SOCIAL STUDIES LESSON IDEAS
Time Cat is a wonderful novel that works well as a teacher read-a-loud (Grade 4, 5) or an independent read (Grade 6). I shared this story with my grade 4 students during our Cat Unit but it can be integrated with many other units as well.
Novel Synopsis: Gareth is a magical cat who not only has the ability to talk to his master but can travel through time and to other places with the wink of an eye. The story is about Gareth and Jason who travel throughout time and all over the world to discover several "characters" (historical figures) before they became famous.
Introduction: To begin I have students study the front cover and share their predictions of what this story will be about. Details on the cover (such as the unique white marking on the black cat) are quickly pointed out. Next I read the back of the novel out loud and we discuss further what we think will happen throughout the story. I share the chapter titles with the students so that we can create a list of all the places Gareth and Jason will travel. I tell the students that they should choose 3 "places" that they would like to report on. (NOTE: you may wish to have them report on all places).
Mapping: I had students glue a world map into the front cover of their journal. Each day before we began a section of the story, students were responsible for finding the place to be visited in their atlas. We then discussed this together using a large class map and labelled the place on their personal maps. We drew "travel lines" from one place to the next to show the characters travels.
Daily Reading and Written Responses: On the first day, every student was required to complete a written response in their journal about the "opening events" of the story. Each day after that I read a section to the class (one place per day). If I was reading about a place that was chosen by a student, they were to take point form notes and think of a picture they would like to draw. If I was reading about a place that was not chosen by a student, he/she would listen, work on decorating their covers, or draw a picture of their own while I read. By the time we were finished the novel, students had 4 pages completed: page 1 - Opening Events; pages 2-4, places they chose.
Extensions: There are lots of ways to extend this novel...
- Shayni Tokarczyk