The Teacher from the Black Lagoon by Mike Thaler - Teaching Ideas

On the first day of school the little boy is terrified that he is going to get Mrs. Green the mean monster teacher! Unfortunately for the boy he got Mrs. Green for his teacher. As he sits in class and waits for school to begin he sees his monster of a teacher do all sorts of terrible things to the students in his class...but does he really?

Listed below are possible reading skill and strategy questions and ideas to help you create a meaningful lesson for this book.

If your students need inferencing practice you can grab the little I packet I made. This packet was made to use with this book as well as The Teacher from the Black Lagoon and The Principal from the Black Lagoon.

Reading level: 2.1
Theme/subject: school, confronting fears, imagination
Genre: humorous

Suggested vocabulary/phrases: dandruff, warts, slithers, fraction problems, beckons, smirks, cackles, wriggles

Reading skills and strategies:
  • Asking questions – these are just possible questions or wonderings from either the student or teacher
    • Before – I wonder what the story is going to be about. I wonder why the boy looks so scared. I wonder what a teacher from the black lagoon looks like.
    • During – I wonder if Mrs. Green really is green. I wonder why Freddy Jones thinks it’s a good idea to throw a spitball. I wonder why the principal doesn’t do anything about what is happening I wonder if this is really happening.
    • After – I wonder if he will enjoy the rest of his school year. I wonder if the other kids had the same bad dream about the first day of school as he did.
  **Remember to have your students answer/reflect their questions.
  • Author's point of view – First person  
  • Author's purpose – entertaining
    • Evidence
      1. A teacher can’t be a real monster.
      2. The illustrator and the author show kids turning into frogs and being eaten in half, that can’t really happen.
      3. The head as a globe it pretty silly.
  • Beginning, middle, end – the most important event from each
    • Beginning – The boy gets into class, sits at his desk, folds his hands, closes his eyes and thinks to himself that he is too young to die.
    • Middle – Mrs. Green bites Derek in half to demonstrate how to do their fraction homework.
    • End – The boy wakes up from his nap and sees the real Mrs. Green.
  • Cause and effect  
      1. Why does the boy look so sad walking to school? Because he is wondering who his teacher might be.
      2. Why does the boy sit at his desk and think that he is too young to die? Because his teacher Mrs. Green is supposed to be a real monster.
      3. Why does Mrs. Green breathe fire at Freddy Jones? Because he throws a spitball in the classroom.
      4. Why does Eric Porter’s head get put on the globe stand? Because he said, “Talk about bad breath”, and then he giggled.
      5. Why did Mrs. Green bite Derek Bloom in half? Because she was showing a fraction lesson.
      6. Why does Mrs. Green swallow Doris Foodle in one gulp? Because she cracked her gum in class.
      7. Why does Penny Weber’s head turn into the size of a pin? Because Mrs. Green is trying to help her headache go away.
      8. Why does the boy see a pretty woman and not scary Mrs. Green when the bell rings? Because he was dreaming.
  • Character analysis - describe Mrs. Green and the boy {looks like, feelings, thoughts, character, how others think/see the character}
  • Character changes – The boy starts the story afraid of his teacher and by the end he hugs her because she is not what she thought she would be like.
  • Classify & categorize
    • Classify your first day of school
      1. Things that were true
      2. Things that were rumors
    • Classify your teacher/classroom
      1. Things you like
      2. Things you don’t
  • Compare & contrast
    • Your first day of school to the boy’s
    • Your teacher to his
    • This Black Lagoon book to another Black Lagoon book
  • Connections
    • Text-to-self
      1. Being afraid on your first day of school.
      2. Hearing bad things about your teacher and then finding out he/she is not that way at all.
      3. Loving your teacher.
    • Text-to-text
      1. Connect to any of the Black Lagoon books.
  • Drawing conclusions & inferencing – Why does the boy see Mrs. Green as a big green monster?
    • Text clues – at the beginning of the story the boy walks into the classroom, sits down, folds his hands and closes his eyes.
    • What I know – I know that when someone keeps telling you something you can sometimes have dreams about it.
    • My conclusion – I think the boy sees Mrs. Green as a big green monster because he fell asleep at the beginning of the story and dreamed about Mrs. Green and all the things that he was told about her.
  • Main idea & details
    • Main idea – The story is mostly about Mrs. Green being a big scary monster teacher.
    • Details
      1. Mrs. Green puts Eric Porter’s head in the globe stand for commenting on her bad breath.
      2. Mrs. Green turns Randy Potts into a frog for asking about spelling.
      3. Doris Foodle gets swallowed up by Mrs. Green for cracking her gum in class.
  • Plot - the turning point or climax in the story was when Mrs. Green told the students to lay their head down and take a nap.
  • Predict
      1. What do you think the story is going to be about?
      2. What do you think his teacher is going to be like?
      3. What do you think is going to happen to the boy in class?
      4. How do you think Mrs. Green is going to show what fractions are?
      5. What do you think Mrs. Green is going to do with Doris Foodle for cracking her gum?
      6. What do you think the boy will dream about when he falls asleep at nap time?
      7. What do you think the boy will find when he wakes up from his nap?
  • Problem & solution
    • Problem – The problem in the story is that the boy sees Mrs. Green as a real monster doing terrible things to her students.
    • Solution – Mrs. Green had the kids put their heads down for a nap, when the boy woke he found that Mrs. Green was not mean and green but a beautiful nice teacher.
  • Sequencing
      1. It is the first day of school and the boy wonders who his teacher will be.
      2. The boy finds out his teacher is Mrs. Green.
      3. Mrs. Green walks into the classroom and scratches her name on the board.
      4. Freddy Jones throws a spitball and gets burned to a pile of ashes.
      5. Mrs. Green put Eric Porter’s head in the globe stand.
      6. Derek Bloom is used as an example for fractions.
      7. Mrs. Green swallows Doris Foodle for cracking her gum.
      8. Mrs. Green takes roll.
      9. Randy Potts is turned into a frog.
      10. Penny Weber wants to go to the nurse’s office for her headache.
      11. It is nap time.
      12. The boy hears the bell ring and wakes from his nap.
      13. The boy runs and gives Mrs. Green a hug when he sees she is not really a big green monster.
  • Story elements - list title, author, characters, setting, beginning, middle, end, or problem & solution.
  • Strong thought – someplace in the story that the reader has a strong reaction for example an “I knew it”, or  “Don’t do it” type of moment while reading.
    • The class just watched Freddy Jones get burned to ashes but the other kids still act up in class. What would you say to the other kids that continue to ask questions or act up?
  • Summarize
    • Someone The boy didn’t
    • Wanted want the mean green monster, Mrs. Green for a teacher
    • But but he got her
    • So so he closed his eyes and said, “I’m too young to die.”
    • Then Then he wakes from his dream and
    • Finally finally realizes that his teacher Mrs. Green is not a green monster.
  • Theme – the lesson, message or moral of the story
      1. Don’t always believe everything you hear.
      2. Rumors can make you think the worst about someone.
      3. The first day of school probably won’t be as scary as you think it will be.
  • Visualize – what do YOU picture…
    • Mrs. Green did many things to punish many of the students. What is something else you visualize her doing as a punishment?

Inferencing with The Black Lagoon, created by The Picture Book Teacher

Happy reading!

No comments

Thoughts and comments are always welcome!