Publisher: Annick Press
It’s Mortimer’s bedtime, but he would much rather sing his rowdy song. Mom, Dad and even the police can’t get him to quiet down, until they become so distracted by each other that Mortimer drifts off to sleep.
Mortimer by Robert Munsch belongs to the Repetition section of the Touchstone Books. Books found in this section all have some repeating sentences or phrases, rhymes or rhythms. Children will be able to make educated guesses on what comes next in the story due to the fact that parts are repeated at regular intervals.
Anyone who knows a Robert Munsch story can probably guess why Mortimer is perfect for this section. The story is fairly short, with large, easy-to-read print. The scenario in the story is repeated throughout the text – the same elements appear over and over again. Whole phrases are the same, Mortimer’s song is the same, and the layout of the text is kept the same. By the end of the story, students should be able to know that when someone comes up the stairs and yells at Mortimer, it is always the same thing. Likewise, they should be able to sing along with Mortimer when he sings his song. The phrase “Mortimer, be quiet” is repeated four times in the story, as is Mortimer’s song. Mortimer could also fit well in the Pattern Story section since the same events are repeated over and over again. Mortimer sings is song, someone thumps up the stairs and tells him to be quiet, he waits until they are gone and sings his song again, etc. etc.
Time: 1 hour
CD of the book
For this lesson, have the students listen to an audio book version of Mortimer while they look at the illustrations in the book. After they have listened to the story, read it out loud and have the students join in on the repeating sentences and phrases. They should be able to predict what Mortimer will sing, what his parents/siblings/the cops will say, etc.
– Mortimer sang…[have children sing with you]
Discuss with students how the book could continue. Who might the parents call after the police officers? Who could get Mortimer to be quiet? Using chart paper, record their ideas. Have students vote to pick two of the ideas to write into the book. Have the students help you write the parts. This will allow you to see if they understand the use of repeating phrases and sentences, and know how well they comprehend the format of the story.
Once the two new scenes of the story are written, allow students to return to their desks to illustrate the new scenes. Provide drawing paper, and be sure to instruct that students pick only one scene to illustrate, not both. Inform them that you will be providing them with a copy of their scene to put with their illustration so they should do their very best work drawing and colouring. Have students copy over the written scene in order to practice their writing without having to worry about spelling or punctuation. This copying will allow you to see which students are still having troubles with letter formation.
Have students share their illustrations with the class before they are brought home.