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On an Adventure with The Witches by Roald Dahl
Roald Dahl’s imaginative stories capture the attention of elementary students. In his book, The Witches, Roald Dahl takes children an adventure they will love. Like most of Roald Dahl's stories, the characters are richly described and have unusual traits. In this story the grandmother smokes big, black cigars and the kitchen staff spits in cranky customers food before serving it. These and other little details make the book a fun read aloud choice. Extend story time with fun creative writing activities that will get the class room buzzing with excitement.
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What Would Your Mother Say?
Grandmother took the news of her grandson’s unfortunate transformation much better than Bruno’s mother and father. Have the students describe how they believe their own parents would react if they came home as a mouse. How would they break the news? Would their parents be understanding? Would they scream? Where would they sleep? Describe a typical day as a mouse in their own home. Do they have a cat at home?
Take this a step farther and have the students explain and illustrate a part of their parents reaction or the possible problems they might face as a mouse child in their own home.
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Write a Recipe
The Grand High Witch created Formula 86 Delayed Action Mouse-Maker using the wrong end of a telescope, tails from 45 brown mice and an alarm clock, plus a variety of parts from unusual creatures.
Following the example of the potion made by the Grand High Witch, have the students write a potion for turning a mouse back into a boy using common objects and some make-believe creature parts. Encourage them to have a title, list of ingredients and the amounts and include instructions for preparing their potion.
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Write a Sequel
The grandmother reveals a plan to eliminate all the witches with her grandson’s help. Have the students write a follow-up to the ending using the information given in the last chapter. After the little mouse-boy makes it into the castle of the Grand High Witch, what happens next? Encourage the students to create a new character, someone who either helps, or hinders the grandmothers plan.
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Become Newspaper Reporters
The events that took place in The Witches would make for shocking front page news. As a class, create a newspaper that follows the happenings in the book.
- Name the newspaper. Vote on the best name for the newspaper from the ideas generated in a classroom discussion.
- Headline stories. Write a series of shocking headlines and newspaper article ideas. Starting at the beginning of the book brainstorm possible article ideas. A few possibilities follow.
- Filler Articles. Consider having a couple students write an advice column, or 'interview' a witch, to get their side of the story. Include recipes and a classified section, which could have candy shops for sale, mice, or help wanted ads for teachers.
Newspaper Article Ideas:
Protect Yourself! What You Need to Know About Witches
Teacher Accused of Being a Witch!
Girl Trapped in Painting!
Birgit Svenson Lays Eggs?
Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children EXPOSED!
- After compiling a list of possible article ideas, have children work in pairs on a story idea.
- Illustrate the articles
- Compile the articles into a classroom booklet.
- Classroom experience.