Where the Wild Things Are: Classroom Activity Ideas
Emmy Ellis has used these Where the Wild Things Are activity ideas with kindergarten students with great success. The children have a great deal of fun with the unit!
After reading the story, have students share if they have ever felt like Max at the beginning of the story. [language arts] Develop a plot line (in three parts) of the story. Discuss what happened at the beginning, middle, and end. Create a three column chart
highlighting the following [which will be the three separate phases of the unit]:
Beginning - Max got in trouble. He was sent to his room. His room grew into a forest/jungle.
Middle - Max sailed away and met the wild things.
End - Max grew weary of the wild things and went back home to find dinner waiting for him.
Could a jungle grow in our room? How fast would it take to grow? What do we know about seeds?
Materials: Various seeds, seed packets, plant books
[science] Discuss with the students where plants come from. [They
come from seeds.]
Are all seeds the same? Allow the students to "discover" different types of seeds.
[math game] Have students sort the seeds according to size, color, and shape. Put the seeds in order from biggest to smallest.
[science] Cut seeds open to find out what's inside. Predict: Have the students choose five seeds. Next, have them draw a picture of the plant that they feel will grow from each seed. Check the answer with the pictures of the front of seed packets or plant books.
How do seeds grow?
[science] Experiment: Do seeds grow with water?
Materials: seeds, 2 sponges, 2 dishes, water
In the two dishes, place a sponge. Wet one with water. Keep the other sponge dry. Watch the results!
[science] Experiment: Do seeds need sunlight to grow?
Materials: 2 baggies, seeds, wet paper towels
In the two baggies, place a wet paper towel and some seeds. Tape one bag against a window in your classroom. Tape the other against a wall in a darkened corner in the classroom. Watch the results!
[science, phonics, and emergent reading] Observe the plants as they grow during the various experiments. Also, have students look at other plants that have already matured. Have the students discuss the different parts of the plants that they see. Research the proper names in plant books. Have them draw and label the parts of a plant.
Think! [language arts] Is this a real story or a pretend story?
How do we know from the plants that we have grown? [How long did it take for the jungle to grow in Max's room? How long did it take for the plants to grow in our classroom?]
[math] How many plants would it take to fill up Max's room? Decide on an appropriate room size. Paper model: With a partner, have students cut out or trace pots in a room size on a piece of paper. Count the results. Room size: Tape off a section in a room
to be Max's room. With a partner, have the students fill the room with pots. Count the results.
Who were the wild things?
What do these animals look like?
Have the students brainstorm and discuss the different animal parts.
[phonics] Turn the beginning letters of the animals just brainstormed into wild animals. For example, turn the letter B into a bear or the letter C into a crocodile.
[science] Go on a wild animal Internet hunt. At www.discover.com there is a super wild animal section. It includes information about various wild animals as well as some web
cams of some animals. I chose to focus on crocodiles (a very wild animal!). One section allows students to view various parts of the crocodiles close up, while giving interesting facts about the section of the animal. Also, it lets the students hear his "terrible roar"!
Max was able to tame the wild things by staring into their eyes. Would you be able to do the same thing with a real crocodile? How do real crocodiles behave? Have students watch the crocodile episode of Crocodile Hunter (from Animal Planet). Discuss "real" crocodile behavior.
[music and large motor skills] Have students create a "wild rumpus" style dance that a crocodile might enjoy.
[art] After consulting various animal books, students will create their own wild thing out of different animal features.
[language arts and pre-emergent writing] Students will give their wild thing a name. Also, they will record his/her favorite color and food.
[social studies] Students will discover and pinpoint on a globe where crocodiles really live, and what their surrounding habitat looks like [from books obtained from the library].
How do you think Max felt when he came back and found his
[language arts and phonics] After discussions of Max's feelings, have students (as a group) help Max write a letter apologizing to his mom.
Students will create a book to present to the school's preschool detailing what we learned in this unit. The book will be separated into three segments: plants, animals, and all about Max. As a group students will dictate sentences (that the teacher will record) about
ideas they remember from each section. With a partner, students will be given certain sentences to illustrate. The finished student book, Where the Wild Things Are book, and audio tape will be sent to the preschool to enjoy.
Note: while these activities were originally designed to accommodate a classroom and/or group setting, they can easily be adjusted to accommodate smaller groups or for parent educator (homeschool) led activities. In 2009, the new Where the Wild Things Are movie will be in theaters. Another activity would be to compare and contrast the original Where the Wild Things Are book with the movie.