I’ve been known to get carried away with connected texts, so this may not make sense for your classroom, or you could use these things on their own during a poetry or magical realism unit. I will be using them in conjunction with my students reading Love that Dog. One poem Jack (the main character) reads in his class is The Tyger by William Blake. He’s not a big fan of the poem because it’s confusing for him. I knew it would be confusing for my students, too, so I included a second page that has a short summary of each stanza.
If I were using this in a poetry unit, I would start by having the students read each stanza, think about it, and make their own interpretations before showing them this one. However, since we are focused on connecting with the meaning, this was a good choice for me.
When I taught magical realism a couple of years ago, we used a Stephen King story, Here There Be Tygers. In the story, a young boy is anxious about using the restroom and when he gets there, he discovers a tiger right next to the stalls! The story has a strong allusion to Wiliam Blake’s poem and because of its main character, I thought it was also a good connection to Jack in Love That Dog.
Full Text available when you click on the picture above.
It is a total of 9 pages with stopping points for the DRTA lesson.
To read the story, we will be doing a DRTA activity that will require students to make predictions and analyze their predictions as we go along. At the end, I’ve included a short answer response. Feel free to use this on its own, connected with the poetry study, or within a magical realism study (Gabriel García Márquez writes awesome magical realism short stories I would use in this unit, too!).
Another teacher and I collaborated on the follow-up questions for the short story. I like the questions because they guide the students through some deep thinking that they may not be able to do on their own. Because I’ll be doing this in relation to our book study, we will likely work on these questions as a group instead of individually.
I would follow these activities with some journal responses (which we will be doing throughout the book study). This would be a great time to compare the teachers in the two stories: Miss Stretchberry and Miss Bird.