“The Little Scarecrow Boy”
by Margaret Wise Brown
Fall is in the air, my favorite time of year! School begins, and the students are eager to learn.
Capture their enthusiasm with an engaging picture book, while teaching some of the important pre-writing concepts that serve as the foundation for narrative writing. Margaret Wise Brown’s classic autumn tale, “The Little Scarecrow Boy” is a marvelous jumping off point for foundational writing instruction in the primary grades.
The down-loadable lesson touches into two critical skills – summarizing and what we refer to as ‘what feelings look like’. As always, we recommend that teachers help students to summarize the stories they read, as this helps expose the basic elements of story – character, setting, problem, solution. The process also informs their prewriting.
In addition, students will have a chance to create their own paper plate scarecrow faces that illustrate powerful feelings. The fun begins with a pantomime parade of the fiercest faces in the class. As the children show off their scary expressions, adding words to the facial features introduces students to the concept of ‘show vs. tell.’ Often times, children use a list of adjectives to describe how they’re feeling, such as scary, fierce, bad, frightening, creepy, and a host of other adjectives. By showing what those feelings look like, a vivid description replaces the list. For example, his eyes were popping out of his head and his arms stretched out wide. Using this technique in writing helps craft believable, memorable characters.
The students’ sample writing and scarecrow artwork make a fresh new bulletin board to show-off their writing skills and creativity.