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Strega Nona: Lesson Plans for First Graders

written by: Tracey Bleakley • edited by: Sarah Malburg • updated: 2/8/2012

Use the book Strega Nona by Tomie de Paola to work on reading comprehension with your first graders. These Strega Nona lesson plans will focus on character traits and cause and effect.

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    Character Traits Lesson Plan

    Strega Nona is a great book to use with a lesson plan that reviews character traits.

    Materials

    • Strega Nona by Tomie de Paola
    • Chart paper
    • Markers
    • Character trait report card, one per child
    • Pencils

    Before the Lesson

    On a large piece of chart paper, draw a report chart for Strega Nona that resembles the Big Anthony report card worksheet. For the character traits, write wisdom and patience and leave the last one blank.

    Prior Knowledge

    After reading the book Strega Nona, review the difference between character traits and character feelings. This lesson plan is more appropriate for students who have worked with finding character traits or character maps on previous occasions.

    Procedure

    Show the students the report card and tell them that you are going to be completing a report card for Strega Nona based on some character traits. Decide what kind of grades you will use. It's best to use whatever grades your students are most familiar with. Explain that you can't just make up a grade. You have to be able to prove it with things from the book.

    Look at the first trait, wisdom. Ask the students if they know what it means to be wise. Talk about what it means and give a few examples of it. Then ask them if they think Strega Nona is wise or not and discuss what grade they think she should get for wisdom. Add the grade to the small box next to the trait. Then talk about what proof they find in the book to back up their grade. Write the proof in the last column in the wisdom row.

    Next, fill out the report card for patience, following the same procedure. Last, have the students think of another character trait for Strega Nona and add it to the report card with the grade and the proof from the book.

    Now give each student a copy of Big Anthony's report card to complete. You may want to have them do this with a partner, depending on your students and how much they have worked with character traits. Go over the report card and discuss what the character traits mean, before having them complete it. Then tell them that they get to choose the last trait.

    Asses

    Look at the report cards they completed. Did they use the text to back up their grades? Was the trait they filled in on their own a character trait or a feeling?

    Extend

    The character trait report card can be easily changed for characters in other books.

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    Cause and Effect Lesson Plan

    This easy Strega Nona lesson plan is a fun way to review cause and effect with first graders.

    Materials

    • Strega Nona by Tomie de Paola
    • Index cards in two different colors
    • Markers

    Before the Lesson

    Write the following events on index cards. Write the causes on one color and the effects on another. You can make up more if you want everyone in the class to have one.

    Causes

    • Strega Nona was getting older and needed someone to help her with her house and garden.
    • Big Anthony saw Strega Nona use the magic pasta pot.
    • Big Anthony didn't see Strega Nona blow three kisses to stop the magic pasta pot.
    • Strega Nona left to visit her friend, Strega Amelia.
    • Big Anthony ate all of the pasta left from the magic pasta pot.

    Effects

    • Strega Nona hired Big Anthony to work for her.
    • Big Anthony told all the people in town about the magic pasta pot.
    • Big Anthony couldn't make the pot stop working and the pasta kept coming.
    • Big Anthony invited all the townspeople to come eat pasta at Strega Nona's house.
    • Big Anthony felt sick.

    Procedure

    If your students are familiar with the concept of cause and effect, review what it means. You might want to use a few real life examples to remind them.

    Read the story Strega Nona. Pass out the cause and effects written on index cards to the students. Choose one student with a cause card and tell him/her to read their event to the class. Then the other students with cards need to look and find the effect that goes with it. Read the effect and decide as a class if it is the right one. Have the two students stand together or hang the two cards up together on a piece of chart paper. Continue until all of the causes and effects have been read and matched up.

    Asses

    On the following day, read another Strega Nona book, like Big Anthony and the Magic Ring. Give the students a paper with causes and effects written on it for them to cut out and match up. Then have them glue the matches onto a sheet of construction paper so that you can look at them.

    These Strega Nona lesson plans are great ideas for teaching and reviewing comprehension skills with first graders.

Strega Nona: Lessons and Activities for First Graders

Use these first grade lesson plans and activities with Tomie de Paola's book Strega Nona.
  1. Strega Nona: Activities for First Grade Students
  2. Strega Nona: Lesson Plans for First Graders
  3. A Lesson with Big Anthony and the Magic Ring on Prediction
  4. Finish Your Strega Nona Series with Fun Follow-up Activities