Since most of our posts relate to intermediate/middle grades I thought I would add my go to primary lesson. It’s only one lesson because it has three parts and can take up a bunch of time! I did this lesson on my first day of 100% teaching on my second practicum (grade 1/2) and it went so well that it became a regular in my TOC plans!

This lesson is based on the book “Children Make Terrible Pets” by Peter Brown. It is one of my favorites for drama activities because the main character is oh so dramatic!

Part 1
I make sure to hide the book from the kids because the title and picture would give away a key part of the lesson
For the first part of the lesson I do a drama activity called a Swish Story. A swish story is where you tell a story and have students silently act out parts of the story. The “swish” is the sound you make at a scene change when students head back to their seats. When I do the swish story for this lesson I use the characters names (Lucy and Squeaker) and tell the same story but I never give away any details about what species the characters are.

Swish Story example: One day Lucy (student stands up to be Lucy) goes for a walk in the forest (a couple students act out trees) when suddenly she hears Squeaker (student acts out squeaker) who was hiding in a bush (couple of students make a bush for Squeaker to hide behind)

The students really love acting out the Swish Story! I usually make it last about 20 minutes including the explanation and practice of a swish story.

Part 2
Next I have to students make guesses about what kind of creatures they think Squeaker and Lucy might be. I really encourage creativity here (I’ve had peacocks and fairies and everything in between!)

I give students a worksheet and they return to their desk to draw and color a picture of what they think Lucy and Squeaker look like.

This part usually takes about 15-20 minutes depending on how much detail you ask for in the drawing.

Part 3
Read aloud time! If you have spread these activities out throughout the day then students will be VERY excited to find out the real story. This part is simply reading it aloud but I always make sure that I add conversation about how our drawings weren’t right or wrong and just creative ideas. At the end of the story we have a discussion about pets (the story ends with foreshadowing about a new type of pet…)

As I said this is one of my favourite lessons to do and I’ve done it in grades 1, 2 and 3. I think the activities could easily be adapted to other stories as well and I would love to hear where you take the ideas! Please leave a comment or message me if you end up using this lesson!

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