **Swamp Angel** is truly a tall tale. Each students is asked to read a sentence or two from the text and describe why it an unbelievable element in the story. This would be a great way to reinforce the idea of a tall tale and require students to prove their understanding! An example is given from the story involving the naming of the Great Smoky Mountains. Students could be asked to go back and search once they have already finished the story. If you do not want to do this, you could even have them collect these examples as they read.

C. Consolidation

Activity #1:
  • (Wisconsin Model Standard: A.4.2 Read, interpret, and critically analyze literature. Summarize ideas drawn from stories, identifying cause-and-effect relationships, interpreting events and ideas, and connecting different works to each other and to real-life experience)

As a closing activity, the students can create their own tall tale! This would allow them to put what they have learned about tall tales into practice. Using an example from their own life, students would follow the instructions below and write a short story (2-3 paragraphs) in the space below. These stories would include exaggerations and other characteristics of tall tales.
*Created using Kidspiration:

Activity #2:
  • (Wisconsin Model Standard: A.4.1 Use effective reading strategies to achieve their purposes in reading. Identify a purpose for reading, such as gaining information, learning about a viewpoint, and appreciating literature.)

For another consolidation activity, have students watch the **Smilebox** below which showcases several other tall tales. As each book goes by, say a sentence a two about the book for the students that simply states the basic plot or describes the main character. If possible, have several copies of each book (or other tall tales) and have students form groups to read their selected choice. Possible tall tales include **Steamboat Annie** by Catherine Wright, **Pecos Bill** by Steven Kellogg, and **Paul Bunyan** by Steven Kellogg. For each book shown in the Smilebox, a question is given about each book. These are basic questions about the plot or character of the book. Each group would have to design a poster (or if possible, their own **Smilebox** ) to showcase their newly discovered tall tale! These creations could be presented to the whole class. As a final discussion, discuss with the students similarities between all the tale tales!
Click to play this Smilebox slideshow: Tall Tales!
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