I’m pretty sure that out of all of the activities we did with our Gruffalo book study, these 2 were my favorite. If you haven’t already, you can grab my resource on TPT by clicking on the product cover below:
I reread The Gruffalo to my kids. If you haven’t purchased this book, it is available on Amazon for a low price. You can find it here:
Next we moved on to The Gruffalo’s Child. This book is the perfect addition to the first. We don’t spend quite as long on this one but it pairs perfectly with the footprint activity I’m about to show you & I would still consider it a must have in your classroom library. You can grab it here if you like:
The DVD is available here. I own the DVD and it is mesmerizing. At the time I’m writing this post both movies that go along with the books are available free on Amazon Prime so you may want to check there first.
And here’s a link to a double feature of The Gruffalo & The Gruffalo’s Child if you are unable to find it for free. At the time I write this the double feature is showing up for less than just The Gruffalo so I would definitely grab this one. (Amazon prices can change so quickly that I’m not sure if this is true for you. That’s why I included both links.)
So back to the classroom! We read & discussed both books by Julia Donaldson. (Isn’t she amazing?!?! In another life I had dreams of being a children’s book author so she is a personal hero of mine!) I really emphasized the Gruffalo crumble part. We mixed up the ingredients. I had forgotten one and we had to travel down to the cafeteria in search of it which really just added to the excitement.
You can find the recipe & this printable that students fill out while you go through the process of making it as part of my resource on TPT. I loved having them keep up with me using the worksheet so they didn’t get too rowdy. They LOVED the Gruffalo crumble. They all kept telling me that I was the best cook ever. Trust me, my husband would beg to differ.
We snacked on our Gruffalo crumble while we watched The Gruffalo’s Child on Amazon Prime. Even though I own the DVD, it’s much easier to just pull it up on Prime if it’s still available.
The next day we got started on our Gruffalo Footprint measurement activity. I was actually observed that morning & think this lesson is perfect for an observation. The kids have to use all kinds of problem solving skills to figure the whole thing out.
We reread The Gruffalo’s Child & I spent a little extra time discussing the footprints & tracks in the snow. Students studied the ones in the book. I then brought in measurement. I told them that the Gruffalo & all of the characters had stopped by our classroom. I asked them how we could use measurement to determine which footprint belonged to each character.
We discussed length, standard and nonstandard units of measurement, & how to properly measure an object. Even though it seems like a simple concept -they will not measure correctly without thorough explanations. I demonstrated for them first. Then I asked them to help me measure students in our classroom using craft sticks. They LOVED this! We measured different parts of their bodies & compared to see which part was the longest. I left the materials out for them to revisit this concept later. You should have heard the giggles when they were seeing who was the tallest during choice time.
There are so many higher order thinking questions that you can incorporate into this type of lesson.
“Why does ‘what’ we measure influence ‘how’ we measure?”
“Are standard or non-standard units of measurement better? Why?”
“If I (the teacher) measured the classroom using my shoes and one of my students measured the classroom using their shoes, would we get the same number?”
The night before I had made footprints using play-doh. I had originally planned on doing this outside. I thought it would be really fun to make the imprints in a muddy area and for the kids to walk around the playground looking for them. However, it poured the entire day before. In fact, our school dismissed early due to weather conditions. So the outside idea wasn’t going to work. I made sure to have a track or print for each character including The Gruffalo’s Child. I made the mouse one so tiny that it was almost impossible to measure. You can look through the book for ideas on how to make each print look.
I had the kids close their eyes and I walked around the room setting up the play-doh imprints. Then I handed each group a bag full of their supplies. The bag contained a magnifying glass, “tents” to set beside each print with a guess about which animal it belonged to, worksheets to draw, label, & measure the footprints, and a ruler. I had put a different shape on each bag and the contents so I knew which group did what. For example, three boys might have been in the star group. I labeled the bag with a star, the tents had a star on the back and the worksheets had stars. I wanted to be able to quickly identify who had understood the concept and who still needed work.
I was so pleased with how the whole thing turned out. They loved it!
They were able to easily identify which print was the snake’s and the owl’s. I didn’t anticipate that this would be such a great lesson on comparison and problem solving. They really had a difficult time deciding between the Gruffalo, Gruffalo’s child, and the fox.
Eventually I brought them back together and we discussed which character would have had the largest footprint. We also thought about which characters would have had claws, toes, etc.
I just loved how this turned out. Sadly our unit on The Gruffalo is coming to an end. I hope your students enjoy this as much as mine did! Please let me know how it works in your classroom.
If you missed the other posts, you can check them out here: