Saturday, November 17, 2012

The Wonderful Wizard of Oz

Publication Year: 1900
Author: Lyman Frank Baum
Genre: Fantasy, Fiction
Grade Level: Grade 3 to Grade 6
Theme: Diversity and values
Skill Taught: Story mapping

Summary: A young girl from Kansas named Dorthy Gale and her dog Toto are blown away in a tornado to the Land of Oz.  While in Oz, she meets the Scarecrow, the Tin Man, and the Cowardly Lion.  They go on an adventure, following the Yellow Brick Road to Emerald City where the Great Oz is.  Each of them uniquely wants something special in life, and only the Great Oz can grant them their wish.  The only problem is, they must first kill the Wicked Witch of the West.  They eventually kill her, and the Great Oz grants everyone's wish except Dorthy's.  Together, Dorthy and her new friends travel to find the Good Witch of the South who helps Dorthy and Toto return back home to Kansas.

About the Author: Lyman Frank Baum was born in Chittenango, New York on May 15, 1856.  He held a wide range of jobs including a chicken breeder, actor, a playwright, and a dime store owner to mention a few.  He married Matilda Josilyn Gage in 1882 and had four sons with her.  His mother-in-law heard the stories he would tell his children before tucking them into bed, and encouraged him to submit them to a publisher.  Readers wanted more of the Oz books, but Baum wanted to write about more than just Oz.  He ended up writing fourteen books in the series and would pass away on May 16, 1919.  (

For the Classroom

Pre-Reading Activity: I would begin class talking about diversity and ask the class, "If you had one wish, what would they wish for and why?" Students who wanted to share could share, and after all volunteers had gone, I would mention that in the book, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, there are four characters who have their own wish of something they want most in life.

Post-Reading Activity: The Wonderful Wizard of Oz contains a lot of information, and a story map would help to clarify the information.  This would begin as something done as a whole class, but as we continued reading, students would fill in the boxes independently.  While we were reading the book, I would check to make sure students are writing the correct information and ask for volunteers to share what they have included.

Reflection: This classic story is a great tale about unique characters on an adventurous journey through Oz.  This story is one of the first I remember hearing about when I was younger, and with the number of books written, the adventure continues far beyond this book.  Its popularity hasn't faded, and this literature will continue to grow as this story remains a favorite for many readers of all ages.  For those who have only seen the movie, the book is slightly different, and it will be an entirely new adventure.  Baum describes each new land well, but spends a little time at every location, keeping it short to maintain the reader's attention, especially younger readers.  Since the book is longer, the teacher can teach a new lesson each chapter.  

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