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Grade: all
Subject: Literature

#4725. Matilda Madness

Literature, level: all
Posted 06/28/2013 by Victor Anderson (Victor Anderson).
University of Wyoming, Laramie, Wyoming, USA
Materials Required: Basic supplies, copy of Matilda
Activity Time: Two week thematic literature lesson
Concepts Taught: cause and effect, compare and contrast, character traits

Organization of content/ Instructional plan
Instructional Plan for a literature unit based on Dahl’s Matilda using Common Core standards:
Matilda Madness
Intended audience: Adjustable: Second or third grade when the novel is read aloud by the teacher; fourth or higher when the novel is read independently by the student. (The Common Core standards used are those from second grade.)
Intended time frame: Adjustable, but written for two weeks.
Materials: A class set of the novel Matilda is very useful but not absolutely necessary, chart paper and easel or Smart Board, Family Tree Handout, pictures of students and family members (arrange for these in advance, or allow student drawings), crayons, stick glue, and pencils.
DAY ONE: An introduction to Matilda.
CCSS: ELA Literacy RL 2.8: Recall information from experience or gather information from provided sources to answer a question.
CCSS ELA Literacy SL 2.1b: Build on others’ talk in conversations by linking their comments to the remarks of others.
1. Activate prior knowledge: Sample the responses of several volunteers to the following statement: “Tell me two facts you remember from Charlie (and the Chocolate Factory), George (‘s Marvelous Medicine) and the Twits.
2. Record student responses on a chart, or use a Smart Board.
3. Draw a large Venn diagram on the chart or Smart Board. Label, or have students label the chart with characteristics from previous stories.
4. Introduce the idea of “family.” Have several students describe their families. (You will need to monitor and guide this discussion! There is definitely an idea called TMI: Too much information!)
5. Read aloud (or have students read depending on differentiated needs or your grade level) the first two chapters of Matilda. For younger students, you may need to paraphrase some of the beginning of chapter one.
6. Talk about the characters introduced so far: Matilda, her brother, her parents, Mr. and Mrs. Wormwood, and perhaps Mrs. Phelps, the sensible librarian. Have several students work together to orally summarize the events for the class.
7. Remind students of the concept of “family.” Have a sample of students compare and contrast Matilda’s family to theirs.
8. Conclusion: Introduce the family tree activity. As students work on this project independently or in groups, confer with each group or student. Check for comprehension of story details by your informal observations.
9. As most students are working on the family tree project, select individuals (based upon the number of computers in your classroom) to take a Matilda Think quest pre test on-line. Record the results for use on day ten.
Day 2: Matilda’s Punishments
Audience and time frame: adjustable.
Materials: Charts and family trees from yesterday, cause and effect handout, Matilda.
CCSS ELA Literacy RL 2.8: Recall information from experience or gather information from provided sources to answer a question.
CCSS ELA Literacy RL 2.5: Describe the overall structure of a story including describing how the beginning introduces the story and the ending concludes the action.
1. Activate prior knowledge: Sample several students’ responses as they recall the story events.
2. Conduct a mini lesson on cause and effect including a brief review of the skill.
3. Give cause and effect pretest.
4. Read and discuss Matilda chapters 3 and 4.
5. In small groups or pairs, have students make a list of three ways Matilda’s parents punished her, and also, three ways she punished her parents!
6. Have groups or pairs share their lists in turns. The job of the audience is to link the punishments with the causes to reinforce the concept of cause and effect.
7. Sample several students to gain an informal observation of student’s knowledge of cause and effect; give posttest.
8. Sample students to recall details of the story. Give students a “sneak peek” at tomorrow’s chapters.
Days three and four: She did what?! A cooperative learning lesson.
CCSS ELA Literacy RL 2.8: Recall information from experience or gather information from provided sources to answer a question.
CCSS ELA Literacy SL 2.2: Recount or describe key ideas or details from a text read aloud or information presented orally or through other media.
CCSS ELA Literacy RL 2.3: Describe how characters in a story respond to major events and challenges.
Audience and time frame: adjustable but will probably require two days to complete the rotations.
Materials: multiple highlighters in at least three colors, printed excerpts from Matilda, chart paper or Smart Board.
1. Sample students to recall story events.
2. Read and discuss Matilda, chapters 5,6
3. Use existing cooperative learning groups or form small groups randomly.
4. Each group will have four members with the following assigned jobs: Reader, Highlighter, Reporter, and Checker (for understanding). You may assign jobs purposefully for example, chose a strong reader to be the “Reader” or conversely, chose a weak reader to be “Reader”- this will provide the student with a protected environment in which to practice and improve. (Teacher group choices are an opportunity to differentiate instruction.)
5. Each group will examine an excerpt from Matilda, decide upon through discussion and mark the “main idea” of the assigned excerpt.
6. The groups will rotate. At the next station, the group will examine the previous group’s designation of the main idea, discuss, and either concur or select the main idea. Then, this group will highlight a detail which supports the main idea.
7. The rotation will continue until the group is back at its home. The group will review the highlights and work of other the other groups. The reporter will share the final results with the entire class.
Day 5: What have we learned so far? A review day.
Audience, time, and materials: adjustable.
CCSS ELA Literacy SL 2.2: Recount or describe key ideas or details from a text read aloud or information presented orally or through other media.
CCSS ELA Literacy SL 2.5: Create audio recordings of stories or poems, add drawings or other visual displays to stories or accounts of experiences when appropriate to clarify ideas, thoughts, and feelings.
CCSS ELA Literacy RL 2.1: Ask and answer such questions as who, what, when, where, and how to demonstrate understanding of key details in a text.
1. Sample students’ understandings of cause and effect, main idea and details.
2. As students recall major events in the story, record their responses on chart paper or use the Smart Board.
3. Reread excerpts from the story based on student requests.
4. Have students retell their favorite parts, noting causes and effects and key story details.
5. Have students attempt the Matilda Think quest questionnaire on line as a longitudinal check of understanding.

Day Six: Help me remember! A Monday Lesson
Audience and time: adjustable.
Materials: Chart paper or Smart Board, Compare and contrast handout or Venn diagram, sentence strips.
CCSS ELA Literacy W 2.8: Recall information from experiences or gather information from provided sources to answer a question.
CCSS ELA Literacy SL 2.1b: Build on others’ talk in conversations by linking their comments to the remarks of others.
1. This lesson should fall on a Monday, so it is very important to carefully recall the story events thus far. Use paper charts or saved Smart Board charts from previous lessons to reinforce an oral retelling.
2. Sample students’ understanding of comparing and contrasting. Elicit student examples by giving simple examples such as Day/Night, or Baseball/Football.
3. Read and discuss the next Matilda chapter.
4. Miss Honey and Ms. Trunchbull lend themselves well to a compare and contrast lesson. Have students describe Miss Honey: sweet, thoughtful, caring, etc. and Ms. Trunchbull: mean, violent, unhinged, etc.
5. Divide the class into two groups. The first group will write descriptions of Miss Honey on sentence strips. (This may also be done in cooperative groups with assigned jobs.) The other group will write descriptions of Mrs. Trunchbull on sentence strips. The group reporters or an assigned student will mix up the sentence strips and pass them out to classmates.
6. Individual students will read their sentence strips, and place their sentence strip under the correct individual’s name. (Smart Board or Chart paper Venn Diagram)
7. Regroup students and sample students’ understanding of compare and contrast.

Days seven and eight: Write about it!
Audience and time: adjustable.
Materials: All previous charts and excerpts posted about the room, materials from you district’s writing series: i.e. Four Square Writing, Six Trait Writing, etc.
CCSS ELA Literacy W 2.3: Write narratives in which they recount a well elaborated event or short sequence of events include details to describe actions, thoughts, and feelings, use temporal words to signal event order, and provide a sense of closure.
CCSS ELA Literacy W 2.8: Recall information from experiences or gather information from provided sources to answer a question.
1. Review charts and excerpts from previous lessons, sample student understanding of story elements and character traits.
2. Use your district’s procedure to prepare a pre writing experience. Develop a topic as a group writing experience. You may concentrate on one of the six traits, or emphasize several, depending upon your students’ needs. However, this portion of the lesson, or this day seven, should be a group writing effort using every step of your district’s writing process. Share the finished product.
3. Have volunteers read the sections they worked on.
4. (Usually) Day eight: Have students consider the following topic for discussion and writing: “Matilda can move objects with her mind! What super power would you want? Include in your writing why you might want this power and what you would be able to do with your new power.
5. Direct students through your district’s writing procedure, include a revision and a final product. Differentiate the procedure for those who need accommodations such as peer writing or transferred responses.
6. If time allows, have students share their work. Early finishers may illustrate themselves using their new power.
Day nine: Make and Take!
Audience, Time: adjustable.
Materials: varied. You may chose in advance to have students bring old clothing and items for dress up. You may use pre- printed story bookmakers (for example, foldables) or simply construction paper, crayons, markers, scissors, and stick glue; you will need the excerpts from day three.
CCSS ELA Literacy SL 2.5: Create audio recordings of stories or poems, add drawings or other visual displays to stories or accounts of experiences when appropriate to clarify ideas, thoughts, and feelings.
CCSS ELA Literacy RL 2.3: Describe how characters in a story respond to major events and challenges.
1. Review story characteristics, characters. By now students might realize the larger themes of good vs. evil or children vs. adults in Matilda. Point out these themes and encourage discussion.
2. Read the next chapter. (Depending on your students’ needs and time constraints, you should be within the last two chapters.)
3. Using cooperative learning groups, pairs, triads, individual or whole group instruction, model the construction of a Matilda booklet. Have students complete booklets or projects which illustrate one of the objectives covered during the unit. Share finished products.
4. (The next activity would probably work better in pairs.) Divide students into two groups. Have students use old clothing to dress up as a character from the story.
5. Have the students use the excerpts from days three and four to role play the characters’ actions in those excerpts.
6. Give pairs or groups the opportunity to express their understanding of their character’s traits by having them improvise material and make assumptions as to what their characters would do or say in a given situation. (You may make up situations for them to draw randomly “from a hat” or you may allow a more creative situation with prompts the other groups orally provide.)
Day ten: Wrap it up!
Audience and time: adjustable.
Materials: All finished products from days 1-9, chart paper or Smart Board, computers for on line work.
CCSS ELA Literacy RL 2.3: Describe how characters in a story respond to major events and challenges.
CCSS ELA Literacy RL 2.8: Recall information from experience or gather information from provided sources to answer a question.
1. Using previous charts, or saved information from Smart Board, have sample students take turns retelling the major events in Matilda. You may want to construct a time line as you record student responses.
2. Have students who haven’t yet presented their projects, stories or foldables present their work.
3. As a class, orally compare the novel Matilda to other Dahl works the class has previously read.
4. Ask students to use Matilda, pick one other Dahl work, and complete a Venn diagram describing these works.
5. As other students are working on this, have a group of four (Based on the number of computers in your class) complete the on line Matilda Think quest.
6. When most students are finished with both these activities, sample one person from each group (possibly the recorder) and interview these students for understanding of unit goals.