Warm Up 10 mins: Doubters and Believers:
Divide the room in half with tape. Have students stand in the middle of room on the line of tape. Instruct all students who doubt the truth of the statements you are about to make to move together to one side of the tape while those who believe the statements move to the other. After the exercise ask students to briefly discuss their thoughts about the warm up activity.
- Boys are better athletes.
- Girls are nicer than boys.
- Boys are stronger than girls.
- Girls are cleverer than boys.
- Boys are braver than girls.
Introduce the story, Jack and the Bean Stalk by asking students to respond to the question, Who is more likely to steal or lie? A girl? A boy? Why?
Show the book cover and ask students to write one question and one prediction about the story. You may want to remind younger students that one way to begin questions is by starting off with: Who, What, When, Where, Why or How. Model this by asking a question such as, What is a beanstalk?
Take a picture walk through the book and ask again if there are any questions about the story. If yes, have students write them down for later. Then begin to read the story.
Read the book to the students being sure to stop at critical parts to ask questions. Sample stopping points are noted below.
- After getting to the part where Jack meets the man with the beans ask, “What do you think Jack will do? Do you think a girl would do the same thing? Why?”
- After getting to the part where Jack climbs the beanstalk to the top ask, “Could a girl climb a beanstalk?”
- After getting to the part where Jack meets the women at the giant's house or castle ask, “What do you think will happen next?”
- After getting to the part where the woman hides Jack in the oven ask, “Do you think Jack is sacred? Would a girl be scared?
- After getting to the part where Jack takes the bag of gold ask, “Would a girl have done the same thing? Under what circumstances?”
- After getting to the part where Jack is about to go back up the beanstalk for the second time ask, "What do you think of Jack now"? "Is he brave, stupid, crazy"? "Would a girl do the same?"
- After getting to the part where Jack takes the hen that lays the golden eggs ask, “Do you think Jack needed to take the hen? Why? Would a girl do the same?”
- After getting to the part where Jack goes back up the beanstalk for the third time ask, “What do you think of Jack now? Why? What if Jack were a girl?”
- After getting to the part where Jack takes the singing harp ask, “Could a girl really have run fast while carrying a heavy harp or would the giant have caught her?”
- After getting to the part where Jack chops down the Beanstalk with one blow or swing ask, “Could a girl have picked up the ax and chopped down the beanstalk with one swing as Jack did in the story?”
After reading this story do a character map of Jack and his traits. You could use a graphic organizer such as a web.
On another day, if you wish, read Kate and the Beanstalk by Mary Pope Osborne.
- Before reading ask: “How do you think this will be similar or different than Jack and the Beanstalk?” Also have them write one question they have about this story, and how they think it will end. (Don’t worry about spelling)
- After reading the story, briefly discuss their predictions and ask the following questions based on the answers that students gave about Jack’s character traits. i.e. if the students said Jack was smart ask:
- Do you believe Kate was smart? Was she smarter than Jack? How or why?
- Why do you think the author made her smart or the same or different than Jack?
- What lesson did you learn about boys and girls?
Help students use a Venn diagram to compare and contrast the two characters.
As an extension activity students could also draw a body biography* of each character traits. *A body biography is a life-sized visual representation of a character in a story or novel. It contains both visual representations and text, and illustrates the character’s life within a story. A body biography is drawn on a large sheet of paper.
In this activity, students work in groups of at least four---no more than five. On the paper, the students should collaborate on how to represent Jack or Kate in a full size body portrait that illustrates their character traits. For instance, if the students felt Kate was brave or strong they could draw her with big muscles or defeating the Giant. If they felt she was smart they could draw her with a large brain.
Older students can write an essay using the information they wrote on their Venn diagrams.