Just a Dream
Written by: Chris Van Allsburg
Illustrated by: Chris Van Allsburg
Walter was a young boy that was not concerned about the environment. One night when he fell asleep he went to places in the future that showed the effects of being careless. When he returned home he changed the way he acted and become more conscientious.
Strategy Instruction Possibilities
· Use prior knowledge to connect with text:
o After reading the first four pages ask students about some ways that Walter was not being environmentally responsible. Ask them if there were ever times they acted like Walter, not recycle or littered themselves. Have them share with a partner about what they think happens when you don’t recycle or litter.
o Read the next two pages and ask students if they ever lived in the future. Have them turn and talk to their partner about what they would like to see the future be like.
o After every different place Walter visits stop and ask students if they have ever seen anything similar to the places Walter visits in his dream. Ask students how they would feel living in the places he visits; dump, tree, toothpick company, medicine company, Mt. Everest, ocean, freeway, Grand Canyon, and flying with the ducks. (alternate between partner share and whole class discussion):
o After reading about the tree Walter planted for his birthday ask the students if they have ever planted a tree, or plant. How did that make them feel watching it grow?
o After Walters journey back into the future at the end of the story the future looks very different. Ask students if this is how they would like their future to look. Partner share some ways they have learned to help the environment so their future can look like that.
· Make and adjust predictions, use text to confirm:
o Students will make predications after taking a picture walk through the entire story.
o As a class we will discuss predications that students make.
o After page 4 students will discuss their predictions and compare them to the ones they had at the beginning of the story.
o After Walter wakes back up again after all the places he visits students will discuss their predictions again and compare them to the ones they made at the beginning of the book and after page 4.
· Check for understanding.
o Ask “who” and “what” questions throughout the story.
· Cross checking… do the pictures and/or words look right? Do they sound right? Do they make sense?:
o Review the body movements that go with this strategy. When coming to difficult words stop and make sure the word makes sense. For example the following words may cause some confusion (especially for second language learners):
bulldozer, dump, smokestack, snowshoes, highway, haze, smog, flock,
· Skip the word, then come back:
o When coming to words in the story that may cause the student difficulty, model skipping the word and then reading the rest of the sentence. Then go back and fit in what words might make sense using context clues. Model making sure the word and the sounds match.
· Read text as the author would say it, conveying the meaning or feeling:
o Model reading with intonation and expression. Then show the students how the author wrote the book so that you know how to read it with expression. There is a lot of conversational parts to the story that show how punctuation marks help the writer convey how the writer wants their story to sound. The following are good examples to point out to students, however there are more on every page.
§ “Do people live here?” he asked.
§ “Stop!” he yelled
§ But not for long…
· Use punctuation to enhance phrasing and prosody (end marks, commas, etc.):
o While reading point out to students how punctuation marks help the reader know when to slow down, speed up, or change their intonation. The examples above will work when modeling this strategy, or there are some more below.
§ “What is this place?” Walter called out.
§ But then…
§ “Ship ahoy!” Walter shouted.
· Tune into interesting words and use in speaking and writing:
o This book has a lot of great descriptive word choices. Discuss the words and their meanings with students and have them put them in them in their personal dictionaries.
§ Dumped, bulging, quality, belched, enormous, drifting, shrieking, creeping, suspected, waddled
· Use word parts to determine the meaning of words (prefixes, suffixes, orgins, etc):
o Point out to words ending with –ed. For example dump(ed), belch(ed), suspect(ed). Make a list of the words as you go through the story and discuss how it changes the word to the past tense.
o Point out words ending in –ing. For example bulg(ing), drift(ing), shriek(ing). Talk to students about how sometimes you drop the –e and add –ing and other times you just add –ing onto the base word. Also discuss how it makes the word an action word, or adjective that describes.