The Trumpet of the Swan CHARACTER TRAITS AND THEMES GRADES: 3 AND 4 OBJECTIVES GRADE LEVEL CONTENT EXPECTATIONS

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1 E.B. White CHARACTER TRAITS AND THEMES GRADES: 3 AND 4 Primary Character Trait: Work Ethic -Working hard and sustaining effort leading to feel good about a job well done Secondary Character Trait: Responsibility - Choosing to act in a way that takes care of oneself and contributes to the common good Optimism - Expecting good things today and in the future Kindness - Thinking and acting in ways that show you care Basic Need: Love and belonging The need for relationships, social connections, to give and receive affection and to feel part of a group OBJECTIVES The learner will: Develop a further understanding of the Character Traits: Work Ethic, Optimism, Responsibility, and Kindness Begin to develop an understanding of the 5 Basic Needs: specifically, Love and Belonging Understand on the literal and thematic level Make connections: Understand how the characters and events in the novel demonstrate the importance of a strong work ethic and responsibility Make connections between events and characters in to their own lives, and articulate those connections through speaking and writing Use effective communication and social skills in a class meeting format GRADE LEVEL CONTENT EXPECTATIONS Third Grade R.NT Identify and describe characters thoughts and motivations, story level themes (good vs. evil), main idea, and lesson/moral (fable). R.CM Connect personal knowledge, experiences, and understanding of the world to themes and perspectives in text through oral and written responses. R.CM Retell in sequence the story elements of grade-level narrative text and major idea(s) and relevant details of grade-level informational text. R.CM Compare and contrast relationships among characters, events, and key ideas within and across texts to create a deeper understanding; including a narrative to an informational text, a literature selection to a subject area text, and an historical event to a current event. 1

2 Fourth Grade R.CM Retell through concise summarization grade-level narrative and informational text. R.MT Self-monitor comprehension when reading or listening to text by automatically applying and discussing the strategies used by mature readers to increase comprehension including: predicting, constructing mental images, visually representing ideas in text, questioning, rereading or listening again if uncertain about meaning, inferring, summarizing, and engaging in interpretive discussions. R.MT Plan, monitor, regulate, and evaluate skills, strategies, and processes to construct and convey meaning (e.g., decoding unknown words) and use graphic organizers to deepen their understanding of compare/contrast, and sequential organizational patterns. W.GN Use the writing process to produce and present a research project using a teacherapproved topic; find and narrow research questions; use a variety of resources; take notes; and organize relevant information to draw conclusions. ESTIMATED TIME PARAMETERS One day More than one day Mini-unit RESOURCES Novel: by E.B. White PREREQUISITES Students have a working understanding of the Smart Six character traits: work ethic, optimism, responsibility and kindness, specifically. INTRODUCTION Lesson 1: Introduction to Trumpeter Swans Students will need access to a computer for this activity. If computers are not available, the teacher can print the pages and pass out copies to each student or group. It is important for students to have some background knowledge of Trumpeter Swans prior to reading the novel. This is a great research activity that will enrich students learning while they read. Pass out the attached Trumpeter Swan research page Instruct students to visit the website: Have students type in Trumpeter Swan in the search box Invite students to read through the information about Trumpeter Swans and fill in their research pages When finished, come back together as a group and go through the information on their pages As a class, create a Trumpeter Swan Information Page on chart paper or poster board to be displayed somewhere in the room American Literature 2

3 Lesson 2: Fictional Book Walk Each student should have a Reading Log/Journal as you begin these lessons. Introduce the novel,, to the class. Explain to the students that on the following day, they will be reading a book in which the main character is faced with a very difficult obstacle to try and overcome. Distribute a copy of the book to each student. Ask students to look at the front cover and read the summary on the back cover. Invite students to skim through the book, looking at the chapter titles and pictures. Have students write down one picture or title in the book that they would like to know more about. As a class, briefly discuss what the students wrote down. Lesson 3 INSTRUCTION Read aloud chapter one to the class. Have students follow along in their copies of the book. When finished, pass out the attached reading log/journal prompt sheet. Tell students that they will respond to the questions on the prompt sheet in their reading log/journal after the completion of each chapter. This will be similar to the diary Sam keeps in the story. At the end of the story, students will turn in their logs as part of the assessment for this novel. Continue this lesson with the following class meeting: Class Meeting: In chapter one, Sam goes exploring alone in the woods and marshes. This could be very dangerous if you are not prepared. Define: What types of items should every person have if they are going exploring? How do you use a compass? Personalize: Have you ever been exploring in the woods? If yes, where? Have you ever found something special while exploring that you kept a secret? Challenge: Would it be safer to go exploring alone in your neighborhood, or a camping area far from your home? Why? Lesson 4: Work Ethic Read aloud chapter two to the class. Have students follow along in their copies of the book. Explain to the students that work ethic is a huge theme throughout this novel. Have the students turn to page 15 in their books and follow along, as you review the excerpt from the fourth paragraph: 3

4 The female reached for grasses, for moss, for twigs-anything that was handy. Slowly, carefully, she built up the nest until she was sitting on a big grassy mound. She worked at the task for a couple of hours, Tell the students that in this section of the story, the female swan is working hard to make a nest. She has a good work ethic. You will notice many more times in the novel where other characters work very hard to accomplish goals. Continue this lesson with the following class meeting on work ethic. When finished, continue on with another assignment the students will have throughout the remainder of the novel. Class Meeting: Work Ethic Define: What does it mean to have a strong work ethic? What are some other words we use to describe people with a strong work ethic? (Answers may include: hard-working, conscientious, responsible, dependable, dedicated, etc.) Personalize: Who do you know that has a strong work ethic? How do you know? When have you demonstrated a strong work ethic? Challenge: What is good about having a strong work ethic? What s in it for you? Why would it be good for you to work hard when you are young, as opposed to enjoying yourself now and working hard later? Is there any down side of having a strong work ethic? Could someone have too strong a work ethic? Explain that while they read the rest of the novel, you are going to have the students keep a double entry journal, listing times in the book when you notice someone: 1) having a strong work ethic, 2) being optimistic, 3) being responsible or 3) demonstrating kindness. Pass out the attached double entry page and review the examples with the class. Lesson 5 End of reading Lesson Format: From here to the end of the reading, start each class with a journal entry, and vary other activities to suit the students and your needs. Here is a sample format: 1. Journal entry 2. Reading Quiz (optional) 3. Inquiring Minds Quad Reading Strategy (Classroom of Choice, pp ). Modify the strategy by having the questioner ask, in addition to other possible questions, Do you see an example of work ethic, responsibility, or kindness in this section? Students complete their double entry journals in groups of 4. OR Pair Reading, taking turns as reader, completing the double entry journals in pairs. American Literature 4

5 OR Read to the class OR Individual reading (in or outside of class) 4. Class Meetings focusing on helping them develop an understanding of the literal level of the novel and discussing the character traits of work ethic, responsibility, optimism and kindness. PERFORMANCE ASSESSMENT 1. Students response journal can serve as a comprehension assessment. 2. Students double journal entry can serve as an understanding of the character traits studied in the book. 3. Students can rewrite one of the chapters in the book, and tell it from Louis s perspective. 4. Assign each student a bird that is native to Michigan to research. Have students create a power point of this bird and share it with the class. 5. Have students create a skit of the book and perform it to younger classes. 5

6 American Literature 6

7 Reading Log/Journal Prompts Chapter three: A Visitor Do you feel the mother swan shows good work ethic in this chapter? How? What do you think would have happened to the eggs if the mother swan had been eaten by the fox? Why do you think that? Chapter four: The Cygnets Where in the chapter does the mother swan show optimism? What is the closest you have been to an animal in the wild? How did you feel? Chapter five: Louis In what ways are you different from others in your family? Explain. After Louis s talk with his father, he is sad but optimistic. Why is Louis optimistic about the future? Chapter six: Off to Montana How do Louis s feelings change throughout the chapter? Do you think the other birds in Montana will be nice to Louis when he gets there? If you were Louis, would you be nervous about this? Chapter seven: School Days Would you like to have a swan like Louis as a class pet? Why or why not? Do you think Louis will learn to read and write? If he does learn, do you think he will be able to communicate with his family? Why or why not? Chapter eight: Love What problem does Louis have in chapter eight? How do you think Louis s dad is going to get him a trumpet? Chapter nine: The Trumpet Did Louis s dad make a responsible decision? Why or why not? Do you think the trumpet will allow Louis to communicate with the other swans? How? Chapter ten: Money Trouble What responsible decision does Louis make in chapter ten? Name two ways that Sam is kind to Louis in chapter ten. Chapter eleven: Camp Kookooskoos How do you feel about Applegate Skinner? Why do you think you feel that way? Do you think anything bad will happen to Louis while he is at camp? Why or why not? 7

8 Chapter twelve: A Rescue Can you think of another way to have gotten the can off the skunk s head? Explain your solution. Do you think the kids were being kind to Applegate in this chapter? If you were in his tent, how would you have reacted when the kids started calling him names? Chapter thirteen: End of Summer What is the definition of plumage? Write the definition and use the word in a sentence. Chapter fourteen: Boston What does it mean to be in debt to someone? If you were in debt, what are some ways you could earn money to repay your debt? Do you think Louis has a good work ethic? Why or why not? Chapter fifteen: A Night at the Ritz Have you ever stayed in a hotel? What was it like? Where in the chapter does it show that Louis is still optimistic about Serena falling in love with him? How does he plan to make her fall in love with him? Chapter sixteen: Philadelphia What does the word pinioned mean? Do you think it is cruel to do that to a bird? Why or why not? Do you trust Mr. Lucas? Why or why not? Chapter seventeen: Serena What happens in this chapter? Write two questions in your journal that your classmates could answer from this chapter. Chapter eighteen: Freedom Do you think Sam s plan is a good one? Why or why not? Do you think the Head Man in Charge of Birds will accept Sam s offer? Why or why not? Chapter nineteen: A Talk about Money What do you want to be when you grow up? What are some things you will have to do to accomplish that goal? What are some things that you have saved up money for? How long did it take? Chapter twenty: Billings The cob went to repay the store owner even though he knew he could get shot. What does this say about his character? Do you think the store owner did the right thing by donating the extra money to the Audubon Society? Why or why not? American Literature 8

9 Chapter twenty one: The Greening Spring Did you like this novel? Why or why not? In the end, Louis is thankful for all the wonderful things in his life. What are some things you are thankful for, and why? 9

10 American Literature 10

11 Name Date Character Trait Double Journal Entry Character Trait (Work Ethic, Optimism Responsibility, Kindness) Example: Kindness Character, Actions and/or Quotations that demonstrate the trait. (with page numbers) Just as the fox was about to spring and sink his teeth into the swan s neck, a stick came hurtling through the air. (25) 11

12 American Literature 12

13 Name Date Trumpeter Swan Research Questions 1. What does a Trumpeter Swan look like when it is an adult? A baby? 2. Why did the number of Trumpeter Swans decrease between 1600 and 1800? 3. How long can Trumpeter Swans live? 4. How old are the swans when they typically find a mate? Do they stay together for life? 5. Where do they live? What do they eat? 6. What is a nest made out of? 7. How many eggs can they lay during mating season? After the eggs hatch, how long is it before they leave the nest? 13

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