Reading Roald Dahl in your class can help introduce your students to their creativity in writing while inspiring them to think about the impossible becoming possible. The Witches by Roald Dahl is a great place to start. Here are a few lesson ideas to get the creative juices flowing
Encourage Imagination and Creativity
Roald Dahl has published some of the most entertaining and imaginative literary work. His writing is directed towards young readers but is fun for adults as well. When creating lesson plans for his stories and poems try to incorporate some of his style into the activities and encourage your students to be as imaginative as possible.
Life as a Mouse
One idea is to have the students create a paper about their world from the perspective of a mouse. Have them detail what changes would need to be made around the house, ramps to the counters, couches, and beds for example. Also have them include a paragraph about dangers you may encounter in your smaller shape. Have the students use as much creativity as possible and as an optional activity have them draw out how their room might look once it’s been made more mouse accessible.
A "Tale" of Warning
In the story, Luke’s grandmother warns him of the witches with cautionary tales about other children who were tricked by the witches. Have your students write a cautionary tale using the boy’s experiences and what happened in the meeting hall. Using reading comprehension and recalling the events in the book will help crystallize what the students have read giving them a better understanding of the story.
Plot Maps and Character Descriptions
Have students create individual plot maps describing what they believe to be the key parts of the beginning of the story, the main events, the climax, and finally the resolution. Have them compare with a neighbor and finally list a few suggestions for each on the board. This will help students see the most important aspects of the story and will also allow room for personal opinion of what’s most important to the story.
List each character and describe their personality traits and their progression through the story. Certainly the Luke goes through quite a transformation but what about the other characters. Were you surprised when Luke’s grandmother proved so open minded about having a mouse for a grandson? After Bruno turns into a mouse does his disposition change at all?
Fun with The Witches
This book was adapted into a movie in 1990 and the movie follows the story pretty closely. If time permits after the class reads the story play the movie for a few easy days. At the end of movie have students write a comparison of the book and screenplay. Have your students include any discrepancies and have them describe their favorite part of the story.
Roald Dahl’s classic The Witches is an excellent book that illustrates just how fun reading can be. As a general English lesson have the students try to write about a world full of possibilities, like the world found in the witches, encourage them to create a new world, with new people, and maybe even a new language. Have fun with them and encourage their imaginations to run wild. Have students share their whimsical stories with the class and consider writing your own as an example of what you’re looking for.