Classroom Activities
To Help You Connect Trumpet Books to Your Curriculum
Classroom Activities
About the Book
In the universe, on a planet, in a country, in a city, on a block, in a house, in a window, in the rain, a little girl named Madlenka finds out her tooth wiggles. As she goes to tell her neighbors, readers are introduced to a variety of cultures, languages, and traditions.

Before Reading the Book

Pre-reading Activity I: World Walk

Take a walk around a commercial block with restaurants and businesses. If you don't live in a city, take a trip to the downtown area in your town. Give each student a clipboard with paper and a pencil. As you walk, ask the students to notice anything that indicates a foreign culture. It could be store signs, hearing people speak in different languages, churches, synagogues, mosques, or ethnic restaurants (including pizza!).

Include in the route you've mapped out an area where students can sit and write when finished. This could be a park or a playground. Once here, take a few minutes to notice who uses this area. Then ask the students to write or draw pictures of three things they notice that are different from their own culture.

Return to the classroom and share your observations. NOTE: If your students have Writer's Notebooks, take these instead of taking clipboards.

Pre-Reading Activity II: Mini-Research

  1. Split the class into seven groups. Each group will find out information on different regions or countries that Madlenka encounters in her neighborhood: France, Italy, India, Germany, Latin America, Egypt and Asia. Have a few books for each group to investigate. Explain to the students that sometimes we can use reference books to get information. These books will help us learn about different places in the world. (To make this a quicker activity, mark the pages where the information can be found.)
  2. Give each member of the group the Countries reproducible
  3. Then, give each group a strip of paper and have them write the name of the country or region they are researching and then decorate it.
  4. In the classroom, designate a bulletin board for these places. Each group should come up and introduce their country. They should share their facts and show their pictures. Have students hand all this information in to you for hanging on the bulletin board.

Read Together

  1. Read Madlenka aloud to the class. As you read, ask students to use the picture clues and the word clues to guess where Madlenka's friends are from. Either cover the word that tells where each neighbor is from or just skip it while reading aloud. For example, on page seven, instead of reading, "sees her friend Mr. Gaston, the French baker" read "sees her friend Mr. Gaston, the baker." Explain to the class, "I am going to skip some words that tell where Madlenka's friends are from. You are going to use other clues in the book to figure out what countries they come from. We will then go back and check. You might recognize the country you researched right away. Be sure to raise your hand so that everyone gets a turn to answer."
  2. As you read the book, encourage the students to use all the clues — verbal and visual — for recognizing what they already know and for discovering new pieces of information. For example, "Mr. Singh is from India. Madlenka drew a picture of an elephant here. What do you suppose that means?"
  3. Help the students realize that all the neighbors call Madlenka something different. Why?
  4. As you come to a greeting from a neighbor, write it on the board along with the name of the neighbor and the country or area he or she is from. As you read the book, wonder out loud what these foreign words mean. Help the students realize this pattern. If you have bilingual students, they may be able to interpret one of the greetings. If not, use a bilingual dictionary to show the students what a couple of the greetings mean. "Since we know that Mr. Gaston and Mr. Eduardo said 'good day' and "hello" I wonder if we can guess what the other neighbors are saying?" (When you have finished the book, put these words and their English translations on sentence strips. Add them to the appropriate area of the bulletin board.)


I. Write a Letter to a Character

  1. Tell the students that they are going to write a letter to a character in the book. (Let the students decide who they want to write to.)
  2. In the letter, they should introduce themselves to the character. Ask students to brainstorm a list of information that would be helpful to include when introducing yourself: name, gender, age, where they live, etc. Post this information on chart paper for easy reference.
  3. They should tell the character what they already know about the character's homeland. Then ask three questions they are curious about.
  4. Finally, sign the letter.
  5. Hang the letters on the area of the bulletin board designated for that character's country.

II. Where In the World: Journey Collages

  1. Have your students imagine they are going to visit any place in the world. Each gets to decide where he or she will go.
  2. Bring in travel magazines and have the students look through them to get ideas. (To get a larger selection, send a letter home a week beforehand asking parents to send magazines to school with the students.)
  3. Students should cut out pictures of the place they are going to visit. Put pictures in an envelope marked with student name.
  4. Have each student write a paragraph describing his/her imagined trip. Ask them to be as descriptive as possible.
  5. Once you have approved each paragraph, pass out a large piece of plain paper. Hand out envelopes with student pictures.
  6. Have students affix their paragraph and pictures to the paper with glue.
  7. If you have a world map, hang the collage/paragraphs near the map. Ask the student to find his/her country on the map. Cut a piece of colored yarn long enough so that it can reach from the collage to the map. Tape one end of the yarn to the back of the collage. Affix the other end of the yarn with a push-pin into the appropriate area on the map. In this way, each student's collage will have a piece of yarn leading from the collage to the designated place on the map.

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