Saturday, 30 July 2016

Suri's Wall: Teaching Ideas

A wall that hides what's on the other side because the children are too short...until one day Suri can see over the wall and must decide whether to tell the others...



5th October 2017: Sorry readers, for some bizarre reason I went to pop in some additional activities and BAM! It was all overridden (and autosaved) to the book review before I knew what was happening!

Oh well! On the upside it means that all these activities are current...and if you think of one I had previously included but haven't remember - let me know in the comments please!

TEACHING NOTES

  • Scholastic has FREE teaching notes available at: Suri's Wall
  • Lamont Books has FREE teaching notes available at: Suri's Wall
If you're interested in seeing how the story developed from an idea to the story then head on over to Lucy Estela's official website. She details where the idea began and where it ended up. Well worth looking at with your class to look at the idea/story development process.


Author: Paper Toys
Cost: FREE
Paper Toys have a great range of different print and make paper models. As Suri's Wall  centres on a wall you could have your students build their very own. You could keep it as the Great Wall of China or perhaps just have it as a wall.

Lessons: I would have students firstly colour and then construct the wall. Place and glue it onto a piece of cardboard so that the cardboard is divided into two sections (it doesn't matter how it is divided - just so long as there are two sections!). Students could then show what's on the other side of their wall. Imagination is good here (or if you have students who struggle to start you may wish to theme the other side of the wall).

Once the construction is completed (including a person as well - pipe cleaners come in handy to make people!) I would then be asking the students to describe what is on the other side of the wall and then write from the perspective of not knowing. In this way the other side of the wall could be better or worse condition-wise than where their 'person' is.

The same activity could be done with a more basic template I have available in the Suri's Wall: Book Activity Pack. This template is better if you are pressed for time.
Author: Miss Jennifer Ward
Cost: $2.50 AUD (for a range of eye perspective templates)

Lessons: I do like this activity of showing the perspective of a character. For Suri's Wall it can be incorporated to show the difference between what she dreams and the reality. This could be done with side by side eyes or back to back - depending on how you intend to display the work. Have students pay particular attention to their use of colour between the fiction and fact versions.


HISTORY

Walls are found around the world and are usually built with a specific purpose in mind. It would be informative to delve into history and learn about some of the famous walls listed at "10 Most Famous Walls in the World".

Depending on the time you have available you could have students chose one of the walls and complete a mini project covering the basics about it.

An extension could be the good ol' bridge building STEM task. This is when you place students in small groups (3-4 is ideal) and give them a set amount of material (or in the case of older students they can choose from materials but are limited in the same way) to build the strongest bridge....although in this case it becomes a wall. Testing of the strength of the wall could be done with measured weights.

Once each group has had their wall tested the results can be graphed, compared, and then explained by the students are to why some walls held up...and why others didn't.

COMPANION BOOKS

I personally would pair Suri's Wall with Talking Walls by Margy Burns Knight. The book was published back in about 1991, and might take a couple of sessions to get through, but it focuses on walls and their purpose. It looks at how some walls divide communities and some walls bring communities closer together.

Why do I like the idea of pairing these two books? I think it makes one think more deeply about Suri and the other children. It is assumed as you are reading Suri's Wall that they are missing out on something - that the other side is better (which only Suri knows the truth). Once you see what is on the other side of wall it changes from the people being a prisoner to being protected in a way.

Exploring the reasons behind walls being built (and tying it in with the history focus to include the Great Wall of China, Hadrian's Wall, etc.) helps to provide a bit of balance (in my opinion) to the book which at times can be a bit vague and unexplained.


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