Subject Area: Language Arts, Holidays (Christmas), Social Studies
Reading Level: 2.5
In a series of interconnected stories, the creatures of Stevenson's popular Mud Flat prepare for Christmas.
Reading this series of interconnected Christmas stories, children will learn about how authors use characters as a literary element and the ways in which friends interact and influence each other.
Standard: Children will gain an understanding of conflict, cooperation, and interdependence among individuals, groups, and institutions.
Which Character Am I?
Stevenson fills his books with unique and lovable characters. With which characters do your students identify?
- After reading the book, make a list of the characters on your blackboard.
- With the students help and suggestions, write a very short (a few words) description of each character. Focus on personality (shy, brave, funny) rather than on physical appearance.
- Talk about ways in which the characters are alike and the ways they are different.
- Ask your students to pick the animal with which they most closely identify.
- As a class discuss the students' choices. Was one character chosen more often than others? Talk about the special perspective and distinct qualities that each student brings to your classroom. Find something praiseworthy about each individual.
Help students to understand that each person matters using this fun activity.
- Make character dominoes based on the animals in Christmas at Mud Flat. Make photocopies of each character in the book and affix them to the front of regular dominoes.
- Divide your class into small groups, with four or five students in each group.
- Provide each group, or team, with a set of dominoes.
- Ask each team to build a tower, or other leveled structure, with the dominoes.
- Then, one group at a time, have one member of the team remove one supporting domino. Have the rest of the class gather to watch. When the structure topples, talk about how important each of us is to the group as a whole; that we all rely on one another.
Other Books with Interdependent Characters
Henry and Mudge series
by Cynthia Rylant
Henry (the boy) and Mudge (the dog) are best friends who rely on each other. Join their adventures through the seasons and in all sorts of situations in these charming stories.
By Marc Brown
Friends and family surround Arthur — everyone's favorite aardvark. Each book features an event or adventure in which the characters learn from and about each other.
Other Mud Flat Books by James Stevenson
Heat Wave at Mud Flat
Mud Flat April Fool
The Mud Flat Mystery
The Mud Flat Olympics
Mud Flat Spring
Teaching plan written by Rebecca GÃ³mez