Monday, April 23, 2012

The Eleventh Hour by Graeme Base

I have saved my favorite Graeme Base book for last!!  The Eleventh Hour is the book that started it all.  I read it with my mom when I was younger and spent days trying to find all of the clues to determine who stole the feast.  When I started working in the schools, one of the first books I created a unit for was The Eleventh Hour.  Some of the activities I use for this book came from The Magic of Stories: Literature-Based Language Intervention by Carol J. Strong and Kelly Hoggan North.  You can buy it on Amazon here.

Some activities to do with this book:

1) SMART Board Lesson: I created a SMART Board lesson for The Eleventh Hour complete with pages to use to discover who the feast's thief is.  I tried to make it as easy as possible for the kids, so some of the pages have "hint", which is normally the cypher for the code they will find somewhere on the page that will give them a clue as to who is or is not the thief.  If you have SMART capabilities, this is the easiest way to do the lesson.  If not, I broke up what is in the SMART lesson below.

Get your SMART lesson here!!

2) Story Map and Retell: This is a great book to story map and retell.  It has several distinct events: Getting ready for the party, revealing the feast, the party and it's games, the feast's disappearance, and Horace's solution.  This would also be a great time to review transition words. (If you need copies of the story map or transition words I use, please see my posts on Uno's Garden and The Worst Band in the Universe.)

3) Vocabulary: As I have said before, Graeme Base uses tons of tier 2 vocabulary words in his stories so vocabulary is always something you can work on when reading his books.  Here is a short activity using context clues.

Get your Vocabulary activity here!!

4) Figurative Language: Graeme Base uses figurative language throughout his books to paint the picture in an interesting way.  Take a walk through the book with your kids to find it.  Here are a few examples:

"No sooner had they entered then a rumor filled the air."
"And one by one the guests were drawn within to feast their eyes."
"The elephant was shaky: it appeared he'd lost his nerve."
"But every mind was on the feast."

5) Inference: There are some great questions  provided in The Magic of Stories I use to work on inference:
    1) Why did Horace pick the eleventh hour for the time of the feast?
    2) Why wasn't there a winner in the game of Musical Chairs? 
    3) How did the pig cheat while playing cards?
    4) Why did Horace miss his chance to make his speech?
    5) How did Horace save the day?
    6) Why was the birthday cake safe?

Another great way to work on inference is to try to figure out who the thief actually is.  There are clues in each picture (sometimes around the boarder, some in the letters on Horace's refrigerator or in the banners in the dinning room, or they may be using a cypher like hieroglyphics, cards, or Morse Code).  Use these clues to prove the party guest's innocence or guilt.  (FYI, this takes a long time to complete so I normally let them spend one day trying to get as far as they can and then I periodically let them complete one page over then following speech sessions until they figure it out so that we are not spending an exorbitant amount of time on this.) I made a chart of the characters and a detective's log for my kids to keep their information in for my SMART Board lesson.  Here is a paper version if you don't have SMART technology.

Get your Detective's Log here!!

6) Recipe: While perusing Pinterest I found a recipe for Cake Batter Puppy Chow.  It looks AMAZING and so easy to make.  I am "borrowing" that recipe to use with this lesson because The Eleventh Hour is about a birthday party and what better to serve at a birthday party than cake!!!  Thank you Becky at So Very Blessed for this recipe.

Get your Recipe and Permission Slip here!!
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