Monday, August 27, 2012

Curious George by H.A. Rey - Teaching Ideas

Curious George has got to be the cutest monkey out there! He is lovable and oh so curious. This 1941 classic still brings joy to children today, however I did just read that people are wanting to "ban" this book from children because George smokes a pipe. I am not sure that most children even know what a pipe is?!? The way I see it, this would be a great opportunity to talk about "NO SMOKING", but most kids I know would be the first ones to talk about how bad smoking is. Regardless of the smoking, this is a great story.

This story has George being found by the man in the yellow hat and then taken to the zoo. Along the way curious little George gets into a bit of trouble. He tricks the fire departments and gets thrown in jail because of that. He soon escapes from jail and floats over the city with the help of a bunch of balloons that he has taken from a balloon guy. George finally lands on a traffic light, which causes all sorts of problems with the traffic below, but to his relief, the man with the yellow hat is there to save him.

This book is a great stand alone read aloud but there are many teaching opportunities as well. I hope the below information gives you some ideas and questions to create a memorable lesson.

If by chance you are too busy and need a little extra help I have created a few activities to help make your planning a bit easier.

Reading level: 2.4
Theme: Curiosity
Genre: Humorous Fiction

Suggested Vocabulary: Africa, overboard, life belt, fascinated, watchman, whisked, gusts

Reading skills and strategies:
  • asking questions - {possible questions before} What will George be curious about? What kind of trouble will George get into in this book? {possible questions during} Why did the man with the yellow hat take George away from his home? Did the man with the yellow hat know George got arrested? Can the firemen really put someone in jail for calling when there is no fire? {possible questions after} Will George get in trouble because he escaped from jail?
  • author's point of view - third person point of view
  • author's purpose - entertain{evidence} George was in jail, monkeys don't get put in jail. George flew through the sky with a bunch of balloons, that never happens. George smoked a pipe after dinner, monkeys don't smoke. All these things are silly so the story is entertaining.
  • beginning, middle, end - {most important event from beginning}George was taken from the jungle to the man with the yellow hat's home. {most important event from middle} George escaped from jail. {most important event from end} The man with the yellow hat found George floating through the air. He collected him and then delivered him to the zoo.
  • cause and effect - Why did the man with the yellow hat take George from his home? because he thought he was  a nice little monkey. Why did George fall into the ocean? because he tried to fly like the birds. Why did the Fire Department come to the house? because George played with the phone and dialed the Fire Department. Why did George get put in jail? because he fooled the Fire Department. Why was George able to escape from jail? because the watchman was trying to get George off of the window and the bench tipped up and the watchman fell over. Why was George floating through the air? because he grabbed a bunch of balloons and the wind whisked him away. Why was George frightened? because he was floating higher and higher over the city. Why did the traffic get all mixed up? because George landed on the top of the traffic light. Why did the man with the yellow hat take George to the zoo. because that was George's new home.
  • characterization - describe George {looks like, feelings, thoughts, character}
  • compare & contrast - compare and contrast the zoo and the jungle.
  • connections - {possible text-to-self connections} Moving from one place to another. Accidentally calling the Fire Department (911).
  • drawing conclusions & inferencing - How did George feel about living in the zoo? {text clues} The story says that the zoo was a nice place for George to live. The story also shows George smiling while in the zoo. {what I know} If someplace is a nice place to live and it makes you smile then I think I would be happy to live there. {my conclusion} I think George was happy living in the zoo.
  • fact & opinion - {Facts} George got caught by the man in the yellow hat. George was a curious monkey. George was sad that he was leaving his home. George fell overboard. George called the Fire Department. {Opinions} George was a naughty monkey. Jail is a sad place to be. Monkeys like to have fun. George was a thief. George is afraid of heights.
  • main idea & details - {main idea} George is a curious monkey. {details} George was curious about the yellow hat. George was curious about the phone. George was curious about the balloons.
  • plot - the turning point in the story was when George escaped from jail and grabbed the handful of balloons, floated across the sky and landed on the traffic signal.
  • predict - Do you think the man with the yellow hat will capture George? What kind of trouble do you think George will cause on the ship? Do you think George will fall into the water? Who do you think George called on the phone? What will happen to George when the Fire Department gets there? Will George ever get out of jail? What do you think will happen to the balloons? Will George ever come down from floating in the air? Where is the man with the yellow hat going to take George?
  • problem & solution - {problem} George is a curious little monkey that causes many problems. {solution} Put George in the zoo to live.
  • sequencing - The man with the yellow hat catches George. George and the man with the yellow hat go back to the ship. George falls off the ship and then gets saved. George and the man get off the boat and go to the mans house. George ate dinner, smoked a pipe and got very tired. George went to bed. George played with the phone and called the Fire Department. The Fire Department came to the house and arrested George for tricking them. George escaped from jail. George grabbed a bunch of balloons and floated over the city. George landed on the traffic light. The man in the yellow hat grabbed George and took him to the zoo.
  • story elements - list title, author, character's, setting, beginning, middle, end, or problem & solution. 
  • summarize- {someone}The man in the yellow hat {wanted} wanted to take George home to the zoo {but} but George got himself put into jail {so} so he  had to escape. {then} After he escaped he took a handful of balloons and landed on a traffic light.{finally} The man in the yellow hat finally got George to the zoo. 
Here is a freebie packet for reading strategy Questioning. The packet contains questioning pages for the books Curious George, Curious George Rides a Bike, Curious George Gets a Medal and Curious George Goes to the Hospital.

FREEBIE available in either my Teachers Notebook or TpT store.

I have also created a packet (for the 4 books listed above) that includes:
  • Characterization
  • Summarizing
  • Text to Self Connections
  • Text to Text Connections
  • Short answer comprehension
  • True false comprehension
  • Story Map
  • Vocabulary cards
  • 1 writing activity
  • 1 number recognition 1-20
  • 1 science inquiry
  • 1 write the room activity
Packet available in either my Teachers Notebook or TpT store.

For this book the special activity I created is the Fire Safety Write the Room with word find sheet - pictured above. This activity can be used during your fire safety unit, or just as a supplemental activity to use with this book. There are 12 fire safety word that your students will need to find in your room and then record them on the word find sheet. Once they have found all the words they will then search for them in the word find. FUN!

Coming soon, Curious George Rides a Bike.

Happy reading!

1 comment :

  1. I thoroughly enjoy any Curious George book for its depiction of the freedom of a child, er, I mean MONKEY, and the enjoyment and freedom of George's messes. It has been fun to introduce his PBS videos to my 18-month-old daughter, and find how intrigued she is by them as well. Thank you for these resources! I plan to use them as soon as my daughter can enjoy them.


Thoughts and comments are always welcome!

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