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Lesson Plan: Three Billy Goats Gruff
a lesson plan for all learners, with technology options

Grade level(s): pre-K and K

Subject(s): Early Literacy, Reading

National Standards:
NCTE/IRA Standards for the English Language Arts*

APPLYING LANGUAGE SKILLS Students use spoken, written, and visual language to accomplish their own purposes (e.g., for learning, enjoyment, persuasion, and the exchange of information).

APPLYING KNOWLEDGE Students apply knowledge of language structure, language conventions (e.g., spelling and punctuation), media techniques, figurative language, and genre to create, critique, and discuss print and nonprint texts.

Introduction:
Building confidence is absolutely necessary to inspire young children to read.  It also builds pre-reading skills: the child uses different strategies to make meaning from print, retells a story including many details, draws connections between story events, makes letter-sound connections, and makes judgments on words and texts.  Children with special needs or those who struggle with reading are more than likely not demonstrating mastery in pre-reading skills.

Objective(s):
Students will make a book.
Students will read book with peers and parents.

Materials:

  • Three Billy Goats Gruff (with repetitive phrases). We used Three Billy Goats Gruff by Paul Galdone,
    ISBN-13: 9780899190358. See technology options for some online versions, if your library does not have it, but print copies are ideal. Note: another very simple, repetitive story could be substituted.
  • Book Materials and art/craft supplies
  • Cutouts of 4 repetitive phrases (use fun fonts and color to distinguish each phrase)- enough copies for each student
  • Rating sheet for parents
  • Parent volunteers or other adult helpers (2) for small group (high school volunteers would work, too)

Anticipatory Set:
Gather the students around in one place on the floor.  Read to them a classic version of The Three Billy Goats Gruff (the key to this activity is the level of repetition within the story).  Ask questions of the children: predict what will happen next with them, and point to the characters who are using the key phrases "Trip, trap, trip, trap" and "Who's that trapping over my bridge?". Different versions of the story have slightly different phrases, so adapt for the version you have.

Procedure:

  1. Tell the children they will make their own Three Billy Goats Gruff story at the end of the week each time you read the story (as described above). 
  2. You must read the story everyday.  Encourage the kids to say the repetitive parts of the story with you every time. 
  3. On the fourth day of the week, the kids will begin to make their own story.  Use 4 or 5 pages of the story: the goats yearning for greener grass, the goats each tromping over the bridge with the ogre, and lastly, enjoying the green grass. (This step will also work on interactive whiteboard with an interactive book- see tech options).
  4. (Also see tech options) How you make this story is completely up to you and the level of your students.  It is extremely important that this book is not simply a coloring sheet, but something each child creates, whether it is on a computer or through various art materials.  For younger kids, draw a bridge on one page and use yarn to decorate the grass, toothpicks on another to build the bridge, and cotton balls for clouds.  Provide cut-outs for the three goats and ogre for each page, allowing them for glue wherever they chose.  Having parent helpers or other volunteers would be very beneficial at this time, regardless of what you decide to do.
  5. After the book is put together, divide the children into small groups.  Talk to them about the book they made. Encourage them to talk about the characters, what each says, and the events and details of the story. 
  6. (Also see tech options) Using cutouts of repetitive phrases, hold up a phrase and ask the kids who says it, tell them to place it above that character’s head in their book. Do this with all of the repetitive phrases. There can be more than one to a page, but only four total phrases should be used throughout the book.  Keep the text strictly to the repetitive phrases!
  7. Model reading the book for the group —include pointing under each word, making funny voices, pointing out some of the letters you see, and modeling the sound that goes with it.  (This step will also work on interactive whiteboard with an interactive book- see tech options).
  8. Have the children practice reading to each other.
  9. For homework, tell the children to take their books home and read them to their parents.  Parents should fill out the rating sheet that demonstrates their child’s ability to read from memory, talk about other details from the story and possibly identify any letters in their story.  This will give you a good idea of their pre-reading skills.

Assessment:
Student created a book and placed the phrases above the characters during group reading. Parent checklist completes the assessment. If parents are not available/willing to help, provide an opportunity for each child to head with a volunteer adult listener.


Technology options and tips:

A. Book Creation (step 4) as a PowerPoint Big Book (computer MUST have PowerPoint software)
If you have an interactive whiteboard, you can demonstrate computer skills there.

  1. Use template: Paint Slide with Speech Bubbles (RIGHT-click on this link and Save Target as to download the file and save it on your computer).
  2. The last two pages of the template contain speech bubbles (customizable to the story version you read to your class) and clip art to finish the book pages.
  3. Open and do a SAVE AS of the template, naming the file for each student's name. Supervise this save process carefully or do it in advance for the students. The remaining steps should be done by students.
  4. Type the student name at the bottom.
  5. Add the title of the story the book is adapted from. Save.
  6. Open Microsoft Paint by double clicking on the white rectangle on slide 2.
  7. Have student use the paint tools to draw the background for the book page. If students have no prior experience with Paint, plan to have them practice using the Paint tools before creating the background. SAVE.
  8. Duplicate the background slide (slide 2) for each page of the book. Save.
  9. Copy/paste clip art and speech bubbles from the final two slides, dragging and placing on each page as appropriate. Save.
  10. SAVE often!
  11. Remember to delete the clip art and speech bubble slides and SAVE again before printing.

More sophisticated option: Duplicate slide 2 for each page of the story. Open Paint on each page and have students illustrate the entire story (background, goats and troll).

B. Interactive Whiteboard and Projector Activity
Use template: Billy Goats Gruff Interactive Whiteboard (computer MUST have PowerPoint software)
RIGHT-click on the link and Save Target as to download the file and save it on your computer.

Students will drag the sentences below the character who said the phrase (Be sure to adapt the phrases to match your version of the story).

Spread the phrases out on the slide and print one copy for each student. Have students cut the phrases and characters out. Paste the phrases under the characters on another sheet of paper or use them in student books

C. Use an online version of the story: Note that this experience is different from developing appreciation for actual books. If possible, make the tactile book experience as "real" as possible.

This online version has animation and audio, but the experience will not be the same as using an actual book. You could read to the circle from this version on an interactive whiteboard. Or use this web page and audio version on your interactive whiteboard. Alternatively, you can download the audio version and allow students to play it on headphones at your class computer for additional auditory repetition as they look at printed images you provide.

D. Interactive Book option
Steps 3-7 could be done as an interactive book, such as using a free online tool called Bookemon. Use a class-created Bookemon book on an interactive whiteboard as a whole-class activity that can be accessed at home and on a classroom computer center. See TeachersFirst's review of Bookemon to learn how it works. The teacher could start the book illustrations, then show it in class on interactive whiteboard to finish it, with the students telling you what words would go with the pictures and moving the page arrangements around on the whiteboard with their fingers. The finished online “book” would be accessible by URL on the classroom computer for re-reading and from home for practice. You might want to do one book the "traditional" way and a second story interactively to increase reader confidence and love for reading.


Standards for the English Language Arts, by the International Reading Association and the National Council of Teachers of English, Copyright 1996 by the International Reading Association and the National Council of Teachers of English.  Reprinted with permission.

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