Fritz and the Beautiful Horses Lesson Plan
- Grades: PreK–K, 1–2
About this book
These activities are taken from Teaching with Favorite Jan Brett Books available from Scholastic Professional Books.
In Fritz and the Beautiful Horses by Jan Brett, the citizens do not let Fritz into the walled city because they do not consider him beautiful. Yet he is gentle, kind, surefooted, and hard working. Through an act of bravery and heroism, he proves that there is more to him than meets the eye.
Beautiful Is. . .
Introduce the story with a quick-write in which students define what they think beautiful means. Together, look up the word in a dictionary. Let students compare their definitions with the dictionary definition.
Create a mini-dictionary to familiarize children with the horse-related vocabulary used in the book. Review the words.
- Give each child a copy of the Horse Mini-Dictionary (PDF), and review the words.
- Invite students to name other words that relate to horses—for example, stable and saddle. After reading the story, students can choose a new word about horses to add to page six of their dictionaries. Have them draw and label a picture and write a definition.
- Have students color and cut out the pages, then staple them together in alphabetical order. Read the book together.
Use the story to further explore the concept of beautiful and to make connections to character, theme, and point of view.
- Ask students to decide whether they think Fritz is beautiful based on their definition of the word (see Before Reading, “Beautiful Is...”).
- Write the following sentence starters on the chalkboard and have students choose one to complete:
- Fritz is beautiful because ________________________________ .
- Fritz is not beautiful because ________________________________ .
- Discuss Fritz’s character as it relates to the theme of the story. Ask:“How has reading the story changed your point of view? What would you add to or remove from your definition of beautiful? Can your definition and someone else’s both be right?”
Beauty Boxes (Social Studies and Language Arts)
Use this lesson to reinforce the use of adjectives and to explore the idea that beauty can be found inside and out.
- Elicit adjectives from students that describe Fritz, such as gentle, kind, and surefooted. Write each word on a slip of paper.
- Place the words in a box covered with plain brown paper and show it to students. Explain that although this package may not be wrapped beautifully on the outside, it’s what’s inside that really counts. Unwrap the package and read the adjectives aloud.
- Give each student a box. Invite students to write adjectives that describe them on the “inside” (such as kind and curious). Let students decorate their boxes—for example, with a picture of themselves. Encourage children to “look inside” to get to know their classmates and friends better.
Hands-On Measuring (Math)
A horse’s height is measured by the width of a human hand, with the standard being 4 inches, or 10 centimeters. Use this information as the basis for exploring nonstandard and standard measurement.
- Share the following information about measurements for a pony and a horse: pony: fewer than 14.2 hands horse: 14.2 hands or more
- Give each child a copy of the Hands-On Measuring sheet (PDF).Guide students in tracing and measuring their own hand, as well as using their hand and a ruler to measure objects in the classroom.Follow up by letting students share measurements taken with their hands and those taken with rulers. How do they compare?
- Use results to lead a discussion about the value of standard measurement.
Word Study: Giddyup! (Language Arts and Movement)
How many verbs can students name that tell how horses move? Use this lively activity to explore this part of speech.
- Share examples from the book, such as gallop, prance, leap, and buck.
- Encourage students to name others, such as trot and canter. List them on a chart.
- Work together with students to define each verb. Let students take turns choosing one to act out while the class guesses what it is.
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Poor old Charlie! Mr. Spinks has retired him to a small field, and he misses his days as a workhorse. Discover how Charlie finds himself a new job and feels important once again.
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Each two-page spread features photographs, diagrams, and short paragraphs that teach children how to care for a pony.