I believe that a good teacher not only does great activities with children but also shares these activities with others. The following is an activity that has outlasted the printing of the book, Humbug Witch, by Lorna Balian, and has been done by many teachers for many years.
At one school, a team of first grade teachers rotates the book between classrooms as they only have one copy and all the children have a chance to create their witch.
Witch Themed Listening Comprehension Activity
- Good Listening Ears
The students are given a large white sheet of paper with a pre-glued skin toned oval on it.
They are told,
We are going to be reading a story about a witch. Before we read, I am going to tell you what the witch looks like and you draw what you think she will look like. I will NOT show you the illustrations until our drawings are done.
(Make sure the students cannot see the illustrations)
- She has a large nose. (pause and let children draw after each sentence)
- She has beady eyes.
- She has 2 crooked teeth.
- She has on a black pointed hat that is slightly scrunched.
- She has LONG red hair. So long that it touches the ground.
- She has on long white and red striped socks.
- She has funny looking black shoes.
- She has on a plaid dress (explain what plaid is)
- She has on a black home-made shawl.
- She is wearing orange gloves.
- She has a broom.
- She has a friend that is a black cat named Fred.
After making our drawing I showed her the cover and we read the story!
My 5 year old was able to find some similarities and differences in her illustration verses the witch in the story.
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Humbug Witch Book Activity
Humbug Witch by Lorna Balian
When a perfectly good witch can’t get her magic to work – trouble brews. Then the witch admits defeat and reveals that she is a little girl playing dress up. Read the full description
My 5 year old really connected with the character, especially at the end when it is revealed that the witch is really a little girl playing dress up. “That’s why her broom wouldn’t fly and her magic didn’t work,” said my daughter.
You do NOT have to have this book to do this activity! It would be fun to give the directions to a group of children and display their witches together. It is a fun lesson on valuing every one’s unique vision and talents!
This activity is great on so many levels. It improves listening comprehension, activates prior knowledge, and gets children thinking about the character before reading the story. It also is a great way to discuss an illustrator’s job, character development, describing words and much more.
If you don’t have this book, you could adapt this activity to any book that meets the following requirements.
1. The illustrations are simply drawn.
2. The main character is somewhat creative in visual appearance.
3. Your children have NOT seen any part of this book or a picture of the character ever before.
You can listen to a Read Aloud of the Humbug Witch here:
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