Scarecrow by Cynthia Rylant is a lovely story about a scarecrow who has other things going on in his head than doing his job of scaring crows away.
We are entertained and challenged to live a little more fully, as the scarecrow does . . .
How to Use it in Your Classroom
BEFORE READING: Making Predictions & Accessing Schema
Before you read the story, help the students access their prior knowledge of scarecrows with some leading questions:
- Have you ever seen a scarecrow?
- Where have you seen scarecrows?
- What is the purpose (job) of a scarecrow?
As your students answer these questions, you may see the opportunity to provide some background information about how farmers used scarecrows to do just that – scare crows away from their crops.
“As we read this story, let's see if our scarecrow fulfills the purpose (the job) a scarecrow.”
DURING READING: Making Connections & Reflections
Pause and invite your students to enjoy the illustrations and the beautiful language of the story.
- What is our scarecrow doing?
- Is he doing his ‘job'?
Use the flip flap book to record observations about the scarecrow.
AFTER READING: Reflecting & Opinion Writing
Encourage students to retell the story, using their the ‘Scarecrow' flip flap book.
Reviewing all these things about the scarecrow will set the stage for you to lead your students into a deeper meaning of this story –
there may be more important and meaningful things to do than just our jobs. . . .
Perhaps we are meant to appreciate the wonder and beauty around us in its richness and have a sense of joy and contentment with ourselves, as we are.
- Do you think the scarecrow did his job?
- Did he fulfill his purpose?
- Why or why not?
- Do you think he had a more important purpose than being scary and scaring crows?
- In your opinion, do you think he loves his life?
- Why? Encourage students to use examples from the text to support their reasons.
Use the ‘In My Opinion' graphic organizer for your students to write a rough draft for their opinion. I have also included some paper for publishing their final draft.
See below on how to get your free copy.
This beautiful story makes a wonderful introduction to a math graphing activity!
Your students will love making these cute scarecrow glyphs. The finished glyphs provide a fun way to practice data collection, data graphing, and data analysis.
These glyphs also make a stunning fall bulletin board!