As You Read
To build appreciation for the fun of repetition and rhythm, invite six choral reading groups of three or four students to say the lines assigned to them as you come to those lines in the story-poem and point to the choral-reading group.
Ki-pat, whose cows
were so hungry and dry,
They mooed for the rain
to fall from the sky;
To green-up the grass,
all brown and dead,
That needed the rain
from the cloud overhead —
The big, black cloud,
all heavy with rain,
That shadowed the ground
on Kapiti Plain.
Guided Reading Questions
- What kinds of animals live on Kapiti Plain?
- Which animals are wild and which kind is domesticated? (The cattle)
- Why does Ki-pat feels such concern for the cattle? (He and his people depend upon cattle for milk, meat, leather, and so forth; Ki-pat's job is to care for the cattle; being domesticated, the cattle won't wander away in search of water as the wild animals do)
- How does the plain change after the rains come?
Personal Response Questions
Use the following questions to help your students make personal connections to the story:
- How do you feel when your hometown needs rain and a raincloud above just won't burst open?
- What part of this story seems like real-life? What part seems like make-believe? (Can an eagle-feather on an arrow really bring rain?)
- Why is an eagle — unlike, say, a chicken or a robin — a good symbol for rain? (Eagles are powerful, and fly high in the sky where the rainclouds are.)
- What story do you think Ki-pat tells his son about how to bring rain to Kapiti Plain?
Extending Geography Skills: The Climate of Our Region
Step 1: At the center of the board, place the words Climate in the (your region). On four spokes from the center, place the words Spring, Summer, Winter, Fall. Explain that climate means the usual kind of weather a region has at each season. Ask why Ki-pat waited so earnestly for rain. (Rainfall is scarce in all seasons on the plains of Kenya.)
Step 2: Invite four cooperative learning groups to choose a season, discuss the kind of weather and weather-related events expected in your region during that season, and then assign roles for making pictures and writing accompanying poems about the season to read chorally, using the book poem as a model.
Step 3: After groups have shared their pictures and poems with the class, post the finished work under the bulletin board labels. You may wish to record the groups' choral readings for students to listen to and discuss with a partner.
Science: Keeping Weather Records
Step 1: On poster paper, draw a calendar for this month, with space below each date for students to record facts about temperature, wind, and moisture. Invite volunteers to choose a day and collect and record the data through observation and by listening to local radio and TV weather reports. To build the concept that weather varies while climate is relatively constant, invite students to circle the days in which the reported weather conditions are expected during this month.
Step 2: Invite interested students to write and share a Weather Log to trace Ki-pat's experience.
|Grass is||Cattle are||No rain yet.|
|getting brown.||thirsty. Cloud||Wild animals|
|Sun is hot.||but no rain.||are leaving.|
Listening and Science: Being a Raindrop
Step 1: Ask students to close their eyes and use their imaginations as you tell a story about how a raindrop forms and reaches Ki-pat's plain. Embellish the story-summary below with details of your own. When you finish, invite students to draw pictures to show their own ideas about how the story concludes.
You are a tiny speck of dust, stuck on a leaf on a tree on the Kapiti Plain. Everything around you is dry — the land, the plants, the holes that used to be filled with water. You can hear the cattle mooing for water.
Here comes a dry wind! It blows you off your leaf and sends you high into the sky. You feel light as an eagle feather! Down below, you can see Kipat looking up at the sky, hoping for rain for the thirsty cattle.
Wow! Now things are getting bumpy! The wind has blown you into a cloud filled with millions of other specks of dust, and you are all bumping into one another. And you are getting wet, too! The cloud has water vapor in it, and the water is covering you and turning you into a raindrop! This cloud is getting very heavy and gray with you and all the other raindrops. Ki-pat is down there, looking up at the big, gray, heavy cloud, and scratching his head with worry, and hoping for rain.
Ouch! Ki-pat shoots his arrow right toward you into the cloud! Does the arrow do the trick, or is it that the cloud is so heavy with you and the other raindrops that you start to fall? Back to Kapiti Plain you go, surrounded by millions of other raindrops.
Literature and Creative Writing: Comparing Story Heroes
Step 1: If your students have read other stories or poems featuring heroes who have helped their land or people (for example, She-Who-Is-Alone in The Legend of the Bluebonnet), invite them to enact or draw story-strips in which the heroes meet and tell one another about their experiences.
Step 2: Suggest that the class watch the skits or study the stories to find out how the heroes are alike and how they are different. Likenesses and differences can be listed on a two-column chart.
Step 3: Invite interested students to write their own stories about heroes, referring to the “alike” column for ideas. Encourage students to think of real-life people they know or have heard about who are like the heroes in stories.