December 18, 2010

The Chicken Chasing Queen of Lamar County

Title:  The Chicken Chasing Queen of Lamar County
Janice N. Harrington (author)
 Shelley Jackson (illustrator)

Comprehension Strategy: Visualizing       
Art Modality:  Creative Movement

A young farm girl tries to catch her favorite chicken, until she learns something about the hen that makes her change her ways. (Summary from book)

The Chicken Chasing Queen of Lamar County
camera (A camera is optional, but you'll want to have one ready!)

It'll be easy for your students to visualize the young chicken-chaser's movements as well as the chickens'  movements when they are sneaking, strutting and scooting themselves! Begin by reading aloud The Chicken Chasing Queen of Lamar County. As you read, stop to focus on the verbs that describe the young girl's movements and the chickens' movements. If desired, make a chart listing those movements after reading the book.

Next invite students to move along with the story as you read. Ask students to find their own space in an open area. As you read aloud, pause to allow students to creatively move after phrases such as the following:

"I go sneaking up on those chickens real slow, real easy, and then—freeze."

"And those chickens hold still, too: one leg raised in the air, just waiting to step off."

"I skip all around the yard shimmy-shaking corn bread from my pocket."

"Mr. Rooster and the chicken ladies come stepping by….Beaks down and bottoms up."

"I frog-jump after Miss Hen. Brown legs kicking. Arms flapping and pigtails sailing."

"Miss Hen goes flying, beak clacking, yellow legs scooting, quick-quick-quick and—gone!"

To assist in classroom management, choose a stop-and-go signal for the movements. Have students practice moving and stopping on your signal before beginning the activity.

Try this variation if the group would like to repeat the activity. Invite students to choose if they would like to be the girl or a chicken. Separate the groups in the open space. As another variation, pair the children so that one partner is the girl and the other partner is the chicken. Reread, pausing to allow time for creative movements.

Visual Art Extension:
Invite students to look closely at Shelley Jackson's collage-style illustrations. Provide students with chicken patterns and a variety of wallpaper or scrapbook papers. Students trace and cut out the patterns then assemble them to create unique chickens. "Catch" the chickens and display them along with the following title created in ransom-stye letters: "The Chicken-Chasing Kids of (insert your school's name)!"