Thursday, May 28, 2015

Where the Wild Things Are

published on: 2/28/2003

Contributing Teacher(s): Jennifer Thompson

Subject Area: Communication Arts/English Grammar/Usage

Grade Range: Lower Elementary (K-3)

Materials Needed: The book Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak, magazines, crayons, glue, construction paper, writing paper, pencils

Instructional Strategy: Prior Knowledge & Connections

Process Standards:

  • Goal 1.5 comprehend and evaluate written, visual and oral presentations and works
  • Goal 2.1 plan and make written, oral and visual presentations for a variety of purposes and audiences
  • Goal 4.1 explain reasoning and identify information used to support decisions

Content Standards:

  • Communication Arts 1. Speaking and writing standard English (including grammar, usage, punctuation, spelling, ...)
  • Communication Arts 2. Reading and evaluating fiction, poetry and drama
  • Communication Arts 5. Comprehending and evaluating the content and artistic aspects of oral and visual present...


    Time Allowance: Two 45-minute class periods

    Description: Students use their imaginations to create and describe their own wild thing while learning about adjectives. -- literature

    Classroom Component: Students use a character from the book Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak, to create their own "Wild Thing" and learn about adjectives by describing their creature. Lesson Description:

  • The teacher will read to the class Where the Wild Things Are. In this story Max has dreams/nightmares about wild things. He learns to like the wild things and has great adventures with them.
  • Discuss the wild things in the story. Has anyone ever had a dream with a wild thing? What did it look like? Tell students they are going to create their own wild thing using pieces of pictures and animals from magazines.
  • Hand out magazines and allow students time to search, cut out, and piece together a wild thing of their own.
  • The next class time begin by talking about their wild things. Allow a few students to share their wild things with the class. While they are telling about their wild thing, generate a list on the board of describing words. Discuss with the class that these words are called adjectives and they describe the wild thing to someone who has never seen it before.
  • Have students return to their seats and generate a list of adjectives that describe their animal.
  • Share the composed list with the entire class on a class list. This list can be displayed in the classroom as a reference when talking about describing words.
  • Extension:  Students could take their list of adjectives and create a describing paragraph about their wild thing. Students could create their own adventures with their wild thing in a fictional story. Assessment:  Students will be assessed from their list of adjectives. The class decided on a simple scoring guide. Scoring Guide: 4 points3 points2 points1 point
    8 or more very descriptive words about the wild thing
    6 to 9 descriptive words about the wild thing
    3 to 5 descriptive words about the wild thing
    0 to 3 descriptive words about the wild thing

    Comments From Another Teacher

    This is a great lesson based on a classic picture book. I will use this as a partnering activity with my primary students in my library and I''ll also pass it along to all the K-3 teachers in my school. Thank you for the great idea! It could also be extended to older grades, because junior and intermediate students would enjoy a review of adjectives presented in this way as well.

    Network Connection—feedback from other teachers using this lesson: A great way to adapt this lesson for upper elementary is to tie it in with art and descriptive paragraph writing. For homework you give each student 1/2 of a picture of some mythological creature or animal. Instruct them not to show or share picture with any other student. They are to draw the second half, and then make a list of 10 adjectives. Students are to return the picture and list in the enclosed envelope. Envelopes are randomly passed out for homework the following day (make sure students don''t get the envelope they had before). This time the student is to write a descriptive essay (3-5 paragraphs or even 1) about the creatures physical traits. The essay should end with Guess the Wild Thing? Place it back in the envelope along with the other stuff. Don''t share it with anyone. When students leave teacher place pictures on bulletin board not writing. The following day and days after the teacher or a student reads the description. Students try to! match the description to the picture. (Students may not reveal their answer regarding their essay. For closure have students reflect on the importance of clear concise adjectives and how they are essential in painting a visual picture.

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    For additional information contact :
    Jennifer Thompson
    Wyland Elem.
    (314) 493-6460

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